Everquest Classic image with Everquest logo, Firiona Vie and red dragon

Everquest Guide: How to Start Playing Everquest

The Everquest Classic image above is owned by Daybreak Game Company / Darkpaw Games / Enad Global 7 (EG7).

All images used are screenshots of Everquest, which is owned by Daybreak Game Company / Darkpaw Games / Enad Global 7 (EG7).


Hey all! Nearly every day I see posts in the Everquest communities I follow about people returning to the game or people that are new to Everquest and want to try it out. Those posts usually include questions about what server to play on and what character class to choose. I decided to write an article to answer those questions and help people get started; it's my way of giving back to a game I've enjoyed for two decades now.

Everquest is one of the first Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games released and it is still one of the best. If you are interested in Everquest but still aren’t sure you want to make the leap, check out my article, 3 Reasons Why I Play Everquest, in which I describe why it stays installed on my laptop.

Getting started in Everquest is not difficult, but there are questions and concerns that new or returning players have when starting out. This article provides guidance for each small step toward getting into the game.

This article is by no means exhaustive, but if you still have unanswered questions, consult sites such as Everquest Allakhkazam, Everquest Fandom Wiki, or the official Everquest Forums.

Download Everquest For Free

Everquest is a free-to-play game with an optional, All Access membership, which provides additional perks. I’ll discuss the benefits of membership in another section below. That being said, you truly can play the game for free; with no hidden fees or necessary micro-transactions.

To download the Everquest game client, there are two options: the Everquest website and Steam.

If you have the Steam client installed on your PC already, downloading from Steam makes sense and is easy enough to do. Search the store for Everquest. Click the green, Play Game button on the game’s store page.

If you do not have the Steam client installed, you can just as easily go to Everquest.com and download the client. Click the PLAY FREE button in the upper right of the page and you’ll be prompted to create an account.

Everquest gold  PLAY FREE button
Everquest PLAY FREE button

By either means, you will need to create an account on the Everquest website.

Everquest System Requirements

Due to its age, Everquest runs on just about anything. The system requirements are fairly light compared to newer games.

Have an old laptop the kids spilled soda on? Boot it up and see what you can do!

Have an older PC you stored in the basement? Lug it back upstairs!

And if you have a new, kick-ass system with a 4K, wrap-around monitor--despite the older graphics--Everquest is going to look amazing!

Everquest runs on Windows 7 or later. View the system requirements here.

You can run Everquest off a USB 3.0 device such as a thumb drive, which can be helpful if you don't have much hard drive space or you want to run the game from different computers.

Forum user, Vumad, on the official Everquest forums, had the following to share about running the game from an older Macbook:

I don't have the space on my Macbook, so I bootcamp Windows and run EQ from a USB 3.0. I have no issues at all doing this. I can even 3-box like this if I need to. Not only does this save space on your macbook, but you can plug the USB into any windows computer to play anywhere, or to at least keep the game patched so you don't have to load bootcamp just to patch the game.

I play EQ just fine off my hotspot, it uses minimal data, so I just keep my EQ USB patched from my Windows desktop and toss it in my Macbook bag before traveling (saves data, no need to patch on hotspot).

6 Reasons to Pay for All Access Membership

Daybreak All Access provides premium benefits to all the MMOs the company owns: Everquest, Everquest 2, DC Universe Online (for PC), and Planetside 2. When you sign up, you get ALL the benefits for ALL the games. You can view the All Access page for payment options and a full list of the benefits.

All Access Benefits
All Access Benefits

As I see it, there are six (6) reasons for beginning players with low level characters to want to sign up for and pay for the membership, which I list below. At higher character levels, All Access membership is objectively more valuable. By level 50, you’ll know the game better and will be able to make an informed decision about the benefits that membership offers.

Thanks goes to the r/everquest subreddit for help with reasons listed in below. We discussed this topic in this post.

Reason 1: Grouping with Other Players

If you are a social gamer that wants to participate in groups (one for Everquest’s key features) you might want to play on a Time Locked Progression (TLP) server, which is only available to All Access members.

Progression servers are servers with specific rulesets and start with the game much like it was in 1999 and unlocks the game expansions on the server over time. New Progression servers have more low level characters looking for groups.

