EverQuest at Ten: The Devs Share Their Memories

At the end of last week, the Ten Ton Hammer staff offered you a look into our personal EverQuest stories. Now we have a special treat for Ten Ton Hammer readers; we asked the staff of EverQuest to write down their favorite memories from the ten year old title, and they came back with some fantastic responses. From simple stories of excellent combat strategies to epic guild flashbacks, make sure you check out all of these amazing memories! Our post launch guild was far more diverse.  We had a ranger that steadfastly led our entire group, trailing behind using auto-follow, directly over a cliff causing the death of several of our weaker members.  We had our hide and seek games in Qeynos, where they unfairly proclaim my use of illusions as cheating.  We had good times doing things that the designers meant for us to do.  We had just as much fun doing whatever we thought a band of adventurers might do in their off hours. To read more about the EQ dev memories, click here!

At the end of last week, the Ten Ton Hammer staff offered you a look into our personal EverQuest stories. Now we have a special treat for Ten Ton Hammer readers; we asked the staff of EverQuest to write down their favorite memories from the ten year old title, and they came back with some fantastic responses. From simple stories of excellent combat strategies to epic guild flashbacks, make sure you check out all of these amazing memories!



One of my favorite EQ memories is a simple one.

I managed to be the lone wizard for a plane of fear raid.  With nimble casting, a very well coordinated set of raid group leaders,  on the ball raid players, and a good connection that night to get six groups up to fear in only a little over six minutes, with no casualties.

Seems so simple, but it was handled so precisely and efficiently that I could take pride in it.

Adam Bell, Game Designer

While there are a lot of memorable experiences (breaking Fear and Hate, logging to chat to save buffs for Lady Vox), I think my favorite encounter was finally defeating Rallos Zek in Tactics with my guild.  Some of us had done the event on open raids before, but as a guild it was a long process.  We'd go through a round of flagging, then a round of gearing up, then take a day to try him -- each time we'd get closer and closer, and it got more and more frustrating when we lost.  Rallos and how we did on the encounter was a measuring post for our guild over the months.  Growing in numbers, skill, and gear always seemed a bit nebulous until we did Rallos again and could see just how much better we were against a known target.

"A few more AAs for the healers and the DPS," we'd think, "And better gear on our tanks and kiters, and maybe a few more people, and we've got him."  It took us a long while -- a few months at least -- until we finally broke him down.  We finally had the gear to handle the AEs and the adds, the AAs to deal the damage and keep the tank up, and enough kiters to keep the adds away from the rest of the raid for just barely long enough.  I don't remember what items we got from that kill any more, but I'll remember the experience of taking him down with 27 friends for a long, long time.

Ed Hardin, Game Designer

I've had many fun moments playing EverQuest over the last ten plus years (I was one of the folks that got into beta fairly early).  I've probably got even more stories about working on the game for eight of those years.  But for me, like probably many people that have played the game, my favorite stories come from my earliest days playing; playing with my guildies in fact.

It's hard to describe the exact reasons that I remember those times so fondly.  Specifics are hard to come by when you're my age remembering ten years back.  I do know that primarily it was the people.  It was my guild.  Most of us "met" through a weekly web-zine thing as contributors, editors, goofballs or artists long before the game launched.  At some point all of us were invited to beta and were off and running with our "RP" guild of dark elves.  I, uncharacteristically, played a cleric.  I still smile at the hours I'd spend standing at the zone line from Kithicor to Commonlands finding new ways to explain to other dark elves that killing our own guards was foolish, though very hateful indeed.  We were constantly roleplaying in the face of leet name calling and such, and we loved every minute of it.

Our post launch guild was far more diverse.  We had a ranger that steadfastly led our entire group, trailing behind using auto-follow, directly over a cliff causing the death of several of our weaker members.  We had our hide and seek games in Qeynos, where they unfairly proclaim my use of illusions as cheating.  We had good times doing things that the designers meant for us to do.  We had just as much fun doing whatever we thought a band of adventurers might do in their off hours.

But my favorite EverQuest memory happened in real life.  In Las Vegas, in fact.  This was the first time our guild met in real life.  We came from all over the country, and from other countries as well.  This was one of the wonders of EverQuest, that a dozen or more people who had never actually met would consider themselves close enough friends to fly to Las Vegas and spend a weekend together.

I can only imagine what the others thought.  I know that I was thinking that it was going to be pretty awkward.  I figured that there was no way I'd like most of these people in person.  Hell, they were roleplayers, so there was a good chance they weren't nearly as interesting in real life as they were in game.  Of course, I was wrong.  Each and every one of them was an amazing person.  We genuinely liked each other.  Our friendships grew stronger, and it wasn't as weird as I thought to have a real face to give to the game face.  That Fan Faire in Vegas was the most memorable time I've had related to EverQuest and it served me well when I start to wonder why I was working sixty hour weeks on the game.

For most folks of the current generation this might not seem like anything new.  But this was ten years ago.  Back then most folks didn't know that you could actually make friends over the internet.  I know I didn't.  That experience had a lot of influence on me and helped me in the work I did early on EverQuest as a Community Relations Manager.  And now as a designer I try to keep it in mind as I build content for the game.  EverQuest is a game, sure, but it's also a place to make connections and enjoy a great time with good friends.

Alan VanCouvering, Assistant Lead Designer

I was introduced to EverQuest for the first time in the fall of 2000 by co-workers at a former company, who were huge fans of the game and played it pretty regularly outside of work, even having started their own guild. Getting into my first monthly-subscription-fee game was difficult in those days as my wife and I had a one-year-old to take care of, and money was kind of tight. Fortunately, one of my co-workers was good enough to lend me his sign-on key to try the game out for awhile. He neglected to warn me not to use the main character for the ‘test-drive’, however.

That evening I tried out his main character, a female half-elf ranger, and had a ball running around hunting things and catching pick-up groups. However, guild chat soon turned ugly as one of the guildies began telling a stream of misogynistic jokes and taunting all the characters with female names. I felt compelled to remain quiet, since it wasn’t my account, but after awhile I felt I could repress the anger any longer, and told the guy to knock it off with the girl-hate, it wasn’t becoming and no one wanted to hear it. After awhile the guildmaster shows up, kicks the offender out of the guild, and after asking around, decided to promote me to guild officer. I also began getting messages from other guildies, saying how great it was that a girl had finally gotten promoted to guild officer, and how much better they felt knowing ‘one of them’ was looking out for them. I was honored and flattered, and as everyone was congratulating me I kind of failed to disabuse anyone of the notions that a) it wasn’t my account, and b) I wasn’t really a girl. I logged off, feeling like a bit of a hero.

The next week at work was kind of a pain, having my co-worker upset with me for getting his main appointed to a guild officer position under the pretense that he is actually female, and with a bunch of admirers proud of him for things he didn’t actually say or do. But, though he was let go from our company a few weeks later, the power of EverQuest was rushing through my veins, and I was hopelessly hooked, finally with my own copy of the game.

John Boomershine, Game Designer

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