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I started MMO with WoW. Instead of leaving WoW for FFXIV like a lot of people a month and a half ago, I decided to try out Everquest’s Mischief server instead (Long, sorry!)

I started playing MMORPGS with WoW and have pretty much played it exclusively on the MMO side since late vanilla/Burning Crusade. Outside of that, gaming time was always single player/shooters/mobas with very brief attempts at enjoying RIFT, ESO, Wildstar, and Archage. None really did it for me, so back to WoW I went.

Despite that, I've always been curious about Everquest. I knew the original creators of WoW were primarily people that came from EQ and that pretty much the entire concept of endgame has been borrowed from EQ since the beginning, but I never gave it shot.

I'm one of the many people disenchanted with Shadowlands and with my guild collapsing (most going to FFXIV) I started looking for something new to check out. I'm not into the aesthetic of FFXIV at all, and a few of us in the guild felt the same so on a whim I suggested we go hit up Everquest since I heard someone talking about the TLP servers here and how old EQ was the best thing on the planet. One of them played for a few months as a kid and was all for it. The other was wary but decided to give it a shot anyway cause we were that bored.

We rolled up on the Mischief TLP server going in essentially blind, but wanting to cover the holy trinity. 1 Shadowknight, 1 Shaman, 1 Monk. Ok, not quite optimal for EQ, but we had no idea at the time. Holy shit were we out of our element. You really just go out in the world and kill stuff, and this shit isn't easy after the first few levels. People sit around at camps killing bears for an hour, then orcs for an hour, then off to the desert for undead for an hour. This was our group in the end once we got some extra DPS to show us the ropes. My shaman buddy barely keeping up with healing but we made it work. At around 15 we were dragged a continent over to our first dungeon, the estate of unrest where I met a bard. Expecting it to be a boring support class, I was completely wrong. He took over pulling and it was like the coolest shit ever seeing him zoom around pulling 4 on us and CCing it all down like it was nothing. At that moment I realized I was not playing a monk anymore and rerolled bard and I have to say, it is the most fun role I've ever seen in any of these games.

I could go on and on about our crazy adventure over the past month and a half, but I'm going to get to the point here. There really is something special about this game. I'll just bullet out the shit I love:

Difficulty.

It's difficult. You can't solo for some classes and super slow for others. Duo sucks. Trio is alright but slow. The best way to experience it is in a group and that is something I've grown to love about it. I'm sure it would be a nightmare solo trying to find groups, but if you have friends, this is an amazing game to just go dungeon to dungeon, camp to camp, getting cool loot for everyone. And it's DANGEROUS even with a group. Delving into Guk for the first time in our little trio + pugs was a harrowing experience as the puller/ccer. There are boring moments once you get to the camp, then shit hits the fan. Mainly due to…

Player interaction.

It's something you never see in WoW anymore. Since nothing is really instanced (aside from bonus raids later) you are CONSTANTLY dealing with other groups. Sometimes someone fucks up and brings a shitton of stuff to your group and everyone is scrambling to lock it down or run. Sometimes you are DPS racing a named mob that another group tried to steal from you. The group is constantly blabbering about something or other while adding people to friend lists and planning for future stuff. It's amazing, and this is all just during the leveling and gearing part. Raiding has both instanced versions and open world versions of everything, and that has to be the greatest thing I've seen in forever. We do all the raids on Thursday/Friday in instances, then the rest of the week keep an eye on the open world spawns to battle it out with other guilds or do smaller old instance raids for minor upgrades in small groups. I love this shit.

LOOT

You have no idea how bored to tears I've been with WoW's loot. Every level or two you get showered in stuff. Even as a kid doing classic, it wasn't until endgame when loot really mattered much. This is totally different. We went in with a rule, no buying gear and breaking the progression. When I rerolled bard, I was also recommended to go craft a suit of armor to stick with that, and all three of us used those suits all the way up to 20 something, then very slowly traded the pieces out. We started looking for pieces we wanted online and it would be an adventure in itself going out to get them as we leveled. Eventually we ran into class armor quests that sent us all around the world collecting things deep in dungeons or from random named in mountains. It was just such a different experience.

