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EverQuest (EQ) is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
released in 1999. It was developed by Verant Interactive and published by
Sony Online Entertainment. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid,
Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. To play, one must initially pay for the game
software and a monthly fee.
The game features a rich 3D environment set in the fictional world Norrath.
Multiple instances of the world exist on various servers, each one having
around 1000 to 3000 simultaneous players. After selecting a server, a player
can create multiple characters and choose from a variety of classes and
races (including humans, gnomes, trolls, halflings, elves etc.). The main
aspect of game play involves grouping with fellow players to kill monsters
for experience points. Beyond that, a player can explore the large world,
socialize, role-play, join player guilds, master trade skills, and duel
other players (in restricted situations -- EQ does not allow
player-versus-player (PvP) combat by default, the exceptions being on PvP
EverQuest launched with some technical difficulties on March 16, 1999 but
quickly became the most successful MMORPG on the market. By the end of the
year, it had surpassed the leading competitor, Ultima Online in number of
subscriptions. Numbers continued rising at a steady rate until mid-2001 when
growth slowed. As of 2002, Sony reports subscription numbers close to
450,000. Sony also advertises the game's addictive nature.
EverQuest has lived through its share of controversy, much of it shared by
the entire MMORPG genre. One example involves the sale of in-game objects
for real currency (often through eBay). The developers of EQ have always
forbidden the practice and in January 2001 asked eBay to stop listing such
auctions. The game has always had problems with exploiting, cheating, and
hacking. Patches have stopped the most serious cheats, but controversy also
lies in Verant's policies sometimes seen by players as heavy-handed or
subjective. Critics of the gameplay call it "simplistic" and a satirical
hoax 'game' called ProgressQuest has appeared on the Internet.
The game is renowned and berated (by some psychologists specializing in
computer addiction) for its addictive qualities. Many refer to it
half-jokingly as "EverCrack"; EQ is very time-consuming for many people, and
there have been several well-publicized suicides of EverQuest users.
Relationships broken because of obsessive playing resulted in the creation
of an online support group called EverQuest Widows. The capacity of the game
to absorb time and money, and to distract players from a possibly-dull life
on the other side of the screen, are appealing features to its users.
However, the same could be said for any other addictive and obsessive
activity. Sony has tried to combat cash trading and cheating, but continues
to advertise the game's addictive nature.
There have been several expansions to the original game since release.
Expansions are purchased separately and add significant content to the game
(for example, new races, classes, and continents). Additionally, the game is
updated regularly through downloadable patches. The EQ expansions to date:
1. The Ruins of Kunark (2000)
2. The Scars of Velious (2000)
3. The Shadows of Luclin (2001)
4. The Planes of Power (2002)
5. The Legacy of Ykesha (2003) Ð an 'extension' available only via
6. Lost Dungeons of Norrath (2003)
There are many spin-off products from EverQuest. Several servers have been
introduced with alternate rule sets, including ones which allow player
killing, another that has stricter role-playing guidelines, and a premium
Legends server (for a premium price). EverQuest Online Adventures, released
in February 2003, is an MMORPG for the PlayStation 2 console. EverQuest II
is also in development for 2004. A pen-and-paper role-playing game, several
books, and player gatherings (Fan Faires) have also been spawned from
The game has an internal language and culture of its own, with a plethora of
arcane abbreviations aiding communication between players, e.g. SoW (which
stands for Spirit of Wolf, a popular spell which accelerates players'
movement), and vernacular usages such as 'crack' which within the context of
EQ refer to mana regeneration spells such as Clarity or KEI (an abbreviation
for Koadic's Endless Intellect).