For Noffin

Here’s how you look like in EQ2 and here’s your new .sig! All in one, compact, package! Just like you! Along with some commemorative Anguish armor :)

Sorry it took so long!

Oh yes… if you ever do end up playing EQ2, you owe Ironchief ten gold; Zefara likes to be held snugly before bed; the Gnashtooth gnolls demand the return of their young scout Wrathtail, whom you have renamed “Fluffy” and keep in a cage in your room; you like the ‘Hawks for the Superbowl; and you never start a sentence without the word “dude”.

EverQuest Nostalgia

Before I was the blue-skinned beauty I am today, I was pretty into EQ.

I played mostly shorties :)

Etha, second from right, a 66 druid, was my first EQ character. She joined United Norrath Coalition at 19, and grew to be the raid officer of that guild, back when the planes of Fear and Hate were endgame. I ran some of the first open planes raids on my server. That guild broke up during Velious, and I spent a couple months playing Dark Ages of Camelot, then came back just before Luclin. I joined the Euro guild Divine Grace, but I was frustrated over how poorly druids fared in EQ, and decided to change mains. SOE later boosted druids some, but it was too late for me. I left Etha with about 110 AAs (Alternate Advancement levels – in EQ, you never really stop leveling).

Two characters to the left is Tipa, my level 70 rogue. I joined Crimson Eternity with her once I reached 60, max level at the time. Not quite as progressed a guild as DG, they were still doing Velious when I joined. I played her as main until 2004, and her gear reflects the main change, stuck in Uqua/Qvic-level equipment. She has a little over 300 AAs.

Between Tipa and Etha is my last main, Brita, my 70 cleric (actually my third cleric – long story). SOE opened what would be their last no-transfer, start-from-scratch server, Stromm, in March of 2003. I jumped at the chance to start a character from scratch, without twinking or tweaking. Since I wasn’t working at the time, I played Brita in the mornings and nights on Stromm, and Tipa on Erollisi Marr in the afternoons. Eventually I played Brita full-time. When my Stromm guild (Viking Alliance, another Euro guild) broke up, I transferred her to Erollisi Marr and officially changed mains. Since Brita’s gear is fairly current, she has a mixture of equipment from Anguish, Vishimitar, and various encounters in Depths of Darkhollow. She also has about 470 AAs to her name. Note her shield – cleric epic 2.0.

At the far right is Tsuki v1.0, my first alt, a gnome mage. Her name NOW is Oyasumi… I transferred her from EMarr to Stromm to help Brita out, since before Dragons of Norrath, clerics sucked at soloing and I needed help. Her gear reflects what any level 65 alt would have; a mixture of elemental and OoW gear, largely gotten from groups and raids where I would two-box her and Brita. I made her at first because, as a druid at the time, I figured pet classes just had it so easy, so I wanted to try. Since I transferred Brita to EMarr, Tsuki (I mean, Oyasumi) has been left abandoned on Stromm.

To the far left is Tsuki v2.0, a necro. I made her to keep Tsuki v1.0’s name available when I transferred her off server, but she is fun to play, and solos easier than any character I have ever had. I can kill one monster myself while the rest of the group kills another. Standing in the rain in the Broodlands is no fun, not even for a gnome.

Lastly, to her left, is Nashuya N’Hamsha, my only tall character, 57 Shadow Knight. She and Kanda are related somehow. If Tsuki v1.0 was my first alt, Nashuya was my first twink, initially made because I was getting so much medium bronze armor in Nagafen’s Lair (Sol B), I made a twink to wear it. Along the way I gave her nicer and nicer stuff, all to make her look really good – she now wears WoS gear and some magnetic/ornate armor. She is my fashion plate. Imagine my horror when I met a dark-elf cleric with my colors. I was mortified.

New CE Sig

Using the new Japanese models from EQ2.

I really intended to move whole-heartedly into Everquest 2. I love that game; it has a depth and a sense of location missing in WoW. I would be happy if that were my only game; this time last year, it WAS my only game.

All that I missed were the people. Like it or not, it’s hard to play a game when you have nobody to play it with. When VA started on Faydark, I abandoned Dera on Antonia Bayle and restarted there. They all quit, or moved to Splitpaw, or went to WoW, or returned to EQ, leaving me essentially alone. Then I got the Surya job which severely limited my playtime.

Hat in hand, I returned to EQ1 and Crimson Eternity, and changed mains from rogue to my recently-of-Stromm cleric.

No game since the original EQ has given me that sense of place that EQ2 did.

Heroic vs Epic Fantasy

Kanda is halfway through level 21 now in World of Warcraft, on the roleplaying server Kirin Tor. A few runs in the Wailing Caverns instance netted me seven completed quests, and some blue shoulders I can use when I level to 22.

Being a roleplaying server, and also me being nearly entirely unaware of the mythos behind WoW (all I know comes from what Sylvanar told me of the Night Elves in Beta), I thought I would flesh out her backstory.

Foremost was, she’s a priestess, whom does she worship? Does she sacrifice to her god? From whence comes her power?

The “bad” trolls once worshiped a dark god named Hakkar, and I guess they still do, here and there. But it seems they were worshiping this dark spirit for their own ends, and were not created by this god, and could do fine without him.

Heroes and villains gain power by doing heroic deeds, with which they can command these greater spirits and their own people. WoW is a game of heroes.

Contrast this with EverQuest, which is an epic fantasy. The landscape has been marked by many civilizations. The Deserts of Ro were once green and fertile and home to a great civilization of elves. Angering the Burning Prince, Solusek Ro, made him defy the wishes of his father and turn some of the strength of the sun on that land. Most of the elves fled to Faydwer, pushed by that and by the coming of the Barbarians.

The barbarians later spawned the normal human race, who rose to great power as the Combine empire, able to colonize and rule not only all of Norrath, but also its moon Luclin, before falling into decadence and fading away (the Katta faction of the Combine empire was turned by the vampiric Coterie, while their enemies, the Seru, delved too deeply into the magics of the alien Akheva).

In EQ1, gods rule their peoples, and civilizations ebb and flow, and power comes from devotion. In WoW, power comes from heroic deeds. If you do great things, you can do more great things because your deeds have given you the attention of Fate and Destiny.

In EQ1, my cleric, Brita, is a high priestess of the god Bristlebane. He created the halfling race as a joke, and as his servant, Brita is a trickster and a jokester as well as a healer, and she tries to be not only a good cleric, but a proper halfling, and to bring humour and light to the world. The only thing better than a good meal is a good joke!

In WoW, my priestess, Kanda, is… is what? Her tribe, the Darkspear, is confined to one small village on the southeast coast of Kalimdor. Driven out of every home by enemies near and far, they are a dying people. Her power comes from devotion to her tribe, and if she sacrifices a kill, she would sacrifice it to the Darkspear.

Kanda is a hero in a heroic realm. Brita is a high-ranking member of her race, but draws her power from her god and her companions.

Perhaps that is one reason raiding seems such an ill-fit in the Warcraft world. Up to a certain point, your character is a hero, single-handedly shaking the world to its foundations, a force to be feared on the battlefield, well able to take on nearly any challenge single-handedly. Then suddenly, you become a numbered minion in someone’s army. An army not of heroes, but of companions.

In EQ, your place never changes; the power you gain is due to help from others at every stage. It flows into raiding very naturally, but you are constantly reminded that you are nothing alone.

This is perhaps the greatest difference between EQ and WoW, and is the difference between Epic fantasy – the story of a great but largely impersonal history – and Heroic fantasy – the story of great Heroes who change the world.