Tag Archives: Everquest

A quest for common ground …

I’m not really sure how to write this and not destroy the noble and righteous name that is Had A Few Beers.

Really, the words I’m about to write may collapse the walls insulating our heroic, and might I say “inspired” blog as easily as the Roman siege engines ripped apart Carthage’s defense during the third Punic war.

Stoic really ...

Stoic really …

Was that reference obscure for you? Well then strap in, because it’s about to get worse.

Be sure to check for liquids that might, if spilled, damage the device your reading this on. When you discover the dark secret I’m about reveal, in a fit of panic, rage or orgasmic joy, you could knock that drink over and cause untold millions of dollars in collective damage?

If you haven’t checked for said liquids you should. Please remove them from your immediate reading area now.

Thanks. Did you also wipe up that little water sweat ring that forms when you put down a cold drink on a warm surface? If not, you should do such now. (That directive has little to do with this blog and everything to do with my having lived with a clean-freak for the last 600 years.)

Now, onto the revelation. DRUMROLL PLEASE …

My wife played Everquest with me!

No one was held at gunpoint, the lives of kittens did not hang in the balance.

She willingly agreed to play Everquest with me.

This came about because of reasons.

Like many couples, we try to do something together that’s just us once a week. Also, like many couples, that quickly devolves into, “Let’s sit our fat-asses on the couch and watch a movie together because that’s easy.”

One particular Saturday she suggested I watch some “chick flick” with her and I jokingly said something to the effect of “Only if you spend the same amount of time next Saturday playing Everquest with me.”

She, to my befuddlement, agreed. I spent the next two hours watching a movie about a couple who were clearly meant to be together, but who were separated by circumstance, then eventually come together, break up and then, and this is the shocking part, get back together to live happily ever after.

I did this without making rude comments or pointing out the absurdity of the situation. I don’t know how I did it either. I think I did it by thinking about how I would introduce her to online gaming while appeared to give a shit about the upwardly mobile woman in the movie and her romantic interest.

I do remember thinking, “How the hell am I going to do this?”

When I asked her what kind of video games she had played in the past, she said Pong. That was the last, and it turns out, only video game she’s ever played.

Pong, as in two pixilated sticks batting a pixilated ball back and forth across a, presumably, black and white television that used actual vacuum tubes.

I considered reminding her of her short stint with “Words with Friends” but thought better of it.

Evercrack, World or Dorkness, and all of these role-playing games are not that complicated, at a basic level. All online games are routinely mastered by legions of racist/homophobic 13-year-olds, as any online gamer can attest.

I don’t know if I should have set her down with a large white board for a 45-minute class about computer gaming in general and online gaming specifically or what, but I did realize that my wife was not so much a gaming partner as she was a gaming student.

Like this?

Like this?

Look, like it or not, most online fantasy-type games can be linked to Dungeons and Dragons. For those not familiar with the concept of Dungeons and Dragons, let me give you the Reader’s Digest version.

Dungeons and Dragon’s founder Gary Gygax basically read a crapton of fantasy novels and then physically had sex with all of the books. Really, Gygax carved a hole into each book and made sweet, sweet love to each of them.

The product of that coupling are today’s online games with racist/homophobic 13-year-olds somehow added into the mix.

Gygax basically codified the whole thing. He wrote down that Gandolf was a wizard, wizards are smart. Bilbo was a thief, thiefs are sneaky, Aragorn is a ranger, rangers are fast and good with bow and arrow. Trolls are on the internet making people angry. That kind of shit.

Yet, my wife has never heard of Gary Gygax and I’m pretty sure she’s slept through every one of my monthly drunken, “Hey let’s watch the Lord of the Rings until I pass out” super fun events.

There’s tons of better, more in-depth source material out there if you’re interested, but in a nut shell most (not all) online games have a variety of classes (think job or purpose) that a player takes on while playing the game. All players have to choose a class or their online character is unemployed and is forced to watch a lot of daytime TV.

My first task was to introduce my wife to the concept of “classes.” Everquest has a handy summary page that outlined what each class did and she, while rolling her eyes, read it. She decided on the enchanter. Which was great, until she decided that her race (yeah, these games have races like elves, dwarfs, trolls and ogres) was going to be troll. When I explained to her that certain races had restrictions on what class they could be and that trolls weren’t allowed to be enchanters she declared the game to a racist bunch of bullshit. Which still cracks me up.

