Everquest is an MMORPG launched on March 16, 1999. The game has received several expansions over the years, and in this post I will write a brief timeline over Everquest’s history. It should be noted that Everquest was not the first MMORPG, it had predecessors in Meridian 59 and Ultima Online (and text-based Multi User Dungeons, MUDS). Nevertheless, Everquest has managed to survive for over 20 years, even if the game lost a lot of players to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.
Everquest: 20+ years of expansions
As Everquest was launched in 1999, it was associated with several organizations tied to Sony, such as Verant Interactive and 989 Studios, and Sony Online Entertainment.
April 24, 2000, the first expansion: Ruins of Kunark was released. That very same year, December 5, the second expansion was released: Scars of Velious. The original game, Ruins of Kunark and Scars of Velious (short, Kunark and Velious) are often referred to as “classic” Everquest, and these three games constitute the base for the Project 1999 server(s), which is a great way to re-live this era.
In 2001, the next expansion was released: Shadows of Luclin. This expansion included new graphics, and new content on the moon of the world of Norrath, as well as a new playable race: Vah Shir, a form of cat people (which made many fans refer to Luclin as the “Cats on the moon expansion”).
The next expansion, Planes of Power, came in 2002. It introduced new ways of fast travel through the use of a central hub “Plane of Knowledge” and portals in the form of books scattered around the world. Planes of Power also introduced a lot of additional raid concent, and flagging (“attunement” with modern MMORPG terms) for the different planes, with the plane of Time being the final raiding goal.
In 2003, two additional expansions were released: #5 The Legacy of Ykesha, and #6 Lost Dungeons of Norrath. This very same year, Sony released several other notable MMORPG:s and games, such as Planetside, Star Wars Galaxies, Lords of Everquest (a PC RTS game), Everquest Online Adventures (basically, Everquest for the Playstation 2).
2004 saw two additional expansions: #7 Gates of Discord, and #8 Omens of War. In this year, Everquest 2 was also launched, although it never became as popular as its predecessor.
The two-expansions-per-year continued in 2005-2007 with #9 Dragons of Norrath and #10 Depths of Darkhollow (2005), and #11 Prophecy of Ro, and #12 The Serpent’s Spine (2006), #13 The Buried Sea and #14 Secrets of Faydwer (2007).
After 2007, the rate of expansions slowed down to “only” one release per year:
2008: #15 Seeds of Destruction
2009: #16 Underfoot
2010: #17 House of Thule
2011: #18 Veil of Alaris
2012: #19 Rain of Fear.
In 2012, Everquest changed to a Free to Play model which still applies to the time of writing this post (2021), where players may play the game freely with limitations, or opt in for a subscription where additional features are unlocked.
2013: #20 Call of the Forsaken
2014: #21 The Darkened Sea
2015: #22 The Broken Mirror
In 2015, Sony sold Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) to Columbus Nova, and Everquest would hereinafter be associated with the “Daybreak Games” company. One of the first thing Daybreak Games did was to give their blessing to the aforementioned Project 1999 project.
2016: #23 Empires of Kunark
2017: #24 Ring of Scale
2018: #25 The Burning Lands
2019: #26 Torment of Velious
2020: #27 Claws of Veeshan
That it is at the time of writing! 27 expansions so far. Daybreak Games have announced that they will release another expansion at the end of 2021 accordingly.
Over the time, Everquest has of ocurse changed, for better or for worse, depending on what expansion or era you as a player preferred. I enjoyed the Planes of Power-era a lot, especially with the progressive raiding. Already then though, many players did not like where the game were going, and they missed the classic experience that now can be enjoyed at Project 1999. As the game stands today, I do not recognize it to the game I played in 2002, as it currently is so rich with features that it is almost impossible to keep up. The moment when Everquest became a different game for me was with the addition of standardized sets of “defiant gear” to aid in leveling, and in a catch up logic of alternative advancement points (subscribing players would earn points according to their level). The developers also introduced quests at a time, which make parts of the game resemble a (bad) copy of World of Warcraft. I tend to remember the game as it was before all these changes, and it is possible to visit many of the “old” zones still, even if they have been revamped in the current version of the game (take Freeport, as an example).
Content inspired by: https://tagn.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/a-timeline-of-soe-and-daybreak-games/