A few weeks ago, over 100 players dug deep into Sleeper’s Tomb, the final dungeon in EverQuest’s 22-year-old Scars of Velious expansion. It’s a brutal and difficult area locked behind a key that requires players to defeat an endgame dragon. It seems like a serious moment, requiring coordination and concentration. But this raid was not serious. It was a party at the end of the world as they knew it.
It was the kind of party that saw retired members returning, GMs turning people into illusionary dragons, and a beloved community streamer narrating on Twitch. Soundboards with jokes from two years of raids together had people laughing. The most powerful guild on the server, Seal Team, had burst into this tomb to awaken the Sleeper.
And that meant everyone on the server was irritated.
Let’s go back a minute. On the three-year-old Project 1999 Green fanserver, people are playing EverQuest as it existed at the time, locked only to the first two expansions (there are now 28 EverQuest expansions, the last one being released in December 2021). On Project 1999 Green, nothing is easy. There are no XP potions to buy with microtransactions, no auction house, no instances. If you and I both want a crowd, whoever gets there first wins. Raid bosses are on week-long timers, and guilds have specialist teams waiting hours for them to spawn, ready to engage them in seconds. It’s intense.
So why would the most dominant guild on the server want to wake the Sleeper? There’s no more dramatic decision in EverQuest: it’s a one-time server-changing event that unleashes the legendary dragon Kerafyrm in a deadly server rampage and removes its guardians – and, most importantly, their incredible loot – for all time ? Waking the Sleeper is the most historic moment in all of EverQuest, one of the most historic in all of MMOs, and anyone who hadn’t gotten the hang of it was forever losing their chance to get these items.
According to critics of Seal Team, this is simply a matter of the guild selfishly taking their ball and going home. For months Seal Team had had the tomb all to themselves by monopolizing the key holding dragons. But in recent weeks, the challenger guild Kingdom and their allies in Safe Space had finally started to rack up some keys by slaying dragons like Yelinak and Zlandicar. Rather than give them a chance to get Warder’s loot, the selfish and miserable members of Seal Team were going to wake up the Sleeper, ruin everyone’s fun, and become that Disney movie kid with the black jersey that hits our brave hero right in the schnoz. The p99 forum was filled with hundreds of posts like “Your decision to awaken the Sleeper will not only tarnish your legacy and be a reason people will look at your guild in disgust, but it will inevitably lead to your downfall. Note my words.”
So here is. EverQuest hardcore gamers are still very passionate about EverQuest.
But that’s just the story according to Seal Team’s reviews. The real story is perhaps a bit more complicated. There had been long discussions in the guild about when to wake the Sleeper, with heated words from both sides. Some wanted this done immediately to free the guild from having to focus only on keys at the expense of good loot. Some wanted it to stay asleep forever, not seeing the point of removing content. Accusations of bribing officers, weary players fed up with following key-holding dragons, and a particularly loud German calling everyone pixel poops made for volatile stew.
Finally, some Seal Team players had had enough. Taking matters into their own hands, a splinter faction of key gamers created a Discord channel called Kerafyrm’s Dream in the middle of the night and started heading for the grave. Disgruntled Seals alongside members of other guilds would wake the Sleeper, to hell with the consensus. Only some mad scrambles on the part of the guild’s leaders – mobilization to the grave, changing passwords on shared accounts, deterring members – prevented the disaster. The clock was ticking: Someone from Project 1999 Green was going to wake the Sleeper. The only question that remained was who was going to do it.
Seal Team guild leadership faced the biggest dilemma any EverQuest guild has ever faced or will ever face: do they wake the sleeper and risk alienating the members who have worked tirelessly to level, loot and compete for the keys but who may not have gotten the items they want from the grave yet? Or do they leave it asleep and risk another guild or splinter faction waking it up for them, ruining their members’ chance to experience the event?
For many who play Project 1999 Green, this incredibly rare moment is the culmination of 20 years of nostalgia. Two decades ago, this same moment marked the first time in a massively multiplayer video game that players decided their own fate – in effect, the fate of their entire online world. It was one of the first major scripted events in an MMO, with repercussions almost unthinkable in a game today. Imagine players in WoW or Final Fantasy 14 being able to permanently kill a boss, making their loot forever inaccessible to the rest of their server.
So on Project 1999 Green, polls were done. The guild members’ feathers have been ruffled. And in the end, Seal Team made their decision: the guild would wake the Sleeper, no matter what others on the server thought.
When the last Guardian died, the whole server shook. Kerafyrm awoke and began rampaging through the sleeper’s grave, killing everything in its path. Seal Team had posted on the forums that anyone who wanted to could come to Skyshrine, the home of Lord Yelinak and the final target of Kerafyrm, and face the Sleeper in an epic final stand in an attempt to slay the invincible dragon, something that doesn’t had only been done once. before and was itself a legendary piece of MMO history.
Hundreds of players from other guilds, enraged by Seal Team’s actions, killed Yelinak before the battle could begin in earnest. Then Kerafyrm killed everyone and disappeared forever.
The 1999 Green project now lives on in the post-war period. Historically, guilds that awaken the Sleeper, even dominant ones, tend to fade into obscurity afterwards. Something about releasing all that pressure, maybe. Or feel like the long journey is finally over. Seal Team’s fate has yet to be determined, but one thing is clear. there is no turning back.