120: Fansy The Famous Bard

Fansy The Famous Bard

"Of course, Fansy wasn't just a Bard; he was a level five Bard. According to the hard-coded game mechanics, he wasn't yet eligible for PvP combat, but monsters didn't care about player level. ... It was glorious. I was invulnerable and could kill anyone. It was a great feeling. I giggled the entire time and rolled around in my underwear. That's how God must feel when he kills people.'"

Alan Au speaks to Fansy the Famous Bard, the player who broke EverQuest.

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Fansy was (and still is) a hero to every unfortunate bastard (Like myself) that rolled Good on Sullon Zek.

Once upon a time, I, too was an EQ player. I never played on Sullon Zek. I did, however, encounter trains fairly frequently. Most were accidental, of the "somebody screwed up", variety. HOnestly, they should have stood still and taken their lumps instead of running for the zone line, but hey, who wants to walk naked back to their equipment? The rest were of the "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to drop a wad of SG's on some people hunting in Oasis" type.

Please explain to me how this was Fansy "striking a blow for the good" and not "Fansy being an incredible jerk-off griefer". Yes, it was supposed to be a no-rules server, and that does, mean that, at its core, if you CAN do it then it's OK. Was there really ever any doubt in your mind that what you were doing was, at the very least, being a jerk? When those folks signed up for PvP, do you think what they envisioned was PvM with the M's provided by a bard? Explain to me why your desire to act like a jackass trumps everyone else's desire to play the game, if you will.

spadefoot, it's because, in a world made for griefers, Fansy succeeded in becoming the Grief King, and doing it in a way that brought to them a bit of that all-too-scarce commodity, karma. The real stuff, not governed by any game-tracked variable.

Does anyone else see Beowulf when they look at the little picture attached to this article?

To the article itself, I think it's sort of glorious. Agree with JohnH: Pure karma.

spadefoot:
Once upon a time, I, too was an EQ player. I never played on Sullon Zek. I did, however, encounter trains fairly frequently. Most were accidental, of the "somebody screwed up", variety. HOnestly, they should have stood still and taken their lumps instead of running for the zone line, but hey, who wants to walk naked back to their equipment? The rest were of the "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to drop a wad of SG's on some people hunting in Oasis" type.

Please explain to me how this was Fansy "striking a blow for the good" and not "Fansy being an incredible jerk-off griefer". Yes, it was supposed to be a no-rules server, and that does, mean that, at its core, if you CAN do it then it's OK. Was there really ever any doubt in your mind that what you were doing was, at the very least, being a jerk? When those folks signed up for PvP, do you think what they envisioned was PvM with the M's provided by a bard? Explain to me why your desire to act like a jackass trumps everyone else's desire to play the game, if you will.

I was a big time EQ player, and when I was curious one day, I took a tour through the PVP servers, including Sullen Zek, now if I hadn't, i'd be all towards your point of view saying the guy was just a horrible griefer not to be glorified. But in this case, it's like a serial killer who only kills serial killers. The people in Sullen Zek were a cadre of assholes and jerk-offs that, upon attaining the max level, instead of doing the presumed thing of getting into large and dramatic battles with other max levels, would in fact, port down to the newbie zones and wholesale slaughter the poor newbies as they hopelessly tried to survive. This wouldn't be a "i'm just passing through and i'll kill you while i'm at it" sort of deal, these were people, for an example a pet class, who sat down outside the zone, for HOURS as their pet wrecked havok on the unsuspecting newbie population. The best you could hope for would be that one of the newbies had high level friends to come and kill the offending enemy, but that was by no means a guarentee, mostly, all you could do is sit inside the city protected by the guards, and hope that the attacker would get bored and move on.

I remember, once I managed to get out of the most basic "just outside your race's main city" kinda newbie zone, I would have to go to the secondary places where one leveled, and even there, high levels would frequently scout them out, to see if any lower level players were trying to level, that they could easily pick off. If they found you, you were dead. That was the end all of it, and unlike WoW, it'd be a huge walk, without any equipment, and with full vulnerability to whatever monsters or other high level jackasses you come across, not to mention of course that the player might choose, if they were feeling particularly like being an asshole, to camp your body and kill you every time you try and get your stuff back (also not uncommon, mostly because of the aforementioned sitting pet class who's pet would just go wild and kill everything).

So I have no pity for these people who would bitch and complain about getting trained like that, while assumingly simultaneously running to newbie zones and one-hitting any poor soul that crossed their path.

