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EverQuest Next – Dumpster Diving and Weapon Drops

Updated Tue, Jul 16, 2013 by Dalmarus

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Excitement continues to build around EverQuest Next for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s time for the MMORPG genre to be shaken up a little. It’s become stagnant over the years and needs an injection of cool new ideas, as well as for old ideas to become relevant again. One thing that was common in EverQuest and is no longer the norm in games today was the ability to go dumpster diving.

Let me explain what I mean. Imagine you want to make yourself a suit of leather armor and you need some hides to do it. Now imagine that you and 10 other players are hunting in the same area. The thing is, you’re the only one who actually needs the hides. The other 9 players are just there hunting for experience points or a quest. In most games, once they sell their piles of hides to a merchant (because they had the luck of the drops and you didn’t find squat), those hides are gone. Poof. Presto. Buh-bye! In EverQuest, you could look through the wares of local merchants and find those other players’ discarded hides for sale pretty cheap. The merchant’s price was generated by some magic and uber secret formula hidden in a vault and locked away tighter than the original Coca-Cola formula. Sometimes that formula worked in favor of the player, especially when it came to crafting materials. It was an amazing system.

Does she have some cool stuff to sell you? It's worth checking.

EverQuest literally had (and has) thousands of items that can be used in crafting. Hunting them for yourself was often a very time consuming process and involved more than a little luck. Fortunately there were plenty of players who not only didn’t need item X for their own crafting needs, there were plenty of players who had no intention of trying to sell them in the East Commons Tunnel (the defacto trading bazaar of the early years). This meant they would sell them to the merchant most conveniently located to their position. Although there were hundreds of merchants scattered over the world, there were 20 to 30 or so that were regularly used by everyone, depending on which popular spot they had just been hunting.

By taking the time to scout out the various merchants, players could often find an extraordinary variety of items, everything from weapons to armor, spells, words of power, crafting materials, spell components and more. A lot of players (including myself) knew the general value of certain items to the open market and would often scour merchants for them trying to make a quick profit. While it wasn’t always a fruitful search, just the fact that those sold materials stayed in the world was awesome.

Along with letting players buy previously sold merchant goods, the game also let you get the weapons you saw in the hands of mobs. In today’s MMO world, you kill an enemy and simply hope that you get some random loot drop. In EverQuest, each specific mob was alike (a plain skeleton was a skeleton, just with various levels). This meant that if you were fighting in an area and a skeleton spawned with a weapon in its hand, guess what… you were going to get that weapon if you beat it in battle. Sure praying for loot is fun, but it’s not remotely as satisfying as prying a weapon you were just getting beat with from the dead hand of your recent foe.

Sure, he looks angry, but he really just wants to go out clubbing.

I can hear it now. You’re like, “So freaking what? Oh, you got a sword. Was it magic?” Not always, and in fact, rarely, but there are a couple things to keep in mind. Back then, it could be over a month before you got a magic weapon. So they were rare. Money was also extremely hard to come by, so if you saw a mob with a weapon, you would do whatever it took to get to it because merchants paid top coin for those very weapons. This added yet another layer of gameplay in an already intricately balanced game. You couldn’t just plow through a group of mobs like you could today. It took planning and timing to get a specific mob out of a group, or to fight your way through them in order to get to your real target.

Dumpster diving was not only a great pastime, but also an efficient way to make some money. Getting weapons from your foes was also a thrill. If you had spent the time to level up high enough and were ready for a real challenge though, you went for your individual class weapon. Think taking down the hardest raid in any modern game is difficult? Wait until you hear the extreme steps it took to get an epic weapon back in the day. That, of course, will have to wait until next week!

While you wait for next week’s piece, catch up on any previous EverQuest Next articles you may have missed! If you’ve got questions, old-school aspects you’d like me to cover, or anything in between, shoot me an email or hit me up on Twitter!

Yay, a new Dalmarus article! I never was a dumpster diver but I definitely would scramble to attack a doable enemy that happened to have a weapon. Cracked Staffs on orcs anyone?

