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EverQuest: What You Really Get From an Online Game 1134

Posted by michael
from the step-one-is-admitting-you're-an-addict dept.
dsanfte writes "If you're reading this, you may be considering picking up EverQuest. Most likely you've heard from friends how great this "addictive" game is, how in-depth it can become, and how much fun you'll have playing it. As usual, however, you aren't getting the straight deal. So before you pick up that EverQuest box, let me tell you the other side of that euphoric story." The rest of Sanftenberg's excellent article is below.

Everquest is a game centered on rewarding you for how much time you put into it. This is the core design philosophy behind the game, since they charge you by the month and make more money the longer you stick around. What they don't tell you is that taking your money is about all they're interested in. They care little for player complaints, and less about player suggestions and requests. They're in this to milk you for all you're worth, and that's the first thing you have to know.

The second thing you have to know is that the game stops being fun. By that time though, you're so "addicted" to the game, you don't realize it. The game becomes a source of frustration and anger instead of a source of entertainment and fun. It becomes a chore. It becomes a job. You plod away at the keyboard, obsessed and consumed with getting that new item, or finishing that last quest, and while so consumed you begin to hate the game. Vehemently. It's a game that goes on forever, and one that you can never win.

After playing the game for a while, you'll start conversing with other players, and you'll see the one thing all players have in common is that they all hate Sony - the designers of Everquest. (It should be noted that Verant, the original development company, has been absorbed into Sony Online Entertainment -- so will be referred to as Sony for simplicity) This is baffling at first glance, because they send Sony $12.95 every month for a form of supposedly voluntary entertainment, which they enjoy, and yet they despise them! Look a little deeper though, and you'll see that most people who dislike Sony are the ones who no longer have fun playing Everquest. They aren't getting what they want out of the game anymore, and they look to Sony, being the source of all changes and improvements/breakdowns in the game, as the cause. Right or wrong, this is the state of affairs; the consumers hate the company providing them with a service that they think they enjoy.

Let's go back to the part about Sony not caring about their customers. Recently, they changed their GM (Game Master) Customer Service system such that, instead of one GM being assigned to each game server permanently to handle problems, there would instead be a smaller pool of GMs roaming all the servers infrequently. When enough player problems on a server requiring GM help cropped up (around 30), a GM would be sent to handle the petitions (problems) one at a time until finished, and move on to the next server. This had the effect of increasing wait times on getting petitions answered from a few hours to many hours, or even several days by many accounts. This was introduced supposedly as a cost-cutting measure, which would improve efficiency. They'd have to hire less GMs if they pooled them up into a roving band, instead of assigning one for each server. In actuality, while this may have made things more efficient on Sony's side, the players were left waiting for days until that magic number was reached where a GM would log on to the server to help them out.

On Sony's website, there is a link to a feature called Developer's Corner. Over the two years this has been up and running, the person in charge of Customer Relations at Sony, Alan "Absor" VanCouvering, has turned it from a section dedicated to answering player questions, into a simple Press Release box with little useful information. Where there would be several updates per day, now there are perhaps one or two per week. Answers to player questions are few, and replies to player emails are fewer. Since most answers to customer questions are now handled on specific, "class" (ranger, paladin, monk, etc) message boards by the developers themselves (once in a blue moon of course), one is left wondering what Absor is paid to do. Twiddle his thumbs perhaps? The world may never know.

This leads up to a lack of will at Sony to address their customers with any sort of respect. Often, sudden "game-changing" features will be added or removed in a patch, with little or no explanation given to the players, and no recourse for the players themselves other than to submit comments to the black hole at the Dev Corner. Other changes can render a class' or items' abilities weaker, slower, or even drastically altered or removed from the game. Again, the players have no say in the matter officially, and rarely get these changes reversed through massive online signature petitions. It is quite common now for these sorts of changes to come completely unannounced and unexplained, leaving the players themselves to bug test, figure out what happened, what is wrong, and leaving them again to wander off to the Dev Board asking what the purpose of the change was. Far too often in this process, the sheer discoordination and incompetence at Sony is revealed, as the changes happened accidentally or were not intended to occur in the manner they did. The bottom line being, you can go to bed one night with a great character and items, and wake up in the morning to find all that has changed; leaving you holding your member and your opinions mattering less than a pig's squeals in a slaughterhouse.

