EverQuest: The 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition

Ten years ago, as I watched my husband create a human character in a virtual world and kill skeletons and rats, I wondered how could this virtual world be so interesting and compelling. It sparked my curiosity, so I started reading the player's guide - a thick book that explained a lot of the lore, races and classes. Shortly after, I decided I wanted to be a high elf cleric, and that's how EverQuest became my first MMO.

Reading EverQuest: The 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition was definitely a great trip back in time, for the good memories and the not-so-great ones too. But it was also a learning experience to go behind the scenes and see what brought this universe to life.

This retrospective of the EverQuest legacy is a must-have for anyone who has played the game. I wouldn't say it's an exact chronological record of how the game came to be and what steps were taken to create it, but it's close enough. However, it is written in a unique way, with short technical blurbs, then some testimonials of the dev team members, including random moments such as GM events or strange bug occurrences that they have witnessed themselves, even relating how the Norrathian deities came to be from a bunch of condiments during a McDonald's meal. Yes, ideas do come to people in the strangest places and out of the strangest things, and you will read about these brainstorming sessions in the book as well. Oh yes, and don't feel bad if you have ever fallen from the top of Kelethin. The devs did too.

The pages are filled with photos, sketches, notes, conceptual art, all sorts of character depictions, screenshots, character models, thoughts and trivia. The artwork is fantastic, and most of it transforms the book into a portfolio with cover art spanning two pages or a particular character filling up an entire page. I was happy to see the new art for Mayong Mistmoore and an old screenshot of the castle in there too, as he was one of my favorite characters.

This book celebrates all that is EverQuest. Not just the ideas that lead to the creation of the original game, but also the rest of the franchise, from tabletop to console games, not forgetting every single expansion released. This actually made me very happy, since I own (and love) both Champions of Norrath titles for PS2, played some of EQOA, tried out Lords of EverQuest and even did some card duels in Legends of Norrath. I also own a couple of comic books and the player's guide, and my original EverQuest box still has its $69.99 price tag on it. When all is put together, it seems like quite the collection, and I don't even own all the expansions for both PC games.

I can't help but feel nostalgic while writing this article. Everything came rushing back almost instantly, one memory leading to another, as I browsed the pages. Being lost and stranded in Neriak after invisibility wore out (as a High Elf, that was a scary exerience), falling down the pit in Befallen, being run over by Terrorantula, Cazic Thule's death touches, the horrid corpse runs (especially in Plane of Fear), the 9-hour Najena camp for Journeyman's Boots, my 7-day Ragefire camp that only made me sick from exhaustion... But for each bad memory there were plenty of good ones, as the moments were shared with members of a guild that was one of the top three in our server (Innoruuk). The Planes raids, the happiness that followed after getting the item I had been camping for hours (or days), the countless dragon kills, cleric-tanking Dain, in-game weddings, baking gnome-shaped cookies for friends just for fun, the 72-man raids, my guildmates from Silent Justice and Legions of Darkness (hey guys, if you're reading this, Sania says "huggies!"), and on a non-player front, my Guide shifts.

I've been through several MMOs after EverQuest, but none of them has managed to provide me with that level of involvement. And although my years of hardcore MMO player are now long gone, I still miss the fantastic, magical and sometimes so very hostile world of Norrath.

Happy birthday, EverQuest. May you continue to age gracefully.