I used to scour all the merchants in specific zones on a regular basis to buy up all the severed limbs, goblin fingers, or other various body parts I could find. Then, during guild meetings before raids or whatever, I'd pass out random body parts to everyone attending as a "gift".

Better yet, when we'd have a raid wipe (I was co-raid lead and the necro in charge of feigning death if things were going south) I would summon someone's corpse, and then hand them a severed arm and say, "here, you dropped this!"

Ah, necro humor. I miss games that let you do random crap like that just because it was an option.

Haha. That's hilarious. I desperately wanted to see an item made called "heart of a child" with the icon being a little heart inside a jar. I'm sure it would have been deemed to crude and uncouth for the game, but for a darkelf necromancer to be able to link that in chat... that would be priceless.

These articles have been fabulous - and I can't wait to read the next one.

Allow me to introduce myself briefly:

Back when I played EQ, I used to like to say that I didn't know where Wandidar began, and I ended. I tried to play alts over the years - but I was never able to. I "was" Wandidar, and Wandidar "was" me. That is to say, while I have never been a role player - Wandidar took on my personality and my quirks over time.

Wandidar Aroundidar (Wander Around) wasn't just a ranger... he was (in my humble belief) one of the rangers that helped cause all of the ranger legend in EQ. If there was a way to die, I found it. If you zoned in on the Karana server and your zone seemed empty - the mobs were probably following me. If you suddenly died some inexplicable death without a cause in sight... I was probably involved somehow.

However:

- I was also there when you were sitting outside of some dungeon or other, with no gear on, wondering how you were going to get your stuff back. I offered you help because, well, in EQ that was the right thing to do... and also because I knew that at some point I might just need you for the same thing. Some of my best "in game friends" were made when one of us was sitting naked outside of some dungeon or other.

- I was there in Greater Faydark, when you were a young and struggling ranger and I had some experience behind me... giving you gear to aid you along your way - because you did that for me when I was a young ranger with nothing more than a command to "pay it forward" - and so I did.

- I was there when you were camping some low level area with some group... sitting with you and chatting while I kept you safe from harm while you earned your way forward... because I knew how hard it was for you to do this, as I had already been where you were - and I knew the value of good friends in dangerous places... and the fun we would have when you also reached high levels

- I was there when you called for help getting some quest item, or some piece of gear you really wanted... because I remembered the night when I logged in late - after posting just a few hours earlier that I would like to go get "The Ornate Sword of the General" expecting NOT to be able to get it that evening, and finding you and 40 other people with the path already cleared - waiting to help me.

- I was there when you had to sit for hours, camping some tradeskill or quest item... with nothing to do but wait... because I had been there too - and I knew how lonely it could be to do by yourself, and how appreciative I was when you came to sit through one of those sessions with me.

Am I waxing nostalgic with these ramblings - sure I am. I MISS "OUR NORRATH" - and I SO suspect that when the OP typed that in a previous article that it was a *nudge*, *nudge*, *wink*, *wink* hint that "Our Norrath" was making a return...

But do I think they will remake the "same game" to give us "Our Norrath"? No I do not. Nor do I think they need to.

These articles have danced all around perhaps the most important aspect of EQ. You. Me. Us. WE are what made EQ magical.

The folks who respond that "You are only a virgin once..." or "You can't turn back the clock..." or whatever. Perhaps they are right. But who cares? I'm not looking to play EQ 1 again. I'm looking for a NEW game to bring the type of depth to mechanics that pushes players together again.

Because while I miss the extreme highs of FINALLY getting my epics - I think I miss more the magic, the fun, and the laughter I found poking fun at you when you were dumb enough to die at the bottom of that dungeon - or I was. I miss sitting with you and chatting while one of us was waiting for some mob or some drop. I miss having you bring me that gift out of nowhere because you know how hard it is for me - and bringing you that gift out of nowhere because I know how hard it is for you.

The magic of EQ was that the game pushed people together into small little islands of like minded communities. EQ Next does not have to be EQ to do that... it just has to remember the things that EQ did in order TO do that... and do them again.

