It's 2012 and I still haven't played another game as rich and compelling as this one
Where to begin? EverQuest is such an immersive, expansive experience -- it's essentially like a whole other world that players will routinely sink themselves into for three, six, ten, perhaps even twenty hours at a time. Of course it isn't nearly the phenomenon today as it was five years ago, but the fact that we've seen a dozen or more expansions demonstrates the enduring popularity of the game.
First and foremost, EverQuest is a social experiment. Scratch that, it's a successful experiment. It's a compelling game demanding cohesive teamwork, constant communication, and a deep understanding of your chosen class. You can muddle through if you don't know quite what you're doing, but experience will not flow in smoothly, and you will be going on plenty of corpse runs -- a sobering experience when your body is at the bottom of dungeon.
The game world of Norrath, and its associated moon and alternate elemental planes, are, in a word, vast.. It boasts over four hundred zones, and most of them take a player at least a couple of minutes to run across. This is profoundly large game world, and yet there is no lack of rich detail. You can tell that the creators of EQ really knew their fantasy inside out, from the creatures that populate Norrath to the massive array of magical spells to the 'phat lewts' that dominate the focus of the game for a lot of players.
It's clearly past its prime. I haven't seriously played EverQuest since 2002, and that's a good thing. It used to be on the leading edge of social gaming, but now we have World of Warcraft, a seriously dumbed-down carbon copy of EQ, that's no longer the case.
The Bottom Line
A majestic and very fun experience that has probably entertained more people for a greater length of time than any other game in history.