Nostalgia Strikes Norrath (Again)

Shortly after the feeding frenzy that was the new Everquest progression server’s launch, another was added, as Daybreak was probably shocked and overwhelmed by the flood of new and returning players. Ragefire and Lockjaw are currently up and running, and I’ve seen plenty of tales around the blogosphere from newbies and veterans alike. People are enjoying the old-school grind that they had distanced themselves from for years. The more recent glut of samey themepark MMOs seems to be getting old for these folks, and I don’t blame them for having a taste for nostalgia. Everquest was my first MMO experience after all, and I too felt the urge to go back and play the game.

Rumors began spreading that the same treatment might be applied to Everquest II, and I was struck with that nostalgic twinge again. More so this time, because despite having played Everquest first, my first true MMO love was the second iteration of Norrath. You can go back through my archives here if you like, but rest assured I blogged plenty about the game, and would gladly do so again given a similar feeling. The trouble is, as I’ve discussed before, that nostalgia is a backhanded mistress that will lure you in with false security, but soon enough you realize why you stopped playing a game in the first place. In the case of a game like the Final Fantasy VII remake, nostalgia for the game makes me want it, but I also know I couldn’t possibly sit through the original again. Recent news has revealed that the game won’t be just a visual update, but rather a re-imagining and that makes it far more tolerable. But I digress.


Wilhelm has a fantastic review of what is being presented in-game right now, via an inbox poll, so we can glean a bit about what may become of this new idea. It sounds very real, and as if it will be happening very soon. One new feature that will be available during this launch that wasn’t present back in 2004 is a separate PvP server. They didn’t actually put PvP into the game until 2006, which coincided with my first foray into this version of Norrath. Another post covering the “time-locked expansion servers” was over on Inventory Full, and I had this to say in the comments:

I’m in agreement that the PvP server will probably be the more successful of the two. I was actually just talking with my Dad about it, us both being long time EQ2 players. I remember when Nagafen first launched during the Kingdom of Sky days and the huge amount of players flooding Antonica and the Commonlands was amazing. It was a fun time for everyone. However, seeing as how PvP wasn’t a launch-time option, it will also be a different experience than the one I had when Nagafen launched.

Is it worth paying the sub price though? Will the populations stay and play through the content or will they just pop in to check things out and then head back to whatever else they have been doing? Time will tell. I just feel like if I was to subscribe again I should probably level my two mains up through the last couple expansions that I haven’t played, despite nostalgia tugging at my heart strings.

Also, I’d prefer keeping the game locked at EoF or Kunark, and not really going beyond that. Even SF was a decent expansion but I was pretty burnt out on the game by then. Knowing that it will indeed move past those points in time, and possibly at a very fast rate, I feel like participating wouldn’t be worth it unless you got in on the ground floor and played nothing else til you had your fill again.

The PvP side of things actually interests me far more, but that’s probably more due to the fact that I actually participated in a server launch, rather than PvP being the make-or-break factor. However, I do remember the PvP system in EQ2 being rather fun. You’d be locked to one faction or the other, and couldn’t group up with or even communicate with the opposing faction. You couldn’t attack anyone +-10 levels of yourself, unless you went into higher level zones where there weren’t restrictions. I have told the stories time and time again but I can’t express how much fun I had with MMO PvP in this game and it alone. Nothing has compared since. Still, as I said in the above comment, I don’t know that the populations will stay solid and I don’t know if it will really be worth the sub time, considering my nomadic nature with gaming these days.

In a related note, though the post isn’t pertaining to this subject, Murf wrote a piece on culling one’s backlog, and I commented:

I’m kind of the opposite in that I used to beat all of the games I owned as a kid. I didn’t always have new ones at my disposal either, so any that were too difficult sat unfinished until later when I had nothing else to do or my skills had improved. It wasn’t until I discovered RPGs that I realized some games take a very long time to beat, if you even get that far. Of course I did beat many of those early RPGs, but not all. Now days it’s hard to keep up with the pricing and the ability to spend a couple bucks on a bundle of games. Those seem to be the easiest to dismiss though, as I really only paid for the game(s) I wanted, and the others were just a bonus (or not).

I try to keep a stable of games that aren’t necessarily beatable. MMOs, MOBAs, lobby shooters, amongst others tend to be something you can let sit for a while and then go back to. Where I feel the most guilt is the games that I purchased years ago, that I know are great games, that I loved playing but dropped for the next “new shiny” and haven’t gone back to. That, and the sheer amount of money wasted on MMOs and expansions or the sub time itself. This is why I don’t really subscribe to MMOs anymore, because F2P/B2P absolves that guilt of letting the game collect dust.

What I don’t understand about myself is that ten years ago I could literally play only one game, and be satisfied. I can’t do that anymore and I don’t know why.

It seems I have come full circle in my gaming career. I started as a nomad, became committed to a single MMO (Everquest II) and then became nomadic again. Still, I have had issues with committing to one MMO, or playing religiously even when I do have a sub running. I’m not sure why this happened exactly, but I know that it’s what will probably keep me from partaking in these progression server experiences. I just know that despite subscribing to the game, I would likely not play it enough to warrant the money spent, unless perhaps I had a dedicated group to play with that could coincide with my fucked up schedule. Not only that, if I was to pay for a subscription to this game, I should probably just stick to leveling my two characters who aren’t max level but were capped out a couple of expansions back. Theoretically I could do this on my own time as the game is F2P and has dropped most of its restrictions anyway. I’d at least be able to do solo content, and then if I needed help or wanted to delve more deeply into the end game, there would be players there who are still dedicated to the game.

My pattern with the game was strange after I took an extended break when Kunark was in its prime. I have gone back for expansions, seen chunks of content and then have left again. I took 3 whole years off and missed a bunch of stuff. A year ago I made an excursion back into Norrath and saw much of the dungeons and group content I had missed through the years, but when the (then) newest expansion sat unfinished in front of me, I had no further desire to play. There has been one expansion since then, so I am even further behind. I just find it hard to justify going back to the “good old days” of EQ2 when I have so much left to do in the current game. But damn it if I don’t really want to play some EQ2 PvP again.

If nothing else, my blog’s title should make more sense now.

#everquest2 #mmos #progressionservers #nostalgia