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EverQuest: What You Really Get From an Online Game

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the step-one-is-admitting-you're-an-addict dept.

Games 1134

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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1134 comments

EQ isn't too good (1)

xmnemonic (603000) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967515)

EQ isn't too good though it pioneered a genre. Make way for Star Wars galaxies!

Re:EQ isn't too good (1)

TheSam (636870) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967558)


Amen to Star Wars Galaxies. April 15th, my life ceases to exist and I become one with Star Wars.

Re:EQ isn't too good (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967651)

Oh joy.

I can't wait to see 100s of geeks bouncing aorund chanting "these are not the droids you'r looking for". Then again perhaps I can. I'll be stearing clear of SWG unless they have a system to filter out all the hard core Star Wars gimps.

SWG is a Sony product (4, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967754)

If Sony can get away with anally raping its customers on EQ, what makes you think they won't do the same and worse on a game where thousands will play simply because it's a Star Wars game?
No, my friend, there will be no happiness in SWG. The same morons that worked on EQ work on SWG... It's silly to expect anything good out of them.

First Post ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967518)

W00t!

Political System (2, Interesting)

drunkrussian (619107) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967529)

Maybe EQ needs some kind of player-based political system to make such decisions...it could also add a whole new level to the game.

Re:Political System (5, Interesting)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967743)

Maybe the EQ players just need to get a life. I mean, if they want to experience a "player based political system", the US Govt is a good way to start. And the results are real.

RonB

Re:Political System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967746)

Oh yeah! Politicians! That's what we need! They'll fix everything, just like in the real world!

Gotta say it... (5, Insightful)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967533)

Everquest is a game full of people who want to "win" and "be the best" at any cost.

Because they can't be in real life. Yay for delusions of grandeur!

Re:Gotta say it... (5, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967621)

Everquest is a game full of people who want to "win" and "be the best" at any cost.
  • "Because they can't be in real life. Yay for delusions of grandeur!"


    • Eh, somebody's got to hold the record for most twinkies eaten, fewest days in the gym, and fewest encounters with a real woman that doesn't go by the name "Mom". I'd say they're "the best" at some things.


Re:Gotta say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967631)

Much like people who troll Slashdot because they are too weak willed and cowardly to actually carry themselves in "real life." Isn't that right, Shitgas?

Re:Gotta say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967655)

This is hilarious, not by what you said, but by saying it anonymously!!

Re:Gotta say it... (2, Funny)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967723)

by Anonymous Coward:
"This is hilarious, not by what you said, but by saying it anonymously!!"
  • And in other news ... the pot called the kettle black again.

What A Country! (-1, Offtopic)

Jonny 290 (260890) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967540)

In Soviet Russia, Everquest whines about YOU!

Re:What A Country! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967608)

In Bleveskovolokia everquest is only allowed to be played on thursdays between the hours of seven and three.

well duh (1)

burninginside (631942) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967542)

Well what do you expect from a corporation...they dont give a shit about the people who support them...is anyone surprised by this?

I gotta really easy solution if you don't like it (4, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967543)

DON'T PLAY IT.

Re:I gotta really easy solution if you don't like (1)

Tuffnut (618438) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967575)

By the time they've realized the hate for the game, they're addicted. So this is not an "easy" solution.

Re:I gotta really easy solution if you don't like (4, Insightful)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967724)

By the time they've realized the hate for the game, they're addicted. So this is not an "easy" solution.

Um, did I miss the part where video games can now directly stimulate your pleasure centers? Addiction is not the same as laziness.

Either you like the game, or you don't. Exert some control over how you spend your time instead of passively absorbing whatever mindless pseudo-entertainment comes your way with the least effort. Turn off Everquest. Turn off the TV while you're at it. Go outside, take a walk. Go hiking, or skiing, make a friend, get some exercise. Get a dog from the pound, and take it for a long walk every day. Do something that gives you something to remember when you get old.