[Sun Jul 08 18:03:28 2001] You shout, 'Giants love the good guys! Hooray!'
[Sun Jul 08 18:03:44 2001] Makes tells you, 'that was real cute, asshole'
[Sun Jul 08 18:04:03 2001] You told Makes, 'Thank you!'
[Sun Jul 08 18:04:30 2001] Makes tells you, 'welcome to ignore'
[Sun Jul 08 18:04:45 2001] You told Makes, 'one time a friend ignored me for 2 days'
[Sun Jul 08 18:05:00 2001] You told Makes, 'it was some serious cold-shouldering'
[Sun Jul 08 18:06:10 2001] You told Makes, 'I was so bothered by it, whenever I called his house and he hung up I would just keep talking prteending he was there'
[Sun Jul 08 18:06:17 2001] You told Makes, 'until the BEEP BEEP BEEP sound anyway'
[Sun Jul 08 18:06:50 2001] You told Makes, 'You know Makes, I feel like I could tell you anything'

I thought that was particularly brilliant.

(from the main Fansy site, incidentally)

Oh, how I miss my character Crazytune from EQ1. I've brought him to EQ2, but bards just aren't the same! In EQ1 you could fricken fly! PvP? Try to catch me!

The article is correct though. PvP is way different now. Still fun (sorta) haha.

This really took me back.
I played on Sullon Zek for many years, still play/talk to a lot of my old friends.

I played a Wizard on the good team, and remember Fansy, he was a legend then and still is today.

Great article.

Ahhh the legendary Fansy, I tell you that it has always been sort of a secret dream of mine to be able to influence the events of an MMO, to feel like the days and days I spend grinding will add up to some meaningful achievement. Sadly this is not so.

Good job with the article, it was fun to read.

spadefoot:
Once upon a time, I, too was an EQ player. I never played on Sullon Zek. I did, however, encounter trains fairly frequently. Most were accidental, of the "somebody screwed up", variety. HOnestly, they should have stood still and taken their lumps instead of running for the zone line, but hey, who wants to walk naked back to their equipment? The rest were of the "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to drop a wad of SG's on some people hunting in Oasis" type.

Please explain to me how this was Fansy "striking a blow for the good" and not "Fansy being an incredible jerk-off griefer". Yes, it was supposed to be a no-rules server, and that does, mean that, at its core, if you CAN do it then it's OK. Was there really ever any doubt in your mind that what you were doing was, at the very least, being a jerk? When those folks signed up for PvP, do you think what they envisioned was PvM with the M's provided by a bard? Explain to me why your desire to act like a jackass trumps everyone else's desire to play the game, if you will.

Tesahli hit on this a little earlier, but let me just give you an idea of what playing on Sullon Zek was like for the Good Team:

First, the entire world was off limits except for Everfrost. That's right, the only zone that you, as a member of the Good Team, could safely level in was Everfrost - the ass end of the freaking EQ universe. Why? Because unlike the Neutral and Evil Teams there was no Good Team home city. The Neutrals got all of the "shorty races", a bunch of humans, barbarians (iirc), some elves, and pretty much controlled 35% of the territory by sheer virtue of the fact that neutrals could be found everywhere. The Evil team controlled 64% of the rest of the world by sheer virtue that EVERYONE AND THEIR GRANDMOTHER rolled Evil so that they could be Evil. So that left the Good Team with the only zone in the entire game that no one in their right mind would ever hang out in. Of course, this meant that when the Neuts or Evils came to do their weekly Vox raid, you, as a low level member of the Good Team, were steam rolled as the Pain Train (tm) moved across the frozen tundra. Pretty much, if you played the Good Team and went ANYWHERE else in the EQ universe, you did it as either a gang or as a suicide run because the odds of you running into a higher level Neut or Evil was 95%.

Second, I want to imagine creating a character in Qeynos - a human paladin aligned with the Good Team. You begin working your way up in the newbie fields outside of Qeynos, but an odd thing happens every 5 or 10 minutes. You see, every few minutes a random character runs up to you with a bunch of mobs chasing him. He then uses whatever trick he has to convince those mobs to like you more than him. So you die. Now, keep in mind that you're not even at the level where he can actually PvP you. You're just at the level that he can train you like a huge jerkface.

