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.