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Project 1999 is the name, given by its founders Rogean and Nilbog, for their entire project to re-create classic EverQuest.
Who Can We Thank For Project 1999?
What Does "Classic" Mean
As the Timeline Page shows in greater detail, the "Classic EverQuest" period (as far as Project 1999 is concerned at least) is from the release of ("vanilla") EverQuest in 1999 up until the final server patch before (but not including) the Shadows of Luclin expansion, in 2001.
It's important to understand that the goal of Project 1999 is to re-create the mechanics of Everquest during that time period. While many players often long for the experience of playing during that time, re-creating that experience is much, much harder, because players have far more knowledge today (with decades of hindsight).
Thus, whenever the staff has to choose between implementing things in the way they worked on the live EverQuest servers, or the way people remember things being on the live servers, the devs almost always choose to implement the way they actually worked, even if that leads to a player experience which is different from what most people experienced originally.
Why Are There Things That Aren't Classic? (What are the Rules?)
For various reasons the staff has had to make sacrifices to their goal of a perfect re-implementation of classic EverQuest. Generally speaking these sacrifices come from three limitations which are outside their control: technical, legal, and support.
- Technical Limitations: The Project 1999 implementation of endurance/stamina, the server's lack of night blindness in human/human-derivative races, or the ability to open all bags at once (live limited players to two open bags at once) are all limitations of the Titanium client. While there is development work being done to enable a different client without these limitations, it's unclear whether that work will ever allow Project 1999 to switch to a different client, and until it does it will be unable to fix certain issues.
- Legal Limitations: "Boxing" (playing two or more characters at once) was allowed on live servers, but is not on Project 1999. This is because boxing was limited on live servers by Internet speeds, computer hardware limits, and most importantly money: each account on the live cost $10 ($15?) a month. Because it would be unfair for Project 1999 to make money off of someone else's work, they are unable to charge for accounts, and thus are unable to limit boxing properly, so they are forced to ban it entirely.
- Support Limitations: Unlike on live, Project 1999 has a limit to how many mobs (25) can be affected by an area of effect song or spell. Partly this is because most players on live servers had poor Internet connections which would lead to death if they tried to AoE too many mobs ... but another huge factor was support time. Fights between AoEing players and everying else in the zone required a large amount of customer service time. Project 1999 has a far more limited CS staff (which are 100% all volunteers) than live did, so sometimes changes have to be made to enable that staff to support the server.
There are some non-classic changes on Project 1999 which might come from technical limits, or might just be the preference of the Project 1999 team (against their normal conventions):
- Mouse Wheel Scrolling: Although it was not possible in classic, the Titanium client allows player to "zoom out" using their mouse wheel. It is believed that the Project 1999 team might be capable of disabling this, but chooses not to because they believe the benefit of it outweighs its un-classic nature.
- Titles Pane (3rd-PersonView): Much later on EverQuest introduced titles, and added UI to let players select titles. This UI had the side effect of giving EverQuest something it had never had: a convenient and powerful way to view things in the 3rd person (classic EQ had some 3rd-person views via the F9 key, but they were more limiting). It is unclear whether Project 1999 keeps this functionality because it's impossible to remove, or because it's desired.
- Item Links: Again these come from the Titanium client, and did not exist in the classic live era, but they nevertheless exist on Project 1999 either for technical limitations, or because they prevent fraud and save the CS team's time.
In addition to the above three categories, there are also a few other non-classic elements on the server:
- Zone Experience Modifiers: One of the only "classic experience over classic mechanics" decisions the staff has ever made was to change Project 1999's Zone Experience Modifiers to be non-classic. Thanks to a cheating program used on live (ShowEQ) players knew the exact ZEMs of all classic zones, and the devs felt that in this one instance, unlike virtually everything else in the project, that knowledge was too problematic. Thus, they have changed an unknown number of ZEMs in an unknown way to restore their mystery.
- Lifetaps on Raid Mobs: On live players were generally not aware of the potential to abuse items like Ivandyr's Hoop, which can be clicked for a difficult to resist "life tap" effect, against raid mobs. As such Project 1999 has added additional resistance to these effects to many raid mobs
- Siren's Grotto Warp: On live players could camp in a certain spot at the Siren's Grotto entrance, and due to a "wall hack" when they came back they'd be on the other side of the zone. This "free Evacuation/Succor" has been unclassicaly removed from Project 1999