EverQuest MMO Project1999

Project1999 Green announcement – classic EverQuest

September 24, 2019

A week and half ago the Project1999 staff finally formally announced the release date and details of their ‘Green’ server, which I discussed in a previous post. I am a bit late to post on this as I started a week-long overseas holiday on the same day as the announcement and, well, holidays trump blogging. To be fair, it seems like almost everything has trumped blogging lately!

Release date and details

Green is essentially everything most people have been asked for since the enigmatic green-tinted image first graced the Project1999 forums months ago. The tl;dr of the announcement:

  • Release date 25 October 2019 (early afternoon Eastern US time)
  • Content from the classic EverQuest era (1999-2001) up to the Scars of Velious expansion will be released in a staggered manner which mimics the original two year timeline.
  • Green characters will be eventually merged into the existing Project1999 Blue but no earlier than January 2022.
  • Blue may be used to host custom ‘classic-inspired’ content.
  • An evolved (and non-classic) ‘play nice’ policy will be introduced for camping items that will formalise and systematise the informal list system currently used on Blue.
  • Both servers will semi-share a names database – if someone has a name reserved on Blue and that someone isn’t you, you won’t be able to have that name on Green.

The hype is very real over on the Project1999 forums and the Project1999 subreddit, as well as a few long-lasting EQ communities that relish the opportunity for a new start.

Will I stay or will I go?

My last post on Green was before WoW Classic was released, but while I think WoW Classic has come close to replicating classic-era WoW, Green will come much closer to replicating classic-era EverQuest. That is not to say there aren’t ‘unclassic’ and ‘quality of life’ changes that either won’t be or can’t be left out on Green. Probably the most glaring for some will be the formal lists system, which will make for a happier playerbase but goes against the principles of a ‘player-regulated space’ that is the hallmark of early MMORPGs. There are other things that have existed on Blue for a long time – an ‘unclassic’ UI later in the classic era (though no custom UIs à la Blue), and no ‘spellbook meditating’, which required casters to stare at their spellbook to regain mana until level 35. But in my opinion this labour of love still produces the most comeplling return to the classic era across the varied examples we have.

In spite of myself I’m also pretty hyped and though I thought I wouldn’t play at launch and would instead stick with my Blue characters, I’m planning to jump in. I haven’t actually played Project1999 since late July, which isn’t that uncommon as it’s a game I drift in and out of but never truly leave. At that point I was very committed to progressing my Shaman, but now with nearly two months break I am thinking of going the ‘fresh start’ route, as troublesome as that will be. I’ll be leaving behind my modest platinum reserves and half-decent ability to ‘twink’ a character, and leaping into the great unknown with everyone else.

At this stage I’ll likely play a Shaman or Enchanter again. Or at a stretch, Necromancer. My playstyle and play times require soloability, and while I am aided by gear on Blue those classes still have the best soloability without it. Shaman is probably the outlier as they are slow to level even with gear until the early to mid 30s, especially if you choose Ogre or Troll. I know the Enchanter class the best and they have great utility and easy travel, however I am reminded of how stressful it can be playing them post-50. I am tempted to try the Necromancer – a newish class for me (my highest is Level 21), one that isn’t limited by gear and can easily step away from the PC, and has a lot of depth when played right.

I’m also pretty conscious that these three classes, along with Bard and Druid, are likely to be the most played. Gluttons for punishment and lovers of grouping and grouping alone will roll Clerics and Warriors. Monks, Magicians, Wizards, and Rogues will likely be middle population. Hybrids like Shadow Knight and Paladin will be unpopular until hybrid experience penalties are removed late in the timeline.

The class/population makeup will probably work to be the least classic part of the new server. Back in the classic era grouping was the norm, and some of the meta that has developed on Project1999 – like new players start a druid first to get platinum, and many players seeking good soloability – was never there. Enchanters charmed less, Bards swarm kited less, largely due to server instability and less sophisticated internet connections. The holy trinity of Warrior-Cleric-Rogue was as much a tradition in RPGs as goblins and orcs. The players we were and the way we played were very different. But should this stop you? No way.

Should you play?

All of these ‘unclassic’ things will not work to detract too much from the experience. Project1999 Green will have a release that will likely have as much if not more of the good feeling that we saw with WoW Classic. It will be a far smaller launch of course, but the proportion of passionate devotees to a twenty-year old game will be greater.

Many who read this will have ‘been there, done that’ and aren’t interested in trying Project1999 Green. But if you’ve never played EverQuest, or only played the WoWified version currently on Live/Retail servers, then I’d highly encourage you to give it a try. It won’t cost you anything, and if you can look past the ageing (but adequate) graphics and ‘tough love’ of the early game, you may find yourself loving a classic of the genre.