If you are totally new to MMOs or to Everquest, I recommend playing on a Live server first. The Live servers provide a game tutorial and an easier leveling experience. You can certainly still group with other players on Live servers, but there are fewer low level characters and there is less need for grouping due the ability to hire mercenaries.

Reason 2: Trade

The second reason you might want to get a membership is to use the in-game broker. Some players like to play the markets. Buy and sell items to gain wealth. At low level, you won’t have much wealth, but it’s still possible to get ahead by looking for good deals.

Reason 3: Daybreak Cash and Store Discounts

If you are totally new to Everquest, you won’t have Veteran Awards waiting for you to Claim. Players that have been around awhile can usually depend on those Veteran Awards to get large backpacks. It’s easy to loot a lot of items as you adventure and having enough bag slots can be difficult at low levels.

A Daybreak All Access membership gives you 500 Daybreak Cash each month and discounted prices in the Shop. You could use the Daybreak Cash to purchase 40 slot bags with 100% weight reduction, for example. You’d be able to carry all those fine steel weapons you loot and not have to return to the city as often to sell you wares. You could also use the Cash and discounts to purchase Bottles of Adventure, which are potions that provide you with extra experience points for a period of time.

The argument against this is that some people like the challenge of working with few resources and having the gratification of earning new gear and experience. Still, having enough bag space and faster leveling can make your experience just a little nicer.

Reason 4: Better Mercenaries

Everquest has mercenaries that you can hire and have help you adventure. They come in Apprentice and Journeyman levels and each has five (5) tiers of competency and moral.

If you are playing Everquest solo, and you are on a Live server (as opposed to a TLP server), you’ll want to hire a mercenary or “merc” to help you. Doing so is quite normal and recommended. The Apprentice level mercenaries are usually fine for low level adventuring. However, if they are overwhelmed, there is a chance they will “lose confidence” and flee.

The All Access membership offers access to Journeyman mercenaries and mercenaries of higher tiers. Having a Journeyman mercenary will ensure you don’t get stuck alone in a dungeon with six gnolls after your mercenary decides to run for it.

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Reason 5: Starting City

I wasn’t aware of this next one, but user RaphaelSolo on Reddit mentioned this little known membership benefit: the ability to start in the original starting cities.

See, in the early years of Everquest, characters would start in the cities of their race. Wood Elves would start in the tree city Kelethin, and Halflings would start in Rivervale, for example. This made for a more unique and lore-friendly experience.

Later, in the Serpent’s Spine expansion, the city of Crescent Reach was added to Norrath. This new city was added to provide a common starting area for all races. The benefit of this approach is an increase in the number of other players to group with during the first levels.

The original starting areas are slower to get going and have fewer quests and “guideposts” to help. They can also be rather quiet. They do feel more authentic though and they provide more variety when making multiple characters of different races.

In order to select the original starting area at character creation, you need to have an All Access membership.

I recommend starting in Crescent Reach if you are new to Everquest. Therefore, this particular reason isn’t as critical, and will only be of importance to certain types of players.

Reason 6: Support the Creators

Last but definitely not least, while Daybreak/Darkpaw Games is not a charity and is making a profit, supporting the game ensures that the passionate, devoted, and experienced developers of Everquest continue to maintain and develop Everquest.

As a fan, I find that supporting the game sits well with me. It is not the main reason why I pay, but it is present in my thoughts when I do decide.

Start the Everquest Client

After you have the Everquest game client downloaded, double-click the Everquest icon on your desktop.

Everquest icon with the letters E and Q on black.
EQ Icon

The Everquest Game Client loads and resembles the following image.

Everquest Game Client Window
Everquest Game Client Window

When the PLAY button turns green, click it.

Everquest Server Selection

The question of which server to play on comes up daily (really!) on forums, Facebook groups, and Reddit. I’ll provide some high level guidance for selecting the right server for you. If you read this section and are still not sure, please go to an Everquest community and post your question. There are always people that will respond to you and help you out.

As described above, in general, Everquest has two kinds of servers: Live and Time Locked Progression (TLP) servers (or “Progression Servers”).

What are Everquest Live servers?: Live servers include all the game expansions and can be played for free (no membership required). They have the fastest experience point (XP) rate and the latest ruleset, items, raids, etc.  

