Before Blizzard’s behemoth World of Warcraft changed the MMORPG landscape forever, there was Sony’s EverQuest. Released for PC in 1999, EverQuest was until WoW’s release the most popular MMO around. Some might say it paved the way for Warcraft’s success. Its current lead designer, however, reckons World of Warcraft wouldn’t exist at all if it hadn’t been for EverQuest.
Speaking to VideoGamer.com to mark the ten year anniversary of EverQuest, which still enjoys a healthy fan base, lead designer Ryan Barker, who has been with Sony since 2001, said “a whole genre of games leapt from that original spark”.
When asked if he agreed that WoW would not exist if EverQuest had not been released, Barker replied: “That’s definitely true, and I think most of the guys at Blizzard would say that too. They had a comment at BlizzCon where somebody mentioned EverQuest and a few people in the crowd booed. I don’t remember who was up there at the time, but they were like, hey you can’t be knocking on the grandfathers there. I think it’s definitely true.”
He added: “I don’t know that Warcraft wouldn’t have happened eventually, but it definitely wouldn’t have happened now if EverQuest hadn’t been around. Perhaps it would have been a different game, not EverQuest, that was breaking that ground. But EverQuest did it and there’s been a whole genre of games that leapt from that original spark there. So, completely true.”
The success of EverQuest has resulted in a number of spin-offs and no fewer than 15 expansions. A sequel, EverQuest II, was released in 2004. World of Warcraft, however, has absolutely dwarfed all other MMOs since its 2004 release. It enjoys an eye-watering 11.5 million monthly subscribers and is currently the world’s largest MMORPG.
When asked if the EverQuest team ever thought “that could have been us”, Barker replied: “Yes and no. We definitely had our day. EverQuest was top of the heap for years and years and years. Yes that’s true to an extent, but it’s so easy to look back with hindsight and see what we could have done along the way. We took some gambles with some games. Some of them played out, some of them didn’t, and here we are.
“But I think we’re still looking forward and we’re trying to make the next big game after Warcraft, and hopefully we will do that. But when you see those giant numbers, it’s hard not to be a little bit!”
What do you think readers? Does World of Warcraft owe its existence to EverQuest? Let us know in the comments section below.