Because of the recent writeup in espn.com, many of you may know that Curt Schilling, the all star pitcher from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the first pitcher to win 10 games this year, is also an avid Everquest player. I managed to track him down and get him to answer a few questions about Everquest, baseball and the infamous Doug Glanville incident. Here's what he had to say:
Q: First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me. As a baseball fan and a Phillies fan, itís a real pleasure to get to do this.
A: I appreciate the opportunity, thanks.
Q: So letís start with the basics. What got you started playing Everquest?
A: I started RPG type games a long time ago. I'm a wargamer at heart. Check out www.multimanpublishing.com. That's the publishing company I am president of. But I played some D&D when I was younger, and then got away from it only to find Ultima Online a few years back. A good friend of mine, Todd Pratt (catcher for the New York Mets), turned me on to that. I played for a long time, and then saw EQ coming out. I was never a fan of 1st person games, but I tried it. I didn't like it that much the first day, but the next day I kept thinking I wanted to try it again. I did and was hooked.
Q: How long ago was it? And are you still playing today?
A: Absolutely. I was away for about 5 months or so this past year and just got back into it at the beginning of the baseball season. I play a ton when we go on the road -- lotsa hours to kill.
Q: Do you remember your first thoughts and actions when you entered the world of Norrath?
A: I couldn't believe how big the world was. How cool the effects were. All of it. Then I realized I had only been seeing the Qeynos zone! I went into the Karanas and ran into a Giant and at that moment I was hooked -- dead but hooked.
Q: What characters do you play? Races/Classes/Levels? All of that sort of thing. Are you in a guild? And what server are you on?
A: My main is a 49 Monk named Scythehands Voxslayer, and my alt's name is Cylc, Dwarven Cleric 19th level. I play both on the Povar server. I was in Soul Syndicate until I went away for the last few months -- great guild with lots of fun players. The guild disbanded while I was away and I am currently looking for another guild to join. I want to help friends quest (love that stuff) and do a few of the higher level monk quests, but you gotta have a guild to have a chance at that stuff.
Q: Dwarven Cleric? Somehow I picture the dwarves making good catchers, but not such great pitchers. If you were playing a race/class combination closest to your real personality, what would it be?
A: The monk :)
Q: And what race/class combinations would you use for some other players? For example, your teammate Randy Johnson seems like the perfect barbarian shaman to me. And Mark McGuire is an obvious ogre warrior. (Iím probably going to get you in trouble with this one). Give us a few others that pop into your mind.
A: Craig Counsell-Elven Bard
Brian Anderson-Half Elf Ranger
Greg Colbrunn-Dwarf Warrior
Cal Ripken-Human Paladin
Richie Sexon-Barbarian Warrior
Q; What is your playing style? Are you generally a power gamer? Role-player? Explorer? And do you prefer to play solo or do you usually find a group?
A: Definitely a role player that likes to group. It's one of the reasons I started my cleric. Clerics are always in demand and it seems that it's harder these days to find groups with the world getting so big. Blackburrow used to be packed, but now there's rarely a lot of people there. That's another one of the reasons I want to find a great guild. Guilds make the game ten times more fun when you can play with the same group, become a team that works well together and have players in your group you know you can depend on in a crunch.
Q: Tell us some of the most interesting adventures you have had while playing Everquest? Did you ever do something really stupid? Something that you are really proud of?
A: My first foray into Lower Guk was a lot of fun. My favorite memories are pretty basic. Completing the Robe of the Lost Circle quest was a blast. Camping Raster was a nightmare, but I got stupidly lucky. I had pretty much resigned myself to camping Scythehands in the Mino room, logging in, seeing another monk already there camping, and waiting. One night I log in, and there's a 55 level monk there. Great guy. He's been there for like 12 hours. No Raster -- pop, despawn, pop, despawn -- still no Raster. Now I'm in about my 3rd day there -- total time camping him maybe 5-10 hours tops -- but getting some good groups when I did have the camp (lotsa guild mates showed up and we pulled and got great exp). Anyway, this guy says ok, one more spawn and it's yours. So I wait and this guy says 'screw it' and leaves. I get a full group and we get the camp. We are there for about 2 minutes when we are in a major, major brawl and we barely survive. I'm laying there, feign death style, and no one in the group is hurt but me. I have no mend and about a bub of health. My group runs some frogloks down the hall to finish them off and POP! RASTER! If there was a way to scream louder than caps in EQ I was doing it. Man I am straight panicking because I know I have NO CHANCE soloing and the party has run off. I'm in my hotel room; it's like 5am, and I am straight hollering, in EQ and in real life. Bottom line is the group comes back, heals me, and kills Raster! WOOT!
