Well, I was one of the first in line to purchase Everquest when it came out (OK, so there wasn’t a line, but I did call EB to reserve a copy) with the hopes that I could leave the madness and codependency of Sosaria forever behind me.

In yer dreams, Jack.

Everquest is like a beautiful, mentally retarded woman. At first you’re entranced, but then it starts to sink in that something is missing… but if you could only put your finger on what.

The user interface looks like it was based on a web page on GeoCities. Beautiful, stunning scenery surrounded by a butt-ugly control scheme that takes up half the page. You can turn off the butt-ugly control scheme, with the tradeoff that you can then not actually do anything.

I was first introduced to the Friendly Everquest Fascism when I tried to name my character. No Lum the Mad for me… spaces are forbidden in Their World Now! So, merely Lum and chastened, I started my plucky halfling theif on the road to glory.

Five minutes later, after I died, I tried again. Ten minutes later, after I died, I tried a new character, a Troll Shadowknight also named Lum. Since the Troll city is so hard to find the exit to, his lifespan was considerably longer.

We won’t mention the half-elf ranger who fell off a tree, or the barbarian fighter who was too weak to fight off a crab or whatever the hell it was.

OK, I dug in, studied Stratics, and figured out how the hell to survive more than five minutes at a time In Their World Now. It involved bunny bashing. OK, I’ve played UO, I can bunny bash with the best of them, dammit.

Except that, reading and playing and studying other characters, the whole game is basically one large bunny bash. You just keep moving on to larger and larger bunnies. (Some of those bunnies are HUUUGE. With big nasty teeth!)

There isn’t much else to do in Everquest. You can go on “quests” which are kind of like the ones that NPCs in UO used to give you back when UO started, only not quite as mindlessly stupid. However, the XP that they give you doesn’t compare to what you get by bashing 10,000 bunnies over the head in mindnumbing sequence. PvP is pretty much nonexistent, from what I saw. In fact really the only fun I had was watching the creature spawn points, since the creatures spawned some 20 feet off the ground before running around in a vague simulation of “AI”.

Crafts? Muahahaha. Everquest has crafts, and they are tailor made to those who thought being a GM smith in UO was just too damn easy. You can work for hours and maybe come up with some patchwork piece of tattered leather that a troll MAY be not embarassed to be seen in. No matter HOW good you are, you can never make armor as good as what’s in the NPC shops, which pretty much ensures that the player economy is going to stay firmly in the toilet.

All the Everquest reviewers rave about how the game “encourages you to work in groups” (in the same way Everquest encourages you to do everything else, very similar to the way Serbs “encourage” Kosovar Albanians to emigrate). While this is a fine and noble concept, in execution it results in groups of total strangers, since even if you somehow could FIND your friends and guildmates (since there is no ICQ and IRC In Their World… hell there’s not even an Alt-Tab or Ctrl-Alt-Delete In Their World) you wouldn’t be able to group with them unless you were at almost their EXACT experience level. There is supposedly a valid reason for this, involving some odd MUD term I can’t really think of.

So basically I have an Everquest CD I can’t use, an account that keeps accumulating free days as 989 refuses to learn from OSI’s experience (“You mean that having all the servers in the same place on the same ISP is bad? NO WAY, dude!?!”), and a lot of dead trolls. Maybe I should get ahead of the curve and auction it all off on E-Bay.