A couple of months ago I got an email from someone named Cecilia D'Anastasio stating that she was a writer at Kotaku and wanted to do an article about
the Sleeper. It immediately piqued my interest, I haven't thought about the sleeper since, uh, the
last time I thought about the Sleeper, which was maybe half a decade ago. So this was definitely
a blast from the past sort of thing, and after checking the name I found a PGP key so I sent an encrypted
email to verify who I was talking to. The email never got decrypted but I didn't think I was being phished or SE'ed so we continued to talk.
I was asked if I was one of the people at the actual event and some general details. Eventually, we talked for maybe an hour about the event, what lead up to
it, the general atmosphere of the game and the Rallos Zek PvP server and the other guilds. There were a lot of gaps and my memory of some of the details was
pretty fuzzy, but was surpised nonetheless how much of that whole 6-7 year experience of playing the game Everquest I still remembered with astonishing clarity;
a sort of testament to the kind of game and involvement Everquest was. There were a couple of follow-up questions but in a couple of weeks, the
article was published:
The Surprising And Allegedly Impossible Death Of EverQuest's 'Unkillable' Dragon.
The article is pretty great, and not because I was extensively quoted, but there really hasn't been a well written article that centered around the event,
as opposed to the few times it was mentioned as a note as part of a bigger story, or as part of some top # list. There is some genuine interest there as well
as some new info. Cecilia emailed Daybreak Games (who now run Everquest) and got a statement from them:
A representative was keen to tell me that, yes, SOE did despawn the Sleeper. "The SOE CS [Sony Online Entertainment customer service] team believed that players were taking advantage of either a bug or an exploit during the November 15th, 2003 Rallos Zek Sleeper raid," he said over e-mail. "Per the CS policy regarding exploits, a customer service representative despawned the boss."
Players, overwhelmingly, think SOE was covering up their fear of virtual anarchy. Daybreak, however, says that they did it not out of surprise, or vindictiveness, megalomania or even fear for the fate of Rallos Zek's storyline. They thought there was a bug. So, they respawned the beast.
There was also some interesting comments, including a Brazilian reader who posted a link to his Master's dissertation:
I'm fascinated by gaming history and the death of Kerafyn, The Sleeper is one of the most interesting events to happen in a MMO. I actually wrote a bit about it on my Master's degree dissertation (and will probably dedicate a page or two of my PhD thesis to talk about it). Thanks for the great read!
Thanks for being interested, and I can certainly share it (here: http://repositorio.ufpe.br/handle/123456789/3641), but it's in Portuguese (I'm Brazilian)... I believe the chances of you being able to read Portuguese are quite slim, am I right? ^_^'
The paper's pretty long, but the related section is 4 - Endgame.
Here's a comment from a fellow Wudan guildmate:
EEeeeeeeeee! Sorry, that's my glee sound for being involved in a story posted on here. I played on Rallos Zek, was in Wudan as a Ranger, and was in that fricking raid! It was in fact super boring by most standards but the fact is that it was intended to be unkillable, wipe your raid, then terrorize several zones before disappearing into nothingness.. so there was something uniquely cool about doing something unintended. The fact that ‘The Curse' was going to wake him definitely prompted the call to arms, and bringing together the top 3 raid guilds was certainly unheard of (and largely unnecessary) prior to this raid.. I guess we figured if he was going to be woken, it may as well be us that do it.
What was unique about the Rallos Zek server (other than it being one of the very few pvp servers in the game, and the only one you could loot an item from pvp victims) was that it was also one of the few servers that hadn't already woken the sleeper.. and there were Primal weapons you could farm that would no longer drop after he woke. So the fact those items still dropped on our server until then was very unusual.. it was an unwritten rule that nobody wake the sleeper so Primals would remain in the loot table.
Seeing this post and reading the original page brings back some good feels.
Here's a comment about the live cross-server chat that was happening during the event. I mentioned it when I talked to Cecilia but I don't think I described it
very well. The chat in Everquest was really just glorified IRC, but this commenter makes a good point about the lack of streaming back then:
I was playing a lot when this happened and remember it pretty well. There's one really interesting thing missing from this story - not only did the 3 Rallos Pvp guilds come together, but all of the servers had cross-server chat setup that we were watching and getting updates from. Everytime health ticked down we'd get an update. I think this was well before any sort of widespread streaming, so we all followed it in text. It was a really fascinating and unifying event. Never seen anything online quite like it since.
Overall, I was pretty psyched about the article and sent links to anyone who played the game or was around back when I played actively. I also got in contact
with some oldskool's like the people in the #AscendingDawn IRC channel.
Image from the Kotaku article, by Angelica Alzona
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