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.