On a cold and stormy night in 1999, computer gamers from around the world plugged in and logged on to the exciting new world known as Everquest. Alone and naked, their fledgling Wood Elves and Trolls soon began questing the only way they knew how - by killing lots and lots of rats. Soon they were staying up all night, pillaging decayed skeletons for their cloth armor and ravenously collecting bone chips to sell to each other. But it didn’t end there, as hundreds of thousands of PC gamers began to stoke their growing addiction nightly. The game infamously referred to as “Evercrack”, Everquest was and is seen as the primary predecessor for the MMORPG genre of PC games. World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and even Lord of the Rings Online all incorporate many of the same core gameplay elements of Everquest.
But all good tales must come to an end. Starting in 2002 with the Planes of Power expansion for EQ, the world of Norrath’s development took a rapid downturn that left many fans unhappy. The original development team resigned, core game mechanics were changed, player subscriptions began to drop steadily, and within a few years, Everquest was a mere shadow of its once infamous self.
Sony’s Progression Servers
For many PC gamers, classic Everquest remains the pinnacle of MMORPG gaming. Sony has taken notice, and instituted several different “Progression” servers aimed at recapturing old fans of the classic Everquest experience. However, not all is well in Sony’s new “classic Everquest experience” severs, as many of the core gameplay mechanics and items have changed. Leveling is much faster, there is a serious focus on raiding guilds and high end equipment, and the servers in the past have degraded into hermetic-like guilds advancing the server into newer expansions in a matter of months.
Despite these misguided efforts to recapture the proverbial “Everquest magic”, there is a large demand for a true classic Everquest server. For some, this demand was answered in February of 2011, as Sony released a new “Time-locked Progression Server” - also known as Fippy Darkpaw.
For the price of a gold Everquest subscription - 15 dollars a month, PC gamers get to experience a remarkably stable “classic” Everquest experience. While Sony is proclaiming this server as a return to the classic Everquest formula, there are some significant changes that will likely upset many fans.
- Sony has stated that items will stay with your character even after he or she dies - effectively ending exciting corpse runs to the depths of Lower Guk.
- Sony has eliminated hell levels, enhanced the experience curve, and delivered augments to many items - destroying the difficulty level of the classic game.
- Sony has included a map function on this new server - bringing an end to the open world to explore feel of Everquest classic.
Obviously, the new “Progression” server is not exactly a return to the classic, old-school, sometimes ridiculous difficulty Everquest of 1999. So what is a true Everquest classic fun to do? Check out the next page and learn how to play true Everquest classic - for free.
While many gamers will absolutely love Sony’s new “Progression” Everquest server, many others will yearn for something more authentic. Luckily, Project 1999 has been up and running since 2009 now, and is a near perfect emulation of classic Everquest. Amazingly, the team behind Project 1999 has painstakingly revived classic Everquest, even down to adding in zones like the Temple of Solusek Ro, the Planes of Fear, Hate and Sky, and taking away infamous drops like Rubicite and Manastones - all on a timed schedule aimed at emulating Everquest’s original patches.
Sounds good right? Well it gets better, as Project 1999 is completely, 100% free to play. It runs off of the Everquest Emulator program, or EQemu for short, which is a free and legal download found here. EQemu and Project 1999 do require a copy of Everquest Titanium to play, which can be found at discounted prices on the internet or even at some electronics stores. Outside of the initial price of EQ Titanium, there are no subscription fees, in game-purchases, or mandatory donation drives.
But how is this server legal in any way, shape or form? Well, according to the senior programmer of P1999, Rogean, “Yes it is legal, because A) We do not distribute copyrighted files, B) We do not charge people to play, therefor we are not making any sort of money or profit off of the intellectual property of SOE, and C) SOE Grants, in their user agreement, a license to utilize Everquest names and art, to all accounts in good standing”. Since players must own a copy of Everquest Titanium to play P1999, there is no illegal distribution of game content from one hand to another. Rogean and his team simply modify - in most cases deleting - the content of the EQ Titanium pack to best emulate the classic game.
One last note about Project 1999 - the community on this server is mature and friendly and expects all players to be the same. Earning a bad reputation is easy to do, and the development team has and will ban players that do not adhere to the rules of the server. That said, most experiences within P1999 are enjoyable and exciting.
How to Play Everquest Classic for Free
Convinced to try Project 1999’s Classic Everquest experience yet? Well if you must see it to believe it, there are several steps you must take to began playing Everquest classic for free.
- Install Everquest Titanium - Do not patch the game after the original install.
- Download and install Duxa’s All in One Installer Tool from here.
- Run Duxa’s tool - select your Everquest graphical choices appearing in the DOS pop up screen by using the numeric keyboard buttons and hitting enter after making your selections.
- Download and install EQemu from here.
- Register a username and password on the EQemu forums here - you must do this in order to access the EQemu servers.
- Create a EQemu login server name and password here - this will be your login key to the EQemu servers.
- Change your EQhost.txt file - found in your Everquest data directory - to read [LoginServer] Host=eqemulator.net:5998
- Create an EQemu shortcut - then right-click on it, choose preferences, and then edit the “location shortcut” to read “C:\Program Files\Everquest\eqgame.exe” patchme"
- Click on your shortcut, login in to the EQemu server list, select Project 1999, and start playing!
While some of these installation instructions may seem a bit technical, if you have any questions you can ask on the official EQemu forums linked below.
Additional Information on Everquest
An Interview with Everquest Senior Game Designer, Ryan Barker and Veteran Everquest Player Ryan Tirrell (Tnexus), written at the time of Everquest’s 10th Anniversary. https://www.alteredgamer.com/everquest/29497-eq-10th-anniversary-interviews/