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SummaryAn oustanding gaming experience, but often criticized by those who don't understand the concept of "game balance".
The GoodThe social interaction between players is one of the biggest draws of the game. Everquest was designed from the ground up to be a cooperative game which, in almost all cases, requires you to cooperate with other players in order to advance in levels (and, therefore, in power and ability). And this forced cooperation leads to online friendships, which gives you a reason to return to the land of Norrath again and again. I know many people for whom the game itself is secondary to the social aspects of simply hanging out with their friends and chatting.
The BadThe thing that I disliked most about Everquest was the incessant whining and groaning and pissing and moaning that occurred in the online message forums and newsgroups. If you read the posts made in these groups and on these websites, you'd come away with the impression that people were being forced to play Everquest at gunpoint. Some people simply never seemed to grasp the concept that the game wasn't obligated to be all things to all people. Whenever Verant would adjust the game parameters to counter cheezy tactics or exploits, the cries of "NERF!" would begin, and whiners would come out in droves. It was demoralizing.
However, to be fair, it is also true that Everquest's biggest problem is Verant themselves. Somewhere in the development of Everquest, the design team got it into their heads that (A) the game should have "mystery," and (B) players were morons. This attitude continues largely unchanged to the present day, over two years after the original commercial release of Everquest. There have been many instances over the two years of Everquest's existence where the players themselves discovered bugs or game imbalances, but which would not be acknowledged (much less fixed) by Verant. Verant simply took the attitude of "You're wrong, and there's no way you could know nearly as much about the game as we do, so shut up about it already." On many occasions, however, it turned out that Verant was wrong and the players were right. Sometimes this would be fixed with a nod to the players. Most of the time it would be fixed quietly, without explanation, and Verant would claim that there had never been a problem in the first place. Occasionally, they'd fix it and claim that they discovered the problem independently of the players, and really, they'd never heard anything about it at all from the players (despite countless messages into the newsgroups and web-based message boards).