Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Developer:||Sony Online Entertainment|
|Publisher:||Sony Online Entertainment|
|Release date:||March 16, 1999|
|ESRB rating:||Teen (T)|
|Platform:||Windows, Mac OS X|
EverQuest (EQ) is a 3D fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in March 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover , and Bill Trost . It was developed by Verant Interactive (which had recently parted from 989 Studios) and published by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). SOE runs and distributes EverQuest currently.
To play, one must initially pay for the game software and then pay a recurring monthly fee; a free trial is also available for those who wish to experience the game before paying. EverQuest was the most popular MMORPG outside of Asia from 1999 to around 2004, claiming nearly a half-million paying subscribers. EQ has frequently been cited as popularizing the MMORPG genre based on its success and mainstream media attention, which often noted its controversial aspects. It has had numerous expansion packs, a sequel, and other spin-off products.
In the game, players explore a Tolkienesque fantasy world of sword and sorcery, fighting monsters and enemies for treasure and experience points and interacting with other players. As they progress, players advance in level, gaining power, prestige and abilities. Players can also procure powerful items for their characters in a variety of ways: through slaying monsters (and then "looting" whatever items they were carrying), doing "quests" (tasks and adventures given by other characters in which a reward is given upon success), or by gathering raw materials and then fashioning them, via numerous trade skills such as tailoring or blacksmithing, into useful (or not-so-useful, but nevertheless fun) items. In structure and rules, the game is a direct descendant of the famed Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Many of the elements from EverQuest have also been drawn from text-based MUD (multi-user dungeon) games, especially DikuMUD.
The game features a rich 3D environment set in the fictional world of Norrath, its moon Luclin and alternate planes of reality. The geography of the EverQuest universe is vast—few have visited all of the 230 zones. Multiple instances of the world exist on various servers, each one hosting between 1000 and 3000 simultaneous players online during peak times. After selecting a server, a player can create multiple characters by choosing from a variety of classes and races (e.g., humans, gnomes, trolls, halflings, elves, etc.). The main aspect of gameplay involves grouping with fellow players to kill monsters for experience points. Beyond that, a player can explore the large world, socialize, role-play, join player guilds, master trade skills, and duel other players (in restricted situations — EQ only allows player versus player (PvP) combat on the PvP-specific server, in designated arenas, or in a consented duel in a limited number of locations.
While some parts of EverQuest can be experienced alone, without the help of other players, EQ generally remains a very group-centric game. A single character will be unable to complete many of the encounters in EverQuest. Most parts of the game can be completed with small groups of up to six or so people, but the most challenging (and rewarding) encounters require the cooperation of many players, sometimes even several guilds, totalling more than 100 players.
While the original concept is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost, much of the actual design was done by Brian Canary, Ryan Palacio, Roger Uzun and Geoffrey "GZ" Zatkin. Many other people have worked on EQ's design through the many updates and expansion packs that have been released as the service has operated continually since 1999.
989 Studios funded development and initially published the game, before Verant Interactive took management after 989 Studios unilaterally canceled all of its PC projects. Sony Online Entertainment later purchased Verant, and SOE runs and distributes EverQuest currently. To play, one must initially pay for the game software and then pay a recurring monthly fee; a free trial is also available for those who wish to experience the game before paying.
EverQuest launched with some technical difficulties on March 16, 1999 but quickly became successful. By the end of the year, it had surpassed the leading competitor, Ultima Online in number of subscriptions. Numbers continued rising at a steady rate until mid-2001 when growth slowed. As of 2004, Sony reports subscription numbers close to 450,000.
The EverQuest universe is divided into more than 200 zones. These zones represent a wide variety of geographical features, including plains, oceans, cities, deserts, and other planes of existence
Controversies and social issues
EverQuest has lived through its share of controversy, much of it shared by the entire MMORPG genre. One example involves the sale of in-game objects for real currency (often through eBay). The developers of EQ have always forbidden the practice and in January 2001 asked eBay to stop listing such auctions, although such auctions still persist. The game has always had problems with exploiting, cheating, and hacking. Patches have stopped the most serious cheats, but controversy also lies in Verant and SOE's policies when seen by players as heavy-handed or subjective. Changes in management have caused changes in company-to-customer representatives who defend or promote said policies. Gordon Wrinn ("Abashi") was the spokesperson of Verant, followed by Alan VanCouvering ("Absor") for SOE; a team now presents plans to the players. Critics of EQ's gameplay deride it as "simplistic", and a satirical hoax 'game' called Progress Quest has appeared on the Internet. Some gamers have nicknamed it "LevelQuest", implying that the purpose of the game is to only acquire levels. Monotonous in-game-activities are referred to as timesinks.
