Brad McQuaid — best known perhaps for defining roles in the development of EverQuest — has passed. Brad started as the lead programmer for EverQuest, but during its development was moved to producer and lead designer roles.

I ‘missed’ EverQuest during its prime. I didn’t know Brad’s work at this time as a result, nor had the experience of interacting with him on the forums of the time. I was still a young pup, especially in the context of the big-bad Internet. I became aware of EverQuest only by it coming up as a topic of conversation in the Asheron’s Call beta I was taking part in.

And of course — the Internet being the Internet, even back then — it was a rather tribal affair with EverQuest of course being the ‘enemy’ and self-evidently inferior to Asheron’s Call.

Eventually, EverQuest and I crossed paths. But it was many years and a half dozen expansions later. I certainly enjoyed my time with it — but I couldn’t tell you how much of the original vision or Brad’s influence remain.

Vanguard was the first time then, I suppose, that Brad’s vision directly intersected with my life.

And not to beat around the bush — it was an awful buggy mess. Not to mention, it strove for a level of hardware requirements just not accessible to many at the time. So I put the beta down and moved on.

…But not forever.

A year or two later, I came back.

And fell in love.

Enough so that I brought my friends and guild along for the ride.

Vanguard was special. It was more than just an MMO. It — more than any other MMO we had experienced — created a sense of being a virtual world. It was a place. The dungeons and group adventure areas made sense. They fit. The whole world fit together as one should. Frankly, nothing since has rivaled Vanguard in this particular respect.

More than anything else — this is my hope for Pantheon.

Right now though, the team will be grieving. Brad’s family will be hurting beyond belief. They will need to be given the space and time to heal, if even a little. To most of us — Brad was a titan of the industry. Arguably a man who, without, the west never would have seen the style of MMO EverQuest gave birth to.

Without a shadow of a doubt a saddening loss. But equally not even a candle against the pain and loss his friends and family will be feeling right now. My heart goes to them unreservedly.


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

2 Comments

Bhagpuss · November 21, 2019 at 9:40 am

So unexpected, too. He was only 51. Pantheon might well not have been his last statement.

I agree completely on Vanguard, except to say that, while it certainly was buggy at launch, I have seen worse – a lot worse. Horizons, for example or Anarchy online. Or, for that matter, the first version of FFXIV. Also, Vanguard ran pretty well on my PC. I was i the beta – or rather I had access to it. I couldn’t play it because my PC wouldn’t run it in a playable fashion. I did some research on the forums and bought a PC specificaly to play Vanguard when it launched. It was barely mid-range but I selected all the recommended components that people claimed played well with the game in beta and come launch I had very few issues. Mrs Bhagpuss (who got an identical PC) and I were able to duo reasonably comfortably from day one.

According to Brasse on the Pantheon forums Brad’s family have already given their blessing to the continuation of Pantheon so let’s hope it makes it to launch and becomes the success Brad would have hoped. He couldn’t have a better tribute to his talents than a successful game filled with satisfied players.

    Naithin · November 21, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    I’m glad the Pantheon team is able to continue — I must admit, it didn’t even really occur to me that they might not.

    In terms of other launches perhaps being worse — yes. Anarchy Online I experienced personally (or more to the point, didn’t experience. ;)) — but for those early MMOs it was essentially taken as given that launch would be a rocky, rocky, ride.

    I actually don’t recall which PC I had during the Vanguard beta now — but I do remember thinking that if my computer couldn’t run it, it was shooting for even higher specs right out of the gate than even EverQuest 2 attempted. But my experience wasn’t the only one of poor performance I recall — essentially most of my guild at the time had the same issues bar maybe a few.

    In any case — for all that, Vanguard was really something special. And you’re right — its entirely possible Brad could’ve had another MMO after this one. And I can only wonder what he might’ve been able to achieve then, with that technology (and, hopefully, a firm-handed project manager)!

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