Read more about my adventures through Norath in part 2: The Saga Continues Part 2: My Return To EverQuest (Project 1999)
The other day I wrote a long post about The failures of modern day MMOs and throughout the process nostalgia kicked in. Much of what I wrote about touched topics surrounding the old classic EverQuest and what made it so special. Fortunately enough, the classic experience I remember is still available, albeit not through SOE.
According to their website: Relive the classic Everquest MMORPG Gaming Experience as it was in 1999 and onward. Project 1999 is a free to play Emulated Everquest Server giving Players the opportunity to experience Classic EQ Once again, starting with the original 3 continents and a max level of 50, with the look and feel of the old interface and several modifications making game mechanics similar to how the game used to be. Project 1999 is the best and most popular classic Everquest experience.
This seemed too good to be true! Classic everquest, not the watered down, noob friendly progression servers with overpowered newbie quest armor and everything working on easy mode. True classic everquest, at least as close as you can get these days. After wondering how many people would actually be investing their time in an emulated server I set it up. Sure enough the server select screen told me everything I needed to get excited.
740 people! That is incredible! What makes this even more astonishing is that Project 1999 has a strict policy against multi-boxing. Some emulated servers are populated by people running whole groups by themselves playing the game solo. Because of P1999's 1 person 1 logged in character policy all 700+ people you see in the above list are active individuals. That is absolutely enough people to be able to find groups and socialize and really build a strong and healthy community of players. That is enough people to foster serious competition and if I am lucky, a little bit of light hearted drama.
So I set off into the world on a series of adventures to see what things are like in this brave new (old) world. And check out some familiar locations quickly to try and get a feel for the server.
Amazingly, East Commonlands had over 100 people in it when I checked a few moments ago. Like classic, P1999 does not have an auction house, or a bazaar, or any of those other modern economic conveniences. If you want to buy or sell something you go to the (player designated) trading zone and tout your wares or put out a request for what you are interested in. While some might see this as a bother, it is also a tremendous opportunity. It allows for a real barter system where you interact and deal in real time and it allows for some really fun trading if that is the kind of thing you are into. Once I get some funds and get a feel for the economy I hope to begin flipping a few choice items like I did back in the early days of live EQ.
But, the server has been around for a while. It makes sense that there would be a lot of higher level players hanging out together. What about for new players? What can someone getting started today expect on an emulated server like this? One might think that it would be hard to find groups but in fact the newbie zones are bustling with people as well.
People have been friendly and social and over the past few days I have leveled a wizard up to 13 grouping mostly in Greater Faydark and Clan Crushbone. Most of my social interactions have been through long grouping sessions, most groups of 4-6 players sticking together for well over 1-2 hours each session. You get a feeling of community and you get to know the names of the people you see and interact with.
The game is just as hard and unforgiving as I remember with much of the modern niceties removed or disabled. Maps are gone, everything stays with your corpse when you die (requiring corpse runs) beginning at level 1, trains are just as prevalent as ever in the newbie dungeons, competition over camps exists and drives part of the fun of the game, weapons and armor are extremely basic and not powerful at all. The game is a challenge, a wonderful challenge.
Anyone interested in playing should take a look at the following resources:
Getting started: http://www.project1999.org/forums/showthread.php?t=2651
The server wiki: http://wiki.project1999.org/Main_Page
If you end up getting started shoot me a tell the next time you are in game! My main is going to be my wizard, ErasmusPrime
I plan to continue to chronicle my adventures as I level up and eventually begin raiding, an experience I truly miss.