Re:I gotta really easy solution if you don't like (2)

scotch (102596) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967635)

And share your experiences so that others may gain from them. Oh wait, that is what he is doing.

If you want to remain productive... (-1)

Pinkerton Floyd (622999) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967546)

... Put down the EverCrack, and back away slowly!

Re:If you want to remain productive... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967715)

Hello, Scott. I hear your fatty wife's ass crack is a mile long and half a mile deep.

-Cock Cockwood.

Let me cast the first stone. (3, Insightful)

Faggot (614416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967549)

Gaming addiction is not a behavior of gamers... it's a behavior of addicts. The games just happen to be there for the addict's mind to latch onto.

Blaming particular games (particularly in a manner which reeks of personal bitterness) for addictions is like blaming alcohol for alcoholism, or blaming heroin for junkies: it's a foil. The real ones to blame are the ones who are addicted.

Re:Let me cast the first stone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967624)

Blaming particular games (particularly in a manner which reeks of personal bitterness) for addictions is like blaming alcohol for alcoholism, or blaming heroin for junkies: it's a foil. The real ones to blame are the ones who are addicted.

Lets see *YOU* take a couple hits of heroin and not become addicted.

Re:Let me cast the first stone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967762)

> Lets see *YOU* take a couple hits of heroin and not become addicted.

I have. I'm not.

Re:Let me cast the first stone. (2, Insightful)

Cirrius (304487) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967671)

And that's the market the original game designers targeted. Addicts keep the money coming in! Maybe Verant's ceo came from Philip Morris...

Too long, didn't read. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967551)

I was busy looking at this [strong.dk] anyway.

And after I finished with that, I looked at her sister [strong.dk]

Id rather be... (2)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967554)

"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..."

gee, if thats the case Id rather Play BRE!

Most Unlikely... (2, Offtopic)

telstar (236404) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967567)

"Most likely you've heard from friends how great this "addictive" game is..."
  • People do this because it allows them to cultivate the friendships they can't in the real world. Most likely they didn't hear it from
  • friends because most likely they don't have many or any.

Save your money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967569)

Play a MUD for free, and have the same experience.

Everquest (4, Insightful)

mut3 (634239) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967570)

This game does have some interesting ideas, but still, 12.95 a month for a game that would require 1000+ hrs to make it even some what fun, is a waste of people's time.

So, let me get this straight.... (5, Insightful)

Jonny 290 (260890) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967571)

You signed up for a monthly-subscription massively multiplayer online RPG with thousands upon thousands of 50-hour-a-week players, and you expected it to be anything BESIDES a level treadmill and venue for inter-class bitching?

I've played EveryQuest... (5, Interesting)

craenor (623901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967572)

And enjoyed playing it for over 3.5 years now. In the past year I have slowed down my play some, but once I revelled in the "uber guild" end game of EverQuest.

This person is obviously bitter and I can't argue with many of their points. The game is addictive, getting what you want from customer service is hard sometimes...

But if you manage to keep track of the fact that it's a game, you'll enjoy the experience much, much more. Relax and enjoy it, they've done a phenomenal job.

As for the complaint that Sony doesn't care. Well...they have continued to improve the game and add features customer's request at a steady and impressive rate.

YMMV

Everquest (5, Funny)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967580)

"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."

Welcome to Reality. I hope you enjoy your stay.

What A Joke (4, Redundant)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967588)

What a joke!

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

And then..

game will absorb your life if you let it, while the days and weeks melt away into oblivion.

And of course

...repetitive gameplay you must endure...

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.

This type of stuff really is just an insightful indicator into the larger problems of our current culture.

Re:What A Joke (2)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967679)

No need to malign our culture. It's just an insightful indicator into the larger problems of David Sanftenberg.

Re:What A Joke (4, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967755)

No need to malign our culture.
I'd like to believe that! Maybe I am overreacting, but you really think this is just an isolated incident? How long until we have a parents group suing because their kids characters got killed - "It hurts their self esteem!", how long until parents sue to shut it down? How long until ex-players sue for the same reasons listed in this article?

