I played around 15 total minutes of EQ 1 and 2 combined, so I am perhaps not one who “should” write this post, but it is something I feel compelled to do.
What I do know is that the contours of my adult life would look very different without the presence of Brad McQuaid, whose work on Everquest inspired the core team behind World of Warcraft, a game which I have played and largely enjoyed for 14 years and change now (and a game that has been tied to many shifts and moments of growth in my personal life).
Creative people are an interesting sort, often maligned by people outside of the craft as not having “real jobs,” but yet the worldview and the change in perspective offered by a good piece of creative art can change your life and offers a sort of solace that is difficult to replicate, especially the type of environment offered by games and especially the genre of MMOs, when the world is a convincing illusion of place – something Brad McQuaid understood intuitively, it seems. Players more familiar with his work have written much better pieces detailing their interactions with his work, their quibbles with his peculiarities, and their shock at his seemingly sudden death at the age of 51.
I don’t have that body of experience, but I can say his influence did make my life better through a chain of events that resulted in WoW existing and me playing it. Whether the game was refuge from bad days at work, bad home life with my ex-fiance, or just something fun to do, I can’t imagine my adult life without it. While he wasn’t directly responsible in a real sense, without EQ and his work, I wouldn’t be writing here at all, and I struggle to think what my free time would be full of. Whatever games would have attempted to fill that void, they likely would not have had the sense of place and comfort that the genre he helped mainstream through his influence possessed when I came to it in mid-2005.
For that, all I can say is this: thank you.