Brad McQuaid talks about Everquest with Allakhazam

Brad McQuaid, known by many by his pseudonym Aradune, is one of the original producers and designers of Everquest. He went from founder and Vice President of Verant Interactive to Vice President of Premium Games and Chief Creative Officer of SOE, until he resigned recently to pursue other goals. He was nice enough to take the time to answer some questions with me about the background and design of Everquest, his reasons for leaving SOE and his plans for the future. Read on for the entire interview. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. You’re very welcome. You spent 5 plus years designing and developing the game EverQuest. Now that you are “just a player”, do you still play the game and enjoy it? Absolutely – in fact, more so. I’ve a little more free time now than I had before, so I’ve been playing a lot of EQ on the Firiona Vie Role Playing Preferred server. I was very involved in coming up with the ruleset on that server, so my playing preferences fit in pretty well there. As a player, what aspects of the game do you enjoy the most and what do you enjoy the least? Honestly, playing the game as it is now, with my character and his group of friends in their mid-20s, I can’t really think of anything to complain about. I do think VI should remove the ‘must be anonymous’ aspect of the RP flag – it’s often too hard to find people of the class and level you need for a group on FV. Also, I’m sure as I climb towards the higher levels, where the gameplay changes significantly, I’ll probably find a few more irritants. As for what I enjoy… well, pretty much all of it. I’m primarily an achiever, and secondarily both an explorer and socializer. EQ works very well for that type of player, with its focus on character development and item acquisition. Add to that great communication tools, a very immersive and HUGE world and you’ve got most all of the components I need in an MMORPG to have a great time. As a designer, what are you most proud of when you look back at what you accomplished in developing EverQuest? Why? Well, first I’m very proud of the team and the fact that we finished what we set out to do. EverQuest was in a sense an experiment and a gamble. We looked at what made text MUDs so compelling to a niche group of primarily college kids and said to ourselves, ‘if we take all of that and couple it with a more accessible 3D world and proper marketing and support, would such a game be commercially viable?’ And, thankfully, the answer turned out to be yes – in fact, a much bigger ‘yes’ than we’d ever dreamed. I think overall we did a great job adapting tried-and-true MUD mechanics to a commercial 3D game. I think we then added some great new features and refinements to the genre. I’m proud that we stayed focused on game balance and on challenge, not giving into the forces that constantly ask for a ‘Monty Haul’ game (but in reality, don’t want one). And then I think the content designers have done an amazing job building a vast, high fantasy world, full of interesting people, places, and things. There’s really a lot to be collectively proud of and it’s an honor to have worked with everyone who is or was ever involved in developing EverQuest. Looking back on the game with 20/20 hindsight, what (if anything) would you have designed differently? Why? Oh, there’s still a lot that didn’t work out right, despite the game overall turning out fantastic. Let me list a few things that I’d go back and approach or implement differently had I a time machine handy. Camping: Probably EQ’s biggest flaw, in my opinion. We should have approached dungeon spawning and encounter mechanics very differently. The most efficient (and fun) way to gain experience and seek out treasure should be DOING a dungeon, not sitting in one spot, waiting for a spawn, or pulling things to you. Skill Advancement: This should have to do with choices more so than it does… reaching your skill caps on most of your important skills soon after you level, each and every time, isn’t really what we were looking for. Making decisions and deciding to focus on different skills was more in line with what we’d wanted. Damage, AC, and HP: I don’t think these three turned out to be equally important, especially at higher levels. They should have been much more so. Same with stats and resistances: they should be more important. Bottom Feeding: This is still an area that bothers me, although attempts to address it were not very popular. I think, however, that had it been addressed at launch players would be used to it and the game a better one. Meditation and other Downtimes: There’s too much downtime, but I’d not advocate eliminating it as some others probably would; rather, I’d reduce it a bit and come up with more things to do during that ‘rest time’ in-between battles. Players need a break from the action… time to discuss what went wrong or right, time to use the restroom or grab a soda. The socialization that occurs during ‘downtime’ is extremely important and I don’t think non-stop Diablo-style combat is good for MMORPGs. That said, when you find out people are finishing Robert Jordan novels while playing EQ, you know things are a bit extreme. Empty Cities/Zones: The world builders spent a lot of time creating interesting, detailed cities, yet many are ignored – there’s simply not enough gameplay oriented reasons to use them. Also, many of the older dungeons need to be revamped and made more popular again. I hate to see so many interesting and beautiful zones underpopulated and therefore under-enjoyed. Twinking: This is a tough one, and in my mind there’s still no ‘easy’ solution to the twinking problem. One wants a player driven economy and one wants to encourage replayability… but then one also doesn’t want to see a bunch of level 5 characters running around in level 60 gear. Some people advocate significant item decay or hard level limits, but these either don’t address the problem completely, or introduce other, worse problems. In any case, in 20/20 hindsight I’d have devoted a lot more time and energy into solving, or at least addressing, this problem. Whew, I could probably (much to the surprise of those who think we believe we’re perfect) go on and on, but I’ll stop now. Looking back at your initial plans when EverQuest was still being drawn up and looking at the still evolving product we all see now, how does this product differ from what you initially dreamed up, and has it lagged, met or exceeded your expectations? In terms of gameplay, it’s pretty much met my expectations. As for the world and how detailed and vast it is, it’s exceeded my expectations. And certainly, in terms of popularity and commercial success, it’s far exceeded my expectations. John Smedley once noted that EverQuest turned out to be more similar to its original design document that any other game he’d seen developed. I’m pretty proud of this – we set out to create EverQuest and we did, and then we went beyond it, adding a few more features than originally planned (for example, trade skills) and growing the amount of content to an amazing degree. It’s funny… I never had the time to build multiple high level characters, or to play the game nearly as much as many others who eventually joined the development teams. But because of the time I’d invested before that, playing MUDs and such, and because of how closely the game turned out to be relative to the original vision, I could still participate in detailed design meetings and discussions about potential changes or problem issues. And as I play the game more now I really feel at home, thinking often to myself, ‘yep, what I’m experiencing is almost exactly what we set out to create.’ How much does the design of EverQuest owe to popular fantasy literature? What authors and novels did you draw inspiration from when developing the races and classes and characters that populate Norrath? You know, it’s actually all the fantasy novels I read (and continue to read) that give me the inspiration and desire to make these games. When I sit down and read a great book I really enjoy it, but there’s something missing… I want to BE there. I don’t want to just read about the protagonist and his adventures – I want to actually be a person in that fantasy world, able to go where I want and encounter all that world has to offer. I think MMORPGs are the closest means by which to accomplish that dream of actually being there… at least until a holodeck is invented. In fact, it’s my opinion that MMOGs in general will turn out to be the primitive ancestors of holodecks and other virtual reality experiences. With EverQuest, Steve Clover and I from the very beginning set out to create a high fantasy world, drawing influence from all sorts of books and stories and settings. Bill Trost and others later came along and put all kinds of ideas into the world, adding all sorts of detail, and often drawing on campaigns they’d written earlier. And you can clearly see the various influences, and I’m pretty sure we list a bunch of them in the special thanks sections of the credits. Name a popular author of fantasy or a great RPG, and I guarantee you somebody on the EQ team read it or played it, and that it inspired us… molded us into who we are creatively. Aside from the graffiti in the Qeynos Aqueducts, is there any element of EQ that you’d like to take particular credit for? Actually, I can’t take credit for the graffiti (that would be the work of those darn Irontoes), nor for the validity of their claims :) I really had the privilege, as Producer, to be involved in all aspects of the game… I worked on the design, interacted with the programmers, brainstormed with the artists… If I’m to take any particular credit, I think it would be for providing a lot of the willpower needed to see the game through, for co-authoring the original design document, for ensuring that we all stuck to the original vision of the game, and for doing most of the community support and PR before we actually had people to do those things. Oh, and the iced-over river in EverFrost – that was my idea too :) What race/class combinations have you played extensively (as a player, not a developer)? Which did you enjoy the most and why? I’ve always been a ranger and paladin sort of person, ever since my MUDing days. I really enjoy hybrids, and I generally play good aligned races and classes. Humans and half-elfs are probably my favorite as well. I think it’s probably versatility that attracts me most… I like being in there, fighting it out as a melee class… but I also like to cast spells every once in a while too. Do you have any favorite zones? If so, which ones and why? From a visual standpoint, my current favorite is the Twilight Sea… when I wander around in that zone I simply can’t believe it’s EverQuest. Hats off to the Luclin art team for that zone and many others. Gameplay-wise, I think the Warrens turned out to be a great zone. I’ve recently spent quite a bit of time in there, and it’s well layed out and populated. It has decent treasure and experience, and it’s challenging but not too difficult either. Do you have any favorite epic encounters? If so, which ones and why? I’m still fond of the original Vox and Nagafen encounters, and I still remember being blown away watching those early battles. Trakanon is an amazing NPC and where he’s at and the entire layout of Sebilis is awesome. And that we were even able to make the Plane of Sky work at all is something I’m still very proud of. The EverQuest players are fanatical about the game, which has led over the years to its share of criticism, fair and unfair, of both you and Sony. What is your reaction to the level of criticism you sometimes hear. It varies, really, and you’re right – sometimes it’s fair and sometimes it’s unfair. We certainly made our fair share of mistakes during the learning process of developing, launching, and then maintaining and updating a massively multiplayer game. There are several factors that make MMOGs unique, including the fact that these games can be patched. New content, new features, fixes, and adjustments can (and should) be made after the game launches. And while I think this is one of the greatest strengths MMOGs have, it has also led to some frustration amongst players when the status quo is changed on them. Overall, I think it’s just something that will take time for both players to get used to and for developers to get better at. Sometimes, in the attempt to balance or tweak something, developers can make a problem worse, or overreact to it. Likewise, players can sometimes lose sight of what’s really good for the game as a whole and instead get upset about a change they perceive adversely affects them personally. Another issue is what I call ‘MMOG Burnout’. When you play a game for a few days or a few weeks, and then grow tired of it, it’s usually not a big deal. You shrug, put it back on the shelf, and grab the next game. With MMOGs, however, one typically plays them significantly longer. And this is where the Catch-22 arises: it seems that often, the longer a player plays a game, the more upset they are when they finally do become burnt out on that game. This is a bit ironic when you consider that, typically, the better the game the longer it keeps the player enthralled. What’s the solution? Well, that’s a tough one… hopefully it’s something players will begin to recognize more often, and that they’ll leave or take a break when they start becoming really irritated or upset. Also, hopefully developers will do a better job at recognizing irritants and addressing them while at the same time safeguarding the health of their game in its entirety. Lastly, you have the fact that we’re still well within the first generation of MMOGs. There simply aren’t that many out there. I think you currently have a fairly large group of people that are interested in massively multiplayer online games in general, but have yet to find one that really fits their needs and tastes. Since there are so few MMOGs (and since many of the ones that have been released are rather similar), many players are forced to either not play or play the game that most closely fits their tastes. In a sense, they have no choice but to settle. When you combine that with natural burnout and the fact that these games change and are patched, then, over time, the features or other aspects of the game the player never really cared for become more and more annoying. The solution here is, of course, to let the genre mature and to support these games so more and more of them will be developed. That way the games will not only get better through natural competition and through developers learning what works and doesn’t work, but also there will be more choices. Players will be able to dial in more accurately to the MMOG that fits their tastes… are they more of a power gamer? A role-player? A