Third, you finally get to the level where you can PvP and be PvP'd. At this point, as a member of the Good Team, you are a walking punching bag. Oh, you want to go to Blackburrow? Okay, good luck getting their in one piece. Don't be surprised if you eat a bunch of deaths to the level LOL's waiting at the zoneline to chase you across the Hills and kill you repeatedly for an hour while you beg to "Loot and Scoot" your corpse. So, you finally made it into Blackburrow? Okay, say hello to the Zoneline guards who kill you mercilessly because, well, they can. See, what happened was that after a while people got tired of getting ganked in the dungeons of Sullon Zek. So the tactic that evolved was that higher levels would park themselves at the entrance(s) to the zone and play Bouncer. If you were on the wrong team and you wanted to do Mistmoore tonight, but the Bouncers didn't feel generous, sorry. No Mistmoore for you tonight. And this wasn't "A bunch of level 30's versus a bunch of level 35's". This was "A bunch of level 30's versus a bunch of Holy-Crap-That-Guy-One-Shotted-Our-Whole-Group-By-Himself".

Fourth, remember corpse rotting? Remember how worried you would get in Sebillis if you were way in the back and you wiped and there wasn't anyone around to summon your corpse? Of course, you were worried despite the fact that the corpse wouldn't rot for a week or so *and* you had 2 sets of backup gear in your bank. Well, on Sullon Zek if you ticked off the wrong people then you could kiss all that gear you worked hard to get goodbye. "But no one would round the clock corpse camp someone!" you think. Oh, you have no idea.

Fifth, you could kiss any hope of higher end content goodbye. Do you know what a fight in Vox's lair looks like? I'll tell you right now, it's horrific. The lag alone makes you want to cry. The fact that the lag is being caused by a pile of Dark Elf wizards throwing down AE's on your raid makes it even worse. And let's not even pretend like Velious or Kunark existed as far as the Good Team was concerned. Kunark was almost completely offlimits because the Iksar were Evil aligned - all of them (So not only does Evil get 60+% of the population, they also got their own awesome high level *continent*!). Velious? Well, you could only get to Velious if you could put up with being chased from zone to zone by the ridiculously better geared than you Neuts and Evils. Let me tell you how much fun leveling in Old World was. Woo-To-The-Hoo.

I once described Sullon Zek as the ass-end of the EQ universe. I was being polite. Sullon Zek is more like a sink for all the maladjusted, twisted, griefing, hate filled, wretched bottom dwellers of the EQ universe. A wide swath of the player base of SZ could affectionately be described as a cesspool and more accurately described as genocide worthy. If you didn't play on SZ then you don't really know what it's like to ram your head into a wall over and over again, begging for death but, instead, continuely running back to your corpse like a well trained hamster knowing that you would be killed *yet again* by a 3 foot tall, shoeless bastard with a smirk on his character's face. What I learned from SZ was hope and tenacity in the face of absolute despair. I also learned that cruelty wells from a bottomless pit and takes a myriad of shapes online.

What Fansy did on SZ was give the Evils about 1/1,000,000 of a percent of the grief they gave to each and every member of the Good Team. Far as I was concerned, anyone run over by a Sand Giant had it coming.

Pretty much, Downtym. Sullon Zek was not PvP, it was survival. There were no fair fights, just running like hell from the overbearing odds against you.

I do find it funny though, that I would say Rallos Zek still wins out on the largest examples of PvP asshattery. Sure, Sullon Zek has all the things we mentioned, these are people playing the game and stopping to be asshats along the way.

Rallos Zek, with it's (I believe) 8 level range PVP limit, it took a special kind of person to be a total asshat there. The kind of person, who would level up to the max level, get their epic weapons, and other powerful armor and gear that has no level limits because it's quest gear that can't be sold, and then proceeds to level their character down some odd 50 levels so they can have that insane gear and weapons as a level 8 newb character, then proceed to wreck havok on unsuspecting newbie leveling zones.

No one could stop them, you couldn't call in a high level to help, or gang up on them (their armor usually had insanely high magic resistance, the only thing that they might be weak too, and forget about swords), so you just had to die and hope they move on. That's not just being a total douchebag, that's DEDICATION to being a total douchebag.

But that's quality over quantity, if you wanted misery and humiliation, Sullon Zek was the PVP server to you. If I hear that someone didn't hate Sullon Zek, then I have to imagine they were one of the people who were stomping newbies for fun.

Tesahli:
... if you wanted misery and humiliation, Sullon Zek was the PVP server to you. If I hear that someone didn't hate Sullon Zek, then I have to imagine they were one of the people who were stomping newbies for fun.