Hopefully you are right. Past experiences though tend to lead me to think this is way larger than Everquest. This article is all about "addiction". Like there is a chemical dependency or something!

I'd like to follow up on this in +1 year, and see if we have some juicy lawsuits about this kinda of thing - "Sony ruined my life" type of stuff.

MOD PARENT WAY WAY UP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967693)

no text

It's a game. (3, Insightful)

antis0c (133550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967589)

I'm not going to try and lecture you or come up with some kind of witty retort.

Simply stated:

It's a video game. If it pisses you off, turn off the computer, go outside and take a walk.

Find a new game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967593)

Find a new game.

Just give me my ever - crack fix. (1)

lordShiva (636856) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967594)

It's fun like fiending that next hit of crack... the wait period. what a bitch.

How did this article make the all-users homepage? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967600)

This articles describes NOTHING about EverQuest and EVERYTHING about the author's personal gripes because his game of EverQuest isn't going the way he likes.

I have never played EverQuest, but I have been curious what all the fuss was about. Of course every time I try to find out by searching on Google, all I find is people talking about playing, but no one actually describing the point of the game or even posting a screenshot. I really want to know what the game is about.

You say the game is addictive. Great. Tell me why. Tell me what keeps drawing you back. Don't feed me your laundry list of problems with Sony's sysadmins. Don't complain to me about how Sony doesn't care about their users. Tell me about the freakin' game!

muds? (2, Interesting)

dpille (547949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967739)

I'm in the same boat as the parent poster, mostly because I can't imagine paying per-month play charges. Can anyone fill me in on why EQ would be better or worse than a detailed, well-populated traditional mud? It seems like many of the complaints about EQ would fit into any laundry list of complaints about even the best ol' text based games, which have exactly the same 'addictive' draw but generally don't require you to shell out to Sony.

Honestly, I've been trying to give up Arctic [arctic.org] for like 8 years now... would EQ be a decent crutch to wean myself with?

Re:How did this article make the all-users homepag (4, Insightful)

Mr Guy (547690) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967759)

It's addictive because it's fun.

Whether or not the author wants to admit it, it is VERY MUCH like the BEST parts of a casino, without the chance of losing your entire paycheck (well you could, but at 12.95 per account that's alot of accounts!)

Whether or not he gets 'screwed' by changes he doesn't like, the reason he plays is because he LIKES that moment when you THINK you will all die, but you win in the end.

He LIKES the teamwork.

He LIKES the feeling of progress when you waste 100+ hours but finally get that last brick of whatever.

He LIKES clicking combine and have an item appear on the end of the cursor or a text message show up saying, "You have gotten better at Tailoring (250)".

He LIKES talking to friends.

He LIKES planning things, following through, and tasting victory.

He LIKES seeing: "You have gained experience! Welcome to level 62"

He LIKES going back to places he's been and feeling incredibly powerful, like Sauron blowing through the enemy hordes.

He LIKES see his armor get better, his skills go up, and being able to kill bigger things.

He LIKES all of that, despite bad timing keeping him from getting certain mobs, bad luck keeping him from getting certain drops, bad planning preventing him from keeping things that are too strong for the game design, bad customer service to explain why his uber sword of necro dick licking had to be taken from him.

Most of all, he likes all of that despite his bad perspective that convinces him someone OWES him something. It's a game and it's addictive because it lets you set your own goals and work with other people to achieve them.

Maybe his problem is just that he needs to work on how he sets his goals.

Muds, graphical or text... (2, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967612)

...all have this in common. You are at the mercy of whomever develops it. MMORPGs run by large commercial outfits are particularly able to lose sight of the target, which is player satisfaction.

Still, one cannot blame Sony entirely. Players have unreasonable expectations based upon their unique point of view. They want a 'fun' game. The makers of the game are concerned about bottom line, and game balance, in that order.