The final aspect of the will at Sony to disassociate from the customers is how they handle disputes between players. In the Everquest game world, you can find yourself in competition with other players for the ability to play the game. Yes, in EQ, you compete with other players for the right to kill the monsters. It's massive artificial scarcity. If you aren't online early enough, or if you don't move fast enough, you lose. MOBs (as monsters are known) spawn at predictable intervals; and the design of the game itself, added onto the times that Sony resets its servers for patches, means that if you don't live in Europe or on the east coast, you and your guild (an organization of players) are provided with less game content than any other time zone or area. You get to have "fun" as another guild of players in another part of the world kills a mob required to advance in the game while you're in bed, or at work, and nothing can be done about it. Often, players will do this purposefully to keep you from killing other, stronger mobs, so they can keep that part of the game to themselves. The GMs will not help you, the Guides (volunteer player GMs) will tell you they can't do anything (and that's true, they are impotent for the most part), and you and the 60 people in your guild are left holding your collective members for six months while you wait for said east-coast unemployed or European guild to take pity on you and let you have the mob. Fat chance.

Sony of course doesn't mind these situations in the slightest; because you see, this is their high-end game. Where in the lower levels you'll spend your time getting great items by fighting mobs that take seconds to prepare for and a minute to kill, at the high end you are required to spend multiple hours (sometimes up to twelve hours) with a "raid force" of 60 or more people just killing useless, annoying mobs (which drop little or no loot) put there as obstacles. Finally, when you reach the boss mob, the fight may last perhaps 30 minutes or more. This 30 minutes of combat is certainly not fun, as all you do is point your character at a mob and press a single button to auto-attack. Many melee-classes go watch TV for the duration of the fight. Your clerics (usually eight or more) cast the same healing spell in a long healing chain to keep your warrior alive, and your wizards all cast the same damaging spells for the 30 minutes of the fight. This is to kill a single mob (in this case, named Aten Ha Ra), which drops four items for your guild.

These situations are 'lovingly' referred to by the players as timesinks; gameplay traps intended to waste your time and keep you playing longer. There are hundreds of them; others incredibly longer than simply getting to a mob. Several quests required to advance in the game require you to spend 100+ hours sitting in single locations, killing hundreds of mobs in 12-hour stretches for a "rare drop", such as ore in the ssraeshza mines, which you use to create "bane" weapons; or the shissar commanders for key pieces; with which to fight the boss mob of the zone. Unlike the other parts of the game, these timesinks are required for advancement, and there is no getting around them unless you wish to stop playing. This is of course not fun at all, but as said above, by this time you'll have long stopped having fun with EQ. You'll do it anyway though, as thousands of others have, because you, like them, are addicted. The quest to kill the shissar Emperor of Ssraeshza is one of the most vicious timesinks in the entire game, but it is merely one example among dozens. To even reach this area of the game requires months of non-stop raiding with your guild; sometimes up to a year of raiding. Only then will you be powerful enough to enter.

Expansions to the game are put out about once per year. These cost around $30 to buy when released, and are required to visit new zones, gain new levels, and so forth. For anyone just entering the game now to be on equal footing with others, they will need to buy the original game and all four expansions at retail price. Of course, no expansion yet released by Sony has been complete when it hit the shelves. Often the final zone in the expansion would be left unfinished, or in such a state of bugginess that it was unplayable. Other zones will be incomplete or have bad pathing for the mobs. Items and monsters will not be "balanced" for difficulty, and players will sometimes stumble onto great equipment for their characters, only to have Sony later decide it is too powerful, and "nerf" it. When an item is nerfed, it's reduced in effectiveness or power, often to the point of absurdity, or it simply stops entering the game world. This rewards players who gun through the new expansion as fast as possible to get the upper hand over their competition on the server, and punishes anyone who cannot put 12+ hours of EQing in per day. The problems with expansions highlight another aspect of Sony which is decidedly underwhelming: their playtesting (or lack thereof). Many bugs in the new expansions are left for players to discover themselves and work around; fixes are often delayed by as much as a week while Sony tries to find a solution. In Everquest, you pay to be a bug tester, and receive no feedback or acknowledgement that any bugs you report are fixed, or even looked at, unless its fix shows up in a terse (bi-) weekly patch message. Most bugs are left unfixed due to their overwhelming numbers.

Class balancing is an on-going project of Sony to try to make sure each class (warrior, cleric, wizard, ranger, etc) has its own niche, and feels useful and meaningful in the game world. They seem oblivious to the fact that items are just as much a part of the game as classes though, and it seems they let their zone (game area) developers run wild with items, creating more work for the developers. If you're keeping a tally, the Mrylokar's Dagger in NToV was one of them. The Mistwalker from Lady Vox was another. These weapons were both nerfed because they were too powerful, and made the classes who could use them much too strong versus the mobs of the time. There is no feedback to the players on what the "visions" for the classes are supposed to be (beyond the vague three-line descriptions in the manual), and no way to for the players to venture a guess of what might be "too powerful" and in line to be nerfed next. Playing EQ is a lot like playing in a casino; you can see your winnings vanish in the blink of an eye out of sheer bad luck. It is not a game where you can ever feel secure.

