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R.A. Salvatore talks about EverQuest with Allakhazam from Allakhazam Magical's Realm
R.A. Salvatore is one of the finest science fiction/fantasy authors of our time. He has written many excellent and entertaining novels and created numerous memorable characters, including probably his most famous character, Drizzt Do'Urden, the drow who has forsaken his heritage to embrace the ways of the ranger. He is also an avid Everquest player. I was able to convince him to answer a few questions for us about Everquest, gaming and writing. Here's what he had to say:
Q: Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of yours. Iíve read just about everything you ever wrote.
A: Well, thanks. It's been obvious to me, from discussions with other players on-line, or just by looking at character names, that there is a huge overlap between EQ and the more traditional genre products (novels).
Q: I understand that you are a long time gamer. What types of games do you like to play and what are your favorites? Just among video games, which ones are your favorites?
A: I've been playing the various versions of D&D since 1981. I still play once a week with my friends, though it looks like we'll be taking a break for the summer. With video games, I've gone through a few. Warcraft, Heroes of Might and Magic, Starcraft and Baldur's Gate come to mind. For on-line games, I've tried Ultima and EQ. I enjoyed both, but I really need that first-person perspective that EQ offers.
Q: Can you tell us what got you started playing Everquest. How long ago was it? Are you still playing today? How often do you play?
A: I got started joining in with a couple of friends who were hooked on the game. I needed a distraction in my life at that time, and EQ more than gave it to me! That was a year and a half ago. I still play a few hours a week, mostly on Wednesday nights, when five friends join in for group adventures. We're perfecting the art of dying horribly, though...
Q: Tell us about your Everquest characters. What are their races/classes/levels? Are you in a guild? And what server do you play on?
A: My main is a level 45 monk named Marcalo De'Unnero. He wasn't the first character I started, but he's the one who dominated my gaming until very recently. I've found that I don't like the higher levels as much as the lower. I usually only have an hour or so to play at a stretch, so it's impossible to do things like dragon raids (did one and was horribly bored). Solo'ing past 35 is very tough and requires a lot of downtime, so I've turned to other characters.
I've got two running in the mid-levels: a wizard named Kimmurial (my favorite) who's currently in the 30 hell level, and a 27 warrior named Belexus Backavar. I alternate these in the group, depending on which other players show up (and what we need to round it out).
I've recently signed up with a guild (old game friends of my friends who got me into it), and I play on Povar.
Q: Why did you choose those particular classes?
A: I enjoy the tank, but I think warriors/monks are scummed in terms of solo'ability. When my monk was level 30, he could take an Iceclad cougar, barely, and only if he was near full health and had Mend ready to go. Even then, I often relied on FD, because Thurgadin is a long run! With my 30 wizard, a cougar is a matter of snare, boom boom boom boom c'ya. I've only gotten into trouble once in about fifty kills, and even then I just shadow stepped and gated. There's not really a lot of balance between melee/caster classes, in my opinion, so I played a caster, which would allow me more solo'ability.
Q: Did you ever consider petitioning Verant to let you play a Dark Elf Ranger? It seems like if anyone should be allowed that combination, it is you.
A: I've actually had Wizards of the Coast contact Verant in an effort to get a Drizzt character burned in that I could play across the servers, maybe in a GM quest. I think Verant wants to keep their world free of other worlds, though, and they politely refused. As for getting them to change the rules for a character I could play, no, I haven't asked, nor would I expect them to make any exceptions for me (though I wish I could use some of the names of the major characters, at least!).