I run a free mud so i have a bit of perspective on this. I used to play muds, but it's like crack. So I just code lightly for those who are still addicted and try to run a sort of 'halfway house'.

Re:Muds, graphical or text... (2)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967702)

Not to impune the parent poster here, but in many cases, it wasn't much better on MUDs. Granted that many of them were free, but if you think that an impersonal corporation is bad, try dealing with a personal malevolence of a MUD Wizard with a stick on his shoulder. Cheating was generally institutionalized. People that made the highest ranks used their power in petty ways to get "revenge" on anyone who "crossed" them on the way to the top.

Not that I'm defending Sony, but at least an impersonal corporation is neutral. All the litany of charges the author made against Everquest aren't new and implying that it all unique to Everquest is just wrong.

EQ and smoking. (1)

Vodak (119225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967613)

Have people died while using the product?
EQ : yep
Smoking : yep

Do people spend more money the product then they have?
EQ : Yep
Smoking : Yep

Is the product marketing to children?
EQ : yep
Smoking : yep.

---
this message brought to you by Stand:Everquest. speak up aginst Everquest.
---

Re:EQ and smoking. (and terrorism?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967667)

Does that mean if you play Everquest, you're supporting terrorism?

Re:EQ and smoking. (and terrorism?) (2)

Vodak (119225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967681)

Not only are you supporting terrorism but also the tabbaco industry. See double the evil! You dont want to support evil do you?

Re:EQ and smoking. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967742)

But worst of all, we all just got subjected to Second-Hand EverQuest!

Crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967616)

It seems like Sony is actively pissing customers off left and right these days, whats up with that?
Someone pass them a cluestick please.

Tis True (5, Interesting)

NfoCipher (161094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967623)

I sunk 2 years of my free time into the game. Had something like 150 days played time (that's 24 hours x 150) and all it got me was a poorly rendered avatar that could still die to the lowest level monsters if left alone for 5 minutes.
Ended up selling the account after I came to my senses. Got my money back on the software costs and monthly fees, but I'll be on my death bed wishing I hadn't spent all that time wasting away playing EQ.

A Simple Solution (5, Interesting)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967632)

A simple solution to all MMORPGs.

The introduction of an age system.
An age system will benefit those that don't have a lot of time to game, but want to play the game, those that have time to be a little better than the lite gamers, but its still competitive, and you can discourage addictive play. The simple idea is the more you play, the more you age (until death).

For example:
For your 'lite' gamer that can't spend a lot of time on the game, they can start off with an 'auto-30-year old char.' This character has a good deal of skill without having to spend time getting the skill. So you can jump on, be competitive with those that spend a great deal of time building their character, and still have fun.
For your 'heavy' gamer, you start off with a '16 year old char.' This character can be better than the auto-30 year old, by playing him until he reaches that age, and building the skills yourself. You get the benefit of better skills than the lite player by spending time building your character by yourself, but its still competitive, and, therefore, fun.
For the 'addict', you have a death age. When you char hits 40, your skills begin to degrade until you eventually die (yes, you character is no longer usable. Its gone.). This is a tactic to discourage addiction.

Of course, this would never be implemented on a system that has a monthly charge, because the addicts are the ones willing to pay it, but it would be good for games that don't have a monthly charge.

Most of the replies so far... (5, Insightful)

Maxwell_E (16977) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967634)

Have been the sort of, if you don't like it, don't play it!
I think it's this sort of defensive vitriolic reply that defeats the point of the article. That being, if you are considering playing EQ than you should probably save your money for something else. Albeit an obvious point. I myself found the game to be unfun after about 6 months running into many of the same problems. What did I do? Quit. I mean really, you EQ fan boys should just move along from this thread, it's not intended for you as I see it.

problems or no problems (2)

Kargan (250092) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967638)

I don't pay monthly fees for games. I pay one-time fees for games and then play them all I want, online or off. You hear that, game developers?

