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Classic Research Walkthrough
Originally based on a post from Nilbog
Classic Research Tools
The Classic Research page compiles a large number of classic research sources, and Existing Classic Research Topics tries to organize previously conducted research.
However, if you want to look for new sources this page details how to use tools such as Google and the Wayback Machine to find classic info.
While Google is a powerful tool, remember that most of what you want no longer exists on Google.
Let's say I remember a "body guard" NPC in "highhold keep": I know it used to exist, but can't prove it. I want to find not just proof, but also the details needed to implement it: race, class, hp, locs, and unique characteristics.
Most people's first instinct would be to google:
body guard highkeep
But we could focus on the phrase "body guard" specifically by adding quotes:
"body guard" highkeep
Also, we could use the "+" to require that both phrases be present:
+"body guard" +highkeep
Unfortunately, that turns up ... nothing. When using the "+" symbol Google gets very specific.
We can try replacing +"high keep" with other variations, such as "highkeep", "high hold keep", "highhold keep", or "highpass keep". Remember: even if something had an official name, that doesn't mean everyone writing about it used that official name, and so sometimes incorrect variations turn up useful results.
In this example however it's the correct zone name, with spaces, that works:
+"body guard" +"high keep"
Editor: Google may have changed its operator behavior: it seems to treat quoted text the same, with or without the "+".
The first link is for Allakhazam's (aka Illia's Bestiary), a popular and long-lived EQ fan site. Let's look at their body guard entry.
The oldest comments have been removed (Ed: for spamming "dick"), with newer conversations continuing into 2005. This shows the bodyguard existed at some point, but not much else.
It's possible that there is other info about our body guard listed on some other page of Allakhazam. For instance, maybe a player mentions fighting him in a guide page.
We can use a Google site-specific search, with the prefix "site:", to search all of Allakahazam:
site:allakhazam.com +"body guard" +"high keep"
That turns up a few other pages, but they aren't very helpful. Even with variations and site-specific searches, Google just doesn't have a lot of classic info.
Next stop: the Way Back Machine!
The Wayback Machine
The Internet Archive has collected saved websites (eg. from Alexa) and made them accessible via a tool called the Way Back Machine. Since 1996, if a website was public and archived, this is the place to find it.
If you like Allakhazams, then you can do a search for an archive of . After entering it in Wayback, we'll be taken to this link, which shows archives between May 11, 2000 and and August 22, 2008.
Some of these archives were taken when the site was unavailable or down however, so what Wayback gathers can be hit-and-miss. Let's try the first entry, May, 11, 2000.
Viewing a Wayback Archive Page
Clicking on the link, if I then try the archived Bestiary and scroll down to Highpass Keep, choosing it results in an error that it wasn't saved in the archive. Ok, that's fine. Moving on. If I return to the original archived allakhazam's page, if I were to choose.. Antonica, under Zones, then choose Highpass Keep, then Highkeep bestiary list, it displays properly.
After that effort, there was still no valuable information on the page. This is the hit-and-miss I referred to earlier. Moving on ...
Back in classic, some players used a (banned "cheat") program called ShowEQ to record information invisible to players, such as the exact positions of every mob in the zone and what they were wielding. Saved Show EQ logs from the era can be found on the internet.
(Editor: Nilbog's original tutorial referenced a now invalid link to a German site.)
Now here is where Google can be handy! It leads us to this thread on the EQ Emulator forum, which links to this archived log site.
That site has a list of links to zones. When we check the one for High Keep, we can see that it provides basic information about our bodyguard NPC:
body guard, a 45 4540 Human Rogue (-89,-305)
Okay, now we have the correct name, "a body guard", his level (45), hitpoints (4540), class (rogue), and a Y/X loc in highkeep.
We're nearly done, except we don't know what a body guard dropped, or if he had any special abilities.
Let's try another classic site, Everlore.com. The Wayback Machine has several entries ... let's try August 15th, 2000. Checking the bestiary leads to the body guard page.
Jackpot! It has his loot ("5pp or 6pp Fine Steel Hders Everytime"), appearance ("A Human With A sword"), and other details.
Classic Research can be Cruel
Unfortunately, those details include these comments:
11/3/2000 3:04:47 PM what the heck they must have done something to these guys I went to kill them today and they weren't there. I petitioned for a gm to tell me what happened to them and he didn't know. did they take them out of the game or what?
11/27/2000 4:38:31 PM It wouldnt suprise me if they took them out of the game...the same happened to the loathsome individuals up in QH. Too many people complaining about getting attacked by them so instead of moving one of the spawn points away from the problem point they nixed em =(... Oh well so is the world of EQ.
In other words, this NPC was removed from the game only a year into EverQuest ... which may explain why there's no entry for him in our P99 wiki: he may never have been implemented here!
Why Do It?
Sometimes classic research can lead to disappointing results. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding to have your contributions lead to a more classic Project 1999.
And of course, doing classic research is the perfect way to thank the project's developers for all of their hard work (implementing all that research).