Yesterday, March 16, EverQuest turned six years old. For those of you who have never heard of EverQuest, it is perhaps the most popular MMORPG. As to what an MMORPG is, the acronym stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. It is essentially a computer role playing game, taking place in a virtual world, in which a large number of people can play. The earliest such game was Meridian 59, although Ultima Online was the game that brought MMORPGs to the forefront.
EverQuest itself was the creation of Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. EverQuest proved incredibly successful. By December 1999 it was already more popular than Ultima Online. Indeed, the game proved so successful that the company McQuaid, Clover, and Trost founded to produce the game, Verant Interactive, was eventually purchased by Sony Online Entertainment.
I have never played EverQuest myself, although I know people who do. According to a certain beautiful, green eyed blonde, the game is positively addictive (the term EverCrack comes to mind). Indeed, the first time I heard of the game was several years ago when KOMU did a news story on MMORPGs. Some of the players that they talked to would come hope from work Friday evening, start playing, and continue playing all weekend with the exception of eight hours asleep at night. The KOMU story also addressed the phenomenon of in-game artefacts being sold on eBay. By January 2001 the practice was so rampant that EQ's creators asked eBay to stop listing such auctions.
The success of EverQuest even led to the development of another game, EverQuest II. I really don't know all the differences between EQ and EQII, but I am told that the graphics are better for the most part on EQII and there differences is in the classes, world, et. al.
I don't know how long EverQuest will continue to be popular. It is possible that some day another MMORPG might overtake it (I don't know which is more popular--EQ or EQII). Regardless, I do think MMORPGs are here to stay. In fact, I have to wonder that as the games grow more sophisticated and more complex, they can only grown in popularity.