EverQuest Project1999

How much classic is ‘too much classic’?

October 2, 2019

With Project1999 Green on the way I have been spending a bit more time on the Project1999 forums. I haven’t gone back to playing on Project1999 Blue as I find I have even less motivation now with Green coming than during my several month hiatus! So reading and planning for Green is about all I’m doing in EverQuest right now.

I’d like to talk about some of the ongoing debates about differing levels of ‘classic’. Players of WoW Classic had some of the same reactions to the decisions Blizzard made with their rehash of WoW Vanilla. Project1999 admin Rogean scared the life out of a large number of players (and made others jubilant) when he posted this video a few weeks back:

What you’re seeing is a modern recreation of what was a reality of playing EQ during its earliest stages – casters had to open their spellbook and click ‘Meditate’ to regain mana at a faster rate. They were unable to see anything around them. Because of the nature of the original EQ user interface (pictured above), this spellbook filled the whole screen.

A few days later Rogean made the angry happy and the happy disappointed (hard to please everyone!) and posted this:

We’re not going to be forcing the black screen on green, so everyone put down the pitchforks.

Casters will still need to have the spellbook open when they meditate, but on most screens it won’t take up more than 10-15% of the total space.

The extent of ‘classic’

This kind of change got me thinking – how much classic is too much classic? For the few players who are hard core devotees to the pure mission of the project, the answer is ‘nothing’. Some on the other end of the spectrum seem to want to have the database and playerbase qualities of Project1999, but also the quality of life changes that have come with modern EQ.

My view is that most people sit at varying places in between.

The spellbook meditation changes aren’t the only things that have been hotly discussed. Rogean and Nilbog have decided to remove the pet UI window (meaning players will need to use text commands), reduce the amount of useable hotkey windows, add night blindness depending on character race, and remove commands like ‘cycle next NPC target’. All are faithful to the classic era, and add additional inconveniences or difficulties for players.

There are vocal proponents and opponents to all of these. Personally, I am plannng to play an Enchanter or a Necromancer and some of these changes have given me pause. But I figure that, like I did back in 1999, I will get used to the ‘reduced functionality’. But I am probably closer to the ‘purist’ end of the spectrum (though still a long way from those wanting a return to the original ‘viewport’ EQ UI, as you can see in the above image).

So, for those who are closer to the other end of the spectrum, will this turn them off from playing? And if so, does it matter?

Project1999 isn’t a company seeking to turn a profit. Does it matter whether there are 200 players, 1200 players or 2200 players? From a player’s perspective, it does. People to group, chat and trade with are necessary. But if implementing these classic changes means the overall population will be lower, should the Project1999 team, who are recreating a point in time, actually care?

I think not.

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  1. I used to like the full screen spellbook when i was playing a healer, either Cleric or Druid. I could assess what was happening and wh needed healing more effectively with only text, audio ans the group health bars to work from. I found it harder when I could see because of all the visual distractions so I usually sat and medded even when I was high or full mana.

    That said, when the option was removed I soon adjusted and later on I was much more useful as a healer or support class because I watched what was happening outside of the MT and his target, which meant I could warn or deal with incoming threats as they appeared.

    I don’t think I’d go back to the full screen spellbook now. As for the small window with the frame, that’s surely an artefact of 14″ CRT Monitors. Without that it would be pointless so I hope all the advocates kept their old screens!

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