Twenty years of EverQuest, blimey! I'd have been four years old when that came out, too young to experience the harsh and clunky fantasy world that made World of Warcraft a shocking breeze when it hit. A fresh-faced baby, free from worrying about losing all my boar teeth and experience points on death.
EverQuest is still kicking about, two decades of updates and expansions on. But like any game with a lifespan that long, there are always folks who want to take a step back to the rose-tinted good old days. Unofficially, Project 1999 is about to give them just that.
Fan-run server hosts Project 1999 are already half as old as EverQuest, celebrating their own tenth birthday seven months after EverQuest marks its twentieth. To celebrate one hell of a year for clunky old MMO fans, they plan to add a new retro server to their roster.
Project 1999 have always offered nostalgic trips to EverQuest's past, locking the game down to second expansion The Scars Of Velious. When Project 1999: Green launches on October 25th, it'll be an even cleaner slate.
"Project 1999 Green is a new PVE server without any patches or expansions enabled upon release. Old-style mechanics and drops will be enabled, including legacy items such as Guise of the Deceiver and Manastone. The server will then progress through all patches on the same timeline as EverQuest's original launch, all the way up to the last patch in Velious."
No patches, no fluff. Just EverQuest as it was on release back in March 1999.
Green's timeline wants to match the original release schedule to the day. Hellish raid zone Plane of Fear will hit Green on January 2020, with subsequent releases, expansions and patches popping out until July 2021. At that point, Project 1999 say they'll merge the population with existing server 1999: Blue, then rewind the clock and start a new Green from scratch.
That's a bloody ambitious project you've got there. Lasting a decade in the murky grey legal area of private MMO servers is impressive enough. Blizzard were stamping out private "Classic" servers all over the place before deciding to launch their own, while the public unveiling of a secret City Of Heroes server sparked fear of closure in that community.
EverQuest developers Daybreak Game Company, meanwhile, are content to let Project 1999 be, having given their consent to the Project 1999 project back in 2015.
"What they're doing doesn’t impact us that much financially really, it’s not predatory, and it’s not like it’s even free for them with the bandwidth costs and GMs," executive producer Holly Longdale told fellow RPS contributor David Jagneaux on EverQuest's 20th anniversary. "They are doing something we could never do with the complications of running a live service game. I would encourage other companies that the passionate players are the right players to work with."
Fair enough. EverQuest II was the game with the in-game pizza delivery, mind. When is that coming back?