All this pales in comparison to player harassment, of course. From sexual-orientation insults to other players spamming your chat bar, EQ has it all. There are other forms of harassment too: Often when in competition with other guilds (as you will find yourself quite often if you play long enough), you will see them employ tactics such as "training" mobs onto you to keep you away from the contested mob encounter or zone. A "train" is typically a large number of powerful mobs (10-20), which the other guild will gather up from the zone and dump onto your raid in order to kill you. The GMs will again do nothing about this, nor will the Guides, unless they are there to witness it. Being that there are typically only a half-dozen GM/Guides on a server of 2500+ players at any given time, and that trains are completely unpredictable and random, there is of course almost no way for them to witness these events. While server logs exist that can prove this malicious player harassment occurred, they will usually refuse to even take a look, because it constitutes work, and simply dismiss the problem outright. Your guild is then left holding their collective members once again. Do you see the pattern forming here?

Everquest is a game full of people who want to "win" and "be the best" at any cost. This includes griefing you and your guild, making your gameplay miserable. Why not simply quit then, you ask? If the game isn't fun and sucks this badly, why would anyone play it? Well, because they are addicted. They are addicted to the mobs, to the loot, and to the social atmosphere with other people in their guilds. They have invested so much time in these characters (often hundreds of days of play time, sometimes more time than they spend at their jobs), that they can't will themselves to give it up. They play on instead, hoping things will get better, and nursing a great and deep hatred for Sony and the game itself. If you play long enough, you will see this as the universal truth. People who quit are viewed as giving up on their guilds; they are ridiculed, denounced, and hated. There is massive peer pressure to keep playing. Often people you thought were your friends in the game were simply using you to advance, or improve their characters. Online relationships between people in EQ are fickle, and are only good as long as everyone's getting a good dose of the drug (loot, advancement in the game, and good social relations with their guild).

Perhaps now you've begun to see the other side of EQ: The buggier side, the darker side; the side of despair and anger, fear and frustration. The game will absorb your life if you let it, while the days and weeks melt away into oblivion. I have barely touched on the repetitive gameplay you must endure to reach the top levels of the game: killing mob after mob, hundreds upon hundreds in an endless non-challenging stream to gain experience. I have not said anything about linkdeath (losing your connection) from Sony network problems, or server crashes where you lose any experience or items recently attained (and for which you are not compensated by customer service). I have not said anything about the Legends(TM) subscriptions, where you get to pay $40/month to get the customer service that you should be receiving anyway. There are many other problems with this game that I did not go into here. Before you get into EQ, realize what you're jumping into. Look before you leap.

David Sanftenberg
aka Dolalin Bonewielder
62 Necromancer of Lanys T`Vyl

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EverQuest: What You Really Get From an Online Game

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  • Re:EQ isn't too good (Score:2, Informative)

    by coasterfreak (131657) <uamusme&yahoo,com> on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:39PM (#4967605) Homepage
    Pioneered eh? ever heard of UO?
  • by Alarion (263883) on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:48PM (#4967697) Homepage
    but they keep billing me

    I cancelled back on October before the billing cycle for that month. I have been billed for three months now. They finally cancelled ONE of my accounts after I had repeatedly asked they cancel ALL accounts in my name, since the in-game cancel option doesn't seem to work.

    Every month I get some incompetent monkey piece of shit emailing me back telling me "your account has been cancelled, you will not be billed again".

    I know they have done this to others as well. Maybe a class-action lawsuit would be in order? :>
  • by Uller-RM (65231) on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:55PM (#4967769) Homepage
    He actually describes the game pretty well. :P

    You create a character with six vital statistics, a spell/skill book, and a bunch of empty slots for inventory. You put armor and weapons in your inventory slots. You walk your blocky 100-triangle avatar out in a third-person view, you click on a monster to target it, and you hit a key to start auto-attacking it. You sit there twiddling your thumbs until either it dies or you die.

    Once you get a few levels, you can start getting spells and skills. These make it slightly less boring -- you make your character sit, and memorize spells, and then drag them to a bar on your screen, and you can hit 1-8 to cast them in battle. It's still pretty boring.

