is celebrating its twelfth anniversary, and Ten Ton Hammer is dancing
in the streets of Freeport along with the other fans of all things EverQuest
Several members of the staff have taken to playing on the progression
locked servers to recapture the magic of entering the world of Norrath
for the first time once again, and they began to wonder about what lies
ahead for the EverQuest
franchise and of the journey taken over the last 12 years. To that end,
our own Benjamin J. de la Durantaye sat down with other interest
players at a roundtable discussion with EverQuest’s
John Smedley (President of SOE), Alan VanCouvering (Assistant Lead
Designer), and Harvey Burgess (Associate Producer).
How is the Fippy Darkpaw server going with the recent wave of players
that have joined it?
It has been going really well. Basically, what we wanted to do this
time around was learn from the past server because we have been the
progression server before. Last time, we didn’t enable all
the same attributes that people had before as far as the slower
experience, the corpse runs, etc. which we decided not to do this time.
There’s a poll going on now where the players can actually
see other people voting for or against corpse runs. Right now
Currently, we’ve been focusing on the forums seeing what
players have liked and what they haven’t liked.
We’ve gone the extra mile this time by incorporating all of
these things this time in this progression server.
We’ve made sure this time that this was much closer to the
original than the first time we did it. There’s a lot of
effort making sure that all the stuff that we put in the old world
zones as expansions were added were removed so that they
don’t show up until that expansion is launched. Things are
going really well.
What’s the hardest thing that gave you issues as you
developed the game over all the years?
From our perspective, the most challenging thing was keeping the
players happy on a consistent basis. The players go through the new
content pretty quickly so we have to constantly keep the game fresh
in-between with live updates. Keeping the players happy and motivated
and feeling that there is always something to do is probably the
When we take a look at the current state of MMOGs, we see a lot of
online games coming out. In the original version of EverQuest
you spoke a lot about creating an online world versus an online game.
Do you ever see the genre going back to that idea where the goal is to
create a world as opposed to a game?
I would say, without giving away too much, is that EverQuest Next
is much truer to that vision. We feel really, really strongly about
that and I think players are going to be surprised. They’re
not going to see EverQuest 2.5
or make a WoW
or something like that. We have an entirely new direction and we
believe the concept of building a world is the way to go.
What are your views on EverQuest
co-existing currently and
in the past?
The politically correct answer to that is they’re doing
great! The actual answer is that we probably made a mistake calling it EverQuest II
That was a clear mistake. We didn’t realize the lifespan of
the original. We’re sitting here talking about the twelfth
anniversary of an online game and that’s amazing in and of
itself. Our original plan was that it was going to be like every other
retail game where after every few years, it would go away and the next
one would come out. That hasn’t happened. If we could redo
one thing, it would be to rename EverQuest II
The games are very different. They’re set in different times
and they appeal to different audiences. It’s been an
interesting ride trying to convince retailers that it’s a
good idea to have both EverQuest
on the shelves at the same
What feature has resonated most with the players over the 12 year
history of the game?
Everyone is going to have a different opinion, but I think recently it
is the mercenaries. It’s due to the fact that it helps people
play by themselves and give them lots of backup. The game is built for
groups. You can log in with a friend and fill out a group with
mercenaries. For recent memory, that’s what comes to mind.
Throughout the years, we’ve added so many mechanics that
really benefit the player base. When we added the leadership
experience, players were better able to group with others by being able
to select individual targets and seeing targets of targets. We have so
many that it is difficult to narrow it down to just one.