An appropriate race was selected and a few moments later we were in the game!

I was excited and had like 87 nerd boners all at the same time.

She was in the game’s tutorial and she wanted to read every bit of instruction the tutorial provided. I’ve been playing this shit for years and quickly jumped into “facilitate her learning process.”

Are you laughing at that last sentence? You’re laughing aren’t you? If not you should be.

She later described me as basically a drill sergeant for dorks.

“Push that button! Move the mouse like this! There will be an inspection of your copper pieces at 0400 and control your DPS until the tank has positive control, no not like that, like this!”

Yeah, I had decided people who are paid money to think though the intricate and detailed process of introducing someone to a complex game were idiots and that I knew better.

The high points from my CliffNotes tutorial were that she equated her inventory with her character’s closet and, for her, the basics of movement in the game was like watching a drunk baby attempt to walk. WASD (the keys on the keyboard that control your characters movement) were lost on her. Even now, a few weeks in, her skill at using the keys is barely at the level of a toddler that’s had too much sugar and who knows … I’m really crappy with baby analogies.

When I asked her the next day if she had fun her answer was, “I don’t know.”

She explained that she had no idea what she was doing and was just following my directions. Nothing about what she did at my direction made sense. She had pressed the number 1 on the keyboard because I told her too, not because she understood doing so caused her character to perform an action that was associated with the number 1 key.

Crestfallen, I asked if she would be kind enough to give it another try later.

She agreed and I went back to the drawing board.

I asked my guild for help, because fuck you I’m in a guild. But they were no help. Most of their advice ranged from how effective the enchanter was at high-end raiding, to mocking me for mistakenly referring to another (male) guild member as “hun” several weeks back. (That’s fucking hysterical! ~Fran)

The next time Dagmar and I played she picked a Ranger and I let her read every damned thing the tutorial had to offer. If the tutorial talked about how you could load a CD into the computer’s CD tray in order to listen to music, I let her read it. Years ago Everquest had an online feature that allowed you to order a real life pizza through some national chain. If that was briefed in the tutorial, she fucking read it because I butted the fuck out. I was there for any questions she had, but otherwise I kept my too-clever-by-half mouth shut.

It seemed to be working. She understood that she needed to attack the monsters with little to no prompting from yours truly. She grasped, on a basic level, the difference between a melee attack, a ranged attack and a spell attack.

What I mean to say is that things progressed. In a month or two I could see her and I having adventures in Everquest together. Fighting against the evil side-by-side. Dagmar’s ranger, Lordana, and I would eventually be fighting side-by-side, questing, slaying rare evil beasts and amassing great treasures. It would be our thing you see, our little fun thing to do on Saturdays when the weather was shitty.

Progress had been made, she still had a lot to learn, but that would come with time. This plan was going great. She dinged level 14 and asked if she needed to get new spells. She attacked the monster I was currently fighting instead of dragging every other monster within a 50-mile radius into the battle. She understood that the blue pants I have were better for her “Armor Class” than the green ones, even if she thought the green ones looked better on her character’s butt.

This was going great. I felt like we’d reached a common ground. I vowed to myself that any shitty chick flick she wanted to watch I’d try my hardest to enjoy, because clearly we had much more in common than I’d thought. After all, here we were, 17 decades into our marriage and she’d tried and liked, and was becoming skilled at something I enjoyed for the first time in the history of Toddmar.

Until this Sunday when I overheard her talking to our daughter on the phone.

“Yeah, we’re playing the game together,” she said.

Mumble mumble, I heard from her daughter through the shitty iPhone held to Dagmar’s ear.

“No, what? No, it’s fucking stupid. What? No I’m only doing it because he loves it so much when I do.”

So, anyone want to play Everquest?

I’m the geek. Seven hundred or so words proving my wife is right

Do you want to know what addiction sounds like?

It sounds like this.

levelup

Weird isn’t it?

That’s the sound you hear in the online game Everquest every time your character advances a level.

Hi, my name is Todd and I am an Everquest addict.