    That, right there, is the game in a nutshell. You use a mix of auto-attacking and spells (or, being honest, either one or the other depending on your class) to kill creatures and level up. There is no plot, no rise in stature beyond who has the best items (aka phat lootz) and highest levels. Oh, and one thing the article writer forgot to mention -- those high-level planar raids have to be signed up for on a calendar up to two months in advance.

    Yes, that's the game. What people get addicted to is the in-game chat, the shared experiences and what people share when they've got little else to do. I played EQ for two years before getting bored with it, and never got beyond lv20 -- my fondest memory of it is just BSing one night with a friend, drinking myself silly in-game (there's actually an Alcohol Tolerance skill) and doing drunken leaps off the bridges of a tree city called Felwithe.

    The author's mostly just a whiny little technogoth -- but the game really doesn't have that much to offer. For the cost of the game and four expansions, and a few months subscription, you could easily buy an XBox and a copy of Splinter Cell, or upgrade your video card and play Doom 3 in a few months... or, my preference, do something nice for your significant other. Believe me, I'd rather have warm arms around me than an item in EQ anyday.
  • by ShaperofChaos (536682) <.drew.haven. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:57PM (#4967778)
    I can understand what he's talking about, even if it seems a little extreme. I've seen a similar thing happen with Anarchy Online. I know a few people, and have done all I can to avoid this myself, who have gotten so wrapped up in finding one item or making the "uberest" character they can that it has ruined the game for them. There is one item in particular, the Grid Armor, which is one of the rarest items in the game. The highest version of it, Mk 4, is extremely rare. I have known people who have spent over 100 hours in the game just looking for it or trying to accumulate the credits(the monetary unit) to buy it from another character. A few of them quit when it seemed like if they couldn't get the item, the game wouldn't be fun, yet it wasn't fun trying to get it. There is a point where it stops being so fun, but you keep playing. The most interesting is the people who blame FunCom (the makers of AO) for all their problems. There are still many bugs and inbalances in AO, and some people have quit because of this. Most people continue to play for those really good parts of the game they started for, but dying repeatedly from a bug to the point you can't gain a level really gets on your nerves after a while. I think what it comes down to is the escape from reality. That is where the addiction really lies. It is a roleplaying game, and by it's fundamental quality it allows you to take on another character, personality, and life for a while. In this other world you can have friends, or be successful, or powerful, or whatever it is you really want ot be. I think a lot of people try to use AO as an escape from life and that is where they go wrong. When it isn't all that much more perfect you find you hate it even more than real life because you thought it could be perfect. It's kinda like growing up and wishing you were a kid again when everything was so easy, even though all the same problems of the world were out there. Some people do get nearly addicted to the game, and they are addicted to the escape, in my opinion.
  • by p3d0 (42270) on Friday December 27, 2002 @03:10PM (#4967885)
    I didn't see any "blame" in the article, except toward Sony for lousy customer service. I think you read that into it. He simply describes the addiction.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 27, 2002 @03:28PM (#4968031)
    I have played everquest in the past. Let me start off by saying this: it almost seems like the people who created this game looked at what factors get humans addicted to things, and put them in the game on purpose.

    I for a while had 3 accounts, and multiple computers to play characters simultaneously. I spent a great deal of time on the game, but kept it in check somewhat compared to other cases I have heard about (one thread on my server's messageboard had longest time played at once, and some people had responses about playing 72 hours or more in one sitting - all in a row!).

    Basically, for those that say "get a life" or "just quit" fail to see why people play - it's all based on habit. You can say the same thing to a cigarette smoker - "just quit" - for some, they can just quit, easily. Others, it's very hard and they ultimately cannot quit. Generally, the people I have seen get most addicted to everquest were the type of people who like to be the best at something - to "win" almost all the time against other people in whatever game they chose to specialize in.

    I have somewhat of that type of personality. When I get into a particular game, I almost play that game to the exclusion of all others. Example being Tekken Tag - for a while I was big into Tekken Tag, playing it every day trying to figure out long strings of combos, and then would take my skills to the arcades where the better tekken tag players would hang out and try my skills against them (I would practice at a corner store near my house).

    Even after the point where I could beat the computer opponent in one credit (2 quarters) without losing, using every different character, I would still get beat by the kids at the mall who played it even more than me. This mentality to be "elite" is precisely what Evercrack prays upon.

    The odd thing is, the people I have met who were addicted to Everquest were in general very smart. One person in my family played it after I introduced him to it (big mistake) obsessively to the point of almost ruining his life. And yes people have died over it already. Is it the games fault? Yes and no. Yes in that they designed it specifically to take advantage of those with obsessive personalities - No in that a person can quit and is not physically addicted to it any time they want.