The game is renowned and berated (by some psychologists specializing in computer addiction) for its addictive qualities. Many refer to it half-jokingly as "NeverRest" and "EverCrack" (a reference to crack cocaine, an addictive recreational drug). EQ is very time-consuming for many people, and there have been some well-publicized suicides of EverQuest users, such as that of Shawn Woolley. Relationships broken because of obsessive playing resulted in the creation of an online support group called EverQuest Widows. The capacity of the game to absorb time and money, and to distract players from a possibly-dull life on the other side of the screen, are appealing features to its users. However, the same could be said for any other addictive and obsessive activity. Sony has tried to combat cash trading and cheating, but continues to advertise the game's addictive nature. An infamous rant titled EQ: What You Really Get From An Online Game appeared on Slashdot in 2002, and brought this issue of EverQuest addiction to the forefront of many message boards across the Internet.
The sociological aspects of EverQuest (and other MMORPGs) are further explored in a series of online studies on a site known as "the HUB". The studies make use of data gathered from player surveys and discuss topics like virtual relationships, player personalities, gender issues, and more.
Real world economics
EverQuest has many in-game items that are hard to produce and or to find, and most can be traded among players via the game's currency (platinum pieces). Because these items are also sold on eBay, an actual exchange rate between platinum and real dollars can be calculated. This led some economists, among them Edward Castronova, to study the economics of EverQuest and other MMORPGs. The researchers discovered, to their surprise, that EQ's money was in fact more valuable than the Yen, and its GDP per capita is higher than that of China and India.
This led some gamers to start playing professionally, as after some hours of play they could earn income by selling off in-game items. Black Snow Interactive was founded as a company that created characters, leveled them to make them powerful, and then resold the characters. After some time, the firm moved to Mexico, as the salaries for Mexican players are far less. Other firms, such as the Gaming Open Market , specialized in exchanging money between games. A player could exchange a house in The Sims Online for EverQuest platinum pieces, depending solely on market laws of supply and demand. Officially, Sony discourages the payment of real-world money for online goods.
There have been several expansions to the original game since release. Expansions are purchased separately and add significant content to the game (for example, new races, classes, and continents). Additionally, the game is updated regularly through downloadable patches. The EQ expansions to date:
- The Ruins of Kunark (March 2000)
- The Scars of Velious (December 2000)
- The Shadows of Luclin (December 2001)
- The Planes of Power (October 2002)
- The Legacy of Ykesha (March 2003)
- Lost Dungeons of Norrath (September 2003)
- Gates of Discord (February 2004)
- Omens of War (September 2004)
- Dragons of Norrath (February 2005)
See also: EverQuest timeline
There are many spin-off products from EverQuest. Several servers have been introduced with alternate rule-sets, including ones which allow player killing, another that has stricter role-playing guidelines, and a premium Legends server (for a premium price). EverQuest Online Adventures, released in February 2003, is an MMORPG for the PlayStation 2 console. EverQuest II, a sequel to EverQuest, was launched in November 2004. Champions of Norrath, the d20 tabletop RPG EverQuest Role-Playing Game, several books, and player gatherings (Fan Faires) have also been spawned from EverQuest.
Fans have created the open source server emulator EQEmu, allowing users to run their own servers with custom rules. Running such an emulator is a violation of EQ's end user license agreement and could result in a player being banned from Sony's EverQuest servers if caught doing so. It has not gained the same popularity of server emulators for Ultima Online.
EverQuest carries an internal language and culture of its own, including a plethora of arcane abbreviations aiding communication between players. For example, SoW (which stands for Spirit of Wolf, a popular spell which accelerates players' movement), and vernacular usages such as 'crack' which within the context of EQ refer to mana regeneration spells such as Clarity or KEI (an abbreviation for Koadic's Endless Intellect). While mostly consistent, there are also some differences in jargon between servers, and between the Asian, European and American gaming communities. In-game chatting can practically be a foreign language to anyone who has not played it extensively.
A number of terms used in-game have been coined by role players from a wide variety of other MMORPGs or players of EverQuest specifically. One is the habit of calling monsters MOBs or mobs which is a contraction of Mobile Objects and stems from old text-based MUD's use othe the term.