casual gamer? Do they prefer PvP or PvE? Is fantasy their thing, or is it science fiction? Do they prefer a game more focused on item acquisition or skill development? Are they looking for alternate non-combat related advancement mechanisms? Until these issues are addressed in the many ways they need to be, there will be criticisms. Gamers are vocal people, and online gamers have the wonderful avenue of expressing their likes and dislikes on the Internet, on various message boards and such. This is good – good for the player and good for the developer. The feedback is priceless. And while some of the criticisms take the form of flames and can be hurtful, I think the majority of it is very healthy. Developers need to continue to interact with their player base and to listen. Amongst the variety of players of the game are people like Curt Schilling, R.A. Salvatore and Jacques Villeneuve. Have you run into or heard of other celebrities who play EverQuest? What do you think about having celebrities like that playing the game you designed? I have indeed, although I’m hesitant to list any more because many of them prefer to remain anonymous. But it is incredible and very flattering to create something that attracts all sorts of people, famous and otherwise. I can say I’ve especially enjoyed getting to know Jim Lee and being able to work with him on a comic book (it should come out late this month, btw). He’s a big fan of EverQuest and a great guy, as well as my favorite modern comic book artist. Have you played Dark Age of Camelot and Anarchy Online? If so, how do you feel they compare and contrast to EverQuest? I’ve played both, and I always try to play all of the MMOGs, professionally to see what they are doing and to look for new ideas, and personally because I love these games. The genre of MMOGs is still so new that each game is expanding the game space far more than they’re competing with each other. For example, despite DAoC’s excellent launch and immediate popularity, it only minimally impacted EverQuest. This is a good thing, because in my opinion we’re still well within the first or maybe early second generation of these games. The genre has a LONG way to go, and every company who enters this arena is helping build something I’m very interested in -- so I’m very supportive of them all. Not only that, I’ve rarely met a developer working on an MMOG who isn’t a great person and also a person in love with MMOGs (as I am). For example, Jeff Butler and I hung out with several of the guys from AO at ECTS this year and had a blast. As for publicly comparing and contrasting these games with EQ, I could, but I won’t… at VI/SOE it was against my own personal policy and it will stay that way. Right now with MMOGs I feel it’s the ‘more the merrier’ – each game is great, but could improve, and I know everyone involved wants to see that improvement for the game’s they’re working specifically and for the genre as a whole. You recently left Sony to go out on your own. How hard was it for you to leave a game and company that you had obviously put so much into? It was extremely difficult and painful, and I still get pretty emotional when I think about it. Not only did I help build EverQuest, I helped build Verant Interactive and also did my best to shape and positively influence the growth of Sony Online Entertainment. I worked with a lot of people, many of whom were my personal friends before EQ, and also many of whom became my friends during and after work on EQ. I’m extremely proud to have been part of EQ and to have worked with such an amazing group of talented and passionate people. And while all good things do come to an end, it’s a small industry and I’m sure we’ll see each other around. Can you tell us a little about what made you decide it was time to leave? While I can’t reveal all the details, I am able to summarize some of what occurred. Having risen from being the Producer on EverQuest to a founder and Vice President of Verant and then to Vice President of Premium Games and Chief Creative Officer of SOE, I was able to experience several different levels of management. I was also able to experience rapid company growth, as SOE expanded what was Verant into a full publisher and developer. I think it occurred to me over time, despite the recognition, fame, and financial success that came from climbing the company ladder, that I was happiest producing EverQuest. At one time at SOE I was responsible for EverQuest, Star Wars: Galaxies, Sovereign, Planetside, and several other unannounced titles. Obviously there was no way to be ‘hands on’ with these projects because there were so many. And I’ve found that I need to be hands on and involved with the development and creative process… making MMOGs is what I really enjoy, but working on them indirectly and at a higher level just wasn’t as satisfying for me. I also realized that I personally prefer to be part of a smaller company or studio. It occurred to me that many other well-known game developers have come to the same realization. When I consider several of them and what they’re doing, I don’t see many at high levels of management in large companies, but rather working on one or two projects at a time, able hopefully to focus and remain hands on. A good example I think would be John Carmack. I don’t know him personally, but my understanding is that he gets up in the morning, drives his F50 to work, and focuses on what he enjoys the most (programming). He keeps his company small and efficient, working on one game at a time, and launches hit after hit. I’m thinking this is pretty close to the ideal setup. So I started to realize this about myself, what my preferences are, and what makes me happy and satisfied creatively and professionally. And over time, I’m sure this wasn’t invisible to SOE and in October they gave me the opportunity to be released from my contract. I took it. Sure, there were other factors involved, but overall my departure was very amicable. Sony Online is poised to be the leader in online games for quite some time, is a great company, and I wish them nothing but the best. And people like John Smedley, Kelly Flock, and Yair Landau gave me tremendous opportunities to both excel and realize my dreams, for which I remain eternally grateful. Do you have any plans for the future that you can share with us? I do, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit these last couple of months. It’s my intent to start a small development studio and begin work on a third generation MMOG. I’ve recently begun to talk to various publishers and funders and am in search of the right partners with whom to begin this venture. I welcome any feedback, ideas or interest – please feel free to email me at I just want to end by thanking you for developing a game that has kept hundreds of thousands of players like myself entertained for several years. Thanks very much. Luckily for us, the game we all set out to make turned out to be something 400,000+ other people were interested in playing. Without all of you, the game would be an empty shell, the world of Norrath a desolate wasteland. I want to sincerely thank all the EverQuest players out there who stuck with us through thick and thin and continue to do so. I’ve met many of you at various trade shows and Fan Faires, read your emails and your posts, and a group of game developers couldn’t ask for a better player base than all of you :) Take care. -Brad


