As MMORPG’s move forward they develop new methods of interacting with the world. From more refined auction houses, all the way to new ways to get around. Mounts, for example, were a revolutionary idea in Everquest, and as time went by, the world seem to become a smaller place and less of a challenge to live in. Slowly but surely the things that made Everquest difficult faded off with every passing update and expansion. Players wanted something easier, they wanted more features, and they wanted instant gratification. The funny thing about progress, however, is that eventually we begin to reminisce about the good old days, and then we find ourselves wishing that we could go back. We do this in real life quite a bit, but when it comes to a video game, yeah, apparently you can go back, and this is where the Ragefire server comes into play
Ragefire is not the first progression server that SOE/Daybreak came out with. Before Ragefire there were two others, one of which was Fippy Darkpaw. The idea was to make Ragefire better than Fippy, but the question, is did they succeed? Did Daybreak really manage to recapture the 1999 experience? I watched and waited, hoping that I would finally get to relive the glory days of Everquest, but let’s just say it got off to a bit of a rocky start.
When Ragefire first launched, the response was unprecedented, though it didn’t slow the server down any. What did slow it down, however, were several bugs, including an exploit that allowed characters to just instantly to max level. Ragefire was pulled and re-examined, only to launch again a few days later. The response was phenomenal; so many people jumped onto the server that it literally stopped others from joining. I watched forums and Facebook feeds as people complained about re-subbing their gold membership only to find that they couldn’t access the server. Eventually Daybreak would expand the server capacity and add a queue for those wanting to get in, but it still didn’t seem to be enough. Moving past the login issues, however, more problems arose, and it wasn’t good.
Overpowered Mages and a Need for Speed
It is really no secret that in any MMO environment people want to rush through content. Everyone wants to be the first to down the bosses, and the first to get the best gear. The point of a progression server is to create a voting system, generally to determine if the players want to move on to the next expansion. Oftentimes the voting will open once certain content is finished, however, there are too many on Ragefire who want to rush through the content rather than enjoy the nostalgia. To me it makes little sense. After all, have you ever gone back to an old game that you beat many years ago and rushed through it again? Maybe, but did you ever try taking it slow to see what you missed, and simply enjoy the experience? The player base seems to be split in half right now. There are those who want to rush through the content, and then there are those who would much rather enjoy the nostalgia while it lasts. There is nothing wrong with either mode of play, of course, but it does tend to create controversy, and I do have to wonder why anyone would want to rush it rather than socializing or simply soaking up the experience. I mean seriously, we know how vanilla Everquest ends, and back in the day it was all about the journey. Today it’s still about the journey, but apparently it’s also about making the journey as short as possible.
On the subject of rushing content, it appears that the mage pets on Ragefire are overpowered and are more similar to their live server counterparts. The problem, is that the pets can be used to attacks mobs, including boss mobs like Lord Nagafen and Vox. It didn’t seem like much of an issue until Nagafen and Vox were taken down by four mages with overpowered pets. Let’s just say that while some people were amused, others were not so thrilled. This is obviously one area that Daybreak could have improved on, but they did not, for whatever reason.
Let’s face it, in the early days of Everquest there was no way to ‘box’. By boxing, we are referring to the use of multiple characters by a single person, which is a common tactic used by those who are unable to find groups to play with. In fact, entire raiding parties have actually been operated by a single person. Now in the early days most people were using dial up internet, and boxing as nothing more than a ridiculous pipe dream. Daybreak does not prevent players from running multiple accounts on the same server. Sure, this makes it easy for a single person to find a group(with themselves) rather quickly, but it also fills up server slots, meaning most people, when they attempt to log on, are going to find that the queue is full.
On one side of the argument, people claim it is too hard to find groups which is crap when you consider that the population of Ragefire is twice that of a normal server. You would think that people would have absolutely no trouble finding someone to grou with, but I found that Ragefire sort of follows the same logging that Everquest 2 does: everyone will LFG, but they won’t group with eachother.
Mapping it Out
One of the charming features about old Everquest was the lack of a mapping system, of any kind. Today we take the existence of a map in any MMO for granted, and in the old days, you simply had to rely on your gut. In fact, back then players would draw the maps of the different areas themselves and host them on a website where others could download them. At the time, players filled entire binders with maps of Qeynos, the Commonlands, and virtually every other location under the sun. Eventually maps were added, but I know for a fact there are still those who have their old binders, accompanied by lots of notes and memories that can never truly be revisited.
When I went into Ragefire for the first time I was absolutely shocked to discover that pressing the map key actually worked! Not only had Daybreak granted overpowered mage pets, they had actually managed to leave the map system intact. That sort of killed the mood. Still, I can’t say I didn’t have fun.
Okay so maybe Ragefire has some kinks and problems that really need to be worked out, and maybe it’s not a TRUE 1999 server, but there are still plenty of things to like about it. While I was fighting a particularly nasty mob outside of Qeynos, I was knocked unconscious and someone actually came to by aid. As far as I know, this doesn’t actually benefit the other person, but they helped me up anyway. I saw a lot of this. I saw people handing bone chips to necromancers and even politely answering questions in chat. There is a community spirit on Ragefire that I haven’t see for a long time in any MMO. I guess the most important thing, is that people are actually having fun.
Daybreak has managed to solve the overcrowding problem by introducing the Lockjaw server, and right now they are not allowing for character transfers from Ragefire. They say they ‘want the server to become its own beast for a while’, and I think that they are right in doing so. There is no telling what Lockjaw will become, but if it is anything like Ragefire, we can be certain that it will be quite fun. There are some players who suspect that the two will actually merge at some point in the future, or that the existence of Lockjaw may leave Ragefire deserted, but there is no word from the developers on a merge, and no evidence of the latter either.
If you are a new player, I strongly recommend you hop onto the Ragefire or Lockjaw server to get a glimpse of what it was like in 1999 when Everquest first changed the way we view gaming. If you are an older player, sure, it’s not an authentic 1999 experience, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had here. Daybreak is continually making improvements and listening to player input, altogether making Everquest as a whole a more fun place to be. Ragefire is a glimpse into the past. It might not be the entire picture, but it is certainly a good glimpse, and it is certainly worth having a look. Remember, however, that you will need a gold subscription to access the progression servers, as always. In a way, having that subscription requirement, makes it even more like 1999. I kid of course. Regardless, log on and play like its 1999.Related: Community, Everquest, Progression Server, Review, Servers