List of common EQ abbreviations
A number of abbreviations and acronyms are common timesaving currency for communication amongst players in a primarily text-based communication medium (primarily, since some players are capable of communicating in real-time by use of mechanisms such as Teamspeak). Here is a list of some of the common ones used in MMORPGs (see Internet slang for general online abbreviations):
- AA — Alternate Advancement. This is a system of gaining experience points (separate from regular levels) that can be used to purchase skills or abilities.
- bio — Biological break
- buff — (noun) An enhancing spell; (verb) to cast an enhancing spell on someone.
- C1 — Clarity, a low level enchanter mana regeneration buff.
- con — Short for 'consider', a term used to gauge the relative level and attitude of the player and their target. A 'glaring, even con mob' would be a hostile monster of the same level as the player.
- crack — Term originally used to refer to clarity, but is now used for any spell in the enchanter mana regeneration buff line.
- DD — Direct Damage, as in a direct damage spell.
- debuff — To cast a deletorious spell, usually on a mob.
- ding — An abbreviated way of saying 'I've just gained a level.' May be followed by a number to indicate what level the player has just achieved, e.g. 'Ding 60!'. The origin of this is the sound the game makes when you achieve a new level.
- dot — Either Damage over Time, a spell which inflicts chronic damage to a mob or player over time, or an abbreviation for the jewel peridot which is used as a reagent in certain spells such as Rune V.
- Inc — Incoming
- IVU — Invisibility vs. Undead, allows player to pass undead mobs unseen.
- HoS — Harnessing of Spirits, a shaman buff.
- KEI — Koadic's Endless Intellect, a improved mana regeneration buff introduced with the Shadows of Luclin expansion.
- Kiting — A popular soloing tactic
- LFA — Looking For Adventure: a player seeking to team up with other players to enter a Lost Dungeons of Norrath instanced dungeon.
- LFG — Looking For Group: a player seeking to team up with other players.
- Mez — Mesmerize, or another spell from the same line - prevents a mob from doing any action until attacked or the spell wears off.
- MGB — Mass Group Buff, an AA that allows a player to buff a unlimited number of people (such as a whole raid) with a single cast of a group buff.
- MOB — Computer controlled monsters.
- OMW — On My Way
- PST — Please Send /tell, please respond via private message.
- Rez — Resurrection - any cleric or paladin spell cast on a corpse to bring back the dead player to the corpse and restore a given amount of experience (depending on level of spell). Used both as a verb and noun.
- SoW — Spirit of Wolf, a shaman/druid/beastlord/ranger buff allowing a character to run faster.
- temp — Temperance, a long duration cleric buff that increases player hitpoints and AC.
- train — (noun) A number of monsters chasing a fleeing player; (verb) running past other players while a train is chasing you causing the monsters to attack the other players.
- V — Virtue, a cleric cast hit point enhancing buff for higher level characters.
See "The Everquest Speech Community" for a conference paper on the topic of EverQuest speech.
- EverQuest Live - Official EverQuest News
- AllaKhazam's Magical Realm - Comprehensive spoiler site (quests, item database, bestiary, etc.); requires fee to access premium content
- LUCY - Complete list of known spells and items
- EverQuest Casters Realm - EverQuest news and information site
- EQTraders Corner - Comprehensive spoiler site dedicated to tradeskills
- Magelo - The most popular site for creating character profiles in EQ
- RPG Expert - News/Info site with player written and ranked articles
- World of SOE - FileFront takes an inside look at Sony Online Entertainment
- Mobhunter EverQuest news and editorials
- EQWire.com Automated EverQuest news including an RSS 2.0 feed
- GU Comics - Gaming comics (originally EQ only) by Woody Hearn
- Norrathian - Satirical humor based on EverQuest by Sam Smith
- Wazu's Underground Peace Movement - Humorous site dedicated to the player killing adventures of a character on a PvP server
- Iron Chef of Norrath! - An EverQuest parody of the TV show Iron Chef
- Guild Mirage - Several amusing EQ flash animations
- Tarsk's Tavern Humorous EQ music (MP3s)
- Uojoh Productions EQ Videos
- BBC News - Inflation threatens EverQuest economy
- Norrath Economic Report Now Available - Slashdot.org on Castronova's report
- The Walrus Magazine: "On-line fantasy games have booming economies and citizens who love their political systems. Are these virtual worlds the best place to study the real one?"
- SSRN: "Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier (2001)" by Edward Castronova
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