Remembering the Founders

It’s President’s Day today, and you likely have the day off. I, however, do not. That said, the timing coincides well with a topic that’s been on my mind since the end of last week. If you’re unaware, last week saw the opening of the Original Everquest’s “progression server” which is a new server, fresh and sparkly, with no expansions created. It is the “base” game. We also saw the start of the last of Rift’s open beta event. We had the old big daddy, the spiritual founder (okay – popularizer, but let’s not split hairs) of the MMO nation going old-school on us, and we have the new up-and comer making its self known to the world. Rift opened its doors for all to see their home, and all the slick, polished things he it can do. I had bronchitis which forced me to stay home Friday, and I happily spent my time playing Evercrack.

The game itself is pretty close to the harsh realities of what the game was at launch, with some caveats. I don’t think many, no matter how hardcore, would actually WANT to play a return to the full days of yore. Experience loss on death is still fully in action, however, you no longer leave behind all your gear. That’s right, corpse runs for the purpose of item recovery are a thing of the past – you do it if have a cleric to give you an EXP rez. Meditating and spellbook memorization is now done with a nicely sized spellbook, and lets you still watch the world around you. Mob difficulty, as a melee character, remains about the same. Taking on more than one white at a time, straight out of the gate, is a bad idea. However, hitpoint regen is definitely increased from what it was at “true launch”.

Crafting, something I had always wanted to explore more in the original game, is quite handy and more accessible now. You can search for recipes at your crafting device, or get a list by just leaving the search blank. It’s still expensive as hell to do, and will be time-consuming, but you don’t feel as if you’re playing guesswork all the time. Money is weightless (and there was much rejoicing), but weight still affects you. I rediscovered – the hard way – that if you carry too much, you cannot move. Money seemed easier to come by, especially getting into the main denomination of “plat” – a definite change from the old game where I scrounged to get gold. Along with that though, prices at NPC vendors seemed to have been adjusted similarly. So, all in all, the return was good fun, I remembered what I loved so much about the game at launch, and all the improvements helps to soften the blow after so long a dalliance playing other MMOs, but the game still kept that edge of difficulty and challenge that helped keep the hook in my mouth.

Get back to the Sequel you!

I made a Shadowknight for my free time back in Norrath. My fondest memories of the game come from the little SK I had made in the game to play, even though he was never a main, and I found that I still really enjoyed the game while playing him. Perhaps I enjoyed it a bit too much, and the re-realization of why it earned the name “Evercrack” came back to me. In the short time I was back in-game, I had made level 15 (nearly 16), and had outfitted myself with a full set of banded, a forged two-handed sword, and TWO rings with AC and resists on them. I had a whopping 4 pounds of wiggle room of items to carry before I became encumbered! 

 

Not having much room for transporting goods made peddling my wares difficult, but I did so anyway, at the most classic of places – East Commonlands tunnel entrance. Most players selling banded are listing them for the price of the AC value in plat, I at first was selling off my individual “ranking” pieces at just above cost – to recoup my expenses and continue skilling up. Once I was able to make a full set for myself, I started to charge at AC-1. I came to this after taking my handy stack of notecards that reside permanently next to my PC, and tallying up the cost of making each piece and finding my profit spread. It was very rewarding to have to go through that process and think about a very meta concept after being back such a short time.

Of course, any hardcore play that I might have been able to give leads me to see others make me look like I was tiptoeing through tulips and stopping to smell each one. The guild I had quickly found myself in had players far more committed than I – two players had breached the level 20 mark when I last played Sunday afternoon. On top of that, I saw a bard who was level 37 sitting in the tunnel in E-CL.

All of this, being an explanation of what it was like to return to the game, helps me to realize that new isn’t always better. That innovation isn’t always desired. Yes, there are things that this progression server changed, and some things I was glad to see, and others not so much. I loved the fact that I had to be mindful of my inventory still, and that crafting wasn’t always a guaranteed success – even on wildly trivial combines. All those challenging aspects of the game made the outcome more rewarding – getting to full banded was a big deal for me, because it meant committing ALL of my resources to blacksmithing, and not a lot of other people were doing it. It set me apart and let me advance in an area and see considerable rewards in return. In a lot of areas, the founders got it right, and changing or taking away from that aspect diluted our MMOs to be very much the state they are in now.

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About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

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