Re:problems or no problems (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967672)

OH NO! One person isn't going to pay a monthly fee to play our game. Guess we're going to go broke once everyone else in the world dies. signed. Sony

yan3d (1)

YAN3D (552691) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967640)

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.

Man, that is so gay

what does he expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967647)

Here's a hint: if you have to pay money regularly to a single third party for your entertainment, you need to find better entertainment. That's nothing but a co-dependency: you need the entertainment, and they need your money.

This is true for online games, cable TV, or Playboy subscriptions. Save your money and find some friends to go out with.

Skinner Box Theory (5, Insightful)

Aggrazel (13616) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967648)

The most startling fact about EverQuest is how well it conforms to the Skinner Box model, making one believe that Verant specifically designed their product around principles to make it more addictive than it would be otherwise.

Here [nickyee.com] is an interesting read on that subject.

Honestly, if the company is exploiting psychological theory in order to make their game addictive on purpose, its not much different from cigarette companies using nicotine or cola companies using caffiene IMO.

Bad? Maybe... I've heard of a lot of otherwise well adjusted people playing EQ to thier own detriment. But then, ultimately it is the responsibility of the individual to take care of themselves.

Though it's been said, many times, many ways... (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967652)

Get a life. I mean, really, your whining about how HORRIBLE it is to HAVE to play this shitty game that you are ADDICTED to is ridiculous. Maybe you would be better off if you spent a little more time in reality. Actually, maybe we'd all be better off if people like you and the rest of the "addicts" just killed yourselves. In real life.

Exact reason... (2)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967658)

that was the exact reason I stopped playing... It stopped being fun. I just hit that point sooner than most people. But now my fiance wants to try out Asherons Call ... is that any better? Should I split the cost of an account with her?

When is Rekonstruction going to finally come out?

Re:Exact reason... (2)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967722)

And for those of you who haven't heard of rekonstruction:

http://www.damagestudios.com/rekonstruction.php

My Precious (4, Funny)

DoNotTauntHappyFunBa (592447) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967659)

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.


"He loves and hates the ring, as he loves and hates himself."
-Gandalf in the first LOTR movie, referring to Gollum.

Go play Quake then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967660)

cheating has gotten harder with Punkbuster -- though I suspect there are new cheats already. I've personally never cheated playing Quake -- it's more fun to win honestly IMHO.

Online costs? Your ISP.

kill. Kill. KILL!

So now what? (2)

OnyxRaven (9906) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967661)

I have known of many of these problems from my friends experiences playing the game. They convinced me to play for a whole month, and I said forget it guys, this game sucks. Ultima Online was WAY better, and guess what, in a couple months we were all back playing that.

Anyway, is anyone at all convinced that any of this will change with the new games being developed? SWG is close to being released, and I already see some problems...

My big concern is Everquest 2. Some of these issues are big and annoying enough to piss off everyone but the people who are playing EQ right now, and why would they want to lose their Uber characters?

We've had a lot of discussion of this over at eqii.com [eqii.com], and I dont think we've come to a decision whatsoever. It seems to me that for some reason people look past these huge problems to play the game, and I just dont understand it.

Sounds familiar (5, Funny)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967662)

" It's a game that goes on forever, and one that you can never win."

So your saying that the only winning move is not to play? How about a nice game of chess?

Go analog (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967665)

I suggest putting down the mouse, cutting your overindulgence in video stimulus and finding a paper and pencil role-playing group in your area.

Imagine holding a writing implement once again, facing human beings in meaningful problem solving (god knows you won't find that at work nowadays) and drinking good beer with like minded individuals. And who can resist learning another set of arbitrary rules?

I recommend D20 Modern (www.wizards.com/D20modern) for the geeks at heart or a good game of 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons (www.wizards.com/dnd).

Game on.

So how is everquest different from any other mud? (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967666)

Except for the fact that you're paying for it, I didn't see any part of the rant that couldn't have applied to a text mud a decade ago.

