The Everquest Chronicles: The Bandits of Western Karana

in #gaming4 months ago (edited)

It all started in December 2000 when I purchased Everquest, the game. I have been a gamer since the early 1980s but had never played an MMO before.

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In the next few weeks, @bingbabe would become an ‘EQ Widow' as I was drawn into the harsh unforgiving world of Norrath, an obsession that would last for several years.

More recently I installed the Everquest client again on my PC. It's free to play now but a far cry from the heyday of the early noughties when adventurers banded together for quests and glory.

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Many zones are now deserted as players have long since left the game for other ones with superior graphics, and easier gameplay.

This is the story replayed today as my level 66 Barbarian Shaman who can now freely roam through low and mid-level zones without fear of being killed.

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If you are not a gamer and have never played an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) then you may not be able to relate to this at all.

Everquest was named ‘Evercrack' due to its addictive nature and for good reason.

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Other article's in this series:
The Everquest Chronicles : Halas and Everfrost
The Everquest Chronicles: The Entrance to Blackburrow
The Everquest Chronicles: Blackburrow and the Ice Giants

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Western Karana was a vast plain of many colours and creatures and at level 10 I studiously kept to the main path and hoped that the mobs had small aggro ranges.

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They were numerous, but not all KOS (Kill on Sight) but I was taking no chances and used the ‘C’ key often to ‘Con’ them. Anything that scowled I gave a wide berth. I was a traveller and not here to pick fights.

I had got less than halfway across the zone when ‘a bandit’ came racing toward me and started hitting me with blows. Then a second named ‘a farmer’ followed. Not having time to ‘Con’ these unfriendly locals, I turned tail to run.

…’The bandit camp is housed in the north-central part of Western Karana in a derelict farmhouse. In my later years, I took a lot of pleasure in visiting these twats in repeated acts of vengeance'…

I was blessed with Spirit of Wolf and felt confident I could outrun them.

It wasn't working as they repeatedly stunned me, this being a consequence of being wailed on from the back. In no time at all, I was dead, and naked inside the gates of Qeynos.

Fortunately, I had the insight to use the free Bind Affinity spell given by Pai Berenis in the castor guild of South Qeynos. Bind Affinity would set the place you would be resurrected on death.


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At the age of 14, I would be able to use this spell and could use it on myself anywhere. This would not happen for a few weeks such was the levelling speed, which was no faster than a snail. Gaining just a single level was a big deal.

Where had those motherfuckers had come from, and why hadn't I see them?

…’this was another not so nice feature from the Everquest developers. They seemed to think it fun that certain mobs were bestowed enormous aggro ranges and low-levels should not be poking their noses into zones designed too high-level for them’…

With great trepidation I snuck across the Qeynos Hill entering Western Karana zone again. This time I was naked, weapon-less and had just my spells for protection. Invisibility was a shaman spell but not one I could cast until I reached the mature age of 29.

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...'these two bandits wait on the main path for unsuspecting travellers, like me to come by. I often found that taking the path could be as hazardous as any other route'...

I reached my corpse and quickly equipped my weapons and armour before any of the countless roaming mobs could jump me. On top of the sheer humiliation, every death resulted in lost experience.

Two bubbles had disappeared from my experience bar, a terrible setback and at least an hours killing would be required to recover it.


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...'Levels were split into FIVE sections. Each YELLOW segment was 20% of a level and the blue line running through the middle determined how far you were into your segment. Confused? you should be..'...

Treading ever so carefully and with great vigilance, I approached the farm from where I thought the bandits lived. This time I saw them and they were running toward me again.

Once again I turned around and legged it for the Qeynos Hills zone. Those twats wouldn't catch me a second time as there was space between us. I had managed to target one of them and hit the ‘C' key while running.

It ‘Conned' White meaning it was the same level as I was. In Everquest, you didn't take on mobs the same level as yourself solo. Doing so meant death!

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…’I can’t remember a Dire Griffin’s being in Western Karana. Fortunately, this dude is not KOS or I would be dead. He is Level 64 and Conning Blue to me. I would not fancy my chances’…

After zoning back to the Qeynos Hills I needed some well-earned refreshment. This meant a cup of tea as I knew only too well that ‘a bandit’ and his pals were waiting from me to cross the zoneline again.

Give them a few minutes and they would trudge back to their spawn points giving me a third opportunity the enter Western Karana. Now I was armed with the knowledge I had to give these bastards an extremely wide berth.


…'not so tough now eh you arseholes? ‘a bandit' and ‘a farmer' terrorised my maiden trip across Western Karana’…

Heading to the far south of the zone I was met with more of these damn bandits.

Not wanting to do another runner, I managed to run past them using the power of my Spirit of Wolf and accelerated away from this furious mob of 7 or 8 bandits and farmers.

Not daring to stop or look back I blindly ran east hoping to not encounter any more nasties and prayed I would hit the zoneline and safety.

With hordes of ‘a bandit’ and ‘a farmer’ angrily chasing me I made it to the Northern Karana zoneline. Who said this trip going to be easy?

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Maan this does bring back memories from some older games I also used to play.
Some of these game were so brutal back then, I remember playing a lot of morrowind.

Was the best time of my childhood :-D

It was brutal, when a mob chased you it didn't let up.., you could be legging it for 5 minutes before reaching the safety of the zone-line. That was the only escape.

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Wow, that is really crappy that you actually lose experience when you get killed. That doesn't really seem all that fair. I have a feeling I would just be running around at level 1 the whole time because I would never be able to level up for as much as I usually die.

It instilled real fear into you. That and losing all your stuff. If you didn't collect it from your corpse within a set amount of time it was gone forever.

It seems crappy, but it was hard and very challenging. The Dark Souls games are just that now. Look how popular they are.

I'll stick with WoW :) My characters are probably still there if I ever wanted to go back.

WoW was a fantastic game too. I am so tempted to give it another go but I can't let myself be sucked into that world again. I have a lvl85 Warlock on one of the servers somewhere.

My crack was Quake II. I fired it up again a bout a year ago. There were a few severs still, but mainly just bots playing. I will never forget those days of having been totally consumed by a game...