An honest question: Why on earth did you stick around? I ask this because as annoying as it was being on the Horde side on a WoW PvP server (something that I was somehow convinced would be a good idea), it's not even close to what you're describing. I can't imagine dealing with that for any significant amount of time unless there was some other stupendously amazing reason to do it.

Tesahli:

But that's quality over quantity, if you wanted misery and humiliation, Sullon Zek was the PVP server to you. If I hear that someone didn't hate Sullon Zek, then I have to imagine they were one of the people who were stomping newbies for fun.

I played good team on Sullon Zek, I played for over 3 years there, from a few months after the server started, right up until they merged the PVP servers. I reached Max level, I was part of a guild that raided raids (Black Crown). It was the best online gaming experience I've ever had.

I guess that makes me a glutton for punishment.

Virgil:

Tesahli:
... if you wanted misery and humiliation, Sullon Zek was the PVP server to you. If I hear that someone didn't hate Sullon Zek, then I have to imagine they were one of the people who were stomping newbies for fun.

An honest question: Why on earth did you stick around? I ask this because as annoying as it was being on the Horde side on a WoW PvP server (something that I was somehow convinced would be a good idea), it's not even close to what you're describing. I can't imagine dealing with that for any significant amount of time unless there was some other stupendously amazing reason to do it.

As bad as it was, it had it's great moments and it was a server like a "Fight Club". You got a guy that logged onto Sullon Zek for the first time and he was like the fat, smelly kid in high school. After he made it to level 50 on Sullon Zek that fat kid that no one wanted to be around a few months ago was a hardened, certified bada**. Sure, you could still make it to the high levels being a useless pud, but of the population of the Good Team that made it to the end-game I'd say 70% of them were the most hardcore of the hardcore PvP'ers I've ever seen.

Mentioning that you had served time in "Black Crown", "Divine Vigilance", "Bringers of Retribution", "Wolves of Legend", or "Flowers of Happiness" (There were others, but it's been a while so their names elude me. Feel free to add to the list. Even the most newbish Sullon Zek guild was pretty hardcore deep down) meant that you had been through a kind of virtual equivalent of PvP Seal Training. When folks from the Good Team talked about coining some of the most infamous people on the server, it was like saying you beat up Jesus and Satan at the same time while stomping God on the curb. In retrospect, the server was nothing but hate, piss, and vinegar, but I think everyone that played there for more than a month has to admit that no place is home quite like Sullon Zek - which is why we will all be sharing a very small and uncomfortable room in Hell.

My honest opinion of Sullon Zek is that I loved to hate it. Up to that point, I had never played a game that actively encouraged people to be as depraved or horrible to each other as the EQ-Sullon Zek experience did. It was refreshing, fun, frustrating, mind boggling, heart pounding, and abysmal all at the same time. There will probably be nothing more fun than charging into LGuk, killing and/or getting past the guards, finding the group xp'ing/looting down below, and destroying them. And there can be nothing more heartbreaking or annoying then being the group that just got destroyed.

Replace LGuk with any other dungeon, boss, dragon, quest, what have you and I think you get an idea why playing on Sullon Zek was simultaneously the most and least fun you could possibly have.

Edit: Added "Flowers of Happiness" to the Good Team guild list.

Downtym, you are right in everythign you said.

we loved to hate it, and kept comming back.
I wouldn't trade my time on SZ for anything, all PvP since those days has been carebear, nothing to lose from dying took eveything away from the combat - think that's what made it so unique, there was something to alway lose. and interestingly enough, given the so-called worth of the insignias on SZ you had a lot more to lose (exp) that you had to gain (coin).

a pvp death equated to a pve death, no matter the circumstances.
no game since has had the stomach to attempt this harsh of a system, and I think none will to be honest. SZ was an experiment, those of us posting here are a different breed of MMOers, hardened by our time on Sullon.

If Sony re-opened a progression-style server, with the old SZ rule set, i'd have a good-team wizard on there so fast...

[Black Crown] represent.

Downtym:
knowing that you would be killed *yet again* by a 3 foot tall, shoeless bastard with a smirk on his character's face.

Like Belkar?

I wasn't an Everquest player ever, but the exploits of Fansy and the general chaos of the Sullon Zek server is just damn intriguing. The closest I've come to anything like this was being a frequent PK on Diablo back in the mid-90s. In Diablo II, you were notified when someone flagged for PvP against you, in the first one it was a gamble. You didn't know who was going to up and slash you to bits. It was nowhere near the insanity talked about here, but its my closest personal comparison.

 

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