I guess the only difference there was that anyone who was on 'em was normally a college student or researcher (or you didn't have internet access) which changed the overall mindset of the population, and we weren't paying, so there was no reason to feel compelled to play to make the most of our subscription -- some people would take a long hiatus (ie, on academic suspension after gaming too much and having to take a semester off), or there'd be those of us who would just hang out and talk to people, maybe game a little on the side.

Oh...and the fact that the coders didn't get paid. Normally meant that most of the people who wrote the game also played it regularly, and would fix whatever it was they thought was broken.

two words (1)

Senjiro (143278) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967670)

Sour Grapes. So the game isn't everything you wanted? Poor baby! If everything you say about Sony's entire point being to keep you playing the game, and game time, then why don't they charge by the hour instead of monthly?

Sony Sucks (1)

SpikeSpegiel (622734) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967674)

A good long article confirming what most of us already knew: Sony Sucks. The PS2 is about as buggy for developors, to the point where coding on it is a nightmare. he only reason it is popular is because Sony can market anything. I would never buy anything from Sony anymore. I've seen their Clie's fall apart in days after purchase, I've seen PS2s dying by the thousands, and their cust support is crap. They are worse than Microsoft, because there is no one that fights the power that they are, yet they release worse products with more bugs, yet never fix them. At least Microsoft does occationally fix their bugs.

Is it any suprise that EQ is that bad?

litigate (1)

tornater (574689) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967677)

Maybe a class-action suit is in order here. Don't even think about taking responsibility for your own actions...take "them" to court.

Grow up (2)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967685)

This is nothing but an example of how someone who is inclined to be addicted to something behaves. "Oh, we hate Sony, they are so mean to abuse us like this" blah blah blah. Well, believe it or not, you're the one with the power, take you money and do something else then and stop bitching about a stupid game. And don't give me that "Everquest is like crack" BS, I know you won't suffer any physical hardships by quitting. Be an adult and take responsibility for your own actions, Sony has nothing to do with the fact that you have let yourself become addicted to a stupid game...

Brought to you by,Whiney Losers Clan (1)

YellowSnow (569705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967687)

Me reading that long whiney negative post, that would be me suffering a timesink

"You" (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967690)

Throughout this tirade, the author uses the word "You" a lot, as in "you become addicted to the game." While I realize he was using the word in place of "one," I think it would have been more appropriate for him to use the word "I", since nobody I know has become "addicted" to EQ. If the author has a problem in which he is addicted to a game world, then that's his problem, but "you" and I probably won't have that problem. It's a game, I play it for entertainment. Once "you" realize that it's no longer fun, "you" should either change the way you play, or stop playing. After all, your months of work are just bits on Sony's hard drive. If you take it too seriously, you have real problems, and they are probably not related to the game.

Just sad (2)

Indomitus (578) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967692)

This is probably the saddest thing I've ever read. I'm not which part is actually the saddest though, the time the guy put into whining about a damn game or that it was posted on Slashdot as a "news" item. This is a lengthy, whiny EQ messageboard post and should have stayed there.

Oh no, this game sucks and the people playing it are dumb enough to keep paying to play it even though they hate it. Call the National Guard! For pete's sake, get a damn life, turn off the computer, find something else to do. Even if you do say you're "addicted", there's nothing physical to the addiction, you're not going to have withdrawls or anything. Sheesh.

I tried to vote with my money (2, Informative)

Alarion (263883) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967697)

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? :>

Somebody please tell me how this works.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967698)

I've never played it, so I'm curious...
If you leave the game, do people come and kill your character? If that happens do you have to start over with a new character with no "power"? What fun is that?

Please fill in my blanks....

FUD (1, Troll)

extremely (1681) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967699)

So FUD about linux is bad, but FUD about a game is OK? When did this become /. policy?

Of course it is a business, you could rewrite this same article replacing "everquest" with "/." and everyone would howl but it would be just as true. Every form of entertainment and news media is designed to get you to come back again and again. Where was the warning about this when Titanic was sucking little girls back in for their 20th viewing?