    Some people I know have played it and said "what's the big deal" etc and stopped playing. Others I know are still playing it, and got addicted to it. I have known people that quit smoking after smoking for years, yet cannot put down Everquest. Yes, it is more mentally addictive than cigarettes for a certain type of personality.

    There are certain things in the game which become excessively frustrating, such as the "timesinks" mentioned above. An example is something they called "jboots" back in the day. There was an item which would drop off of a "rare spawn" that only popped up every 8 hours or so in real-time. You you would think it would be easy to get, but there was some randomness involved as well, so it could be 8 hours some days, and 24 hours other days (off of something called "an ancient cyclops").

    Camping this item is what made me quit. After sitting in the same spot for 8 hours (realtime) this thing popped up, and guess what - one of the 5 other players in the area got it. I got so mad I wanted to punch my monitor and realized this game made me more angry than any other game I played before in my life - and to involve me this way, so intensely, that I must quit and be rid of it because I saw the path the high level game was going down.

    I only had a one 50+ character, and about 4 40+ level characters, but I witnessed first hand the potential addictiveness of the game and stopped myself before I got too into it. What makes me very angry is that they put things in the game that they knew would cause arguments amongst players, and they knew ahead of time it would cause addiction - but they put it in anyways - simply to make a profit.

    Call me a "fool" or "whiner" if you want - but I got out before I got heavily addicted, right at the threshold of when the game stopped being fun, and became more like a job. I played the game up until a few months after the luclin expansion, starting from a few months after it came out, and was able to quit cold turkey because I realized it was a big waste of my time.

    You must understand however that people's addictions should not lightly be tread upon. You don't joke around with someone who was a heroin addict about starting up again. You don't keep offering a cigarette to someone who has quit - because these people had to struggle to stop doing the addictive activity. It's basically that some human minds work differently than others, and IMHO it's very immoral to prey upon the weaknesses of the human psyche.
  • Re:A Simple Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Friday December 27, 2002 @03:49PM (#4968225) Homepage Journal
    Your weapon against killers is loss of character, loss of level.

    Little nitpick - Levels were introduced into old school RPG's for a way to show that your player is more skilled. Levels are outdated. In online games, keeping skills seperate and increasing them based on learning them makes for a more realistic and fun game.

    I kill 200 mice, so now I'm good at lockpicking? Levels were good when they were introduced, but need to go.
  • Can't work (Score:2, Informative)

    by beldraen (94534) <.chad.montplaisir. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday December 27, 2002 @03:50PM (#4968234)
    Problem with twinks is that they are willing to pay money for someone else's account who has spent the time get the 1337 character. Mature accounts go for big bucks.
  • by los furtive (232491) <ChrisLamothe@gma i l .com> on Friday December 27, 2002 @03:52PM (#4968250) Homepage

    And its McDonalds fault that she didnt know it was hot???

    No, it is McDonald's fault for heating the coffee to an excessive temperature. It was the preparation that was at fault and not the lack of warning.

    At the time McD's coffee was heated to 190 degrees farenheit, just short of boiling and a full 50 degrees over what people usually heat their coffee at home (something to do with flavour lasting longer when super heated). Even the hot water tap on your kitchen sink doesn't heat water that much! Your bridge maker analogy is wrong, it would be corrrect if the bridge maker got sued for not letting the concrete dry before letting people onto the bridge.

  • Dark Age Of Camelot (Score:3, Informative)

    by polarbear (611) on Friday December 27, 2002 @04:02PM (#4968327)
    I'm suprised no one has brought up the many other games available in the same genre.

    One of them is Dark Age of Camelot. While not a perfect game itself its better then EQ in almost every regard. In fact sony hiding server populations and many of the newer features in EQ were pathetic ripoffs and "inspirations" copied from DAOC (much like many DAOC features were copied from EQ, UO, AC, etc). The released information about EQ2 looks more like DAOC rehashed then EQ... That should tell you something.

    DAOC servers are broken down into three types. The first is the most numerous, Realm vs Realm. This is where there are three realms, each with their own PvE content, that fight over forts, etc against members of opposite realms. On these servers your "uberguilds" are no where near as obnoxious as on EQ because it takes team work and alliances and overall good relations with your fellow realmmates or else your leadership is going to be laughed off and you are not going to be invited to relic raids and similar.

    The second server type is PvP. There are two servers, each where people can kill each other and travel freely between the three realms. I have to admit, it me its a pit of d00dness, but some people seem to really enjoy it.

