1. EQOA was ground-breaking as the first true MMORPG offered on a console. Only FFXI garnered more attention for its status as a console MMO.
2. EQOA’s name branded it under the already successful Everquest franchise. I remember reading an article that claimed that 2/3’s of all EQOA beta players were EQ original players. It was very common to run into people in the early days of the game that were former EQ players. They often cited that EQ was much more complex and difficult.
3. EQOA had minimal requirements thanks to Sony and SOE. The PS2 was the highest selling console of all-time up until 2008. Almost everybody that played video games owned a Ps2. Its only competitors were the original Xbox, the Nintendo Game Cube, the Sega Dreamcast, and the Nintendo64. None had internet capabilities on the scale that Sony managed to create in 2003. Xbox live wasn’t launched until September 2005 and by that time, EQOA had already peaked. Additionally, EQOA only required dial-up connection. Anyone with an ethernet cable and a PS2 could easily log on.
4. EQOA was simple to learn and play. Everything in the game was straight forward and obvious. Additions such as the LFG system and auctions made the game even more simple for beginners to help improve their characters to complete their quests.
5. EQOA was complex in the aspect that characters were incredibly customizable. Not so much from a gear aspect as much as from a stat system stand point. Your character either made it or didn’t based on how you spent your TPs and eventually CM points. No gear in the game could make up for a poor build. When the rose was introduced and characters could be revamped, it caused a mad rush for the item. People realized how valuable a second chance was now that they understood the game much more after spending time at level 60.
6. EQOA was expanded very early on with Frontiers. This inspired early confidence from its user base that SOE was truly committed to improving what they had created.
7. EQOA had a unique spell path system that allowed for further customization of characters. Several classes had spell paths that were dominant but Clerics, Druids, Warriors, Wizards, SKs, Monks, Necros, and Mages all had great options that made making multiple characters of the same class worth it.