Originally posted on the Spooncraft website in 2008. (We miss ya Spooncraft)
Setting the scene matters
When I first played Everquest it was only a few weeks after release. I made a wood-elf and started in Kelethin. By today’s standards the area was not much, but back then it was a masterpiece.
The tall trees that you needed to take a lift to get to, the lighting from the homes and store fronts in the city. When I first saw the sky turn black and it rained with real sound effects I admit I sat for several moments just listening to the rain. I really felt like I was in the world and part of something fluid, alive.
I’m still afraid of the dark
Before a willow ‘o wisp and without infravision, Everquest could get pretty dark. If you ventured to far from your city or a source of light, you would find yourself in complete darkness. It was scary, because you did fear dying in that game. It wasn’t just about losing experience points or looking for your body (though that did suck big time), but you felt lost and scared.
Most of the early world zones were devoid of light. When you went in a dungeon the beings inside did not light a path for you. Even worse was in the early levels when someone would invite you to a camp and it was across the world and you had to travel, by foot in the dark praying you didn’t get killed.
There will never be another East Commons
It was not just a hang out zone, on my original server (Tarew Marr) the East Commons tunnel was the sales bazaar for the server. Beyond that it was the first place for characters that started in Freeport to venture out and fight camps of mobs. It was also the first place that had a roaming mob whose only job was to one shot noobs.
The griffin was the Freddy Kruger of East Commons. You were told of its existence and warned when he was around and if you saw him chances are you were dead. You would be fighting an Orc or a bear having a grand old time then someone would shout, “Griffin near Orc Camp 1” and in the second it took you to realize you were at Orc Camp 1 was all it took for it to swoop down and kill you.
In the East Common tunnel you could find pretty much any droppable loot for a price sold by players. There were very few scams or tricks as name recognition mattered in EQ and many would not purchase from an ALT.
One of my fondest and funniest memories was off a female dark elf shouting that her boyfriend cheated on her and she was selling all of his loot for revenge. I was able to deck out my character in gear that would have taken me months to earn otherwise. There were events such as that all the time.
One day someone pulled the griffin to the East Common tunnel. It was a massacre, but we were able to kill it after about thirty minutes. It was quite an achievement, but seeing the dreaded griffin dead at my feet did lesson the fear and lore of it that was until it one shotted me later that day.