    The third server is Co-Operative (aka "CareBear" aka what most EQ people play). Here PvP is limited to formal duels and you can travel freely among all three realms. With the expansion pack and all three realms open to you there is _a lot_ of high quality content.

    For more information you can poke around http://www.camelotherald.com. And while there poke around the server, guild, and character pages and note how pathetic it is to pay Sony $40/month for what Camelot gives to you for $12.95/month.

    Some comments on EQ "problems" not present in DAOC:

    - Training. Mobs pulled by other people not in your group leave you the hell alone and turn to their spawn points. This prevents _many_ problems that pissed off players, etc in EQ. If you don't touch a train, it doesn't touch you. (Of course in the dungeon Darkness Falls people have AE groups that often screw up and touch passing mobs and there are a few bugs, but its _nowhere_ near EQ)

    - Death and corpses. No finding your corpse, no asking for a bind or finding a bind npc (which was added in response to DAOC), no corpse graveyards, no waiting five hours for a GM to help you figure out where the hell your corpse is. You die, you lay there and either wait up to X minutes for someone to rez you, or you release and go back to your bind point with all your gear. You just loose a relatively small amount of exp, a relatively small amount of money (to buy back the CON points you lost), and the time it takes to get back where you were.

    - Camping - nowhere near as bad. There are plenty of spots to camp and wait lists are almost nonexistant except for one or two spots server wide (which I don't really understand considering there are many other spots but I guess people love killing the same mob over and over again for 10% more exp then other uncamped spots... *shrug*)

    - Loot - loot from creatures killed by a group is randomly distributed between members of the group. Most servers have a code of honor about "need before greed" and most people happily /roll if there is a contention. If you (or your group) didn't do like 50%+ damage to it, you can't loot it. Also you don't get loot from grays so no farming the same spot forever.

    Also camping for a day plus for loot is pretty rare. Crafting in DAOC is infinitely more viable and with armorcrafting and spellcrafting you can create some very nice suits of armor, etc with magic stats that rival anything you can get from a drop in the old world. (In the new world most of the drops from creatures are randomly generated items... so camping a particular spawn is kinda pointless)

    - Quests - needed mobs respawn fast, almost all of them (with the exception of a couple stages of an epic quest) can be done alone. If multiple people have the same quest they can group and when the mob dies they will all get the same item.

    - Kill stealing - very rare in comparison, the CSR (Customer Service Reps - aka EQ GM's) _do_ care and actually do crap about it. The game also has some safe guards built in dealing with looting, etc (see above)

    - Customer Service - stuck/emergency game stopping appeals usually get a response in 5 to 10 minutes. Other lower priority requests get a response in anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. My average seems to be an hour. With that said, I have not had a reason to speak to a CSR in over four months. No lost corpses, no quests that didn't work, no kill stealing to complain about. How do I know the wait times?
    From speaking to others and you can actually type /appeal and it tells you the wait time and how many appeals in queue and how many CSRs.

    - Faster repop rates - The "Uber" mobs pop a lot faster and are usually surrounded by so many pops that its near impossible to claim a spot for a prolonged period of time. I think the slowest repops are the three dragons, which are a tad under a day (but then again, people only tend to raid them once a week anyways).

    - Level cap is 50. It wasn't raised by the expansion pack (*cough* kunark *cough*). Post-50 character development is done via realm points earned by killing enemies in RvR (or on the carebear server, killing the high level mobs that attack and take over the frontier forts). It takes _far_ less time to reach

    - Content. Yep, EQ wins by shear numbers. But falls flat in comparison to the carebear server and expansion pack when it comes to content available to people who are not in uber guilds or are below level 50.

    - Feel. On the RvR servers, the feeling is much friendlier for the most part. Guilds work together. There are arguments, and blow ups, alliances, etc... makes things interesting.

    There is a lot more. But this is long enough already. :)

    I played EQ for about 16 months and I've now played DAOC since its release. DAOC has proven to be much more fun, less iritating as a whole, with much more to do. I've rolled so many characters for fun on different servers in the same it took me to level up two EQ characters to a level where I would have had to invested a year or two and whored myself out to some guild to see the "end game".

