I started EQoA in May of 2003, even though I had purchased the game in February just a few days after it was released. I had picked it up even though I wasn’t a real fan of MMO’s at the time. A friend showed me EQ1 near the middle/end of 1999 into 2000 and it didn’t really feel or look all that great to me. I played for a few days and quickly realized that my love for shooters and Japanese RPG’s was still too strong. A few years later that same friend and I lived together and had been part of a group of local gamers that dissected and played Halo 1 to a point where 8 and 10 hour nights of 8+ people with 2 linked Xbox’s in my friend and I’s apartment in 2001 was commonplace. During the latter half of that year I learned about SOCOM:US NAVY SEALS and decided to get high speed internet and play that online (and hey we had modded XBox’s and hooked them up to servers through 3rd party Websites to play Halo 1 online) with my PS2. I played Socom for a while during the off Halo 1 hours. Occasionally dipping back into a few JPRG’s Suikoden was my personal favorite though FF was right up there to. After playing Socom plenty I wondered if there were any other PS2’s games with real online content designed for it and not just an online vs. like Madden was back then.
That’s when I read about Everquest Online Adventures for the Playstation 2! I was skeptical but I did read where the combat was quicker and I had liked Baulder’s Gate well enough even though it was a hack’n’slash. So on February 20th 2003 my brother and I were in Gamestop and I picked it up. I figured at the very least it’d get me through a week or 2 of play before I get bored with it.
My brother who at the time was a professional couch sleeper decided to put it in and play while I was at work and quickly fell in love with it. I was skeptical I noticed the graphics were improved from the original textures and models i had seen 3 or so years earlier with my friends PC version and I was still playing the occasional clan battle with Socom. It was about the 10th of March when I noticed something was up. The previous night I had been up playing Socom and fell asleep on my living room couch, normally I slept in my bedroom but I decided to crash on the couch for the night after a late night run on Socom and eating some late night delivered pizza. I awoke to my brother who hadn’t seen the AM side of Noon of any day in over a year of being unemployed was coming into my living room (he knew where I kept my spare key to the apartment) and logging into EQoA at literally 6 and 7 AM to check something called a spawn camp check or something. He then proceeded to tell me he’d been doing the last 3 days. I almost yelled at him to get the hell out but in my sleep filled eyes I noticed he was cleaning up the living room to play, which getting him to clean anything was a miracle in its own right.
I watched him run around the Barbarian starting city of Halas with some one named Eruhan who he regularly grouped with he told me. He proceeded to tell me that Eruhan had an early morning group he grouped with because they were Pacific time or something. Over the next 3 hours before I had to get ready to work I watched him start typing on my USB keyboard and laughing. I asked my brother what was funny and he relayed a story that Eruhan had told him of someone trying to “train” them at one of the Frosteye camps. I asked “What a Frosteye?” this came with a 10 minute explanation of an XP camp as opposed to what I had been used to with JRPG’s or table top dungeon crawling. A few days later my cousin calls me asking what time my brother would be over and I said he doesn’t usually come over in the evenings he’s usually out with other non-working friends of mine drinking until the next morning. But around 8PM my brother shows up asking if he can play for a few hours. I tell him “Uh sure..Ron just called looking for you.” My brother was excited because apparently our cousin was in EQoA’s beta and had known the best camps. Camps? So I proceeded to watch them both for a few a bit Ron was our cousin he was in his high/mid 30’s iirc. My brother was still in his mid/high 20’s but wanted to finish off his “17 armor quests” eh? whatever that meant.
Enter Diren’s Hold & Hodstock
My brother played for the next several weeks with my cousin who was by then in a large raiding guild on Diren’s Hold and they were laughing it up over the USB keyboards telling stories and such I didn’t think to much of it It was now mid April and I watched my brother play for the better part of a month. His visits were so regular now I just gave him a spare key and told him not to mess up the place while I was at work. So by the end of April beginning of May I noticed I had some vacation time coming up and thought maybe I should play some of that EQ game my brother and cousin like so much. It was May 5th. I remember exactly because May 4th every year I go through my Star Wars refresher for the lore of the StarWars universe and scheduled a couple vacation days around it. I couldn’t remember which server my brother and cousin played on and to be honest I kind of didn’t want to get roped into time tables of groups and spawns like they were so I didn’t bother asking but instead chose a server I thought sounded good.
