Round 2: Team B Analysis – Everquest

1 10 2007

EQ

EverQuest (or colloquially, EQ) is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was released on March 16, 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. It was developed by Verant Interactive (which had recently parted ways with 989 Studios) and published by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). SOE currently runs and distributes EverQuest. The game’s sequel, EverQuest II, was released in late 2004 a few weeks before the general release of the World of Warcraft.

To play, one must initially pay for the game software and then pay a recurring monthly fee; a free trial is also available for those who wish to experience the game before paying. EverQuest was, from 2000 until 2004, the most popular extant MMORPG. EverQuest earned many awards, including GameSpot’s Game of the Year Award for 1999.

GAMEPLAY

In the game, players create a character (also known as an avatar, or colloquially as char, charrie or toon) by selecting one of 14 ‘races’ in the game, which range from elves, dwarves and ogres of fantasy, to humans, to cat-people and lizard-people. Players also select their characters’ adventuring occupation/class. Players use their character to explore the fantasy world of “Norrath”, fighting monsters and enemies for treasure and experience points, all the while interacting with other players. As they progress, players advance in level, gaining power, prestige, spells, and abilities.

norrath

After selecting a server, a player may create multiple characters, choosing from a variety of classes (e.g. wizards, fighters, clerics, etc.) and races (e.g., humans, gnomes, trolls, halflings, elves, etc.). The main draw of gameplay is grouping with fellow players to kill monsters for experience and gear. Beyond that, a player can explore the large and varied world, socialize, role-play, join player guilds, master trade skills, and duel other players (in restricted situations — EQ only allows Player versus Player (PVP) combat on the PvP-specific server, in designated arenas, or in a consensual duel in a limited number of locations.

The game features a 3D environment set in Norrath, its moon Luclin and numerous alternate planes of reality (such as the Plane of Hate and the Plane of Growth). The geography of the EverQuest universe is vast – consisting of nearly 400 zones. Multiple instances of the world exist on various servers, each one hosting between one and three thousand simultaneous players online during peak times.

Players may obtain items in a variety of ways: through slaying monsters, doing quests, or by gathering raw materials and then fashioning them, via numerous tradeskills such as tailoring or blacksmithing, into useful (or not-so-useful, but nevertheless fun) items. Many of the elements from EverQuest have also been drawn from text-based MUD (multi-user dungeon) games.

The fourteen classes of the original 1999 version of EverQuest were later expanded to include the Beastlord and Beserker classes with the Shadows of Luclin (2001) and Gates of Discord (2004) expansions, respectively.

The classes can be grouped into those that share similar characteristics.

  1. ‘Tank’ classes are those that have high numbers of ‘hit points’ for their level and can wear heavy armor
  2. Damage dealers
  3. Mixed-use / Utility Classes
  4. Healers
  5. Casters

There are several deities in EverQuest. Like traditional deities, they each have a certain area of rule or responsibility and play a role in the ‘backstory’ of the game setting.

ZONES

The EverQuest universe is divided into nearly 400 zones. These zones represent a wide variety of geographical features, including plains, oceans, cities, deserts, and other planes of existence. One of the most popular zones in the game is the Plane of Knowledge, one of the few zones in which all races and classes can coexist harmoniously without interference. As such, it is also the zone to visit if one is looking for “buffs”, or spells that enhance characters’ abilities. The Plane of Knowledge is also home to portals to many other zones (though not nearly all the zones in the game), including portals to other planes.

ADDICTION

The game is renowned and berated (by some psychologists specializing in computer addiction) for its addictive qualities. Many refer to it half-jokingly as “NeverRest” and “EverCrack” (a reference to crack cocaine). EQ is very time-consuming for many people, and there have been some well-publicized suicides of EverQuest users, such as that of Shawn Woolley. Relationships broken because of obsessive playing resulted in the creation of an online support group called EverQuest Widows and sites like GamerWidow.com. An infamous rant titled “EQ: What You Really Get From An Online Game” appeared on Slashdot in 2002, and brought this issue of EverQuest addiction to the forefront of many message boards across the Internet.

Sale of in-game objects/real world economics

EverQuest has been the subject of various criticisms. One example involves the sale of in-game objects for real currency (often through eBay). The developers of EQ have always forbidden the practice and in January 2001 asked eBay to stop listing such auctions. For a time, such auctions were immediately removed, which changed market conditions and allowed a number of specialized auction sites to specialize in this new virtual economy.

Because items can be traded within the game and also because of illegal online trading on websites, virtual currency to real currency exchange rate have been calculated. The BBC reported that in 2002 work done by Edward Castronova showed that Everquest was the 77th richest country in the world, sandwiched between Russia and Bulgaria and its GDP per capita was higher than that of the People’s Republic of China and India. By 2004, a follow-up analysis showed that the average GDP of each of the two million players was $2,000 (£1,087) which was approximately the same as the GDP of Namibia.

ROUND UP

So to round up I’d like to say that I myself now know a lot more about Everquest and understand much more of the dynamic gameplay involved. It seems to be a much more “in-depth” game than Warcraft that will appeal to the more “Hardcore” gamers out there.

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One response

1 10 2007
FrankLi

WOW craft and Evergay both suck tbfh.

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