In the history of role-playing games, there’s only a few Big Names. Dungeons and Dragons, of course, made the top of the pen and paper list long ago — and despite a number of high-quality (some would say, higher-quality) successors, remains the most well-known name in the RPG genre.
When it comes to online role-playing games (or Massively Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games, MMORPG, MMO, MUD, whatever you like to call them), the one name that took the crown at the turn of the century was EverQuest.
As the 1990′s progressed, online gaming began to be less of an esoteric niche, and enough people had powerful enough computers and fast (enough) connections. The first real multiplayer sensation was Ultima Online, which attracted hundreds of thousands of players after its launch in 1997. Korean RPGs such as Nexus TK were bringing in even more players, but largely failed to achieve the global recognition of the biggest Western games until years later, with games such as Lineage and Ragnarok Online.
However, from 1999 to 2001, EverQuest passed Ultima Online and became THE online RPG to play. Offering a full-3D experience (unlike isometric Ultima or sprite-based Asian RPGs) as well as a more thorough social and economic structure, EverQuest was several years (or at least six months) ahead of its time.
Though games like Asheron’s Call and Dark Age of Camelot (and Lineage II, in Asia and elsewhere) gave EverQuest a serious run for the money, EverQuest maintained its hold on the top spot until the next generation of MMORPGs, when a MMORPG based on a series of popular RTS games achieved a level of popularity that even EverQuest could never have imagined.
Come might compare EverQuest to an online casino…But that’s another story…