Something amazing has been going on in the Everquest community for years that I was not aware of until very recently. How many people reading played Everquest when it was new and stayed with it through most of the expansions? For the dedicated players, the early age of Everquest was the best MMORPG experience because it was a world that would beat the crap out of you, take all your stuff, and then refuse to apologize. This required players to really think about what they are doing because risk and danger was very high. In time new expansions were released and every one of them made the game more and more easy. The Planes of Power was the worst example… For those who never played EQ, think of this: In classic Everquest, moving from area to area was grounded in a realistic style which meant you need to run for the boat to a different continent and if you missed it, you would have to wait for the same boat to get across the sea and back again. Small things like this got the players talking to eachother (you and the few unlucky others that missed the boat). BUT, when Planes of Power was released, players could teleport themselves to the Plane of Knowledge which had a gate to basically every area of the game…….
Sure, it’s a time saver, but it ruined the mood of the world.
This brings me to the great news I would like to spread. People have set up their own customized Everquest emulator servers which are all free to play! If you already knew about this, my hat’s off to you. For those who didn’t and are interested, here’s some info on two of the best servers and how it works…
Software and Patching
The first question that may come to mind is how is a free to play custom version of Everquest legal? Well, the service the EQemu servers are providing runs on core software owned by Sony Online Entertainment. You need to buy the game first and that money goes to Sony. Now that Sony has earned their money for the program, gamers can do what they want with it. The fact that the emulated servers are free is exactly why it’s legal. If they charged a fee to play the game, this could draw profit away from paying Everquest players. You can donate money to the developers of EQemu servers, but that’s not the same.
%95 of all emulated custom servers require players to own a very specific version of Everquest. You need to have Everquest Titanium edition which includes the first 10 expansions…
With a clean install of Everquest Titanium, you can begin to edit the files to direct your game to run on an emulated server rather than the official one. If you accidentally connect to the real server, your game will be patched to a higher version and emulated servers will no longer be possible to reach.
You can read how it’s done on the EQemu Getting Started page. This process may seem complicated, but if you take it one step at a time, it’s really easy. Not all emulated servers require this to be done however. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at a popular server that uses the EQemu connection.
This server went live October 2009 and has since become hugely popular. The spirit behind this server is to provide a fully playable classic version of Everquest. They pulled everything back to the first version of Everquest and then released the first expansion. The third expansion is on the way, but I’ve heard that they will stop there and keep that version playing because many people hated the features that came afterward. For those who wish they could play Everquest as it used to be, this is it!
You can read all about it on their website: Project 1999
Here’s another server which has it’s own professional patching system.
Shards of Dalaya
The idea behind this server is to completely rebuild the entire world of Everquest to add tons of new content including skills, quests, items, and massive zone changes.
The original world of Everquest (Norrath) has been wrote over. Some of the significant changes are Freeport, Kaladim, and Rivervale are now full of monsters. The quest system is far better in interaction and management (you can talk to NPCs using a list of replies to choose from). There’s also an original main storyline that takes your character all over the world across it’s lifetime. I have a character on this server and have so far been very very impressed. These people clearly put a lot of time into this and it’s amazing to have a game like this to play without a monthly fee!
You can check out their website and download the patcher here: Shards of Dalaya
I hope this article has got some people excited to play because the servers could always use more players to populate the world. If you don’t have Everquest Titanium and very much want to get into these emulated servers, there are a few copies available on eBay:
Everquest Titanium Sealed – Sealed copy with a buy it now price.
Everquest Titanium Used – Taking bids and auction closes today!
Everquest Titanium Used – This one has a buy it now price.