Hodstock. I wanted to make a thief character so I started as a rogue. Eastern Human of Freeport. I played through the quests killing local bugs and getting to go to the Temple of Light Marr’s Fist for a low level quest. I was around level 9 or 10 at the croc isle Xping with some people who were really chatty. I wasn’t a chatty guy during xping I was a damage dealer and wanted to make sure I was doing it well. The group was speaking about this and that, which big guild is fighting over some woman named Vox and which isn’t. I asked about what monsters were the toughest and someone replied with a word I was unfamiliar, they said they didn’t know which “Mobs” were toughest. Mob? Was this guy abbreviating Monster as Mon and typo’d the n for b? Probably I told myself “Mons?” I said trying to correct his abbreviation. He responded with “?” to which I retorted “mobs= mons? you mean the monsters were killing?” “umm ya?” he said, what a jabroni I thought.
After a few hours that day I was around level 14 and I saw a warrior wearing an all dark blue set of armor. He was an obvious elite player all the way up to level 25. I asked him what’d he do to get the set? He said it was all part of his level 17 armor quests, a set of quests that each give you a piece to complete a set. “Nice” I said he then said as a rogue my set is all black banded leather. What?! it was? hmmm. After asking random people in Freeport and refusing about 50 guild invites (I wanted to be a “lone wolf” as they’re more badass,… pffff if only i knew lol)
So later that week I got to level 17 and did my 1st level 17 armor quest. For the last 3 days of my vacation I spent it running to all the coaches around Tunaria to get the 17 quests logged. Eventually getting to level 19 before I even had them all logged and finished. I was wearing all black leather and felt like I was going to be elite like that warrior I met so at level 19 I figured my vacation was over it’s now mid May and I figured I’d probably be quitting this game as I’ve accomplished a lot obviously. Then I saw a rogue pass by me wearing 2 daggers! 2! not 1! I quickly tried to figure out how to equip my 2nd hand with a dagger but I couldn’t, how was it possible. I eventually ran into a guild leader of a small guild, a human shadowknight named Legend. He explained that I could do that when I hit level 20 and would dual strike as well. Wow… 2 hits. that’s mass damage. Meh I might as well hit 20 and do it. So I hit level 20 a day later after
coming home from work and xping some at this bandit camp near the Black Swan Inn (Davar Manor as it would later be called).
While I was there some weapon dropped and the Tank in group was a Warrior and he started arguing with the Shadowknight in group (2 tank groups) over who should get it the warrior thought as he was the main tank (of the group) he should outright get it, the Shadowknight claimed bullshit! Saying it was a 2hander and Shadowknights don’t get dual wield and he needed it (Wow some classes don’t get to dual wield i thought). The healer of the group talked some sense into them an they rolled and the SK won this weapon with no stats called the Grimblade. Apparently it was some Ultra-Rare item that would make the tanks “better” hmmm. The SK then talked some shit to the warrior and proceeded to leave group. I thought it was funny as shit talking was a regular occurrence and I loved it. Apparently in the MMO world it’s frowned upon (such odd people I thought). At level 22 I finished my 1st class quest which we got at 20,30,40,49(epic)60(epic) I got a new stabber and
figured I might as well try it out I’m getting near 25 and probably going to quit soon as this game’s goes to 50 and I’m halfway there as it is. The next day someone sent me a /tell asking if I could help them with a quest (Meh lonewolfs don’t usually help others but this was the warrior from the day before that lost on the Grimblade and I felt a little sorry for him). I don’t remember his name but he told me a new got put in a few months ago and he wanted to do it. I figured well sure how long is it? He said this quest would take us all day, I told my warrior friend I had the next day off work so I was ok to help. My entire time with EqoA I noticed it took forever to travel anywhere the world was so massive and there was no fast-travel, I hated it. Later I’d come to absolutely love it.