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# Mar 24 2006 at 4:29 PM Rating: Default
If I work in real life for 40 years and put away a nice nest egg and then decide to pass all that I have or even a portion of it to my children (which means im twinking my chi8ldren) whats wrong with that? If it works well in real life, then whats the problem in a game?
What's going on here?
# May 15 2004 at 9:55 AM Rating: Decent
Why is there an ad for "promoting your business" allowed on here? I'm still trying to wrap my brain around why there's a many-month old interview posted, but allowing a commercial posted by an anonymous user is rediculous. I paid for my membership to cut down on the popups directly on this site, but I'll likely not renew if this keeps popping up. That goes for close to 20-odd other members of my guild as well (being that they brought it to my attention in the first place)
#Anonymous, Posted: Nov 29 2003 at 2:35 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) List your website and Business details in thousands of classified sites. Get listed in search engines draw enormous traffic to your site. Website: E-mail:
# Sep 24 2002 at 4:43 PM Rating: Default
I think if you took twinking out of the game I would not want to play it. I have a lvl 60 and I only play him to go on a raid every know and then the rest of the time I play lower lvl characters. And getting through the first 25 lvls is not much fun with out any money.

I think that grouping is one of the best parts of the game.

Also to people who think that they should get rid of downtime you must be crazy. Go play diablo if you dont want downtime.
RE: Changes
# May 01 2004 at 10:13 AM Rating: Decent
I don't think they ought to take twinking out completely; the steps they seem to be taking to even the field for those players who can't twink vs. those who can are definately moving in the right direction.

Grouping is definately an important part of the game, but not the best by far. There are friends of mine on Stromm that I won't see for a week or two at a time because they had some back-to-back crappy groups and couldn't solo what they were after.