Thanks for reading.

"I was also there when you were sitting outside of some dungeon or other, with no gear on, wondering how you were going to get your stuff back. I offered you help because, well, in EQ that was the right thing to do... and also because I knew that at some point I might just need you for the same thing. Some of my best "in game friends" were made when one of us was sitting naked outside of some dungeon or other."

This is one of the things today's game communities lack. The desire to help others. Not because people aren't nice, but because there's really not much need in other games. Were the corpse runs in EQ sometimes brutal? Absolutely. But they are also largely responsible for a genuine sense of community and watching out for each other in the game. There are a number of reasons for this but not the least of which was hit on the nail by your statement, "because I knew at some point I might just need you for the same thing."

There's not a single person that played EverQuest in the early days that didn't rely on the kindness and helpfulness of others because your corpse was in a truly hellish spot to get back to.

It may be a bit of a pipe dream, but this entire series of articles has been my way of explaining how that sense of community can be brought into the modern world. Fingers crossed!

PS - I'm glad to hear folks are enjoying these pieces, so thank you! Spread the word to your friends. ^_^

Amazing post, I love it.
Yes, we don't want to replay EQ again (well, some might) but we want EQN to capture that feeling EQ had, which no game has been able to repeat.
Once again, amazing post Wandidar. For the record, I was part of a guild on Xegony called The Wandering Lords, and that's what we did, wandered about and helped out :)

Dumpster diving (while it doesn't sound glamorous) was actually a very good way to get rich and make friends in EQ. Any merchant could potentially have some very nice items that others thought was trash for whatever reason. Most of the time, crafting items got sold for almost nothing while they were worth a small fortune to someone that new better. If you were good at remembering prices, what's hot or not, you could make a killing. Little later during the game, it seemed everyone was doing this and people really started to watch what they sold more carefully... at least until they did a price check.

Just for the record, these articles actually persuaded me to re-download EverQuest and take a look at my old characters again. Game is downloading now but I'm sure the EQ I once loved is no longer there. I was recently looking at a Magelo profile of my old guild leader, some of her items had crazy augmentations with insane stats... what happened to the good old days of +4 wis and +25 health? I have never understood why equipment and stats always had to keep going up (along with levels) with expansions. You raise level, you raise stats, the monsters do the same so what are you really gaining. Just more BS to look at on each item and in the end, you are no more powerful in relation to what you are fighting.

I've been playing for a couple of weeks again. It is absolutely different. That's for sure. There's still alot about the game that is fun and familiar though. It's at least worth checking out and starting a new character. ^_^

I'm on EQ now tinkering around with a few of my toons and honestly, I think I'd be best off just starting over so I can figure out WTF is going on. Course I'm not going to pay to play (that ship has sailed) but it's still amazing to see the amount of people that still play this relic of a game. That in itself speaks volumes.

"what happened to the good old days of +4 wis and +25 health? I have never understood why equipment and stats always had to keep going up (along with levels) with expansions"

I would LOVE to see one of these articles on this EXTREMELY important topic. I absolutely hate the levels of gearflation in today's games.

I remember hunting for and feeling absolutely UBER when I got some Orc Fang Earrings to drop... +3 AC, +3 STR, +15 HP!!!!!

I would love for EQN to put the power back in the player... and NOT in the gear. To me - it's more than wrong that an excellent player in "greens" in WoW for example, cannot perform as well as an average (or even sub par) player in full epic gear.

Let's get back to the days where gear enhanced the player - and didn't make the player.

lol... yeah gearflation was the word I was trying to remember but couldn't. Thanks! Yeah, I know what you mean. Unfortunately, games revolve around gear and rightfully so. Everyone wants good gear to better their character. However, there is a major difference between gear "enhancing" and "making" the player like you said. Old school EQ gear enhanced an already efficient player while today's EQ gear makes anyone capable of playing a specific class. This was one of the reasons WoW was/is so successful. Any person of any age could pick up the game and play. Their graphics made it possible to play on virtually any PC at the time and they catered to the masses... not the hard core. While I'm not "hard core" anymore, I would still like a challenge. I just don't want my challenge to be deciphering what 20 effects mean on a particular item.

