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Mardin

Nostalgia Train: Everquest

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Everquest marked the beginning of the popularity of the genre. It by no means was the first MMO, but it was the first of these games to have a true three-dimensional environment. This innovation helped EQ outpace other MMOs in population to the point that many people are unaware that Meridian 59, The Realm, and Ultima Online came well before it. The virtual world of Norrath was no flash in the pan either. The game lasting over twenty years and the death of Sony Online Entertainment to maintain a very consistent player base.

What was great about EQ?

  • The world was brutal and challenging. Mobs were tough, even those of the same level and that difficulty became more steep as you progressed. Surviving combat meant you need other players, so grouping came naturally.
  • You could get absolutely lost. With no world map to hold your hand, some zones could be terrifying to traverse. This caused you to have to learn the different zones by heart, which was immersive. I remember large landmarks in other MMOs, but nothing in comparison to the detail that I retain about Everquest zones.
  • The “Ding” sound when you leveled was epic. Levels were difficult enough to achieve that it deserved the loud triumphant blast of noise. Players who never played EQ sometimes still say ding when they level.
  • Open Dungeons. Having to interact with other players while you crawled through a dungeon added a new layer of play that I took for granted until it was taken away by instancing. Being trained, competing for mobs and sometimes having to deal with openly hostile people could definitely been seen as negative, but it brought life to the game.
  • Itemization was simple. Items certainly made a difference, especially for warriors, but having a full set of gear did not make your character overtly powerful. This would be changed as the game evolved, but the simplicity was definitely one of the pluses for classic Everquest.
  • Quests were not click and go. Many quests required you reading everything an NPC said after a “Hail.” Often the bit of text to get the next step for a quest was hidden in something they said or gleaned from another NPC. It made you stop and focus on what you were doing and really become familiar with some of the story.
  • East Commons Tunnel. If you wanted a certain item in the game and you could never get it to drop, you could buy it. There was no auction house however, only other players. The tunnel between east commons and the nothern desert of ro was a nexus of foot traffic and it quickly became the recognized place to sell trinkets to other players.

What was terrible about EQ?

  • The game was unfinished. Many of the zones lacked a good range of mobs and camps to sustain leveling for players. Some dungeons were populated, but lacked itemization to attract players to them. Most problematic of all was the severe lack of mobs between levels 42 and 50 to level on, this created a bottle neck for players to cap out.
  • Balance. There were classes and races that were far more powerful than the others. It caused many players to abandoned their class and start over or to choose a race more suited to their play style rather than what they wanted to play.
  • Race/Class experience penalties. Some class or racial choices took as much as 40% more experience to level. This penalty would also factor in to group experience, so getting groups as a paladin, bard, ranger or shadow knight could sometimes be tricky.
  • Terrible Pathing. Some Mobs behaved strangely when running away or trying to pursue players. This often led to death when a mob suddenly fell through a floor or clipped through a wall bringing back all his friends from the depths of the dungeon when it returned.
  • NPCs healing through walls. Just like players NPCs could heal, unlike players they did not need to see their target to heal them. Fights that should have been simple turned into slogs or death when an unwanted do-gooder mobs bent the rules to win.
  • Friendly NPCs were sometimes the most dangerous. Have your attack or spell bound to a key? Accidentally press that key while turning in a quest or banking and you could be dead almost instantly. Some bankers could quad for 120s and the banks were littered with hapless victims.
  • The grind was painful. Leveling in EQ could sometimes be more work than your job. Especially in the hell levels. Levels 30, 35, 40, and 45 took three times the amount of experience to progress than the level before them. Most players would not be able to cap their characters for several months.

What do you remember?

Everquest was not my first MMO, but it was the game that sealed my love for the genre. It is a game that I revisit from time to time on progression servers or at Project 99 and unlike other old games, I always relive a bit of that first experience. Sure the graphics don’t really stand the test of time, and the game itself is clumsy compared to its descendants, but it has a substance that I cannot explain.

What do you remember from your time in EQ? or Who? When did you start playing and how old were you?

Team Anvil Update

By | DnD Campaign | No Comments

Hail, here is the second installment of our session updates for the Tuesday group. Again, I am slowly releasing these as we get our different groups in synchronization in the timeline. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to hurtle over when running multiple groups under the same story arch.

Click on the image below for the PDF!

Team Anvil update

By | DnD Campaign | No Comments

Hail and well met!

Chris, who plays Zardjo in the session I run on Tuesday nights, has volunteered to be our note-taker. The purpose of the notes are threefold. First, it always helps when one of the players keeps good notes in any campaign. Second, since we are running a campaign with multiple sessions, is it important for the other DMs and players to know what happens in your home session.  Finally, it allows us to create content on our website to make regular updates for those who are not playing with us.

Here is the report from our first session! Click on the image below.

MWH: DnD Campaign

By | DnD Campaign | One Comment

In the long drought of playable MMOs, MWH has turned towards pen and paper for a solution. As a guild we are running a “West Marches Style” DnD 5E campaign with multiple DMs and game sessions.  The goal is to create and play through a dwarven-centric story.  After two months we have successfully launched three stable game nights with the possibility of adding more in the future.

We do not have any plans to stream the sessions yet. However, we are hoping to update the website with player journals to help include the members that cannot currently play.  Roll20 has been a surprisingly easy tool to use to organize and build our world. There are still issues with synchronizing timelines and story continuity between nights, but we continue to refine on what has been a very successful experiment.

The first thing we wanted to share on the website is a player handout created by one of our DMs, Chris Holbert. Click on the image below to view or download the PDF.

Albion Online

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

alb_logo

Albion plays much like the original titles that launched many of us into the world of MMOs, it is nostalgia-land.

Deep crafting system, check. Simple and enjoyable combat, check. Challenging pve that punches you in the face for mistakes, check. OG-MMO grind (not as bad as korea-ville), check. Land ownership, check.  Full loot pvp, hell to the yes!

A few of us are already dabbling. Would love to see the rest of you jerkfaces. We are late to get on the wagon for this one, but the way the economy plays and the need for compartmentalization in both crafting and combat… the game plays to our strengths.

Relight the Great Forges! A New Website

By | Guild Maintenance | No Comments

MWH_WEB_HammerAnvilFor a very long time MWH has used much older software for our forums and website. With it, we have been through forum-implosions, hackers, drama, and the occasional member database wipe… *cough*… and now that era is over. This is our new vessel on the seas of the inter-webs with all the shiny goodness. The forums will still be there but they’re very trimmed down. Discord has replaced them as our primary form of communication.

One of the goals of the new site is to make our activities more visible. In the past the guild has operated behind closed doors. The appearance of stagnancy has hurt our recruitment effort and we seek to change that. The addition of a blog and event calendar will go a long way towards showing our dedication and camaraderie.

Another goal is to accommodate changes in the focus of our gaming community. The guild was created in and for MMOs. When someone stops playing a game like Shadowbane, Warhammer Online, or WoW they tend to disappear.  Sometimes members would trickle back for the next game, but for the most part we lost contact with them. We are hoping that scheduled sessions of Sins of a Solar Empire, Dungeons and Dragons, and other games that have a small time footprint will help create an environment that is inclusive. Enjoy the new site!  Hammers High!