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Publisher: Sony Online    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.1    CPU: G4 @ 700 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Graphics: 640x480 @ 32-bit, 32 MB VRAM

July 25, 2003 | Chris Ritchie

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Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) understands Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs). Their list of MMORPGs available to the PC consumer is impressive, branching from swords and sorcery style games to space adventuring. Out of all of SOEís titles, Everquest is the veteran.

One of the first MMORPGs to capture the attention of the world gaming community, Everquestís unique style and interface made it possible for a fully 3D world to be explored and investigated by thousands of players simultaneously. Now the lands of Norrath and all the races, creatures, monsters and treasure contained within are available on the Macintosh.

Game play
For those of you who donít know exactly what an MMORPG is, or for those slightly confused as to how this style of game works, allow me to give you a quick run down. The goal of the MMORPG is to create a simulated world, complete with economics, politics, friendships and a fair amount of monster killing. The enjoyment from this type of game does not come from following a storyline through to the conclusion, going through a linear path of pre-arranged cut-scenes and enemies, or even beating the game (mainly because there is no end to the game). The enjoyment from a game like Everquest comes from the player creating their own goals and then achieving them. Not to sound too much like a high-school counselor, but itís the journey, not the destination that makes these games. Perhaps you want to become a Dark Elf adept in raising the dead and casting attack spells or maybe your goal is to become a powerful Ogre who spends his free time baking bread to sell to other players. SOE has given the players the world and what happens in it is up to them.

Getting Started
If you have played an MMORPG before, the Everquest interface will be second nature. They are practically the default that most MMORPGs follow now. If you have never experienced one of these games, the controls will seem a tad confusing at first, however it is nothing that a few hours of game play canít fix. As with most role-playing games, you start out at level one with only bread, milk, a starting weapon and a tattered note to your name. You gain experience by killing creatures, or completing tasks that Non-Player Characters (NPCs) give you. Money is earned by selling items you find on the corpses of creatures you have killed, all very basic for anyone familiar with RPGs in general.

One of the more difficult parts of the interface is the lack of a map feature. The different starting cities are detailed and large enough that until you have walked around them for a while, you will almost certainly get lost (especially the Dark Elf starting city which is practically a maze). Along with no town mapping, it is also difficult to see where you are in relation to the rest of the world. Once again, after a few hours of game play it isnít difficult to be able to find your guild hall in your starting city and be able to find the exit to go fight the bad guys. The areas around each starting city are specifically designed for the new player.

For the first six or seven level character levels there is no real need to venture out further than the starting area. Monsters become progressively harder as you move away from the cities. Higher levels are required to start adventuring away from the protection of the city guards.


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