And as far as your opinion on downtime... are you a moron? They aren't talking about non-stop dungeon crawling; they're talking about making it so you don't spend 15 minutes DOING NOTHING while you wait for mana or health to fill. One of the worst aspects of EQ is the downtime... if you have that much free time to play that you can spend half an hour med'ing and half an hour fighting (rinse and repeat...) then congradulations, for the rest of us have lives outside the game.
# Mar 13 2002 at 11:43 AM Rating: Default
I couldn't be happier this guy has left SOE. I think he's the cause of most of my frustration in the game. He talks about camping being bad. Well if it didn't take forever for the exp to move at higher levels people wouldn't have to camp a spawn. Also, his obssession with having to group. Beyond belief, just because thats the way he likes to play doesn't mean everyone wants or should have to. Some people like soloing. Some people play classes that are hard to get into a group. Which is worse, camping a spawn or spending half your online time running around shouting LFG. Me I would rather be fighting that spawn. Twinking, lvl 5's running around in 60 gear? I've never seen that. The more likely is that lvl 5 running around in 30ish gear. Besides the twinks main toon earned that gear and its his business what he does with it not Brad's. I could go on alot longer about him, but whats the point? He's left EQ and hopefully EQ will be better for it. He seems to have forgotten that the cutomer is right. His job is to design the world and we'll tell him how we want to play in it. It would be a good bet I would never play a game that he is connected with in the future.

51 Wiz
Underworld Knights
# Jan 29 2002 at 1:01 AM Rating: Decent

My son runs around with level 50+ stuff on his level 27 WAR, but he earned it.
No one gave it to him. He got it by buying and selling stuff in EC. He
would do this hours and days on end, and built up a pretty good stash of
coin. I found that pretty boring, but it worked for him.

I just thought I would point at that that low level twink may not in
fact be a twink and that there are ways for low levels to aquire very
good items on thier own.

Lonadinn (37 Pal, Noble Fist, Tarew Marr)

# Jan 21 2002 at 9:57 PM Rating: Default
I only passed a few items to my "younger" alt. However, my main has many nice items gifted to her by friends. Mind you, not one of these gifts were asked or begged for. A few were gifted from my character's guild. Some were real life savers when several times before I was 10th level, I had managed to died and lose ALL equipment. Without the occassional gifted item I would probably still be 16th not approaching 52nd. On a similar note would be the Powerleveling. I have had assistance, at one point, in getting over a hump, by friends who were considerably higher level than myself. Once again this was something they suggested and arranged, not due to begging or even asking from me.

There is a big difference between getting the help from the kindly older characters, and lamely asking, begging, pleading, whinning to get items or assistance in leveling. And as far as passing items between any one person's own alternate characters, that might be kin to the inheritance that a "real person" might have gotten from a parent or relative. Not all were kicked naked into the streets to fend for themselves. Depending on the patron's wealth and/or power it might be merely an old but serviceable weapon and a sack of rations (similar to the starting weapon and rations). However were the patron rich and powerful, armor and better weapons, even a riding animal might be passed down (similar to a 60th level twinking his alt.) My problem with twinking is that newbies want to twink the under 6th level my opinion a bad idea, because a death and not enough time to recover the corpse could mean a big loss in equipment. Better to wait until 6th or so and at least have a fighting chance to run naked and collect all that nice equipment before it rots.
# Jan 12 2002 at 10:19 AM Rating: Default
accutuly, i figure that since i earned this equpiment fair and square, i think i should do with it as i please, if i am lvl 60 and decide to sacrifice, either money (selling or buying the item) or stats (using the item) or my time (finding the item) then well thats what i pay for, i think if VI got rid of the abilite for me to twink my alts, or the replacment of my main, i would cancle my account because i love this game, but i refuse to let a company tell me what to do with the stuff i rightfully earn

just my thoughts

and as a thing on the rangers being worthless...well..lets not go into this,but my main is a ranger, and he isnt worthless :) accutuly he is quite fun and i enjoy him even more now then i did at level 9, and i continue looking foward to new spells as they add more stratgey i can put on the mobs..of course, then again i like to think, maybe your a bit differnt :)
# Jan 09 2002 at 5:59 PM Rating: Decent
On the issue of twinking I beleve it is beneficial and healthy to give a leg up to a starter as long as you dont goto extreem some basic armor, a decent weapon, or even a set of spells.
As a druid I am pummeled by the tells and begs for buffs, money or twinks I generally ignore such request but if I see a starter working hard at the game and making the best at what hes got sometimes I will buy them a set of common armor or spells.

some things begging to be addresed....
trades and economy trades should have intrinsic value what is the value of taking up a trade that one cannot profit by because other items are far too common baking and rations come to mind. There should be recognition for mastery with a title or a /w baker I have mastered all of the trades available to my race/class and I want people to know it and I want to profit from my work (I never sold a lantern to a player)

begging is a worthless skill and should be removed.

bows are crippled in EQ because of game mechanics making rangers IMHO a nearly worthless class.