Did someone from Sony piss in your cheerios this morning or what?

Heh (1)

Burgundy Advocate (313960) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967703)

Why did that remind me of Slashdot? Weird.

Damnit, I only need a few more points to level up to Karma: Excellent! I fucking hate this place, the mods are so lame.

Try AC2 (1)

SirChive (229195) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967705)

Everquest by all accounts is a crappy out-dated game.

Why not try Asheron's Call 2. It is new and has some flaws but it's actually a lot of fun. And Turbine (the developers) seem to be making a big effort to communicate with and listen to the players.

Also there are major monthly updates that add content. These are included as part of your monthly fee.

Imagine (1)

dc29A (636871) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967707)

After a long day, you go home, turn on the TV. To your suprise you can't watch half of the channels because your neighbours are watching those. So no (insert favorite TV show) for you tonight. Next week, if you want to catch the same show, you have to leave work much earlier, you have to make sure to turn your TV on earlier than your neighbour. But, your neighbour has some tricks on his own. He decides to cut your cable, sabotage your dish or simply, just come home earlier than you and turn on his TV earlier. And in some cases, he will only do this to piss you off, not that he wants to watch the same TV show. To grief you. And of course, there is no law to protect you from this. Sounds ridiculous no? Well that's Everquest for you. You have to mold and organize your life around the game, or you'll never enjoy it. You have to "race" for entertainment content.

wow (1)

crgrace (220738) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967711)

That game sure sounds like a lot of work. I think I'll smoke crack instead... not as much investment required.

What I miss about EQ (1)

kamskii (619903) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967719)

I haven't played EQ for a year now. I gotta admit, it was damn addicting. I couldn't get enough of it. I was in a big, near uber guild. I had many buddies who played it, and met many friends. One day, I stopped playing. I'm not sure why I really did, but soon after that, I disabled my account and haven't been back since then. Nowadays, I occasionally read the EQ forums and fansites, still chuckling at the inter-class whining and bitching. Ahh, those were the days. I miss chatting with my former guild members- that feeling of camaraderie was really what EQ was about, at least to me.

everquest schmeverquest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4967720)

First of all, the game is CALLED EVERQUEST. That's a big hint right there.

Second, the graphics on Everquest pretty much suck. How do you get started playing it in the first place when it doesn't even look good?

ahh .. (1)

ciupman (413849) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967725)

I don't know why .. but after reading this i felt much better .. like, i thought i didn't have a social life .. and now, i look at all these people... Is this turning into a decease or what? hundreds of hours of gaming .. is this sane?

Lawsuit (2)

sdjunky (586961) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967727)

Has anybody considered a Class Action lawsuit for poor service?

I'm certain that a couple lawsuits would make Sony note that it's more profitable to keep your customers happy than to drag them along on your whims.

And, I want to note that I know people will say "just quit" instead of a suit but there will always be somebody to fill the gap if there's a boycott etc. Only legal action ( e.g. Money ) will speak the message to Sony.

Re:Lawsuit (2)

Uruk (4907) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967748)

You can't just sue someone because you think the service sucks. You have to be suing them for breach of contract, or because they broke some law. I'm pretty sure there's no clause in your online service agreement with EverCrack that you get service within a particular timeframe.

What would you sue them for? It's not illegal to have shitty service, and it's not in violation of any contract. People who are addicted to the game and keep playing despite being unhappy and getting poor service are pretty much junkies. The service contracts have the deck stacked against the junkies and thinking that they can sue the parent company is just folly.

This is a surprise? (5, Insightful)

Emmettfish (573105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967729)

It's a commercial game, released and maintained by a commercial company in order to make money. Corporations exist to make and process money, in order to return value to their shareholders and/or investors.

Every commercial game produced is released in order to make money. The reality of this seems to have escaped the author of this review.

As a consumer, you have a number of choices. You can choose to buy the game and play it, or you can choose to buy the game and not play it. You can also choose not to buy the game, as well.

