I promised to stay away from nostalgia but I still lack an ISP that allows a connection to the EverQuest servers, for now, please walk with me down memory lane.
By the time I started playing in late-2000, raiding in EverQuest had evolved well beyond the original dragons and planes raids. My guild, the Free Company, frequently discussed our desire to become a “raiding” guild and just as frequently mourned the loss of higher level players who left the fold to join larger guilds. Finbarr, an officer of the guild with raiding experience, was certain we would could raid the Plane of Hate using two guild groups and bringing in “pick-up” players as needed. To enter the Plane of Hate your character had to be at least level 46 and I was nearly there. At the time there was nothing I wanted more than to hit that magic level and join my guild on their raid! The Free Company had gathered its strength and I managed to gain level 46 with just a week to spare, it was on!
I still remember how exciting it was as we gathered at the wizard spires in South Ro. The Plane of Hate carried an aura of doom even two years after most guilds had plumbed all of its secrets. It was still possible for raids to wipe from the many threats in the zone: odd mob pathing, gating mobs, players who climbed too near the ceiling, etc. Even though I had studied all the material available I was still nervous waiting on the spire for the first groups to port up. The first two groups made it up and successfully navigated the walls to our gathering point, now it was my turn. Our wizard ported us up and I followed the map to the “safe” spot in the zone, terrified that I might accidentally train the raid. I survived the trip and after a buff check the pulling began.
My biggest hope was to earn some Indicolite Armor, there was always a good chance that two or three class specific pieces of armor would drop during the clearing. At the time it would still have been a real upgrade for my character but it was not to be, some pieces dropped but the other warriors rolled higher than I did, sadness. It was a learning experience for me, every mob had a different trick, whether it was a gravity-flux, an immunity to magic or a seemingly infinite capacity to heal itself. It was my first time managing all this knowledge as well as attempting to even stay close enough to the mob’s melee hit box to do damage to it. It must have struck a strong chord as I sought out the raiding experience for many years after!