The Right Stuff Baby!
EverQuest II Versus the New Kids on the Block
Now that I've effectively made every single reader over the age of 30 go "Ewww! NO! Not them!" as they seek to claw off their ears, rest assured fellow gamers that I'm not going to be talking about THOSE New Kids on the Block.
Not today at least, although I reserve the right to at any time publish 500 words on why Joey was the hottest.
The "new kids" that I'm referring to today are the two most anticipated titles of 2008; Age of Conan and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. These two games not only have the power to drain EverQuest II of it's player populace, but they might even perhaps put a dent in World of Warcraft's long time subscription phenomenon.
What threat could these games possibly bring to already solid games?
Player vs. Player or Realm vs. Realm
Let's face it, PvP was always sort of an afterthought in EQ2. It was not introduced into game at launch, and early on it was often stated by the devs that it wasn't even a current thought. Complaints flowed regularly over the obvious lack, and SOE finally paid heed to their cry and added PvP servers after the grim flop of duel functions and rarely used PvP arenas.
I happen to think that the PvP isn't too bad in EQ2 these days, but many feel that it has never been as much as a focus to the game as it should have been from the start and this potentially hurts our game's position as these PvP kings make their first steps towards live release.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning - This game is very much making PvP a core part of the gameplay. Former known as Mythic Studios, EA Mythic already has some excellent experience in successful PvP prior to the development of WAR. Those that enjoyed that historic game Dark Age of Camelot most likely also enjoyed the stimulating fun of their Realm versus Realm combat. This is one of the few games that non-typical PvP players actually felt compelled to get in on the action without the requirement or threat of constant PvP.
We know that RvR will be in WAR and it's been stated that it will be a pivotal part of the growth and evolution of the game. This has massive appeal to gamers of all ages and creed who crave more action with their fantasy gaming. I do believe that a well done PvP will draw those players like a moth to a flame, and I think WAR has got this feature in the bag.
Age of Conan - Another game that will be utilizing PvP gameplay with the launch of the game. It seems that other gamemakers know where the interest is and they will not be caught with their pants down on this one!
Age of Conan has developed a PvP system that is downright impressive. With various forms of player on player combat, they are looking to bring a little bit of something for everyone from the typical PvE player that just wants to goof around with friend to the hardcore PvP combatant who is looking to earn his/her reputation as a skilled player. Along with the expected PvP servers AoC will also have PvP mini-games, sieges, and drunken brawling.
Yes, I said drunken brawling. I won't even tell you how cool I think that is.
For me personally, this not being a part of our game is a bonus of EverQuest II, but there will be some who are really looking to get their MMOG groove on with their consoles. The fact is, a game that is built for both PC and console has to be done in such a way that it works well regardless of format and that is no small task! Final Fantasy XI has been done to be played on both the PC and the PlayStation 2 and quite honestly I always thought that the standard UI felt like a console game even when being played on PC.
I play PC because I don't like console, so this was a downfall for me and of the several reasons FFXI was cast aside for the next PC-based MMOG.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning - I haven't seen an announcement for cross platform here, but that certainly doesn't mean it can't (or won't) be done. Certainly the RvR format of the game would be well suited to an X-box 360, and I think if the market calls for it, WAR would translate well into console. Cross platforming IS the next gen of gaming, so I'd actually be surprised if they weren't already pondering it.
Age of Conan - Age of Conan will be produced on not only the PC but also the X-box 360! It's simply too soon to tell if it will be done successfully but this may very well appeal to a great many players. There are a lot of casual PC gamers who are much more into console and while they like the idea of PC gaming, the chore of keeping up your computer equipment is less appealing. These days nearly every household will have a console, however less will have a computer equipped for graphic intensive gaming. Expect to see many new MMOGs making the jump to cross platform in the future.
"M" For Mature
The biggest draw to EverQuest II is the more "mature" community.
Before everyone over at World of Warcraft starts throwing tomatoes at me, let me just say that I have been playing WoW lately and my opinion regarding community still stands. The average player in EQ2 feels more mature than the average WoW player. It's okay though, you all still have the insane subscription numbers and the right to shake your booty in the face of every other game on the market.
I don't know if the actual demographic of EQ2 is older, but I find a lot of comfort in participating in a community that just feels like you are hanging with a group of friends rather than playing "yo mama" with middle school kids. Although the unlimited Chuck Norris jokes in general channel on WoW tickled my 13 year old daughter to no end. Thumbs up there. *wink*
By the way, did you know that Chuck Norris is soo fast he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head? Yeah, I didn't either. Thank you Bloodhoof server for that gem!
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning - This game has been so tightly guarded during beta that it is hard to tell who exactly will be drawn to this sort of game. From what I've seen of it, it's an interesting combo between Dark Age of Camelot and Warcraft. Of course, when you look back at the old art for Warhammer, you can definitely see similarities between Warhammer and Warcraft so it would make sense that as such, they would appeal to the same player set.
The bottom line is, WAR is clearly looking to appeal to EVERY gamer, and this will no doubt include younger players. Good? Bad? Only time will tell.
Age of Conan - This game is seems to be looking to draw in the older demographic. First of all, the game is taking on an "M" rating so you won't see a whole lot of players under 18 (or at least any that will be admitting they are under 18). The art of the game is very dark and mysterious and downright scary in some areas, and likely less appealing to to those who are used to the bright, vibrant world of games like WoW or Lineage.
AoC also seems to be very geared towards roleplaying and utilizing the amazing story behind the books in such a way to pull players in and immerse them in the world in which they are playing. Admittedly, pulling together a good role playing game with excellent mechanics that work in a MMOG is difficult, but there is certainly potential for that here! Those who have been gaming for decades will appreciate this feel far more than the newer gen of gamers I think.
Back to Square One
I'm sure EverQuest II will lose it's fair share of players to other games. Competition is stiff these days and fans are fickle, but EQ2 has something for a lot of us that these other games do not, and it's no small thing to be forgotten...
For those who have sunk years into EQ2, walking away from a community, characters, guildmates, and friends is not easy. Norrath is like Cheers (ya know, that one sitcom that I won't EVER admit to have seen the originals when they aired?) where you can step into a familiar place and everyone knows your name and the barstool has perfect imprints of your butt built in. MMOGs are bred to play on one's feeling of attachment and I think EQ2 did that well.
So while everyone moves on to try out these new games, and no doubt I will give both games a spin myself to see how they fly, you won't be seeing my subscription lapsing because Norrath is still, very sappily, feels like home to me!
Agree with me? Disagree? Want to toss in your own 2 coppers on how EverQuest II will do in the face of competition? Please let us know on our forums! We'd love to hear what you think.
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