NPC's and quest are blocky and lack the richness that one sees in good fantacy novel's what is so epic about some huge guild going in to camp a mob
so that your soloer can buy the rights to the item
quest should be rich and memorable not got kill mob "A" and get me 4 "thingys"

the AA should have a lower level if even at the same exp price at level 51 I do not feel the NEED to continue on to 60 there is no value in it save the "60" At this point it has rendered down to kill level kill and that has has no apeal to me I seek more ... a hero with nothing heroic to do and no one to tell the story is not a hero.

and quest rewards are much to simplified I honestly wish players could own property and have titles I would love to say.. have my own smithy.
with ally faction I should be able to get a better price than a rogue that has to sneek to

there should be a new player title of sage or scolar that new people can ask questions of
so guides can do a better job of more important tasks like getting reses done b4 timer runs out

and lastly customer service is pitiful from guides up and all currently have my distrust the super rigid policy's have punished otherwise good and loyal players, like not geting a rez for taking falling dammage from porting into misty thicket because they couldnt proove they fell (i personally whitnessed this)
Addi a better skill system to stop twinking and increase rea
# Jan 08 2002 at 6:49 PM Rating: Default
I have played EQ since it went public. I have had both fun and frustration aplenty.

Over time my main peeve is that the rules of the game are simplistic. Although this is an RPG and I assume the goal is immersion, I often felt that the rules made EQ more of a &#8220;game&#8221; than a sim. In particular, I feel that character growth is poorly done and this affects twinking and the economy. Twinking or even pooling money isn&#8217;t going to go away and restricting the number of chars seems wrong but adding a skill system to the game completely change twiking and increase the realism.

Although it is fun to get high level items at low levels, the concept that a L30 player has much more abilities than a L10 gets lost. It may be harder to see with swords and shields, but being able to use an ATM and being able to hack a mainframe represent different level of skills and experience. Put another way, a rich kid can by a $1000 guitar but that doesn&#8217;t mean he will be able to play it worth a damn.

I would have liked to see growth of skills reflected in the game. Having AC/Off/Def improve in some cryptic way didn&#8217;t do much for me. For instance, I got/found/earned weaponX but I don&#8217;t know how to use it yet because it requires some level/experience/skill which I have not yet earned. I believe the weapon proc system reflects this idea but I think it should have covered almost all items. I need a strength of 10 to use a dagger but a strength of 50 to use a long sword. Leather armor is easy to wear/use but plate armor requires some skills. Etc.

Having said this, I don&#8217;t expect EQ to change in any significant way. (Other than requiring us to buy new PC&#8217;s to play the expansions. \:^( But I do hope that future MMORPGs such as Star Wars will reflect these mechanics better.
#Anonymous, Posted: Jan 07 2002 at 10:50 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) First cab off the rank I want to tip my hat to the people who produced "The Vision" which then became the game that I've gone through cycles of loving, twitching for, gone sleepless over and generally been addicted to since the first time I played it. For those who haven't ever written a computer game of any kind, I want you to know that the process of doing something as slick and as stable as EQ is over as many servers, routers, disk farms, etc... as it is - man - the effort and cash sunk into that project is unbelievable. I don't begrudge my US$10 a month at all because what they've produced is really a landmark achievement.
# Jan 05 2002 at 12:02 PM Rating: Default
Hey I just wanted to state that Twinking is part of the game and what makes it challenging and fun.
I am a 51 Shaman on Valon Zek Server. (pk server)
I can not count all the times that I have died to a super twink w/ a fungy and didnt have a chance to cast but even a spell. So is the Woes of a 1st character that has nothing and has to earn every thing he gets. However I have paid my dues and now that I am in the High lvls I feel that now I have the power and the right to get great items for my lowbie twink characters. Items that I can get on my own now have no value to me. Items that I need now take 40 people or so and a Dead dragon w/ drops.. So what good is some equipment to me if I cant give to a lower character of my own. Yes Twinks will rule but there are always bigger and better twinks out there. So even twinks are not safe all of the time. I used to get so frustrated that I could never win a pk fight (due to my equipment). But isnt that how it is in real life?
There is always some spoiled brat that gets the new toy b4 you or some guy who brown nosed the right person to get what he wanted. TWINKS good luck and may the BEST TWINK WIN!!!!
# Jan 02 2002 at 5:22 PM Rating: Decent
As a relatively new person to the game after being brought in by an associate at work talking about it I decided to delve in to the world of EQ. Maybe a total of a month online. In that time I have been able to convince another work associate to come online as well. Some observations while online. Like real life there is good and bad and we'd all be fooling ourselves if we believed that EQ could be some sort of perfect Utopia. There are scammers just like in real life, beggars, the ones who take the hard route and the road less travelled for greater rewards and those that take the easy way...or slackers in real life.

Problems I perceive. The economy. If a real world economy was based on EQ, there would be total collapse. Some work it like it should. Create a product then market it at a higher cost...materials...labour...profit margin factored in. However the manufacturing of goods from taking raw materials from say a merchant and then delivering a finished product from the raw materials and selling back to a merchant is flawed. In business, normally the finished product is more expensive than the materials it took to make it. Like cars...imagine if the auto industry sold for below material costs. Collapse.

However in EQ often your doing trade skills at a loss...huge loss. Averages of 20-30%. This should be corrected.