I mean look at those boobs ...

I mean, look at those boobs …

Maybe I’m not (just) an Everquest addict. I’m more a computer gaming addict.

I’ll peruse the developer’s notes of an unreleased game for months. I’ll anxiously await news that I’ve been admitted (or rejected) for upcoming alpha or beta testing for a popular unpublished game. I’ll silently read every fan-based website dedicated to the game in a vain attempt to gain some inside knowledge.

If you’re not familiar with Everquest, I’d first like to congratulate you on having a fucking life. Secondly, I’d like take a quick moment to explain the game as a concept. Thirdly, I’d like to wish a fond farewell to two-thirds of my readers who just said out loud, “Fuck this little geek” and clicked the red X on their browsers.

I’ll miss each and every one of you.

Everquest is a massive online role playing game. Launched in 1999, Everquest was one of the first “online” games to attract a large number of players (arguably the first- of-its-kind award goes to Ultima Online – see I’m a fucking nerd).

Everquest features a virtual world with populations of hundreds of thousands (at its peak) of players cooperating to kill virtual monsters, solve quests and acquire in game items that make their computer characters “better.”

Are you still with me? (God, you’re dedicated, thank you.)

So Everquest, motherfucking Everquest, is my crack of choice.

Sure, I’ve been “Everquest clean” for years at a time. But something always happens to draw me back in.

As you’ve likely already guessed, I’m playing Everquest again.

My current relapse I attribute directly to the launch of the closed alpha EQNext Landmark. Without spending pages upon pages describing what  Everquest Next and EQNext Landmark are, suffice it to say that I consider them to be a game-changing, revolutionary in fact, next step in online gaming. Google that shit if you don’t believe me If Sony can pull it off, I think a new high-water mark is about to hit the online gaming community.

So, why am I typing this and talking about the 1999 version of EQ and not inside the closed Alpha as we speak?

Loyalty to you my readers and the subsequent discovery that my piece of crap, off-the- shelf, 3-year-old HP laptop delivered a less-than-stellar one frame of video per 20 minutes of game play during said closed alpha.

Yeah, I was woefully unprepared computer wise for the realities of tomorrow’s games.

I owe that failure — all my failures really — to beer. (All, Todd? Really? ~Fran)

But, I could still play the original EQ and hell that was the next best thing really. I launched the game, updated the patches and dove headfirst back into geekdom.

Everquest, unlike other games that I can usually turn off at a respectable hour or not obsess over, turns me into a raving ubernerd of the one-millionth level.

I become seriously obsessed. So obsessed I have two accounts and end up playing the game on two separate side by side laptops while looking up obscure game details on an iPad — which is how this particular post came to be.

Geek!

“Play Everquest on a disorganized well-lighted kitchen table,” Earnest Hemingway.

It’s an orgy of mouse-clicking, key-tapping geeking out.

Even now as I write this I’m a little bit agitated. Something in the back of my head is screaming, “Hurry up asshole, we have to log in and get to work on that quest…”

Jesus, pathetic I know.

So not satisfied with two computers of nerdiness I incorporated the iPad to answer basic question about the game like: Where is the best place to take my characters, what is the best piece of equipment I can find for this character and will any woman anywhere ever find me attractive again?

It was during this flurry of “geek” that my wife walked into the kitchen unannounced and unnoticed.

After studying my actions for a moment she announced, “You know how you’re always making fun of me on your blog? Well you should put this goddamn shit on your blog you fucking nerd.”

Touché honey, Touché.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I had a roommate many moons ago who was also addicted to Everquest. Said roommate actually met a girl from Indiana “on” the game and moved her across the country to live with us.

Things were fine at first, she seemed nice enough and he was madly in love, but goddamnit, she constantly did laundry and they took half-hour showers! My water bill was through the roof.

I had to give them the boot.

They did and went on to get there own place, then married and subsequently divorced.

But through it all, they still played Everquest. ~ Fran

German hospital stay leads to dangerous “addiction” (26 points)

Last Sunday my wife decided to do a highly-realistic impersonation of a fish out of water, while at the same time attempting to remodel the hallway floor with her face.

