I was working at Sony Online Entertainment when Everquest was released. The mood around the place was edgy but optimistic. Sure, the subscription idea had only been pulled off once with Ultima Online, but the EQ game engine looked great and Sony was putting their all behind it. The faith in the talent that made and released the game was palpable. Sony loved them.
Then the numbers started to come in. My producer Bernie Yee poked his head into my office (a converted broom closet that hadn’t seen a broom in several months) and mentioned something about subscriptions passing 100,000. This was soon after launch. And the numbers kept rising. Every meeting about the game we were working on started with EQ subscriber updates. Every coffee room was abuzz. A number of employees were excused their 8 hour a day habit since it was just a sign of the EQ craze.
So I decided to give it a try.
I was bored out of my skull. I had no interest in hacking at monsters ad infinitum. Sure, it looked great but so did Tribes and that was just more up my alley. The character creation was okay, though bumpy, but the gameplay seemed redundant with its dorky quests and even dorkier players. I’d walk in on Bernie in his office and he’d be clicking on his mouse a dozen times a second, looking like a zombie. I relished my role as the EQ-hater in a sea of drones.
Apparently, I wasn’t ready for EQ. But apparently, I am now.
EQ Mac has opened my eyes to the joys of auto-running and left-mouse clicking. Norrath’s vast landscape is now available to the Mac OSX clan and its one hell of a deal. Not only do you get the original EQ but you also get four of its expansions – The Ruins of Kunrak, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin and The Planes of Power. Each one, especially The Shadows of Luclin add depth to the gameplay that, alone, is worth the retail price. Up front you should know that the 9.95 per month that was once the standard price has now given way to the less palpable 12.95 per month which would be highway robbery if highway robbery was a hell of a lot of fun.
Though I’ve always been receptive to MMOs I’ve always run into frustration in the first couple of weeks of play due to the big learning curve. I guess my tastes have changed in the last few years. I yearn for an immersive experience and I’m patient enough to wait for it. You should be too before you buy it.
I’ll tell you right off, if you’ve played the PC version of EQ then you’ve seen it all before. SOE spent no time working on improvements. It’s a straight port.
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