  • by SocietyoftheFist (316444) on Friday December 27, 2002 @04:04PM (#4968342)
    I've had habits, realized it and stopped them. It's called will power. If a person isn't willing to try to help themselves I don't feel sorry for them.
  • Obviously Bitter... (Score:3, Informative)

    by toby360 (524944) on Friday December 27, 2002 @04:15PM (#4968410)
    I've played alot of everquest, and it was definatly a fun game. When it wasn't fun any more, I stopped playing it.. It was that simple. I have a few friends who you might consinder "addicted" to the game, but I think the term addidcted is slapped on to easily these days when it comes to gaming. One of the most important and "fun" aspects of everquest is actually not the fancy dancy magic spells or any one of the many quests you can do, its actually conversing with people in a group. The social aspect of everquest is what I think makes the game a lot more fun than just a plain hack and slash game would be. your talking to real people with real problems, its quite similar to MSN/ICQ/AIM out there only you have a common medium to converse about (Everquest itself).
  • by IsoRashi (556454) on Friday December 27, 2002 @04:44PM (#4968591)
    To see the other side of the coin, here is an amusing yet insightful link [bowlofmice.com] for everyone. Tweety used to be a guide, and on the site are several of her rants. I quite enjoyed them :)

    FYI, Tweety now works for Mythic Entertainment and is sort of the PR for Dark Age of Camelot. It was amusing, reading this article, because I could replace a lot of the things with DAoC and Mythic and it still seemed pretty accurate. It's only $13 a month, and a play a whole lot less than I used to (between 30 minutes to a couple hours a night). The people I play with though, I've known for years and years. I met most of them through MUDs and local BBSs. When we get together as a group it's a whole lot of fun, but otherwise the game can become frustrating. Which accounts for my reduced play-time :) "Ah, nothing's going on... bbl"
  • by unicron (20286) <unicron@ t h cnet.net> on Friday December 27, 2002 @05:00PM (#4968684) Homepage
    Where in the hell did you get that information? High School health class? For one, you can reach that level of high again. You're thinking of barbituiates, where the amount needed the second time to get you as high as the first time would kill you.

    And second, heroin is PHYSICALLY addictive. Your body will develop a very real addicition to it, and will punish you severely for not giving in. Heroin isn't like weed where your desire to have more is pretty much a social/all in your head type of thing. I could take the most anti-drug, straight-edged guy on the planet, shoot him up full of junk, and within that day he would offering me everything he owns to hook him up again. It's not a fucking psychological thing, it's a physical thing. There is a chemical process going on in the brains of junkies driving them to get more.
  • Re:EQ isn't too good (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zathrus (232140) on Friday December 27, 2002 @05:08PM (#4968726) Homepage
    EQ can be fun, if you don't take it too seriously.

    If you play EQ to "win" then no, it won't be fun. Because "winning" means being one of the top people in the game - the best equipment, the biggest kills, etc. And you run into the high level timesuck that the original article writer described. Yes, I know exactly what he's talking about. At one point my enchanter was probably one of the top 10 in the game. But it meant spending all my free time in the game, and I eventually learned that sucked.

    Play just to talk to friends, maybe kill a few things (but not the top stuff), get a new toy every now and then, then it's probably fun. I know a number of people who quit EQ for months or over a year and have gone back to do exactly that. They seem to be enjoying it too, which is good for them. I personally won't go back because I'd be too drawn to the power game -- I generally play games to win (and my wife will most certainly agree with that), and EQ is not a winnable game. The challenges are never ending, although at the high end of the game you're not trying to beat the monsters - you're trying to beat the code. Most high end players have a better understanding of how the game works (and where its weak points are) than the authors do. Not surprising. The authors don't spend 80-100 hours/week in the game.

    As far as the money sucking goes -- the only thing that costs real money in EQ is the monthly fee and the yearly expansion. Sure, you can buy plat, or items, or whatever on auction sites, but that's optional. All of that stuff is available in game, and buying it outside won't get you to the high end either -- at that point the stuff can't be traded and you have to actually put in the time to get the pixels.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 27, 2002 @05:13PM (#4968762)
    I've posted this late, so nobody is going to see it and it won't get modded very high. Oh well.

    A close friend of mine from high school is busy toiling away at Turbine (now a subsidiary of the evil Microsoft) on Asheron's Call part deux, which was released to what appears to be next to zero fanfare in time for the holidays.

    He's told me some pretty revealing stories about what it's like working on a MMORPG. In particular, he spoke at length about two of AC's biggest problems: bots and level treadmills.

    Both bots and level treadmills create a problem for those companies that run MMORPGs... they annoy the casual players! That's right, casual players are actually the preferred customer. Casual players log in for a few hours a day, do a few quests, and log out. They pay the same amount of money per month that the 24/7 addicts pay, but they don't suck down the server resources like a Washington intern.

