What can I say about EverQuest that hundreds of other players have not said before? For it's time (I'd say circa 1999 - 2004) EverQuest was the greatest gaming experience to be had, and as one of the lucky players who was fortunate enough to play during this time period I can say beyond a reasonable doubt that EverQuest was the greatest gaming experience I have ever had.
For what it was, EverQuest was simply an epic adventure that nothing since its time has been fully able to live up to what it presented. It utilized online game play before any other really massive games (save Ultima Online if so it can be considered) could offer for the time. The beauty of this game, however, really was drawn for it's difficulty, its immersion, and its community - and unfortunately, the EverQuest of today does not do these properties justice.
There was a stark fear that entered me the day I played this for the first time. For one, it was expensive, it required a subscription, and I was not used to such things as a 13 year old - but with enough allowance and perseverance I made this game happen and it changed me personally on many levels as a result.
To date, no other game has been able to offer the same feelings that this game truly did as an adolescent, and I feel that this game really places the bar at which I judge other MMO's and RPGs. It was fixed to first person, quests needed to be obtained through dialog, death was unforgiving, your possessions remained on your corpse, experience loss was a veary real fear, getting lost was a very real fear, other players were judged on their merit as individuals, and I could go on about every finite detail that made this game very revolutionary for its time.
The EverQuest of today has been very watered down and filled with so many cash shop items and meaningless expansions to fuel the gear treadmill that I am deeply saddened. However, I do understand the stipulations behind keeping a game like this alive in a world of gaming where the "lesser" MMO's must really nickle and dime it's players to keep afloat, and for that reason I can never return to this magical place that shaped my childhood and outlook on gaming.
Despite this, however, I keep this game and its developers in high regard for the opportunities it offered for me at the time. For many of us, the rose-colored glasses weigh heavy on tired eyes, but like your first love - this isn't something we can ever forget.
For a real opportunity at the game in its hay-day Project 1999 (www.project1999.org)
may be something to experience - but part of the magic that made EQ something awesome really did stem from its technological superiority of the time, and this may take away from the experience you may otherwise have.
I will stop waxing nostalgic at this point and leave your judgement to its rest, but as an old EQ player I will forever stand by this game as an unparalleled experience that....sadly....really can never be experienced again.