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What is EverQuest?

EverQuest is a massively multi-player, persistent world role playing game. Here is what that all means:

“massively multi-player”: You don’t play this game alone. You have to connect to a server somewhere on the Internet, where thousands of other people can be met. Literally: thousands. In the case of EverQuest, there are multiple servers (thirty or so), and somewhere around 1500-2000 people on each server. You interact with these people, usually in a friendly way.
“persistent world”: Unlike most computer games you may have played in the past, the game doesn’t stop when you exit. Remember, there are thousands of people on the server: it wouldn’t make much sense if they shut the whole thing down when you left for the day, would it? So, while you sleep or whatever it is you do when you exit EverQuest, other people are still exploring and wandering around. Things can change while you are away.
“role playing game”: This one is often the most controversial to explain, so I’ll stick to the facts. When you play EverQuest, you are not “you”: you create and play a character, who may be nothing like the real you. In Norrath (the fictional world where EverQuest takes place), there are no computer architects or airline pilots. Instead, there are warriors, clerics, wizards, and enchanters. You will be one of them. Unlike in real life, you will be encouraged to carry dangerous weapons and kill your enemies. Your enemies will often not be humans or normal animals: Goblins, Gnolls, giant spiders, and others will attack you, and you will defend yourself and further the causes your character believes in.

EverQuest is also a first person graphical game. If you have ever played Quake, Doom, or Tomb Raider, you have the basic idea of what the world will look like. Your character will have a fairly unique appearance, particularly once you have played them over time and acquired some of the less common gear(armour and the like). The graphics are good, and at times border on the sublime: the sunsets, for example, are truly beautiful.

The fictional world your character adventures in, Norrath, is huge. There are three main continents: Odus, Antonica, and Faydwer. The larger two, Antonica and Faydwer, can take a good hour of real time to run across.

How do you get started?

I should also explain a bit about what you need to enter the world of Norrath. I’ll just be giving you the “30,000 foot” view: summary, not detail. For
details, legalese, and the like, see EverQuest’s home page.

First, you need a computer. It has to be a decent IBM compatible machine. A 266 MHz Pentium II with several hundred megabytes of disk storage and 32 MB of RAM is sort of a minimum. The trickiest part for some people is that you also need a DirectX-compatible or 3DFX 3D Graphics accelerator. A good sound card, particularly one that supports 3D sound effects, is also very important. Of course, you also need an active, functioning Internet connection. This consists of an account with an Internet service provider (E.G.: Telus, Earthlink, AT&T), and some kind of connection device: for most people this is a modem. AOL may work, but from my observations it is not the best choice as they do not support normal dial up networking. From personal experience, an ordinary 28.8 kb/s modem works just fine: EverQuest is very efficient and does not require a high speed (E.G.: ADSL or Cable modem) link to work effectively.

To get started, you buy a piece of software that allows you to connect to game servers on the Internet. This is the “game” that you purchase just like any other computer game at a store like CompuSmart or Future Shop. However, you won’t be able to play without two additional things: an internet account (see above) and an account on the EverQuest game servers. Naturally, you pay a fee for your internet access: you are used to that. But to play EverQuest, you will also have to pay for an account with them. This costs about $9.95 in U.S. money, and you get a bit of a discount if you pay for three or six months in advance. You get one free month of access time with your copy of the game.

Expensive, you say? Well, think of it this way. An average $60 computer game lasts me for about sixty to one hundred hours before I get bored of it. I have
played something in excess of 250 hours on EverQuest so far. That has cost me the $60 for the game, and three months of access time (or about $45 Canadian). $105 total for 250 hours worth of fun, versus $60 for 100 hours worth of fun. I no longer have either the time or the inclination to buy much in the way of other games. If you normally play a lot of computer games and get hooked by EQ, it can be quite cost effective.

Now what?

First, I would encourage you to do some research before you jump in. All I have done here is described some of the basics. Read some of the materials on the EverQuest home page, and follow some of my EverQuest related links.

Second, consider what kind of person and gamer you are. Assuming you meet all the technical requirements that were described at a high level above, consider the following personality profiles and comments:

PROBABLY SHOULD NOT PLAY EVERQUEST- The following comments sound like they match your perceptions:

you hate interacting with other gamers
you’d like fast, seat-of-the-pants, button clicking action where reflexes mean everything
you want to play a quick game on your coffee break once a week
you believe your character should be the boss, the coolest dood, and should kick azz. Anything even remotely like roleplaying is just for lamerz
you have never read the Hobbit, don’t know what a Goblin is, and prefer the true stories in Reader’s Digest to anything that requires your imagination
you are squeamish about killing virtual monsters and animals that attack you

SHOULD CONSIDER EVERQUEST- The following comments sound like they fit for you:

you get a kick out of socializing with people who play the same game as you
you have a preference for somewhat strategic thinking: button clicking and fast reflexes are not exciting to you
you have four or five hours each day, maybe time that you currently spend watching TV, that you would like to use to do something else
you have read fantasy novels, perhaps even played D&D or some other paper RPG, and/or have played computer RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate or the Ultima series…and liked them
you know and accept the fact that your character will be one amongst many, that there are no “winners” or rulers in EverQuest
you don’t mind bashing a virtual monster if it is fun

EverQuest is not all sweetness and light. Playing alone (“soloing”) can be done, but it is usually more fun to find a group. But what happens if you can’t find a suitable group? Just like in real life, some people in Norrath are no fun to be with. And sometimes EQ can be repetitive and frustrating: you might spend eight
hours waiting for a particular monster to put in an appearance, only to slay him and find out he isn’t carrying the fancy item you want.

But, EQ is fun for me, and about 200,000 other people who spend an average of four or five hours a day on line. Hopefully this little explanation gives you some insight into what it is all about.

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