Q: With your traveling schedule, how do you find the time to actually play the game? When and how often do you play?
A: On the road when my family doesn't travel I play every night, and usually very, very late. I have a Dell laptop that I play on. At home I play almost every night. Depending upon the circumstances, sometimes I can pull an all nighter :)
Q: Is this your first exposure to this type of computer game? What other video and computer games do you play?
A: No. I've played it all: UO, Diablo, every wargame made, Baldurs Gate I and II, Icewind Dale.....
Q: What is your all time favorite computer and video game?
A: Hands down, no brainer: WIZARDRY! Greatest game ever made at the time, and the best times I've ever had.
Q: Give us your impressions of Everquest. What do you think are its strengths and what would you change if you could.
A: To tell you the truth it's pretty awesome. I have the expansions and all but have yet to see probably 50% of the world. It's huge and the variety is endless. People piss and moan but I'll give a big thumbs up to the guides and GMs Verant has in place. I never had a petition or complaint go unanswered and for 10 bucks a month its hour to dollar value is unmatched. Changes? Hmm, more variety in PC races maybe? Changes in spawn rate and MOBS in dungeons to FORCE more grouping and less camping? Keep the important big mobs where they are but make random spawns more random in both MOB and location maybe?
Q: Do you use information sites like Allakhazamís and EQ Atlas to help you with the game? (OK. I admit thatís a shameless plug)
A: Your site is hands down my only stop. I can link to anything I need from here and even when I was away from the game I dropped by the site to checkup on how things were changing. At home I have your site up on my Mac while I am playing on my home computer. I can get to maps and quest info in two clicks if need be when playing and that helps immensely in enjoying the game. I also appreciate it anytime someone puts this much effort into something they don't get paid to do. Pretty cool.
Q: So which is harder Ė Striking out a guy like Moises Alou or finally making it through a hell level?
A: Well I'd say the first one, but I'm 49 so from what I hear it may be that latter in one level.
Q: I have to ask about the Glanville incident. Doug Glanville of the Phillies hit two home runs off you in your first game against the Phillies since the trade to give you your only loss so far this season. He said it was revenge against you for leaving his poor dwarven paladin Bingbong to die at the hands of some aviaks. So who made the bad pull? And what is your side of the story? Hereís your chance to set the record straight.
A: C'mon dude, you ever hear of a cleric pulling in a group with a Paladin? It's like I always say in baseball, don't make excuses because people that know the game know the real reasons why you win or lose. Same with EQ man. Anyone with a lick of sense in EQ could see right through his babbling and know that he was the train conductor in that entire episode. Dougís the goods though. Fun as hell to group with. His ranger is around 30 now. Nahir is his name. Give him a tell if you want a fun guy to group with. He experiments with other characters a lot more than I do though.
Q: Iím guessing that an oddball story like that had to spark some curiosity about what the heck you guys were talking about. So how hard is it to explain to the other players in the locker room exactly what Everquest is and why you play it? And have you managed to hook anyone else into playing the game?
A: Not really since the only non-baseball opinions that matter to me are my wife and kids. She obviously hates the game, but my youngest son Gehrig who's just turned 6 thinks it's 'the bomb', as he says. Where the hell does a 6 year old learn that phrase? Anyway he LOVES to sit there and watch me play. I'm close to starting a character for him and letting him give it a whirl with me helping him. I walk around like I can't see anything sometimes, letting him point out stuff for me to pull or fight. He HATES the spiders outside Karnors. They give him the creeps, so I'm under orders to kill every one I see when he's sitting there.
Q: Do you know any other players, or celebrities of other sorts, that play Everquest?
A: Todd Pratt and Doug Glanville are the only two I know of right now.
Q: Have you looked at any of the upcoming MMORPGís like Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Shadowbane, etc? If so, what are your impressions and which games are you most looking forward to?
A: The new EQ expansion!
Q: So is there anything else you want to throw in here that you think might be of interest to the other Everquest players? Or feel free to just ramble incoherently for a few paragraphs.
A: Sony-Verant caught wind of our little story recently and the next time we are in San Diego I've been invited up to meet the folks behind EQ, which should be a blast. I've even heard rumor I could get a tour of the new expansion coming out in December and if I'm not under a confidentiality agreement maybe I can drop you all a sneak peak?
Thanks again Zam and take care
Thanks for the interview, and I hope to see you starting in the All Star Game this year.