We started the Greyvax Quest and while I wasn’t high enough to log it I noticed this quest was a bit more involved then most. Most quests like the 17’s or the 20 path had me talking to an occasional “person” which I had learned was called a Non-playable-character and then hunt and gather an item. Eventually we got it done and he got a spell for the quest and then he told me if I did the quest I’d get a new spell to. “Really? Not just vendor bought like all spells would be?”
***The 23 Quest Guard Smitty***
Why it’s called the Guard Smitty quest I don’t know as Feria Hurket in Hodstock actually starts it but meh whatever I thought. Over the weekend I logged so many hours with the quest and realized this is what the game must really be about a long continent spanning quest that had ancient barbarian lore and hidden quest mobs and traps, it reminding me of a JRPG to a point. I got help with it and finished it. “A disguise” spell. I was able to change into a rogue’s mask and change my factions, cool. I figured maybe I’d run around some before I stopped playing this game and went to Deathfist Citadel a huge Orc valley with the ability to sustain 5 or 6 groups to camp easily. The area was a few levels too high for me so I figured I may as well level up some more and come back. It was then I learned at 35 I could quad hit. “Hmm more damage” So I continued xping there watching all the chatty healers talk in /shout and people start arguing over guild
e-peens and even griefing each other. I loved it. Even when Snappy a warrior my group’s healer got into with trained an army of Orcs encompassing nearly half of DFC on us, it got the druid healer 1st and watching that wolf fall over dead after he talked shit to Snappy made me laugh so hard I knew I was staying around in this game for a bit longer. The orcs then demolished me to but I didn’t care I was an innocent slaughtered in between two fools arguing with online killing power. I should have decided to leave if i really cared about not dying but I didn’t I like that drama.
I returned to Highpass as I had been before but hadn’t been high enough to log anything a month earlier. This time when I went I noticed all the people. Mass amounts of people would stand along the walls of Highpass waiting for a group to form (There was no LFG system you shouted what you were looking for). That’s when I wondered what in the world are all these people doing just standing? “Wow some are even 50. How lame.” I thought.
It was then I met for the 2nd time Legend. He was standing around Highpass as apparently this was the “hub” for everyone as it was the center of the continent. This is when I saw all the other shit talking among the guilds. This was the point I decided to keep leveling up because I kept hearing about some infamous guild called The Unnamed that was ruining everyone’s fun. They were doing something called Ninja-ing stuff and then Kill-Stealing and Training! I laughed. Good, I thought. Worlds, even fictional online ones need good villains and not the ones that spawn as “evil” monsters like a dragon. After spending the next few nights xping and hanging around Highpass working on the quests there I realized guilds could be used for something aside from quest help, entertainment. So I joined Legend’s guild and decided to go along with them a few weeks later when they fought some Ice Dragon in the Permafrost Castle. I was there at level 39 trying to do any damage to Vox and dying over and over and over. After a few of those I decided to hang back and wait. But I knew then I’d be back eventually for her hide. Over the next month it turned into late June and I heard tales of hatred and anger towards The Unnamed and over some Island of Dread a “Raid zone”gasps! Lore and Hate were the main reasons I kept playing, my love for lore of the world I had decided to stake residence in and my own hate for mobs I couldn’t beat and wanted revenge and the hate guilds had for other guilds. To be honest after years of playing EQ2 and going back to EQ1 I miss trains and Ksing, letting players grief each other is half the fun of playing an MMO it causes such strife and to me it was great entertainment. Some people get so frustrated they go into a nerd rage, ha! I love it I heard it many a night with Halo and Socom and CounterStrike previous to that. Sure you loose some of the casuals, but while casual dollars help a game for a time. They are “casual” meaning they will move on while true hard cores want revenge either in-game or doing a fictitious /petition claiming someones duping or glitching raid mobs heh… good times.