Updated Wed, Aug 07, 2013 by Shayalyn
Call it what you want--revolutionary, evolutionary, a game changer--but EverQuest Next established itself as The Game to Watch when Sony Online Entertainment revealed it on Friday, August 2nd at SOE Live. Our community site for all things EverQuest, EQHammer, has already published mountains of coverage from the event with more incoming. I thought I’d kickstart your EQN addiction by telling you a bunch of stuff you need to know. Knowledge is a gateway drug, so read on and get hooked.
There’s a reason that EverQuest Next is not named EverQuest 3 -- it was specifically designed to use EverQuest’s rich lore, classes and history in an entirely new way. SOE didn’t just put a different spin on the tired mechanics we’ve seen in MMORPGs for the past 15 years, it got rid of some entirely, tossed the rest in a blender with some completely fresh ingredients, and whipped up a radically different and delicious MMO margarita. We’re going to be drinking this stuff for years to come. Drink responsibly, people; this is the EverCrack for the new paradigm.
For some classic EQ and EQ2 players, the response to EQ Next might be less, “Shut up and take my money” and more “Shove it where it ain’t sunny,” but you can’t please everyone. And I’m betting on the likelihood of all but the most curmudgeonly of the curmudgeons being won over eventually.
One new game is awesome, but two new games? That’s mind blowing. And that’s what you’ll be getting next from the EverQuest franchise. A few months back, SOE president John Smedley teased EQ fans by saying that they’d get to see what the team was working on “later this year, and I don’t mean beta.” What he was referring to was EverQuest Next Landmark. Although we don’t have a definite launch date yet, we know that SOE plans to launch Landmark this winter.
What is Landmark? EQHammer has a detailed article. Basically, think Minecraft on meth. (Have I made too many drug analogies? I swear to the gods that I barely even drink.) SOE decided to take the suite of tools that they’re using in-house to terraform EQNext and put them in the hands of players. What’s cool is that the tools are incredibly powerful without the mind-bending complexity that normally comes with 3D modeling. Players will be able to create a character, go out into the world, explore the landscape, discover materials and crafting recipes, stake a claim and then start building. SOE plans to have certain areas where they will strictly enforce the art direction and invite players to actually participate in the building of Norrath by creating and submitting their designs. Take a look at the power of Landmark's toolset in action.
On top of all this, through SOE’s Player Studio feature, builders can create assets to sell to other players on the marketplace for real cash. You might create an awesome tower, for instance, that you package up for the Player Studio marketplace. Imagine that someone else purchases your tower (you get some cash for that), and then uses it to create an awesome castle that he, in turn, puts up on the marketplace. Every time someone purchases his castle, you’ll get some royalties. Cha-ching!
EverQuest Next will launch with 8 starting classes, and each class will have a couple of weapons from which players can choose, along with a handful of character abilities. Through exploration and adventuring, you’ll come across opportunities to pick up new classes. There are more than 40 classes out in Norrath for you to find. In an interview with Ten Ton Hammer’s Sardu, Creative Director Jeff Butler said that players should look at EQNext’s class advancement system “more from a collectible standpoint” than the EQ franchise’s previous class advancement system, where you played a static class and customized it with Alternate Advancement. He pointed out that if a player wanted to play a pure class, and not get involved in multi-classing at all, they could do that and fully enjoy the experience. He described multi-classing as optional, but never required. We have lots more questions about classes, so keep an eye peeled on EQHammer for more interviews from SOE Live coming soon.
EQNext is a great big sandbox with multi-classing and abilities and weapons galore, but no little blue (or gold) bubbles serving as dangling carrots. Presumably, there are other more tasty carrots to be discovered. We’ll let you know when we know more about progression.
Similar to Guild Wars 2, your character’s abilities will change depending on what weapon you’re holding. “They’re one of the class-defining things in the game,” said EQ franchise Director of Development, Dave Georgeson, during the EverQuest Next world debut. So, not only are there 40-plus classes to mix and match from, but each class will have a couple of weapons that allow players to change up their character’s play style.