Friday, April 16, 2010

Can You Go Home Again?

Now for something completely unpolitical.

A friend of mine wrote an article recently about re-experiencing Everquest, a game we all played together from 1999-2002, after more technologically advanced adventures.

Just recently, Steam offered the complete EverQuest, including all the expansions, as a download for only $2.50. I could not resist the nostalgic temptation to revisit the game I had so long ago abandoned. Now, I kind of wished I had not. Seeing that older technology through the prism of modern eyes has diminished the fond, perhaps rose-colored, memories I had of EverQuest.

I came to realize that without the camaraderie of friends, all MMORPGs get stale quickly and older games, like EverQuest, suffer from the stark reality that technology has passed it by. All of the flaws I once overlooked in EverQuest were strikingly evident. Not only was EverQuest notably old from a technical standpoint, it was also nearly lifeless from a player standpoint. The lack of a player population made that once vibrant living world feel like a ghost town.

When my husband got me to play EQ, I was stunned, confused and excited by the game play, but my interest soon waned (within 2 weeks), and I almost quit all together. But just as I was ready to hang up my 1HS and shield, I made friends with a couple of people online who introduced me to their friends (and so on and so on). From that time on, I was absolutely hooked for several years (that addiction to online games is the subject for another post).

Mark's main point, that the technological advances make Everquest's play stale, is correct. But the more important point was that any game is only as good as the people you hang with. Our friendly little band (known as Renegades of Norrath) had lots of fun, even if our faces looked like triangles and our feet were simply rectangles. If I found the same fun with a similar group of friends, I'd join a new game.