What are Everquest TLP servers?: TLP servers have a smaller subset of expansions, depending on what expansions have unlocked. They have different rulesets and slower leveling. The most important differentiator is that players tend to go to those servers to group with other players. That is to say, players are more eager to group and grouping with others can be easier than on Live servers.

What are the current Everquest Progression Servers?: If you want to see a list of the current TLP servers and their current state, go to this page.

What are the most populated Everquest servers?: If you want to get a sense of how populated the servers are at your favored play time, check out this page.

Everquest Server Selection Screen
Everquest Server Selection Screen

If you have friends that play Everquest already, you don’t need to read this section; just go play with them on the same server.

If you are new to Everquest and want to have all the expansions available, then play on a Live server. Firiona Vie is the most populated server, as I understand. I play on Povar mostly, so if you want to play on the best server, then play on Povar.

If you don’t want to pay for All Access membership, or you just can’t afford to do so right now, play on a Live server (TLP servers require membership).

If you want to experience what Everquest was sort of like in the early (classic) days, then play on a TLP server.

If you want to start out on a fresh server with other players that want to group at early levels, look for the most recently-launched TLP server(s).

Obviously, these are all generalities. You can group on any server. You can raid on any server. Most all TLP servers unlock enough expansions to become Live servers, eventually.

Everquest Character Creation

Everquest Character Creation Screen
Everquest Character Creation Screen

Character creation in Everquest consists of choosing a gender, race, class, deity, and starting city. In addition, you can edit the look of your character, such as the face, hair style, and eye color. Finally, you’ll enter a name for the character, which will get checked against the database to ensure that the name is unique.

There are 16 races and 16 classes to choose from. If you like making lots of characters (“alts”), then you have found the right game. There is always another combination to try.

Everquest Character Races
Everquest Character Races

What class should I choose?

The question of what class to play gets asked in Everquest communities just as much as the server selection question. Unfortunately, the answer can be quite involved. The shortest answer is to play whatever you want, whatever looks most interesting for you to roleplay. Likewise, for the choice of race. However, longer responses include sub-questions such as preferred playstyle, solo or group, and Everquest experience.

Everquest Character Classes
Everquest Character Classes

An exhaustive discussion of race and class selection is beyond the scope of this article. There really is a lot to it.

My Brief Class Choice Guidance

I offer the following guidance regarding class choice:

Like other MMOs, the gameplay in Everquest is designed around the trinity of tank, healer, and DPS. Unlike other games though, the classes tend to adhere strictly to specific roles and are not so versatile as to play the other roles, if needed. This means that there is more necessity to group with other players. This is also important to know because much of the content is designed for groups. This makes Everquest somewhat different from other MMOs.

One of the questions that get asked quite often though, is what classes are best to solo with. The answer has to do with the fact that some classes do have the means to cover multiple roles, to some extent. Some classes are hybrid classes and they have pets too. For example, the Beastlord is a mix of the Monk and Shaman classes. The Monk is a DPS class and the Shaman is the ultimate buffing class. Plus, the Beastlord has a pet that can help tank.

So, if you want to play solo, the following classes are considered the best classes for soloing: Necromancer, Shadowknight, Beastlord, and Magician.

If you play on a Live server, you can hire a mercenary. To solo with a mercenary is called "moloing." With a mercenary, you can molo with the other classes too if you want.

The Enchanter class is unique and strategic, but arguably an advanced class; not recommended for new adventurers. However, if the Enchanter does sound like the most exciting option for you, and you are up for the challenge, I'm sure your enthusiasm will help you excel. Some players absolutely love the Enchanter class in Everquest.

Use the links below to read about the classes and choose one that matches your playstyle.

Everquest Class Resources

I offer the following links that have more information on Everquest classes:

EQ Classes at Allakhazam.

While you are at the Allakhazam site, check out the list of spells for the classes that interest you. The spell lists provide a good overview of what you can do with the class.

A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Class in Everquest on the official Everquest forum.

Enter Norrath

The last step to getting into Everquest is to click the Enter World button. Doing so, loads you onto your selected server, ready to start your first chapter in a new, fantasy adventure.

Everquest Enter World Button
Enter World Button

I wish you safe travels. I know you are going to love the experience.

Thanks for reading!

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Ernest Scribner
Ernest Scribner

Practitioner of games. Caster of words. Shares game wisdom, stories, and shenanigans with fellow adventurers.

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