Brad McQuaid the J.R.R. Tolkien of Norrath Passes Away

I have just learned the terrible news that Brad McQuaid EverQuest founder has passed away at age 51. He is survived by his wife and daughters.

It’s possible that Brad had been ill for some time. Someone named Blusesynthbot on Reddit met Brad this year while Brad was selling some of his vintage comic books, he noticed in his post that he looked very sick.

This news hit me like a thunderbolt. I considered Brad to be a friend and a kindred spirit. We were united by our love of fantasy virtual worlds. We conversed and deliberated many times via email and Skype about MMORPGs. I met Brad personally on two occasions. The first was at the Sigil: Fangard fan event; the second at E3 in Los Angeles in 2006.

What Brad and others achieved with EverQuest — the first 3D fantasy virtual world based on class interdependency and player cooperation — was nothing short of remarkable. EverQuest changed my life as it did millions of others who played it and went to play MMOs like World of Warcraft that were inspired by it.

Brad was a kind soul. No matter who you were, he always had time to respond to people who were interested in virtual worlds. For years it never ceased to amaze me of accounts of complete strangers emailing him and he would send them back long, thoughtful replies.

If it was not for EverQuest, I would not have joined the EverQuest Guide Program. I would not have become a game designer. I owe a lot to Brad and the amazingly talented crew who made Norrath happen.

What I also admired about Brad was that he had a firm belief in Almighty God. He was a Christian. I knew this from talking with him. His favorite J.R.R Tolkien quote was the following which gives us insight into the sacredness and value of creation:

J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic who used his life experiences and faith to create the fictional world of Middle-earth that has delighted millions all over the world via books and films.

In some ways, Brad was the J.R.R. Tolkien of the fictional world of EverQuest’s Norrath. It was his vision, creativity, and passion that brought Norrath to life. Of course he would not have been able to accomplish it without the fellowship of fellow creators John Smedley, Steve Clover, Rod Humble and others.

Even after he left Sony Online Entertainment and pursued other forays into the MMO space, Brad never lost his passion for the genre.

Brad was well know for “the vision.” His vision was a holistic approach to building fantasy virtual worlds that ensured that everything contained within would be consistent with a requirement that players cooperate with each other to overcome shared adversity. The vision affected all aspects of the MMO. Everything from the design of classes in EverQuest to how mobs would scale in difficulty, was conceived and created with the idea of class interdependency.

The magical world he envisioned and championed would be home to thousands of players and still is to this day! Already tributes are coming in from EQ players from all over the world.

To this day, nobody on the planet has been a better spokesman for the dream of what virtual worlds could become than Brad McQuaid. He was a combination of J.R.R. Tolkien, P.T. Barnum, virtual world visionary and kid at heart.

It is only fitting that Daybreak Games create some kind of in-game memorial to Brad “Aradune Mithara” McQuaid. I hope that Blizzard will also include some kind of tribute to him in Azeroth.

I hope and trust that Brad’s profound legacy will live on in his latest passion Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The world of interactive entertainment lost a great and decent man today. Brad, you will be sorely missed and always in my prayers.


This screenshot was taken during the memorial held on November 22, 2019 for Brad McQuaid on P1999 Teal server by user flea_ip.

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