Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back in the day...

I was inspired by fantasy artist and fellow Etsy seller, Aquariann's, blog post about her new sketch to dig out an old drawing of my own.  She was posting about how her latest dragon is inspired by frost and fire dragons.  Well, once upon a time...

...there was a dwarf paladin named Calura.

Calura lived in a massive multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) called, Everquest.  Aptly named, I'd say.  Quests went on forEVER.  Every playable class has their own really long, arduous quests that are impossible to complete without a raid force.  These were called, Epic Quests.  At this point in the game's evolution, Calura's Epic Quest was to obtain the flaming paladin sword.  Now, the graphics on this sword (actual animated fire) were entirely pathetic by today's standard but, back then, anything with any kind of animation was super cool!

To get this sword, one step of the quest involved obtaining two halves of a book from two different dragons.  One half dropped from the ice dragon, Lady Vox.  The other half dropped from her lover, the fire dragon, Lord Nagafen (or "Naggy" for short).  These dragons were raid bosses.  These were 72-man raids - that's right, 72 players had to work together to bring these bad boys down.  Most players didn't know each other and were all over the world, so some weren't so great at English.  This was before two way voice communication in these games - everything had to be typed out.  (Hooray for macros!)

I was lucky enough to tag along on a Lady Vox raid organized by someone else and, not only did the book drop (because it has a low chance of dropping on any given kill), but I also won it!  First try!  Yes!  Naggy, on the other hand, was stingy.  The dragons are on a 24 hour spawn timer.  Everytime you kill it, it spawns 24 hours later.  (This was done to prevent "farming" the dragon to get all its treasures - meaning, killing it over and over, one after the other until you have acquired all of its possible loot and even some in multiples.  Today's games use a different mechanism to control this issue.)  Heaven forbid some other raid beat you to the spawn.  There were times we waited outside the lair for hours praying that the group ahead of us would fail (repeatedly) and give up!

I organized and lead a 72-man raid NINE times to get that book!  Well, it was 8 for me because I always pre-claimed the drop - I always locked out the dragon's loot (which raid leaders can do) so I could loot the book before anyone else.  Because I pre-claimed the book, I always promised I would run one more raid after obtaining my book to give others a chance to win it (if it dropped again).  Guess what - the book dropped again on the ninth run!  Seven runs with zip and then TWO drops in a row!

I'll always remember the first raid.  Player groups were limited to 6 players.  So, I organized the 72 people based on classes and levels into groups of 6.  I sent my groups in to Nagafen's lair in waves.  Nagafen casts a fear spell which makes you lose control of your player for a short time and they run around like crazy.  Having your entire raid force feared at the same time is very bad.

I was standing down the steps from the entrance of his lair.  I shouted, "GROUPS 1 AND 2 - GO GO GO!".  In they went.  I waited about 10 seconds.  "GROUPS 3 AND 4 - GO GO GO!".  As those groups hustled up the steps, groups 1 and 2 were fleeing the lair in sheer terror, involuntarily running around like chickens (some in to the lava moat surrounding Naggy's lair) and I'm thinking.... wait... didn't I just send you in there 10 seconds ago?  Hmm... this doesn't bode well.  "GROUPS 5 AND 6 (I was always in one of those two groups) - GO GO GO!"  By now, people are confused which way to run because the "feared" people are running in random directions and others start following them.  Those of us who resisted the fear are are feeling exposed and vulnerable now that there are fewer targets at which the dragon could choose to swat next.  We would be screaming for the remaining groups to get their butts in the lair and help us wail on the dragon.  Yeah... those were the days.

When I went to turn in the combined book to the quest giver, he ate my book!  (Meaning, I turned it in and the quest failed to progress.)  I was SO disheartened!  I had to send a ticket to the gamemasters and they had to check the log that I really had the book and I really gave it to the quest guy.  They returned my book and then watched me try the turn in again.  THEN, the cool flaming sword was MINE.

It wasn't until the entire graphics engine in the game got a giant overhaul that Calura gained fire red hair in low pigtails and golden eyes.  (Plus the sword's flames got a respectable upgrade.)  Many moons later, after level cap increases, Epic 2.0 came out.  I started to do it but lost steam.  I guess Naggy won in the end.

These renderings of my dwarf paladin were drawn either at the end if highschool or early university - years ago is the point.  When I couldn't get the hang of blending with my Letraset markers, I started experimenting with acrylic paint.  I painted on sketchbook paper so the paper crinkled pretty badly.  Still, it was one of my better works!  Plus too, to date, no other MMORPG character has come close to stalwart Calura.


  1. Neat! I am honored that I inspired you to share your awesome drawing of Calura. I've never played Everquest, but it sounds quite addicting. 0.o

  2. I first want to say that I love your new banner!! Back in the day, I used to play Dragon Quest, but never could finish it because there was a glitch in the software that would turn your pc to mush. Anyway, your drawing is great! ;)


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