I’ll be there, and I’ll hopefully have time to play and write about it.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I’m still torn on it but leaning not to play. The characters I would play (Cleric, Necro) will be just as fun – if not MORE fun – when done on Blue. Especially now that they added spellbook meditation back in I think it will be less fun (But definitely more accurate historically!)

    1. I am not sure how long I’ll last before I come back to the warm embrace of my regular geared characters on Blue, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

  2. “…many players seeking good soloability – was never there”. This is the popular conception but i’m not at all sure it’s accurate. I started in November 1999 and almost all my play in the first six months was solo. I began, during my first week of play, by searching the internet for guides on how to play solo and found many of them (largely useless but that doesn’t really change the fact that people were writing them in profusion).

    I soloed as a cleric (one of the first guides I read recommended it!), a ranger, a druid and eventually most successfully as a necromancer, by far the solo class of choice back then. In my search for good solo spots I was in competition with many players doing the same thing. Later, when custom channels were introduced, I joined a Necromancer channel, which was pretty much 100% Necros talking about how brilliant they were at soloing and being smug about it, too.

    As I recall it, there were three distinct demographics in EQ c1999-2002; soloers, overland group players and dungeon group players. Raiders weren’t really a thing when I started and were never more than a very small clique until PoP. Each group treated the others with disdain. Dungeon players in particular saw overland group players as filthy casuals, although that wasn’t a term in use at the time.

    The other thing to remember is that server cultures varied far more then than they have for a long time. I played on many servers and the differences were sometimes quite marked. It may well be that some servers had very few soloists but the ones I played on, or some of them, had plenty.

    Also, if we’re talking about the demand for soloability as opposed to how many actually soloed, I recall demand being very high. It was a constant topic on the official forums and the eventual changes towards solo-friendly play, which began well before WoW’s breakout success, were, I believe, largely made in response to player demand.

    What we have now, in retro-reconstructions like P1999 and CLassic, is an audience cosisting of the minority of players who didn’t want those changes back when they were being made in most MMORPGs. It’s a group that’s been very badly served over the last decade or so and it’s great that those people are finally seeing a positive response to the untapped demand they represent.

    1. I agree with you and wasn’t implying they didn’t exist at all. But I would argue the demographics skew heavily towards soloers in P99, far more so than what I estimated could have been at most 20 per cent of players in classic.

      I’d also argue the game knowledge and connection reliability was a strong counteracting force to widespread soloing in-era.

      But I definitely don’t mean to say it never existed at all, just that the majority (60-80%) were more likely to group. I’d say it’s now the opposite in a P99 Blue setting, with cheap easily obtainable gear to twink a lowbie character. Though perhaps that has more to do with a 10 year old server than the playerbase itself.

      It’s a funny point you make, too. That so many MMOs cater now to the solo player – the player who wants to log in and do 30 minutes of work and get a reward for it, as opposed to what EverQuest was for most in 1999-2001. A long slog of many hours to get a few pixels of experience. But I stand by my view that a large proportion of players on P99 appear to want to be able to solo, but also want to need to group up to complete larger goals, and yet also find themselves in a virtual world and not a gamified ‘lobby’.

      Time may tell with green.

      We’re curious creatures, us humans.

  3. Huh. Well, I guess if I was ever going to try EQ1999, a new server opening would probably be the time.

    I actually have the required platinum CD ISOs downloaded already. I sort of thought I might give it a try some time ago well before Blaugust even off a post of Iseys, but the drive to do so sort of dried up upon completion of the download.

    Still — I never got rid of them. If you end up giving it a go on the new server, it could be a good time if our availability lines up at all. 🙂

    Also though, hope you had a great holiday, and welcome back!!

      1. You know, up until now I had it in my head you were in Australia for some reason. But now I’m wondering if I misread some earlier convo and it was Austria or similar . xD

  4. I am always tempted by EverQuest nostalgia and feel like I should rush in. But without a regular group to play with old school EQ is unlikely to stick. As Bhagpuss say, soloing is possible, but being in a group and playing is the essence of the 1999 experience. I am glad to see they are moving along with this though.

    1. For me I think a part of it is just being part of Norrath in its original form. I do group when I can, and if I play an Enchanter early charm soloing is a chore, so I’ll likely group as much as possible 1-20ish. Unfortunately like a lot of us old MMOers I need to be able down tools at fast notice and the grouping culture in EQ is more a ‘long-haul’ thing! So soloability is a necessity for me.

      In terms of a regular group, I get the allure of a static group. But there’ll be so many people playing and we’ll be confined to the ‘Old World’ that you won’t want for a group if you choose your class wisely.

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