Twinking. Its human. Wanting bigger, better, more, experimenting, wondering if's. My character was twinked to a degree by my friend and in turn I am helping out my friend whom I brought in. So in the right way, twinking to help others is not so entirely bad. If marketed in some way, it can improve upon the game. Its a dicey issue with some and I try and understand both sides of the issues.

Downtime. Huge issue here. HP and Mana should regen faster based on level and XP. If it does already, forgive me. But at lev 14 and wanting to move onwards, downtime is 40-50% of my game. Should be 10-20 at best.

Camping-not a huge fan of it. Good money is being paid by all players for this game. All should have equal opportunity to play where they feel. The same players day after day, night after night, camping the same spawns is a bit much. It is a problem and not easily addressed.

Anyway, my two cents. Other than those things I have noticed so far, the game is absolutely a marvel to play. Only to think but a few short years ago..ok...maybe 20 or more...we all thought Pong was the cats pajamas. LOL

Level 14 Ranger
The Tribunal
# Dec 31 2001 at 3:36 PM Rating: Default
I just wanted to take a moment to say this game ROCKS!!! Is there things that i would change sure, but are we all spending our free time playing and/or talking about EQ yes.

As far as twinking, I take great pleasure in being able to twink an alt. This was not always the case, for has a low level i use to hate twinks (jealous). Now that i have a 58druid and 53wiz, I started another account just so I could use my druid to PL myself and after a little over 2years of game play i believe i have earned that right.
Ixityl Quoz
# Dec 28 2001 at 10:04 AM Rating: Decent
Verant if you deign to read these boards ever, which i believe would be wise, take this to heart-fix the damn customer service aspect of your games. As it stands now its the worst pile of excrement i've ever had the displeasure of interacting with in a product of any sort !
Ok that being said, when the game functions correctly, and is available to be played it is one of the best games i would ever have dreamed of playing. I have been playing since beta 4 and still love the game, I always look forward to new servers coming out and have frequently jumped to the newest server to commence the new "Race to 60"
its a hoot, fierce competition on new servers is awesome. I really like the aspect of putting valuable experience to work on a new server to see how i stack up against others that are doing the same in getting to lvl 60 the fastest. That is however just one of the many side events that keep me hooked on this game. In general the other things i enjoy about the game is the "open-ended" aspect of the game, in other words i choose where i go and what i attempt to accomplish, as opposed to the game dictating in a linear fashion that i must solve this or that puzzle in order to advance to the next stage/level. The game's dynamic economy is also a huge aspect of enjoyment as i can wheel and deal and take a fairly newbie item and through trading/selling come out with a far better item in the long run.

The chat conventions used in the game lead me into many lucid interactions with others about myriad topics sometimes related to the game, but often times about real life issues, thus lending not only a roleplay element if you wish to explore that realm in chat, or a sense of belonging that sometimes is lacking in my day to day world. I have met in-game many fascinating people and have shared numerous experiences with so many others that i might have otherwise never interacted with in real life.

Graphically speaking, the game has never disappointed me, since the very beginning i was impressed with the graphics, but silly as it might sound, one of the little things that i would've liked to have been able to do is actually sit in one of the many chairs graphically depicted in the game , as opposed to sitting through those same chairs, actually sitting indian style on the floor next to a chair is a bit odd i think. In a similar vein the act of lying down on the ground is an ability denied to all save those with the ability "feign death", or to everyone briefly right after you see the message "loading please wait". :) Overall those are fairly petty concerns as the game as a whole doesn't suffer in any way due to those odd conventions. One aspect i wish they had instituted is the ability to push or pickup other characters or simply to grapple with other characters. I have often been in a situation where my character was horrified to watch a newbie unable to figure out the basic swim commands only to drown, with me right there impotent to save them, as not all my chars can cast "water breathing", Now if i could somehow have grabbed that character perhaps i might have saved them, and become heroic in their eyes at that moment, of course the implications in pvp are enormous but with the advent of no experience lost due to drowning i believe that aspect would not prove too problematic. Wrestling/grappling as a whole is completely left out of the game, I personally find this kind of humorous, as in real life i have witnessed many actual physical disputes being settled, and very few had no grappling aspects involved. Enchanters can cast a spell called "choke" but my warrior cannot get behind a gnoll and strangle the slimy little bugger. Oh well overall the fighting graphics work for the most part, i especially like the kick abilities monks have, they are at least a deviation from the standard "i slash you, you slash me" type of fights. I would really like it if in the future verant were to implement a push command, that way on bridges or narrow ravines or on high sheer surfaces i could seriously injure or be injured by a simple tactic called the shove, again deaths in this manner still would cause no "experience deaths" by themselves, and would allow for more strategic use of the high ground in fights, besides all the fun it would create amongst friends hehe.I do like the panoramics of the gameworld, although an almost exclusive lack of visble birds in the sky is a bit odd at times especially in Fironia Vie, where they clearly exist in noisome abundance, but again a fairly petty concern. The "mobs" as a whole were wonderfully illustrated in all their glorious repugnancy/splendour, though the use of insults might have been varied a bit more, i do find it a bit funny that filthy gnolls would have such an affinity for the world as a whole being a ravenous race and accuse the player characters of ruining their world.:)

