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I quit playing Everquest about two years ago after my server's population (Firiona Vie) got way too low. At the time, I was waiting ~3 hours for a group and couldn't solo anything worth killing (I played a Warrior and Beastlord).
At the end, I was a pretty hard-core raider and the "tank leader" of my guild, which was number 3 on the server. However, since the population was so low I never got groups to grind out new levels and AAs, which got really frustrating and I ended up paying $20 a month to just sit around and do nothing.
I tried switching to Guild Wars since it was free. I enjoyed the beginning part of it until you teleported out of that stage, in which case I lost interest fast.
I've been playing WoW on the private servers a lot lately as I HATED how the game relies so much on quests to level, I enjoyed grinding in Everquest, as long as their was content to solo or groups to join, WoW almost discourages grouping, but with the private servers it's a lot more fun for me, even if I level quite a bit faster. However, I don't see myself paying for a game like it.
I tried EQ2 at beta and wasn't too impressed to be honest, maybe it's changed now, but if it's still the same as before, I'm not really interested.
I'd prefer something that can be played for free, but I'm willing to pay, that's no problem as long as it's good.
Everquest was perfect for me, if it had the same population it did when I started playing, I would undoubtably still be playing it.
Here's a basic run-down of what I want for those who don't want to read the whole thing, it needs:
*Good amount of population for grouping
*Non-reliant on groups or soloing, good balance of both, able to level either way without one offering much less experience
*Good end-game content that isn't so overpowered compared to what non-raiders would have
*Good graphics prefered, WoW's characters are kinda stupid looking imo, don't really care about the world itself :P
*Preferably free to play - Whether on the actual game or on private servers, ala WoW.
*Non-slow leveling. I don't mind a challenge, but I don't want something that's going to take me 6 months to level to the max on. I'll probably play, max, 3 hours a day.
*Roleplaying would be cool too, I always enjoyed it when I started playing EQ, but then it died when WoW and EQ2 came out.