After exchanging e-mails with Ryan I decided to dust off my EverQuest CDs and take another look at the online world that held my attention for almost a year. Ryan mentioned a lot had changed in the two years since I stopped playing (mostly the User Interface and some other game play stuff) and I was motivated in part by an e-mail sent to me by Sony Entertainment who had kindly reactivated my long dead account.
“Try us again for 30 days, free of charge.”
“Get reacquainted with old friends, engage yourself in new zones.”
“Relive all the things that made you play in the first place.”
A shrewd move, not unlike asking Chris Rock in the movie “New Jack City” to take his just-recovered-crack-smokin’ butt back inside a drug lab. The temptations were high and I wondered if I might get sucked in again for $12.95 a month.
To fairly assess the changes I decided to shell out $10 for an expansion upgrade called the Shadows of Luclin. This last expansion touted newer 3D models and a better graphics engine plus an additional race & character class which I had not played before. I loaded up the CDs and waited as 10 minutes worth of online upgrades were downloaded via the Internet. Finally I was prompted to play the game and as I entered my old account info a new theme song trumpeted from my speakers.
Well the character screen was certainly different. The 3D models had improved and my characters had smoother features and new hairstyles. All three of my characters appeared to be intact so I selected my primary character Azarok and proceeded to enter the world.
From this point things got crazy. It had been so long since I played that I had forgotten which part of the world I was last in. Also, as I hadn’t played on my new computer at all, I quickly discovered none of the function keys were setup for the game. I entered the world only to be immediately attacked by what appeared to be a Sand Giant. I say this because there were a flurry of pop-up windows I wasn’t familiar with blocking my complete view of the screen. As I clicked the windows closed, my computer speakers echoed Azarok’s screams as he was pummeled to death. Quicker than a Tyson’s last fight, my character was crushed by massive giant blows.
Then the fun started.
For those unfamiliar with the game, the EverQuest world is divided into zones. As the game supports people playing online with 56k modem connections, only one zone is loaded on your computer at any given moment. When moving from one zone to another the game pauses while the location map is switched out. The bad part is when you die you don’t necessarily reappear in the same zone as your corpse. “Souls” are bound to specific zones and it just so happened that I was bound about 60 minutes real time from where I died. At this point I should have simply logged off.
The road back meant figuring out which series of shuttles & boats to ride. I almost got lost, but I was assisted by another player (thanks to Cadavear the Necromancer if he’s reading this). Fortunately, the Sony folks implemented a quicker teleporting method which allowed me to bypass some boat travel. With Cadavear’s help I shaved off roughly 20 minutes traveling back to where I died.
This screen shot sums up my afternoon. Notice the giant still looming in the background. Heh, after this afternoon’s adventure I think I can say I’m definitely past my EQ addiction.