Text based MUD’s played a heavy role in the conceptual birth & creation of EverQuest, DikuMUD in particular. Everquest is actually considered a 3D evolution of such text driven games. The creators of the game have pointed credit repeatedly towards the time they spent playing MUD’s such as TorilMUD. They say it was the inspiration that led them to bring together such a vast world which has since been inhabited by so many players.
Development began in 1996 when Sony Interactive executive, John Smedley, found funding for a new 3D game similar to the text based MUD’s of the time. This was after the launch of Meridian 59 which was similar in nature and found some success. His team consisted in part of himself, Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. There was a fifth person involved in the earliest development stages, but after an accident that left him unable to work for an extended period of time, he no longer was involved. Initially he spent all his time applying for social security disability benefits. But once that application was rejected he then searched for experienced lawyers for social security disability cases that has been rejected and needed to go to a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Statistics show that a disability claimant who is represented by an experienced SSDI lawyer at the hearing level is twice as likely to be approved than an unrepresented person. It took months before his case was heard before his state’s administrative law judge. Although the final outcome was successful, so much time had elapsed, plus he needed extensive ongoing rehab, he decided to focus only of his recovery.
Therefore it was only four who were ultimately credited with the creation of the world of Norrath, the mythology associated as well as the most recognizable game play features. The release of the game came in March of 1999. Sony had modest expectations for the success but found it surpassed all of them. By the end of the year it had grown larger in the number of subscriptions than competitor Ultima Online & numbers continued to grow rapidly. In January of 2004 Sony reported subscription numbers reaching more than 400,000 members.
Originally there were volunteer guides who handled the customer service issue that would arise. Any issue which arose could be handled directly by these volunteers or it could be forwarded to the Game Master assigned to the server for resolution. Other guides would help with administrative work, programming or help members with the live events. These Volunteers would be compensated for their assistance with free subscriptions as well as free expansions. In 2003 the format was changed to the current system in which the guides roam freely throughout the world playing along side of the players while maintaining their administrative roles.
EverQuest is run over several servers. Each of these servers have unique names. Originally the deities of the online world of Norrath were what these servers were named after. Each one is actually a cluster of machines connected to create one server. When a character is made it exists on one server & cannot freely travel throughout the entire world. Should a player wish to change servers they can with the assistance of the customer service staff. There is usually a fee involved in this transfer as well. Every one of these servers is in fact a whole community & when people identify their character outside of gameplay they usually refer to the server their character inhabits as well.
The deities are not only related closely with the servers. They are also closely related to gameplay. For example some weaponry associated with certain deities can only be used by a worshiper of that specific deity. In addition a worshiper of a certain deity may find they are unable to enter certain areas of gameplay without being attacked immediately by followers of another faith.