GDC Online Honors EverQuest Among Others

The Game Developers Conference is an annual event in which most professional developers gather to share their experiences with others. In fact, GDC has also slowly evolved into an exposition and an award show. People who go there can find various lectures, presentations and panels where some of the most recognized developers from the video game industry cover different topics, from making a game from scratch or creating a soundtrack to learning how to effectively promote a game. GDC Online 2011 took place in Austin, Texas from October 10 to the 13 and many things took place at the event.

One of the most interesting ones was the presentation of the Game Developers Conference Online Awards a ceremony that honors some of the games that have changed the industry as we know it. GDC Online focuses more on online games and it presents some of the most meaningful MMOs of the past few years. This year Minecraft, Rift and League of Legends were given awards, but a new category was also introduced: the Hall of Fame.

John Taylor and Kelton Flinn were honored for their work in Sony Online Entertainment’s EverQuest, one of the best MMORPGs ever created. Let’s analyze what this game meant to the industry and why it is recognized after so many years:

EverQuest is a medieval fantasy massively multiplayer online game released on March 16, 1999. What it’s striking about the title is that the game is still heavily supported and many updates and expansions are continued to be released. The gameplay is one of EverQuest’s best elements as it’s extremely addictive, incorporating many elements from classic role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. The main player explores the region of Norrath, fights powerful enemies, gets experience points and learns new skills, basic stuff. But if you really think about it, this was one of the very first titles in history to start applying these elements in such a concise and addictive way. Additionally, the game also features PVP and guilds, as social interaction has always been extremely important for EverQuest.

This MMO was also heavily criticized for various reasons, like the possibility of selling in-game items on eBay through auctions (something that Sony later on “discouraged” as it hurts the game’s economy,) but the heaviest criticism was received because apparently, the game generated “addiction.” This game was studied by many psychologists, sociologists and playing it has been compared to the use of drugs for being overly time-consuming and because it’s usually associated with people who are obsessed with it. In addition, the game was also banned in Brazil on January 17, 2008, by a judge who thought it caused many psychological and moral issues on the people who played it.

Controversy seemed to play in the game’s favor as after these issues many EverQuest-related titles started appearing. Arguably, the most meaningful game in the franchise was its actual sequel, strangely named EverQuest 2… The game came out on November 8, 2004 and it features many graphical, audio and gameplay updates that its predecessor wasn’t capable of.  Although the sequel was well received and it remains to be quite popular, the original EverQuest it’s the most beloved game in the franchise. After all, only a few games age this well and are actively played after so many years of its original release, don’t you think?