Attendees to this year's SOE Live, Sony Online Entertainment's annual convention for their games and community, now know what we have to look forward to for the duration of the event. This is also helpful for those who will not be there in person, but want to keep up on news or watch streams. Thursday is mostly the “getting into town” day, but there are a couple of events in the evening for people who do show up on the first day.
Friday is when it really begins. Even with a packed schedule throughout the day, chances are the one event attendees, Norrath lore nuts and the SOE community at large will be eager to hear will be the EverQuest Next keynote slated for Friday morning at 10am. While Landmark has certainly come a long way and players have worked with SOE devs to put in massive amounts of improvements to the systems that EverQuest Next will be built upon, we haven't heard EverQuest Next-specific news since last year's SOE Live. Thinking about it makes me a bit giddy.
The Landmark and H1Z1 keynotes are on Friday, as well. Because of the hyper-transparency we've seen with Landmark, developer interaction with the community, and the roadmap, players know what's going on with Landmark. However, this doesn't mean that SOE won't have something up their sleeve. H1Z1, while it's slightly ahead EverQuest Next in the development process, has been announced fairly recently. It's sort of the baby to the SOE family and the first zombie survival game with a big studio's budget behind it. I'm very interested in watching it grow and develop. Friday night ends with a Zombie Prom Party.
Saturday continues with round tables and panels, where you can learn more about your favorite games, and in some situations, have an intimate experience with your favorite developers. If you can call yourself stuffed into a room with a hundred or so other people intimate. The EverQuest II Live Quest is on Saturday, and even if you're not into EQII, I highly recommend attending. It's exactly as it sound: you interact with people who are playing NPCs (Brasse is always a fun part) and run around a part of the convention center trying to put together the clues to solve your quest. I also highly recommend the Art of EverQuest panel, regardless of what you think about 15-year-old MMO, the artists who work on the concept art always put together fantastic presentations.
The EverQuest Next Classes and Combat panel is also on Saturday, which will be another presentation that many eyes will be watching. In theory, the multiclassing sounds like a really interactive way to create a highly customized character, but getting the chance to see how it works out will be even better (or, ya know, maybe even experience it). The same goes for combat. We know that what will first be added into Landmark and then eventually Next has gone through several iterations. It's highly possible that what we see in August won't even be the finalized version of the combat system, but it'll be great to see what they've got in store for us.
Sunday is a far lighter day, but we do have a panel on EverQuest Next content, which will focus on SOE's collaboration with Storybricks and emergent AI. The day starts off with Brunch with the Dev Team, which always has limited spaces, but always a great opportunity if you can manage to grab a pass. H1Z1 also has an art panel on Sunday, which is surely to be just as great as EverQuest's, but with far less dragons. I hope so, at least. Zombie dragons doesn't sound like something I want to stumble across in a dark alley at night. DCUO has a pretty busy schedule with three panels in total on Sunday and Planetside 2 gives an inside look on the Level team and base creation.
Are you going to SOE Live this year? Are you staying at home, but watching with anticipation? What are the games you're looking forward to learning more about? To see the full schedule, broken down by day and hour, visit the SOE Live site.