I was talking with the Mannyac last night, just touching base and hearing the usual “Am I gonna get a turn this week? Huh?”, and I asked him what he was doing for fun lately.
The answer floored me.
“I went to the dark side.”
“I’m playing a different MMO.”
Really? Wow, I thought you were pretty burnt out, dude. And what MMO could have possibly tempted you from WoW, when you’ve got a level 60 hunter and soon you could have your own Rhino, your personal totem animal, that you dearly love?
What is it? Warhammer? Age of Conan?
“No… um, actually it’s EQ.”
ROLF! Okay, you had me going there for a minute… that was a good one! Seriously, what have you been doing lately?
“No, no I’m serious… I’m playing EQ.”
Ummm. Do you mean Everquest TWO?
“Oh yeah, EQ II. I’ve been playing it the last four days. To be honest, it seems just about the same as WoW, really. Some things worse, some things better.”
He goes on to tell me about enjoying the Monk, and how he really likes the way they have a mentoring system for grouping with higher level players like City of Heroes has, that kind of thing.
I’m curious, though. If you’re going to play an MMO, why go to EQ II, when there are new MMOs out there, and if you wanted old school, you have a stagnant account with a level 60 character you could revive on WoW? What possibly drew you to EQ II NOW?
“Oh, well actually… a friend that I play RPGs with out here plays EQ II…”
Ah, there we go. That makes perfect sense. It’s how I suckered you into WoW in the first place, after all.
“Yep, but I couldn’t really resist. To get me to play EQ II, he bought the game for me, ordered the new expansion for me, and is paying my monthly fee.”
“And he gave me a new computer.”
Okay, whoa there pardner. WTF?
“Well, you know how the economy has been, and my old computer was a 1.2 Ghz with about 500meg of ram. He gave me a computer with 3.2 Ghz, 2 gig of ram and an ATI video card with about 256meg of ram in it. It screams.”
Wait, so he loaned you a decent computer to play EQ II on? That’s pretty amazing.
“Oh no, he gave it to me.”
So, wait, let me get this straight. Play Everquest 2, and we’ll throw a new computer in for FREE?
I have finally heard of a promotion that would get me to leave WoW.
Okay, moving on….
I hope you’re enjoying the EQ II, buddy. And I simply can’t help but marvel.
Talking about EQ 2 and WoW last night made me think back to when I first bought WoW.
It’s been a long time now.
When I first heard of MMOs, Cassie’s cousins all played it pretty hardcore, and I mean HARDCORE. So I finally caved in, and bought it.
Those were the days of Windows 95/98 and wierd graphics drivers, and in the end, my computer ate the many, many installation discs for EQ and still wouldn’t play it.
By then, I was into the idea of playing an MMO, and Dark Age of Camelot had come out, and I was immediately attracted to the idea of an MMO with three different mythos, one of which was based on the folktales and mythology of the Celts. So I grabbed that, and played one character to max level. (Oh wow, a Druid. What a surprise.).
I intensely disliked the game design, but I loved playing an MMO. Out of all the things about the game, I liked being able to dye the various pieces of my armor to a consistent color that kind of went together. The armor itself looked like crap, but at least it was color coordinated.
City of Heroes came along, and I abandoned DAoC to go join the spandex set.
And it was very, very great to make characters. I loved coming up with awesome names, costume designs, back stories, etc.
Then I’d play, and find out that I could last 20 or 30 levels before running out of interesting things to do, the quests got repetitious, and the utter lack of crafting really hurt it. I got bored easy, and there are only so many insanely awesome characters you can create and design, before you really start to wonder why the idea fof PLAYING them didn’t appeal that much.
There was the promise that, down the road, there would be evil heroes you could play, hero vs villain PvP, the ability to have your own, instanced super hero base that you could design personally, hang out in, and that the enemy players could actually assault and you could defend.
That all sounded insanely awesome. But I wanted to have fun NOW, not next year.
And then came the summer when the big two new MMOs were due to be released, almost head to head.
Both were going to be fantasy based. Both were going to have cutting edge (for the time) graphics.
Both were going to be huge.
One of them was the expected front runner. Proven pedigree, dedicated fanbase, lots of money in design and development, lots of experience in the area…
Yes, Everquest 2 was expected to be the winner in the competition.
But I read everything about both I could find, in every magazine and online source out there.
And while I read that the graphics of EQ 2 were considered to be better, more realistic or lifelike, I read that this unknown upstart, World of Warcraft, a fantasy MMO challenging Everquest with nothing other than RTS experience behind them, went with a more lighthearted, colorful graphics design.
At the time, the single biggest trend in comments was to ridicule the big, floating shoulders of WoW. I still laugh when I see our stupid shoulder designs, to be honest.
But there were two things that made it an absolute given that when they both came out, World of Warcraft would be the one I bought and played.
- The ability to play a class that can go out in the world, seek out rare animals, and tame them to be a pet that helps you in combat.
- The ability to play a class that can shape-shift into other animals like panthers and bears.
Those two, right there.
I didn’t know which one I was going to play to start, but I knew that the very idea that the game would let you do something that sounded so smooth, so fluid… I mean, shoot, I was so used to games where you damn near had to imagine all the actual FUN. Unchanging sprite animations, isometric views, static maps and angles. You were graetful to be allowed to see a character picture change in your portrait screen if you equipped a new piece of gear!
The idea that you could play a character in what was essentially a role playing, questing first person shooter was amazing, and have it’s appearance actually reflect your growth and power was amazing.
I mean, hell, at the time the height of role playing computer games was the Baldur’s Gate series!
Go for the eyes, Boo!
So yeah, the jump in technology, in fun, in immersion, from playing a static visual game like Baldur’s Gate, to a Druid in World of Warcraft?
Oh yeah. Yeah, you had me at “shapeshift to a panther.”
Just… I’ll be able to what? Are you kidding? How cool is that?
Looking back on it, it is so crazy to think, after years and years of playing this one single video game, that I still enjoy it. It is still fresh, alive. The graphics are still something I enjoy a great deal. Screenshots are still ‘oohed’ and ‘aaahed’ over, especially when I see the screenshots and images /Hug puts up. That Dwarf is a genius at visuals. Resto4Life is great too, but /Hug is just nuts.
I heard Manny say he was playing EQ 2 last night, and seriously, the first thought that came to mind?
“But that game has been out for years, couldn’t you choose something with graphics that aren’t so dated and old?”
Lol… I know why, too. I tried installing and playing Diablo II and Starcraft recently, and the graphics chased me out of it, despite the awesome gameplay.
But here I am, still playing a contemporary of EQ 2, and loving it, and my first thought is, “but that’s old, don’t the graphics suck?”
Funny how you can buy into the idea that you always have to see the newest, neatest graphics effects to enjoy a game, right?
Anyway… I hope you truly enjoy EQ 2, Manny.
And if the folks at Everquest 2 ever expand that promotion, you just let me know, okay? I wouldn’t turn down a new computer.
Heck, give me a computer, I might just put your ad up on my website!
Well… probably not, no.