    Addicted players "take" more than they "give", so to speak, in terms of resources. They also make the game suck for the more profitable casual customer. Some online games have begun to incorporate things like daily limits on point accumulation or rapidly diminishing returns in order to discourage people from staying connected 16 hours a day. Incidentally, such limits also make it less profitable to set up a bot to perform redundant and boring tasks while you sleep.

    So the companies themselves are aware of the addicts, and actually want to discourage them for largely monetary reasons. Hardcore addicts discourage new players and cause high player turnover rate. They're making money hand over fist right now, so those resource leeching newbie-scaring hardcore addicts aren't being dumped offline. But you can bet they will be if the tides turn. The addicts aren't the bread and butter of the MMORPGs, no matter what they want to believe.

    My friend also spoke at length about customers who just won't shut the hell up, who insist on complaining about everything, who make unreasonable or unprogrammable "suggestions" and then rant and rave when they aren't incorporated in the next patch. The complainers are a small minority, but they sure do make a lot of noise. They also really dampen the morale of the programmers who have the task of bringing new features into the game post-release. Once a game is released, the programmers who are tasked with implementing bug fixes and new features have a lot more leeway in choosing what gets added and what doesn't, and lobbying for changes that they think would be good. Just one more reason to be NICE when you're making your case in the developer forum, and to be NICE when the suggestion you thought was the bee's knees is turned down.

    Happy Holidays!
  • EQ bitching (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 27, 2002 @06:10PM (#4969193)
    As someone who has played EQ on and off since it started, I can understand some of the complaints stated. But you know what? If you don't like it, quit. When I'm tired of playing EQ, I take a break from it. It may be a few hours, a couple days, or even a few months, until I feel like I want another go at it. Bottom line is that this is game, and if it ain't fun, why are you playing?

    BTW... I find that playing on one server, Firiona Vie (the role-playing friendly server) tends to make the game much more enjoyable. Not nearly as much whining and crying, not nearly so many uber, power-leveling idiots who think the whole point of the game is to "win". Generally, people on this particular server are out to have fun... which is the whole point of any game, isn't it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 28, 2002 @01:52AM (#4970966)
    I could take the most anti-drug, straight-edged guy on the planet, shoot him up full of junk, and within that day he would offering me everything he owns to hook him up again. It's not a fucking psychological thing, it's a physical thing.

    Sorry, that's wrong. You are right about the presence of a physical addiction, but not after one day. If that were true, every trauma victim in hospital would have to be weaned off morphine. It takes semi-regular use to get hooked on heroin and similar opiates.

    If you are hooked in a day, it's psychological. Some people are more predisposed to this sort of thing than others. Allegedly crack cocaine physically hooks most folk after 1-2 hits, that may be the usual anti-drug bending of the truth, so add a pinch of salt to that pipe on that subject!

  • Re:What A Joke (Score:3, Informative)

    by Some Dumbass... (192298) on Saturday December 28, 2002 @02:43AM (#4971100)
    Enough with the victimhood nonsense! Enough pretending like it is being inflicted on you!

    Is this a sick joke? Everyone is a victim. Everyone is abused. Everyone is being held hostage by forces bigger than themselves. We are helpless! Ohh no! Panic!

    GROW UP PEOPLE. It is only a video game. Play it, don't play it. Who cares.


    Perhaps this site needs a new motto. SlashDot: There place where Libertarians (or whatever this idiot is) know more about addiction than Psychologists.

    If you have some conclusive evidence that video game "addiction" is not real, then you should present it now. Otherwise, you'll just have to accept that perhaps video games can be addictive (the jury's still out on that: see the bottom of this page [mediafamily.org] for a list of articles in academic journals on the topic).

    Perhaps these people are talking about becoming addicted to video games, and perhaps their addictions are real. I don't think you can prove otherwise. In the overwhelmingly likely event that you cannot, then your blase attitude not only foolish, but perhaps downright harmful (Imagine what it would be like if people reacted like this to alcoholics!) So stop acting like you know more than everybody else, including the people who are actually studying this issue.
  • Re:Gotta say it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by GnrcMan (53534) on Saturday December 28, 2002 @03:22AM (#4971221) Homepage
    Actually, to be pedantic, I believe there is a rule in D&D that you can only go up one level for any given encounter. I'd have to look it up to make sure that isn't just a house rule we made up long ago, but I'm pretty sure it's an official rule.

    Though, it sounds like this misses the point; that being your DM was a tool. :) If you're interested in RPGs, I suggest you find yourself a real DM and give it another whirl. It really is pretty fun with a good group

"Ahead warp factor 1" - Captain Kirk

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