was my first true online love. We'd stay up to the wee hours of the
morning, just talkin'. She'd be there for me when I needed her. We
couldn't get enough of each other. I would spend all day with her when
I could, and at night I'd wait for my live-in girlfriend to fall asleep
then sneak off and spend the rest of the night with EverQuest
crawling back into bed at six a.m. before the girlfriend woke up.
It was a life of duality but I loved it.
Now almost 12 years later, with a career in the MMOG space, I've spent
a lot of time with a lot of different MMO games. I've seen all the hot
new titles, and even have had a few long-term subscriptions with some
of them. I've enjoyed my time with these games but the truth of the
matter is, as anyone can attest, there is simply never a 'replacement'
for your first true love. Sure, you can find something that fulfils
your needs, and maybe even one that you'll be able to love and enjoy
for the rest of your gaming life, but that first love will always be
special and no other game will offer that same feeling that you got
when you obtained your first magical weapon or defeated your first raid
So what happens years later when that first special game shows up on
your doorstep again late one night, looking as tantalizing as ever, and
potentially offering you a chance to relive some of those memories from
all those years back?
You invite her in and play the crap out of her, obviously.
This is what has happened to thousands of old school EverQuest
February 15th (which just happened to be the day after Valentine's day.
Lonely hearts, and all that). Sony Online Entertainment launched their
new Time Locked Progression Server which has allowed players to
again for the first time.
The mark of a brilliant game: Dwarves everywhere.
The premise of the TLP is genius. The server launched with only the
original content available; no expansions or their corresponding
content are available. As players defeat the content, the next
expansion becomes available for unlocking. This part is something we've
already seen circa 2006 with the launch of the first progression
servers. The TLP, however, has one major difference. Precisely
when an expansion is to be unlocked is left completely up to the
community. After the content is beaten a grace period is put into
effect. For classic era this grace period is 90 days. It will be
shortened to 60 days for the rest of the expansions. After the grace
period has expired a server-wide poll is taken where every active
member of the server, level 30 or above, votes as to whether or not
they wish the next expansion to be opened up. If the majority says yes,
the next expansion is opened immediately. If no, then the current
content stays in place for a while longer and another poll is taken at
a later date.
The response to this server has been overwhelming. Minutes after launch
if you weren't in game you would be met with a "server full" error when
you tried logging in and it could take you upwards of an hour to get
past the lineup and get into the game. Every newbie zone was lined wall
to wall with players as over 300 newbie characters were packed into
every starting area. Finding a mob to kill was like finding a $20 bill
on the ground in Times Square on New Year's Eve. You felt lucky to see
it, but you knew dozens of other players were running to get to it too.
The server was so popular, in fact, that SOE opened a second TLP server
just hours after the launch of the first one to meet the demand.
Surely this can't be a very fun experience, one would think. Why would
I want to fight hoards of obnoxious players to get one piddly scrap of
xp? To answer that, no one would. However, one of the most incredible
side-effects of launching an old school server is its niche appeal.
This isn't the b-net kiddy krowd or the narcissistic neo-griefers
playing the game. This is old school elegance. Camps are (mostly)
respected despite the insane mosh-pit population. Player courtesy is as
common as retribution paladins.