Oh.  My.  God.  If I ever say anything bad about how tedious and dull Asheron’s Call can be in the future, please remind me of this horrifying experience to snap me out of it.  Next to Everquest, muling in AC is like a holodeck simulation of a green beret invasion of ninja headquarters on crack.  Originally, I was going to wait until level 20 in EQ before making a published judgment call on the issue, but seeing how the game works, I will NEVER last that long.  Just getting to 6 was a trial of long and boring spawn camping, foraging for edible roots, and desperately searching for that rare vendor who would sell me drinking water since, as everyone knows, the sparkling springs of Norrath all contain lethal amounts of heavy metal salts or nerve toxins or elephant urine or something, as nobody can just get some fucking water from the stream.  However, if you can forage, you don’t have to worry about food, since you can always seem to get a dressed rabbit carcass while swimming in the middle of the ocean.

I was going to make this into a chronicle, but I soon realized that it would merely consist of screenshots of unbelievably retarded stuff bordered by several hundred instances of the word "FUCK", so instead I present it here, as a warning to all.  For the children.

I started my generic Wood Elf Druid (since this is a race/class combination that can stay away from other players almost indefinitely) in the undoubtedly French city of Kelethin, an insane array of towering platforms built into treetops.  I remembered it from when I was in the EQ beta for 1.5 weeks before breaking my beta CD in half.  It’s a good place to fall to your death a lot, as the ramps and flimsy rope bridges are often totally invisible to you until you somehow manage to get on them by accident.  To maximize the chance of this happening, the city is laid out in no logical pattern whatsoever.  The threat of death by starvation loomed over me strongly as I wandered around forever trying to find the goddamn bank.  After about 80 minutes or so, I managed to find my guildmaster, clicked on him, and then mistakenly auto-attacked him by hitting the "a" button, which as every Quake player knows should be turn/slide left.  There are many ways to die in your home town sanctuary.  Some people get more creative about it than others, as this picture indicates.  Oh yeah and EQ’s graphics are sooooo superior.  Every frigging cartoon character in the game wanders around in the pose Linadian is striking here, as if at any moment a wild west shootout might occur and you want to be quick on the draw.

The first thing you must do as a newbie in EQ is to get yourself equipped with the basics.  This means find a guild willing to take you in and give you all sorts of crap you would never be able to afford in your entire life.  Note the warhammer… I estimate that you would need to save all your cash for about 4 or so levels in order to buy this pitiful melee weapon on your own.  In exchange for this sponsorship, the guild gets not experience, but merely the comforting knowledge that they are not alone in their meaningless eternal struggle to reach higher levels so they can camp harder mobs all day.  That and the satisfaction that comes from knowing that a dorky wood elf druid is running around with a silly guild tag over his head.  Also note that the visitors in the guild picture are named "Rozco Picoltrane" and "Dunno Enythn".  This is a strong indication of the powerful presence of the roleplaying element in EQ.

I had heard that EQ is incredibly immersive, getting the player directly into the feel of the game.  Indeed, I was astonished when one of my first opponents, the goblin whelp here, cursed me with the well-known ClanRunnyEye exclamation, "Hit By non-melee for 4 damage."  Goblins aren’t all that bad… while he’s trying to kill me, he takes the time to give me the exact data on the effects of my magical attacks. 

If only all monsters could do that… but as we all know, not all opponents are capable of speech.

Way to keep fiction, guys.

Apparently at some point in EQ’s history, the developers stopped stealing from DikuMUD programming long enough to realize that players were doing exploitative things like using walls as tactical barriers between themselves and pursuing monsters.  The solution was simple:  all non-player characters walk through walls.  Or attack through them.  Or just wish you dead, for some reaon, half a zone away.  All NPC’s have these magical powers, since at higher levels the most highly camped enemies are otherwise benevolent NPC’s that happen to be worth a lot of experience.  This guard standing in the middle of his fireplace like some catatonic Santa Claus will not be bothered by the fact that there’s a fucking foot of stone in every direction when the call arises for him to jump out and hack down the mob I was working on for 4 minutes, depriving me of experience and loot.

As for players no longer able to do realistic things like get behind a wall to take cover, this is not a problem.  Anyone who has taken a course in basic strategy knows that you can escape any pursuer by simply stepping into the next zone. 

If you’re twinked fortunate, you might be able to go pick up some more leather dominatrix gear to complete your armor.  Here I am in my new leather cap, rawhide facemask, patchwork sleeves… what’s that?  You think I look exactly the same as I did before?  Yes well you know, we don’t have time to implement every little detail like getting your armor to appear on your character model.  We’re too busy implementing stuff like how to piss off everyone who pre-ordered our expansion pack, then cancelling their shipments.

And of course, maintaining our fantastic roleplaying-oriented character name filter.


What don’t you see here?  Lots of screenshots of the exciting adventures you can have in EQ.  Well, that’s easy to summarize… think about running your cartoon character out to one location, wait for something you can kill to come along, attack it, kill it, loot it of its pitiful treasure, then sit down and wait for another one to show up.  Repeat for hours and hours.  At higher levels, do the same thing in a room with 8 other people waiting for the monster that drops the (lame device that’s totally necessary to your well-being and is only obtainable by endless camping).  You might get something decent after skipping work and waiting for 21 hours in a room full of people arguing who gets the (lame device that’s totally necessary to your well-being and is only obtainable by endless camping) next time.  At one point, someone remarked that EQ just seemed boring to me because I was at a relatively low level.  He was saying this as he sat on a hill waiting for the same damn dwarf NPC to spawn for hours.  That’s what I have to look forward to.

Will I continue to check it out?  Sure… I owe it to myself to keep slamming my head into the wall until level 20, or until I absolutely cannot take it anymore, or until one of Verant’s legal geniuses threatens some sort of weakly-grounded court action against me because I said their game sucks.  I might one day find something good about EQ.  But I doubt it.  However, I can honestly say that there is only one thing that EQ does better than AC.  And that, of course, is tits.




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