Everybody has had one. In all the years of playing games we all have that one moment that stands out. That one moment that sticks in your memory more than the others. The moment which really means something to you personally, not just in the world of games, but which actually teaches you something about yourself. What I am trying to get at, in my round-about sort of way, is that we have all had our very own Greatest Moment In Gaming. I experienced mine while playing EverQuest.
It was around ten or so years ago, and EverQuest was pretty much the only game that I played at the time. "EverCrack", as it was fondly known, well and truly had me in it's clutches. I was thoroughly addicted to this game for almost three years. By the time I experienced my greatest moment, I had been playing the game for a good seven or eight months. My main character at the time was a High Elf Wizard by the name of Zoidberg Zaius.
That's a screenshot of him above, showing off and casting a spell, and he's also wielding the staff that played a part in my greatest gaming moment. It's called "The Staff Of The Wheel", and the only way to get it is as a result of a quest called Tarton's Wheel. You have to collect ten "rods" from around the world of Norrath. A few of them are relatively easy, some are quite tricky and you need a group to help you get them, and some are very difficult even with a group. I worked on the quest off and on for a few months, getting help where I could from friendly groups and my guildmates ("The Ancients Of The Realm"), and when I couldn't get any help I would just try it myself. This led me to venture by myself, naked, into the heart of Lower Guk...
Now, before I go any further, I feel I should explain something about old school EverQuest. At the time that I was doing this quest, if you died you would be resurrected without any of your equipment at the nearest town that you bound yourself to, along with losing a hefty chunk of the experience that you had gained. This experience would sometimes take many hours to gain back, and you would also have to go on the dreaded "corpse run" to find your corpse and get all of your gear back. All you folks out there who got their introduction to MMORPGs with WoW don't know how easy you have it. EverQuest was hard. It could sometimes be an incredibly punishing and soul destroying game. It pretty much invented "grinding", and yet that addictive grind kept me coming back for more.
Okay, back to the story.
So, the reason I had to venture down to Lower Guk - the lair of undead Frogloks and various other nasty creatures - was so I could get the very last rod for this quest. It was located on the floor of a room occupied by this guy:
Yes, "A Reanimated Hand". Note the fancy ring he's wearing. At least he's a stylish reanimated hand. As I mentioned earlier, I ventured into Lower Guk without any of my gear just in case things went horribly wrong and I died down there. Doing a corpse run down there by myself would have been impossible, basically. The only other option would have been trying to get someone to drag my corpse to the entrance, but that was always a long shot as to whether or not you could find someone to do it. So, I zoned into Lower Guk, all shivering and frightened, and began sending out zone wide calls for someone to cast Invisibility Versus Undead on me. As a Wizard, I had the standard Invisibility spell, but undead mobs see right through this. As nearly all of the mobs down in Lower Guk were undead, the only thing that could help was IvU. Luckily, a friendly Paladin near the zone entrance kindly cast the spell on me, after which I began to timidly make my way to the Reanimated Hand's lair...
Another thing about old school EverQuest (I keep saying old school because they eventually did bring in some additional features which made the game ever so slightly more easy, such as your corpse appearing in a celestial graveyard up on the moon of Luclin after it had been left rotting for a week or so which meant you could then recover it from there instead of having to attempt an impossible corpse run) was that that it didn't have a map. That's right, no handy little map in the upper right corner of the screen that points you in the direction of your next quest item. No, you had to do it the hard way, which for me meant printing out dozens and dozens of maps of all of the zones in Norrath. I had printed out a Lower Guk map before attempting this kamikaze mission to get the rod, so I had a pretty good idea of where I was going. Although it was such a long time ago that I did this, I can still clearly remember every little moment. My heart was pounding the entire time. Every time I came across a mob, I would hold my breath just in case it was one of rare ones who weren't undead down there and would see through my IvU spell. There was also the fear of the Invisibility vs Undead spell just dropping for no reason. This actually happened with some spells, they had a maximum time they could last but sometimes they would just drop off early. Luckily, I made it to the base of the Hand's lair without being noticed.
To get up to the Hand, you had to jump into the base of a waterfall and then swim up it to get to the top where the Hand is waiting. Weird, I know, but that's how it was. I dove in and successfully swam to the top. I emerged into his domain, and my Invisibility vs Undead spell promptly disappeared. Honestly, I totally began shitting myself. The hand started hammering away at me, along with a Dar Knight who also hangs around in the room. I had buffed myself up as much as possible before starting the adventure, and the friendly Paladin had also cast some buffs on me along with the Invis spell, but my hit points were rapidly disappearing. The awful crunching sound of being hit was screaming out of my speakers. I was frantically searching the floor for the rod, but it was almost the same colour as the floor so it was very hard to see. Finally I located it, quickly clicked on it to pick it up, and then cast my Gate spell to take me back to my bind point in the town of Freeport. I didn't have much hope that it would work, because with both of the mobs hitting me there was a high chance that they would interrupt my casting and then I'd be screwed. The few seconds it took to cast the spell seemed to take forever, but amazingly my casting wasn't interrupted and next thing I knew I was back in Freeport! My hit points were almost down to zero, but I had made it! I distinctly remember standing up and whooping and yelling with joy. It was such an adrenaline buzz.
After this, I made my way up to Everfrost Peaks and handed in my rods to the quest giver. This in itself was quite terrifying, because the quest givers in EverQuest were notorious for just swallowing your quest items for no apparent reason and you got nothing in return. Once again I held my breath when I clicked "Combine" on the quest bag I had been given, but everything worked as it should and I was left with this:
This, undoubtedly, is my greatest moment in gaming. The sense of satisfaction from completing this quest was just incredible, especially soloing The Reanimated Hand rod.
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