You are currently browsing the Obsessivity weblog archives for the day Thursday, November 9th, 2006.

09 Nov 2006

The early days of EverQuest


I started playing EverQuest in 2001. February / March timeframe, I believe. Both of my alternating bosses where I worked played.

I guess I went in with my eyes open, because I’d already heard horror stories of EQ addiction, and I pretty much knew that I’d get sucked in, but it looked like fun. (Ironically, I avoided Dungeons and Dragons at university because I knew that I’d have trouble managing my time with it – then N years later I started playing EQ.)

Those early days were amazing. Having never played a MMO (massively multiplayer online) game before, and barely even touching console games – I didn’t play a console roleplaying game until Final Fantasy X in about 2003 – I had no idea what to expect. In the dark woods of Greater Faydark, with the hoots of owls and the calls of insects; with lethal orcs and wolves wandering around – it was a unique feeling. I was lost constantly. I had no clue what I was doing. But I loved the nervousness I felt, and the thrill of exploring a new world.

Over the years I played EQ (and subsequently World of Warcraft, Guild Wars and EverQuest 2) I’ve had many great times, but nothing has ever or will ever compare to the joy of discovery of that first immersive game.

I think it’s one of the reasons that EQ held me so completely for so long. Even in later days, when the gameplay became predictable, and the new areas trivialized so much of the content, there would still be occasional glimpses of something that brought nostalgic reflection.

When I quit playing in mid 2004, I said goodbye to many friends I’d made online, most of whom I had no real expectation of ever encountering again. That made leaving a sad time. But even more, I think, leaving meant admitting that I could never recapture the magic of the early days of EQ. I knew that they were gone forever, but knowing it and accepting it were different things. Leaving the game meant that I’d admitted that they would never return.

I returned. Briefly, during 2005, when I was burned out on World of Warcraft, and had no interest in going back to EQ2 (more in a later entry, I’m sure), I went back for a few raids. But it was purely to play the game, not to try to recapture memories. There can only ever be one first MMO.

I’m not entirely sure why I’m not playing an MMO now. I’d expected to be playing at least part of the time when I created this blog, hence the “anime, games and being hooked” tag. I’ll probably be back with EQ2 soon enough. I’ll need to avoid getting tempted to play obsessively, though, if I have any hope of working on The Book.

Incidentally, there’s nothing on the obsessions list right now. Though I’m still waiting eagerly for the rest of Simoun, and I’m even helping simoun-fans with distribution, I’ve waited long enough since seeing episode 16 that I don’t much care if I wait longer. So I’m going to re-watch the series as the fansub group finish up the translations of the last few episodes.