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Everquest Next: The Future MMO Standard

Updated Tue, Oct 15, 2013 by Xerin

For many years we’ve all compared each and every new MMO to World of Warcraft in some capacity or another. Realistically, you couldn’t make an MMO without comparing it to WoW, until recently of course. Guild Wars 2 started the trend of reinventing the wheel, so to speak, and Everquest Next is driving the point home. EQN contains a voxel based world that you can manipulate, an interesting method of character advancement, and a whole host of features that I dare say, makes it unique.

I might even dare to say that it’s the future template on which all new MMOs will be compared to, the new yardstick so to speak. How, you say, before it’s even released is this possible? Because the trend has already started. My first exhibit is Neo’s Land. Sadly, no the game isn’t based off of Neo from The Matrix which would make a far more interesting article (the return of The Matrix Online would be very interesting). Instead it’s a game that attempted to reach a small funding goal and failed, but the idea for the game itself is oddly EQN-like.

Neo's Land

While not a bad thing, Neo's Land has a lot of similarties with EQN

The game features a classless system and we could honestly say that classless was sort of an Ultima Online thing, but it goes further with full terrain editing, a similar housing system, and just an overall host of other features when added together sort of spells out EQN. That’s not a bad thing, oh no (although the game itself didn’t look all that interesting). It’s just a proof of concept that the future of MMOs may just very well be EQN.

I bring this up because we’ve all lived under the shadow of WoW for so long now. WoW this, WoW that, omg your game has quests why are you ripping off WoW? It’s a certain thick set of stigma that has actually made the MMO market a bit hard for indie developers to work in just because the trolls roll in and tear games apart. Of course, there is always my favorite Derek Smart analogy to Alganon which was before he took over essentially WoW…

EQN

Not going to lie, EQN is looking pretty good at this point.

I digress, let me bring us back to the point that WoW was originally earmarked as an EQ clone back when EQ cloning was the thing (DAoC et al were all considered EQ clones). This went on for the longest time until WoW changed up the formula a bit. Before games were hard grinds from level 1 to the max level and endgame content was mostly socializing, dueling, RvR (in DAoC), and raiding (which was sometimes an entire server endeavor). WoW made the genre solo friendly, added in questing as a viable means of advancement, and took some good ideas from a lot of the popular MMOs at the time. It became huge and as such became the new de facto standard to compare things to.

Skip to now, WoW is in a slow decline. Everyone who has played it has done pretty much everything there is to do. Expansions are not innovating enough, Cataclysm brought about a large bleed that hasn’t been stopped, and the genre is stagnating. Games like GW2 arrived and changed the pitch, but WoW is still the giant in the industry. However, with EQN will it overtake? Will it become the new standard by which we compare all future MMOs to?

I think so and as I previously said, there are games being promoted that already contain the ideas entwined into EQN. It won’t be long until voxel based MMOs are a standard, increasing the richness and immersion of game worlds. Until then though, all of this is purely conjecture.

What do you think? Do you think EQN will be the next superstar or will WoW forever be the thing we compare MMOs to? Comment below.

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