Her fish-flop (brought on by a seizure of some sort – the cause of which has yet been determined) left much to be desired and her floor-refurbishing attempt only served to remind everyone involved that any successful task needs the proper tools. No one carries a “face” in their tool box.

As a result of the subsequent five-day hospital stay, I introduced her to Words with Friends*. Yes, the same game that got Alec Baldwin booted from an American Airlines flight 2 years ago. (Exaggerate much?)

I introduced the game to her because of the following: German hospitals only offer one English-language television channel; no matter how good the programming BBC News offers, there’s only so much of it you can take; and she enjoys spelling contests and consistently beats my ass at solving the puzzles on “Wheel of Fortune”.

If the aforementioned doesn’t mean one is ready for Words with Friends, I don’t know what does. I downloaded the free version on both our phones and the Words with Friending ensued. We quickly fell into a routine.

If nothing else I am consistant.

If nothing else, I am consistent.

She steadily took me to school, laying down words that had like four Zs two Qs, and a C, while I’d be laying down the letters T and O to complete my turn. The ending score always seemed so lopsided: Daggy58 – 268 vs. Oliveritaly – 23.

But whatever, it was a time passer, she was stuck in the hospital and she was enjoying it.

Then it happened, on the last night of her stay doctors asked her to stay awake the entire night so they could monitor her. Because caffeine was not an option, Words with Friends helped her achieve that goal.

She played with my Dad’s girlfriend, she played with old friends in the U.S., and she played with strangers on the Internet. During this journey into the depths of Words with Friends she discovered two things: First, my Dad’s girlfriend is not to be toyed with when it comes to that game (she consistently kicks Dagmar’s ass), and second, she discovered the Internet is teeming with assholes.

One random Words with Friends player (I forget the name) told her she was a “shit player” and that she “fucking sucked.” This was during the second round of their first game. That’s a lot of information to present based on so very little evidence Mr. Troll, so keep up the good work.

Another random player turned the game into a meat market, letting her know he was 40 years old, good looking and wanted to “sexy chat.” This (she’s so cute!) also baffled my wife. “But he doesn’t even know me,” she expressed with genuine concern the next day.

But the Internet trolls and oversexed 40 year olds aside, it was proven on that VERY long evening that an addiction was seeping through my wife’s veins.

My wife — the woman who fought getting a smart phone until last year, who mocked my own online-gaming obsessions and who once decreed that anyone who plays a games just needed to “grow the hell up,” — kept me awake until almost midnight obsessively tapping words into the game with the determination of a junkie looking to score.

Chase that dragon baby … Chase that dragon.

I died a lot in Everquest.

I died a lot in Everquest. And yes I name all my online characters after Hunter S. Thompson characters.

I’m not knocking it. Far from knocking it, I completely understand it. I’ve often thought I should, and may still, write a piece about early online gaming. In 1991 I once racked up a $500 phone bill playing America Online’s Neverwinter Nights. It was a great online game presented in 16 dashing colors! Before that, in the late 80s, I played text-based MUDs, which pretty much proves I was beaten up a lot in high school. I also invested countless hours in Everquest in the late 90s after abandoning all hope in Ultima Online because the gaming population there proved early on that the Internet was full of douches.

Point is, I’ve been there. I understand the thrill of a perfectly executed move no matter the game’s design. I understand the obsessive maneuvering necessary to lead your opponent toward their demise. I, better than most, understand the need to make just … One. More. Move.

But stop fucking bugging me with requests to take my turn for the love of Jesus woman! I suck at spelling (He does ~Fran), I don’t much care for word games, and the damned game inevitably deals me letter combinations like I, I, I, O, U, T and X. Which means I play “Out” and you follow up with “Outhouse,” double-double-word score, killing me.

Sixteen, count 'em, 16 colors!  Also CW Ebony is stupid, we never liked CW Ebony.

Sixteen, count ’em, 16 colors! Also CW Ebony is stupid, we never liked CW Ebony.

 

It’s like the level-90 wizard in the above-mentioned games dueling a level-3 dwarf. Sure it’s hysterical to the wizard, but the dwarf just wonders why he’s suddenly on fire and beating eaten by a giant frog.

Anyway, if anyone’s looking for a Words with Friends partner leave me the hell alone. My wife however can be found online as Daggy58.

