On March 16, 1999, EverQuest launched, and with it, a volunteer Guide Program. They would “act as basic customer service/support via ‘petitions’. Issues could be forwarded to the Game Master assigned to the server or resolved by the volunteer. Other guides would serve in administrative functions within the program or assisting the Quest Troupe with dynamic and persistent live events throughout the individual servers. Volunteers were compensated with free subscription and expansions to the game.
In 2003 the program changed for these volunteers, shifting them away from a customer service focus and instead placing them into their current roles as roving ‘persistent characters’ role-playing with the players.” (wikipedia) There’s always been confusion within the player community at large about whether the Guide Program was a part of Daybreak Games, a completely separate entity, or something in-between. We asked for clarification from the Guides and got this answer from Elder Guide Rynara:
The Guide program works side by side with Daybreak, they always have. The Program was never “run” by SOE. Since we are volunteers we are separate and do not work under them in any way but along with them to support the players of EQ and EQII. [While] Kander does not run the Guide program, he does support us as acting liaison to Daybreak. He is our contact.
The leaders of the Guide program back when it started at the beginning of EQ wrote a policy and procedure manual that we follow today. It has been updated and tweaked along the years however the fundamentals still apply today.
While the earlier Guide quests were of a “milk and cookies” nature, in recent years, more dynamic and complex quests have been added. None has gained more visibility than the Nebulous Newsies quest. The reward is millions of status and one of the largest inventory bags available in the game. Players line up by the hundreds to pickup the quest from a Guide (it cannot be acquired by any other means) when word breaks that they will be seeking player help on a server. A new Terrors of Thalumbra guide quest was just added to the Guides’ repertoire this month and it will be interesting to see how frequently it is made available.