Yeah - I think the place I draw the line is this: I believe that if you and I are playing the same class and are the same level - and if you are a good player who has spent the time learning the intricacies of the class while I am a bad player who has not - then you should perform better than me, period.

There should never be a time where you are working your abilities to their maximum extent - and I'm sitting behind my keyboard thinking "I like the pretty effect this button makes on my screen when I push it - so I'll push it a LOT" - and I do better than you because, for whatever reason, I have better gear than you.

Speaking of abilities... that would be another fun read here: The strategic angle forcing you to pick a very small subset of your skills had on the game - the danger of having the wrong spells / abilities up at the wrong time... along with the variety of ways you could use single spells / abilities and the synergies you could find between spells / abilities.

For example - as a ranger, if I was pulling, I used my de-agro spell as often as possible rather than shooting it with a bow or casting some other damaging spell at it or whatever. The reason was simple: It got me on the mob's hate list, and it let the tank pull the mob off of me by frowning just a little too hard at it.

EQ, at least in it's earlier days, came down to skill... period. You knew who sucked on your server and you knew who played their class well. Better gear "enhanced" the already great players while it didn't do much for those that knew diddly.

I know where you are coming from concerning the abilities you had at any given time. One thing I loved about EQ was you only had (gosh can't remember 8-9 spells?) a small amount of spells/songs you could memorize at any given time. You had to know the encounter you were heading into. Know the classes in your group and what they brought to the table. If something did go bad and you didn't have the right ability memorized, you had to act quickly by scouring your spell book to find what you needed, memorize it and use it. Situations like this always kept groups fun and the adrenaline flowing. Do you remember how you used to have to 'meditate' to regain mana as a caster while staring at your spell book? You really had to trust your group... would hate to finally close the ol' tome to find out your group left your sorry butt cause you sucked. lol

Meditating killed me on more than one occasion... Perhaps the most memorable for me: I was hunting the Ghoul Messenger in West Karana who dropped a quest item to get the Short Sword of Morin. The zone was new and dangerous to me at that time - I didn't know my way around and was relying on track and memory to know where I was...

At some point I sat down to med (rangers had a piddly little mana pool) - and I see in my chat window someone named "Oobnopterbevny Biddilits" doing /yell across the zone. I had no idea who Oobnopterbevny Biddilits was, and so (being a rather young and naïve ranger) - I ignored it.

I suddenly found myself perma-feared, running GOD knows where - right up until I saw that "Oh, so familiar" phrase: Loading, Please Wait...

I think that was the first time I was afraid that I simply would NOT be able to find my corpse.... and learned a couple tricks to help find it from a friend...

1) There was an item (I don't recall what it was) that would point you in the direction of your corpse.
2) If you didn't have that, go to the last spot you were alive and run in ever widening circles until you see it.

GOD I miss the danger of EQ...

And now that you made me remember that story, Oobnopterbevny Biddilits will be added to my "One week before EQN goes live vengeance kill list." - With Grimfeather, Dorn B'Dead, Kizdean Gixx, Emperor Crush, and that annoying friggen little gnome in the pit in Crushbone.

lol that's really cool to hear this story because I went through a very similar situation with my ranger. That's what was so cool about EQ... I came from a D&D background, got into some MUD's and then EQ came out. I was mapping out most zones with graph paper until some sites started popping up with maps on them. I think part of what made EQ so nostalgic was the fact that the technology just wasn't there. The game seemed harder and more unforgiving but in reality it was just due to the "unknowns" of MMO's. Granted, EQ was tough and leveling a toon to level 50 was a rite of passage... but what really made EQ as great as it was? The design, first of its kind, the player base, the content? Whatever the reason, EQ has made a mark on the world that will never die.