Leveling characters in game is at times a bit slow, and finding mobs to hunt at times is a bit problematic, though this has gotten a bit better recently. Overall the game is well balanced at this point, not perfectly balance of course, but fairly close. I do remember the time, especially in pvp when Necos were the only class to consider, and the era of the naked bind rushing casters hehe, but these problems have been addressed for the most part, although i still find it somewhat annoying that occasionally i will die to a mob, lose experience, and respawn with absolutely no mana, instead of full mana as is supposed to happen, but as i said its a rare thing. I believe in general that all the classes are reasonable viable up to certain levels, but as of yet verant has not finished their tweaking of the melee classes, or addressed the aspect of wizards being fairly useless at higher levels due to being unable to deal commensurate damage compared to the tanks in the group, in my opinion this needs to be fixed to some degree.

Well guess that about sums up my rantings for one night, take care all, and if you play on vallon zek beware the de sk that lurks in black burrow he will get ya.:)

TWINKING sucks on PVP servers
# Dec 27 2001 at 11:22 AM Rating: Default
I will tell you all what is wrong with TWINKING.....not a damn thing....IF you are on a blue server. But if you are on a PvP server like Vallon Zek, you then have a MAJOR problem. In fact, I have 2 accounts full of chars playing on that server. Most of them are between 10 and 24 and hang aroung the EC areas because the PKing is so intense there. On the blue servers I have visited these areas are simply an auction zone.

I play there because I believe that the thrill of the hunt and being hunted adds a tremendous amount to the playability of EQ. But when I come against another opponent who is wearing items my lvl 35 warrior would die for, it throws out the whole balance of the game. None of my chars are twinked and I am not complaining out of jealosy but I would support some change made to address this problem on the PvP servers.

I can't wait to see that char who is green to my lvl 8 enchanter riding around on some horse he bought for 100,000pp.....just a matter of time.
#Anonymous, Posted: Dec 25 2001 at 4:09 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Wow talk about being out of touch. Could you believe that guy? Looking back, we knew Gordon Wrinn was a big problem with EQ, and somehow got promoted. Now we know that this guy, Brad McQuaid, was even more of a problem behind the scenes. No doubt the reason Brad was promoted was to get him away from EQ. A little too much pride in the very things that destroyed EQ, methinks.
to twink or not...
# Dec 25 2001 at 1:31 AM Rating: Default
After having read the interview and all of the comments afterwards.. I must say that in most cases I was pleased with all that I read.. I have no qualms about twinking, never did.. in fact when I started I received many many good items from a now lev 60 troll warrior friend of mine. My first character was a human paladin and by level 5 I believe it was I was walking around with a blade of xalgoz. Very shortly thereafter I received a mitheral 2h sword.. and am now swinging an arbitors combine greatsword.. all provided by my friend. Over the months I have gotten lots of good items from people that no longer wanted or needed them.. and far be it from me to refuse them.. attaining levels at times can be very frustrating and anything that will make it a bit easier is ok by me.. There is one thing that I do have a personal beef with though and this I will never understand. That is the role playing thing. It simply escapes me how someone who is anonymous, not showing either race or class can say they are playing some sort of role.. my reply to that is usually ok what role are you playing....... lets see I know, you are a level 59 beastlord paladin.. which we all know is impossible.. but shows my point. How can you play a role when no one has a clue what you are. It also makes those of us who never go anon very vulnerable, as all players know exactly who and what we are and can call on us at any time for: a port, a buff, a rez or whatever they require. However, if we required the services of that anon individual we would never even know that say the lev 60 cleric was even in the zone and could rez us even if we were willing to pay whatever that person asked up to and uncluding the sky.. Anyway enough said on the subject.. all in all I thought it was a very good interview and as stated the coments were in general informative and entertaining.

Ricoh Amanosta Paladin of the 45th season,
follower of Methanial Marr and defender of
the downtrodden Fennin Ro server.
Faldaron Wir'Enth Druid of the 31st season,
servant of Tunare Fennin Ro server.
# Dec 24 2001 at 5:20 PM Rating: Decent
when Blizard made Diablo 2, they put in a mild anti-twink system of having a level requirement on aobut 10% of the items, and 75% of the worthwhile items.

if everquest were to put a level minimum on everything (yes, your bronze long sword that level 30 gave you when she killed a guard counts too), then twinking would become almost impossible. another way of doing this, as mentioned in some other post, is having the minimum requirement based on a stat (you must have a level 180 in 1hs to use a Wurmslayer, or something like that)

this would eliminate twinking to some degree.
Thank you for hard work
# Dec 20 2001 at 3:18 PM Rating: Good

Thanks for your hard work on EQ, it is amazing. Best of luck to you in everything you do.

60 Wizard
Rallos Zek
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