The problem that the author is trying to address has nothing to do with Everquest; It has everything to do with the perception of value. He wants you to know what you're getting into, and he obviously feels that EverQuest is not worth the money.

Some games are addictive; The only difference is that you're not spending $x every month to play Tetris. Saying that 'you can't win' doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There are a lot of games you can't win; I own several of them.

Spy Hunter (the arcade game) was a great game. It cost twenty-five cents, and there's no way to win. It goes on forever. If you want to play Spy Hunter as long as you want to play EverQuest, it'll cost a hell of a lot more, unless you have crazy-mad Spy Hunter skills.

EverQuest offers a flat monthly rate. Some people pay something like $10 an hour for this, because they only play a couple hours a month. Some people are logged in sixteen hours a day. From an entertainment point of view, the people who are 'addicted to the game' are actually getting more value for their money. Read that again. Addicted to EverQuest: Hopeless gamer, or thifty shopper?

Maybe they don't update their site as often as they should. Are site updates part of the cost, or can anyone access them? If you're not paying for it, it does not apply to the 'value for money' problem. Poor updates, inefficient game masters... If you don't want to deal with this, don't buy the game, I suppose. On the other hand, I wouldn't rush out and buy a game that claims 'Kick-Ass Support!' and 'EXTREME GAME-MASTERING.' Game companies in the future will likely feel the same way, and just keep putting hot chicks on the boxes in the store.

All in all, I do appreciate the honesty of the rant, and I do believe that many people may not understand the value proposition of EverQuest before they buy the game and start playing. On the other hand, caveat emptor, baby!

Emmett Plant [mailto]
CEO, Xiph.org Foundation [xiph.org]

ForeverQuest . . . (1)

Snoobs (43421) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967734)

I think the article made lots of sense. For a roleplaying game, Everquest is one of the most boring games that I have ever laid eyes on. The only thing that keeps people playing it is the fact that it is similar to IRC . . .

When Sony bought out Verant, that is when Everquest had possibilities to be a descent game that was cared for to another corporate tool to make money.

But basically, one of my good friend's Dad. Plays this game relentlessly. Every day after work he is at his workstation putting in 4-6 hours. I remember putting in 12 hour sessions at Starcraft a couple of years ago. But, the point is that he is playing the SAME game that he was 2 years ago. Everquest will rule your life if you let it.

Anyway, if people like the game, fine, play it. But, I don't think that Sony is doing that great of a job. Sell your character, make some money and then buy a new game, that doesn't suck you in for two years . . .

peace, Snoobs

so, why not write your own MMORPG? (1)

waxmop (195319) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967736)

it's been done before: civ addicts all got together and wrote freeciv. freeciv allows the players to customize every aspect of the game experience; rules, tilesets, etc. it suffers in the graphics department, but it's still a great game. why don't all you everquest addicts all go cold-turkey for six months and write your own game? you may find that working on a real project that you love is a lot more satisfying than daydreaming about your elf earning his new set of magic argyle socks. i'm doing my part: i'm working on an SDL version of the old maxis game robosport.

what was said in IRC in reply to this (2)

Vodak (119225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967740)

[13:49] [YG]ben: eq saves money on doing other shit
[13:49] [YG]ben: you dont have to go to the "movies"
[13:50] [YG]ben: or go "hang out" whoch in sarasota means spend $20 on something
[13:50] [YG]ben: and a tank of gas laste at least 2 weeks

Perhaps... (2)

LordYUK (552359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4967764)

"David Sanftenberg
aka Dolalin Bonewielder
62 Necromancer of Lanys T`Vyl" ...if he had made it to level 63 before being 0wn3d by some 1337 h4x0r 12 year old with an entire summer to burn playing it, he might not be so disgruntled.

Else he could just be a poor schmuck that actually PAYS for a game that obviously sound about as fun as hammering a nail through ones "member" as he keeps putting it.

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