Thinking back... I can literally recall hundreds of moments in my EQ career that brings a smile to my face. The first all night raiding session, getting your first pair of J-Boots after waiting in line for 20 people, running your first TRAIN to the wrong exit in Karnor's, the potential loss of your corpse deep in Kedge Keep... the list goes on and on. Looking back at all the MMO's I played since EQ... EQ2 is the only one where I do have some good memories but nowhere near what I had in EQ. WoW, V:SoH, Warhammer Online, Asheron's Call, D&D Online, Rift, Star Wars Galaxies, The Old Republic, Guild Wars 1 & 2... gotta be missing a few I played... either way, none gave me the same lasting memories and probably none ever will in the future. I'm just glad I was a part of something that big in gaming history. Unless you were there and experienced it first hand, nobody can or will ever understand the impact that game had on them. My kids will think I'm an idiot in a few years when they start gaming (crosses fingers) and I hope they can find a game to look back on like I did. I love gaming, always have... it's been a phenomenal journey and I'm still loving the ride.

I think there are two things they can do that would greatly enhance EQN's ability to keep the mystery IN the game - forcing people to figure things out on their own:

1) Encrypt the logs. All of them. This would stop DPS/heal meters... it would also stop people from analyzing the logs from (some boss) fight and figuring out all of the mechanics that led to things like DBM in WoW. I don't WANT to know I need to "RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY NOW!!!" until I learn that in the game.... not by having warnings pop up on the screen the very first time I ever do an encounter (they could also fix that one by NOT overly scripting so many boss fights)

2) Keep a tight reign on what game/fan sites can post regarding things like maps, quests, etc... There are games that by happy accident due to lack of player base (I'm looking at you Vanguard) what EQ had - where there just wasn't a lot of information to be found out there on the game... and I think that adds to the game. I would much rather have to go back to having to actually learn a zone - because that is something that makes the world feel larger - than to look up a map on the internet or even have a map in game... and I would much rather have to ask guild mates again "How do I start my epic" than have a fully fleshed out explanation of it on a fan site.

I will admit that I may be one of those "OLD - Old school players"

I like your ideas but I don't think any of them could be enforced. The logs could be captured by something running on the client side and still be used for parsing, etc. Keeping fan sites at bay is also about impossible. Heck, even ESO information is being leaked all over the place and the game isn't coming out till 2014. Oh well for NDA huh? lol

I get where you are coming from... it's a combination of all that stuff that makes today's MMO's so freaking simple. I don't mind "aids" that take advantage of current technology. As I mentioned before, give us maps... but force us to use cartography skill to really get an in depth analysis of a zone. You can find out mob weaknesses, where rare spawns are, quest givers, etc. All this improves with improved skill. If you give the player the tools in-game, they won't have to look elsewhere when the current game is lacking.

I recently went back into EQ... it's really overwhelming what I've missed over the past 10 years of inactivity. One thing I was shocked to see was that the same broker system is being used now that was used 10 years ago. This is where I think technology needs to step in. Why would I want to leave my computer running 24/7 so I can sell items? Granted, the last expansion did offer "offline" selling of items but honestly that's just insane. EQ seems to have followed the path of all other MMO's... but maybe some things just can't be done with the games engine, I don't know. EverQuest today just feels soooooo cluttered with 350+ zones, a spell book which has what seems like a 1000 spells and only 20 of them are used at my level, 10 million items you have no clue what they are used for without scouring the internet. One thing I liked about WoW was how the labeled spells... you have Healing I, then Healing II, then Healing III, etc... one writes over the old, eliminating the clutter. SOE could figure out a better way to use old zones that are never visited. Instead of releasing a new expansion annually with 20 more new zones, how about re-visiting some older ones with enhanced graphics, tougher mobs, etc. There doesn't need to be 50 level 1-10 zones, 50, 11-20 zones, etc... more is not always better. Or is it?

I totally dumpster dived. In fact, just recently I was finishing my 1.5 Epic for the SK and needed to get my tailoring up to 100 to ensure no fail on the combined item. I ran out and found a ton of silks and hides on the vendor so that I can progress to skill level 100.

Good stuff. Hope they do the same in EQ Next.

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