Why I Play Everquest

Not everyone considers their time in Everquest well spent. Frustration, jealousy, and greed show up on almost every class message board. Class envy, content issues, and guild competition are debated with little statistical proof or credible evidence. Why are people so upset?

I quit playing Everquest at level 20 when I realized that as I grew, I would always still get killed by a variation of a rat, a bat, or a spider. Then two months later it dawned on me. The reason Everquest is different than other games is the 3000 other people playing it. They are the strength of the game. Items or levels or rat-like monsters do not matter, people do.

Around this time I came up with Loral's Rules for Everquest. Understanding them and following them let me enjoy the strength of the game and focus on what really matters.

Rule 1: Enjoy Every Day You Play.

If you aren't enjoying the game every day you play, change how you play. If every time you log on you feel an uncomfortable desire to experience grind or get depressed when you realize you have a raid, you are playing for the wrong reasons. I've seen many people quit because they do not like the "end game", an idiotic term for a massive online game, because they realize at level 65 what I realized at level 20. Equipment and lvl progression alone won't make the game enjoyable.

Find what you enjoy doing and do it. If you enjoy group hunting with friends most, go hunt. If you enjoy fishing at the lake in West Commonlands, go fish. If you're bored then go explore. Find a new cave and root out the evil that lives there, green mob or not. If you aren't enjoying the game now then levels and equipment won't help.

Rule 2: The Grass Is Not Greener.

Envy and greed are the two most destructive emotions in Everquest. They lead to the only real destruction that can happen in this game, the destruction of friendships. The game isn't much different at 65 than it is at level 20. A Blade of War at level 65 isn't better than the tarnished shortsword at level 2. Enjoy the level you are without sprinting to get to the next.

We all feel the instinct grow. We all want to progress. We all want higher levels, more AA points, and better equipment. Don't be a slave to these feelings. The shine of your blade never seems as bright as the shine of the other guy's. Your class never seems as powerful as those around you. These illusions are false.

Rule 3: Gear, Experience, Levels, and AAs, aren't real. Friendships are.

The only thing you take away from your time in Everquest are experiences and friendships. Your friends list is your most powerful item. The connection to four thousand other people is what sets Everquest aside from Final Fantasy.

There is no return on your Everquest investment other than friendships and fond memories. If you hate raiding or hate camping an item then don't do it. The item you receive will not last. In a few years it will be gone forever. That new shiny shield may seem like a great discovery but the friends who helped you get it are the real treasure. Never hurt a friendship over loot. Don't abuse your friendships for personal gain. You are destroying something real for something fake. You aren't gaining an item, you are losing something far more valuable. Treat everyone with respect and most will treat you the same.

Rule 4: Items, Levels, Characters, and worlds will fall apart in ten years. What will you walk away with?

In ten years how will you look back at your time playing Everquest? Do you consider it "wasted" because you don't have any of your fancy gear or even a record of your vast array of alternate abilities? What will your level or items mean to you then?

Only the fun times you had with your friends will matter when Everquest is no more. Keep contact with them and you may join them in another new game or get together for hamburgers and talk about the time you battled Trakanon. Those experiences and those friendships are the only thing that will last longer than the game.

Rule 5: Roleplayers Have More Fun and Roleplaying is Contagious.

Roleplaying is the breath of life in a game like Everquest. It is the seasoning to an otherwise bland meal. Without roleplaying, its just a bunch of statistics and polygons.

How does your character act? What is her background? Take examples from a movie or book, whether fantasy or not. Perhaps your fighter is the Lucca Brazzi of Everquest, lumbering and dangerous but without the best social etiquette. Perhaps your wizard is Elizabeth's Sir Walsingham, smart and strategic and always scheming. Perhaps your rogue is like Lara Croft, sexy and self confident as she dives into the ancient crypts with little concern. Give them a personality of their own. Give them faults. Make them real. Use emotes that speak for your character's emotions in any situation.

The more you roleplay, the more people roleplay around you. If you're into your character, they get into theirs. The more you roleplay the more you will enjoy the game.

Nothing puzzles me more than the constant negativity I read in Everquest editorials and message board postings. We pay for this game. If you hate the game then quit playing. Everquest is not an investment, its a game. All you can ever possibly hope to get out of it is entertainment, friendships, and experiences of great battles to remember. If you aren't having fun, then change the way you play until you are having fun. It is your money and your time, don't waste any of it doing anything you don't want to do.