Now days we raid for most of our loot and I just got my epic weapon a few days ago. It has got to be the most rewarding loot I've ever had in an mmorpg. It feels SO GOOD to get that new item after delving into a dungeon and camping a named for it, and it feels good gearing everyone else up too since decking our shadowknight out meant we'd be able to do way more dangerous old raids and general dungeons. Even now, we go out and do weird mini-raid stuff if you can even call it that. There aren't enrage timers and nothing is really structured, so sometimes we just have a crew of 8-10 people doing smaller raids from an expansion or two ago with loot we can still actually use even if the boss takes forever. It's crazy. I'm looking at loot from the upcoming Luclin expansion and half my gear is still super competitive even with endgame stuff in that one and that feels really good knowing that I'm getting so much longevity out of it.

Also procs and clicky items. Everything has procs. I have a collection of bard weapons now just because it's so fun to play around with them. My bag is full of clicky stuff, from a cloak that levitates me to clickies that let me pull a million yards away. Next expansion there is a cloak that casts a super fast invis for bards I'll definitely be farming. Resist gear was fun to go collect. Gear is just so dynamic and unique.

WORLD

It's from pre-2000 but this shit feels so much more alive than WoW just due to how completely random things are sometimes. My friend's SK started in Freeport and while running through it, was randomly wrecked by an NPC. Turns out SK's are KOS in certain areas. The faction system is so impressive. You can be friends or hated by pretty much anyone. This last Velious expansion had everyone deciding between Giants, Dragons, and Dwarves, and it's just such a cool dynamic having to balance out the three of them or max one out for quest turn-ins. It gives you a lot to do other than just farm new gear. There was a guy in one of my groups who's rez box outside the group could legit just walk around a dungeon because he was friendly to everything there. My friend is an iksar shaman and has to be careful everywhere he goes because everyone hates iksars and it's hilarious having to drag his dumbass when he gets melted by some paladin in the middle of nowhere, or when he wrecks one of my factions because I accidentally bard songed him while he was killing another druid that hates lizards. It just feels so dynamic and I love it.

Raiding

It's so much simpler than wow, but at the same time also really challenging for completely different reasons. Our first time raiding plane of fear with our little mini group was a lesson in chaos as the entire zone kept randomly aggroing from 50 yards away. When we finally got deeper in (and recruited some more people cause the bosses were hard) the final guy was launching everyone all over the place. Helping pull the dragon trakanon was such a crazy experience for me, and the first time we tagged the dwarf king and the entire world came collapsing on us while everyone was getting banished to the pit was hilarious. It's not about dodging fire, more coordinating a bunch of people for some weird zone-wide mechanics. Everything is intertwined in EQ, so when you aggro a giant outside of Lady Vox's room, there is a chance she's going to bring the whole god damn cave with her and it is exhilarating. Raids are kinda bland for non pullers, but god I love it.


Anyway, there are plenty of negatives and I'm not saying go out and play an EQ progression server, but I'm so glad we are here giving this a shot. Hearing the stories about the next two expansions has me so hyped for the Luclin launch on the 13th of this month. We get to go out and battle other groups for a key that everyone wants to the final zones and I can't wait to have little pissing contests with other bards and monks. After that is the big 100% raiding battle-of-the-gods expansion. I loved plane of fear and hate, and an entire expansion of that sounds glorious.

It's slow as balls for the first 20 something levels until you get your skills/spells, some classes have 2 buttons, the graphics suck, the quests are few (but much more involved), and there really isn't any real direction other than ask someone, but we are absolutely loving the overall dynamic of everything. We have lost something with our instanced games and lobbies we just queue up in these days. There are so many tasks in EQ that I'd find mind-numbingly boring in WoW, but here it's filled with social interaction and it's the first MMO I've truly felt like the journey to 60 was something other than a mindless quest chain that I do while watching netflix. Every step of the way we had goals, from getting a haste belt for my SK buddy to the hell that was city of mist for my shaman friends epic. And we've made so many friends along the way that always have things they need help with who will gladly help you right after on the laundry list of side objectives you have. It's just insane to me how anti-social WoW looks now and I don't think I could ever enjoy the looting in that game again after this.

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