* To any serious Words with Friends players out there, is there any point to my buying her an actual copy of the game? She’s using the free version with advertising between moves, but doesn’t seem to mind. Besides the lack of ads, does the paid for version offer her anything? Thanks.

Chicks are evil; a case study. Also I’ll go to bed when I want Mom!

Women are evil.

It’s because they are helpless little frail creatures unable to confront men that makes them evil.

If you ask a man married for more than 6 months if women are evil he will think for a moment and say, they can be.  Ask any man married longer than 6 months if women are evil and he will tell you stories.

This is a story.

As I just said women are frail creatures that like flowers, the color pink or purple and cats.  They like cats because cats kill stuff and that makes no sense at all when you think about it.

Men on the other hand are hulking brutes that invented things like guns, beer and playboy centerfolds.  We’re just smart enough to not kill ourselves at any given moment and sometimes we’re not all that smart then even.

Perhaps it’s not that women are evil it’s just that women are smarter and the ones that we’ve let into our daily lives (day after, after day, after day, after day, after … oh god I need a beer) they gain an understanding of how to manipulate our behavior without our ever knowing our behavior was manipulated until after the manipulation occurred and then damn, it’s too late, you’ve been manipulated!

Women are manipulating.

My wife’s under the impression that I stay up to late and, years ago, she was right.  It’s hard to use a brain at anywhere near functioning capacity when you routinely go to bed at 2 a.m. and have to wake up at 6:30 a.m. but lately, the last year or so, it’s been a reasonable, I think, 9:30 or 10:00 at night for me.

I’m old screw you and get off my .com kids.

Going to bed a bit earlier is a good thing but for her that means 8:00 p.m. because the cat needs milking in the morning and someone needs to feed the washer and dryer I guess.

Klause died a lot ... it's okay though we 'sexxored all the ladies' and were 'mad pimps" but we died a lot really

Klause died a lot … it’s okay though we ‘sexxored all the ladies’ and were ‘mad pimps” but we died a lot really. We were level fail mostly.

Truly I don’t need to be up until 1 a.m. reading scientific journals and … okay I was totally trying to get to level 78 on my super wizard on everdork, or worldofdorkness or you’re not my mom so shut up.

Anyway in my mind 9:30 is perfectly reasonable.  It gives me plenty of time to post “it is NOT” on Facebook and to like people’s photos of kittens.   I specifically do not share things that people say 99 percent of their friends will not share because I want to be in the majority for once.

So I use that time to NOT do things as well, pretty smart amiright?!?!?!

So last night came and at 8 p.m. the following (typical dialog) occurred.

Her:   It’s 8 and I’m going to bed are you coming?

Me:  Not yet I’ve got a lot of facebook liking about this whole Chickfila thing to do!

Her: What?

Me:  (with an eye-roll) Loser, are you new to the ‘net’ or what?  If you support gay rights you have to go on facebook and like all the Chickfila appreciation days posts you see … man go to bed, I have work to do.

Her:  Umm no, that’s not right Todd.  The folks liking the Chickfila appreciating day are supporting the company’s decision to give millions of dollars to anti-gay marriage groups.

Me:  No, that’s not … wait, they are against (quick Google) HOLY SHIT I HAVE LIKE 40 THOUSAND LIKES TO UNLIKE!
Her:  Come to bed soon.

I did go to bed is the point.   At 9:30 after a vigorous work out of my right hand index finger during operation ‘unlike’.

And slept like a baby.

I don’t know about you but I’m a one snooze on the alarm kinda person, sure sometimes we hit it twice but I try for only one personally.

The alarm when off, I smacked it, swore under my breath that someone should

I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

legislate a 10 am start of work law or something and then at 6:40 a.m. did my duty and got out of bed.   Bathroom break taken care of I headed down stairs for a cup of coffee and scan of the headlines on the iPad only to discover some asshole invented a 5:40 a.m. and I was currently living in it.

If you don’t know what happened go but up and read the first paragraph again.   Part of her plan to get me to go to bed earlier is to start setting my alarm earlier.

Women are evil I tell you.

I fixed her though, I took a nap on the couch from 5:50 to 6:30 … it was a pretty good nap too.