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EverQuest Next vs. Elder Scrolls Online

Posted Fri, Aug 02, 2013 by Dalmarus

EverQuest Next versus The Elder Scrolls Online

Up until recently, the Elder Scrolls Online has been the most anticipated MMORPG for pure fantasy fans. Previously expected to release later this year, the game launch has been pushed back after the recent announcement that it would be released on the Playstation 4 at the same time as PC. With that announcement, the hype train has slowed down. Today, Sony Online Entertainment officially announced their new baby, EverQuest Next. Now that the cat is out of the bag and the world is scrambling for all the information they can get on this new title, it’s time to see how these two heavyweights match up against one other.

To be sure, there are other titles releasing relatively soon, but EverQuest Next and Elder Scrolls Online are the two titles that will appeal to those looking for a new fantasy fix, since both are based in classic fantasy settings. EverQuest Next has a huge following of classic EverQuest players hoping to recapture the magic of the past with this new title and from everything I’ve seen so far, there’s a real possibility that can actually happen. At the same time, don’t be quick to dismiss the appeal of Elder Scrolls Online. This may be the first MMO coming from the company, but not only is it packed with a massive amount of industry veterans of the highest order, the franchise’s single player games have created an incredible following. Skyrim alone sold millions upon millions of copies just in the first two weeks of its release and virtually all of them asked for one thing – to make the game multiplayer and that’s essentially just what Elder Scrolls Online is. EverQuest Next will certainly have its work cut out for it.

EverQuest Next versus The Elder Scrolls Online

One important aspect of every game’s survival is the timing of its launch window. As BioWare learned with Star Wars: The Old Republic, releasing during the week of Christmas was not the best thing the company could have done. By the time release day came around, parent’s had already long previously purchased their children’s presents. In a similar vein, Elder Scrolls Online was the media’s baby for most of the summer, but once the game’s launch delay was announced, its hype-train has lost a lot of momentum. Compared to two months ago, ESO is practically sitting on the back burner for many gamers now. At the same time, the EverQuest Next train is taking full advantage of this lull and is now barreling down the track at full speed and looks to have no plans of stopping any time before launch.

In some ways, both games are very similar and will appeal to the same audience. Elder Scrolls Online has taken the path of the traditional fantasy MMORPG but has added a very engaging combat system, will reintroduce the gaming masses to public dungeons, and have created a sprawling world with a seemingly never ending amount or quests to complete and dungeons to explore.

EverQuest Next will engage the same audience in a similar manner in terms of fantasy content, but have chosen to go a different route and is attempting to rewrite the book on the genre in general. The entire way quests, classes, and exploration work have all been retooled from what players are used to. It sounds like a tall order, but that’s exactly what they did with the release of the first EverQuest so if any company can pull it off, it’s SOE.

So the big question at the end of the day is this – will they actually be competitors or will they appeal to two different players? On the surface, I think the easy answer is that they are in direct competition. Both are high fantasy games, both games are being built by developers that have a deep love of the EverQuest franchise, and both companies are creating an incredibly massive, living world for their players to discover and explore.

EverQuest Next versus The Elder Scrolls Online

I think the truth of the matter though is that both games are going to appeal most to two very different audiences and here’s why. Elder Scrolls Online has some different aspects from other fantasy MMORPGs we’ve seen in the past, but when everything is said and done, it is still a very traditional game. Players that have been involved with these type of games for quite some time already may give Elder Scrolls Online a chance, but will most likely not stick with (despite it being a very enjoyable game, in my opinion). The player base is extremely fickle and will most likely think of the game as more of the same.

That said though, I have no doubt Elder Scrolls Online will be a massive success because they’re going to do for the industry what World of Warcraft did when it released – they’re going to bring in a whole new group of console gamers that have never played an MMORPG on the PC. When I say the series has a massive following, it can’t be understated just how hugely successful the franchise has been. Allowing fans to essentially play Skyrim with a bunch of other players with all new quests and dungeons in an even bigger landscape will appeal to virtually all of their fans. And that numbers in the *millions*.

At the same time, I think EverQuest Next will appeal to not only the horde of EQ1 fans they have, but a lot of players currently disenfranchised with the way the game industry has pumped out games over the last 5 years or so. They’re looking for something different, for someone to rewrite the book as they know it and that’s exactly what EverQuest Next is going to do. It’s going to be the game parents who played EverQuest 14 years ago are going to sit down with their kids and play with them now. Those kids are going to convince their friends to play, and perhaps even get their own parents involved since the artwork is so distinctly “Pixar-like”.

To be sure, this will be a battle of the ages, but I for one can’t wait to see how things shake down. I’ve got great respect for both companies and the games they’ve created. I think I’ll be one of a relatively small group of gamers that plays and enjoys both, but you never know. Stay tuned to see what happens in the battle between these two behemoths!

Hate to say it, but others have noted that the Twitch.TV feeds were very telling. TESO maxed out at about 55,000 viewers while EQN peaked at about 13,000. If the enthusiasm at this point is any indication, TESO has the attention of far more players. Perhaps over time the tide will turn.

I am curious why the author asserts that EQ1 fans will gravitate towards EQN. I was a huge EQ player and have been playing it alot lately, but EQN has absolutely no resemblance to EQ. I don't see EQ players necessarily graduating to EQN, since it's almost an entirely different experience.

As far as whether they will go head to head, I don't think so. EQN won't arrive until next fall, at least, so TESO will have been out for a year. I fully expect that the novelty of TESO will have worn off by then, just as it did with GW2, so players will already be looking to play a new MMO. If EQN delivers on its promises, it may offer something so completely new and innovative that players park themselves there for a much longer period than they have with any other recent MMO such as GW2, TOR, and quite possibly TESO.

I'm sorry but saying EQN's twitch peaked at about 13,000 is a flat out lie. I was there the whole time and it peaked close to 38,000. Which is still not 55,000( if that's even the real number) but it's still pretty good for having shown no prior game play footage or any information at that.

"I am curious why the author asserts that EQ1 fans will gravitate towards EQN." - Farstrider

Because I think the lore and depth of the world will draw them in. There is a lot of information that came out of the SOE Live EQN panels that go into much more detail about different aspects of the game than the premier did (see them at our sister site, EQHammer.com).

EQN is certainly not EQ1 with a graphical upgrade and despite what some may feel, I think that's a good thing. We've played that game. I want a new game. I want changes to the genre. I think there's a lot of EQ spirit that will make it's return in EQN. There are a *lot* of developers that were intimately involved with EverQuest's creation making a return to their roots. That alone is enough to give me a certain level of faith in the direction EQN is going. ^_^

I'll just say that my interest in ESO went up quite a few notches after the reveal today. EQNext seemed way less sandbox than they led on, and while ESO is no sandbox either, it at least has a much more mature aura than I picked up from EQNext

Less sandbox? Be sure to check out the panel videos (I linked in a comment above).

I'm not sure why you feel this way (and I'm not trying to pick, just genuinely feel that I'm missing something here). Personally, I think it's looking like the ultimate sandbox since the only way for things to happen and you to progress your character is by going out into the world to play and explore. And content you find (including loot) may not be there later when someone else comes by.

I'm pretty stoked about what we've heard and seen so far. ^_^

Everquest Next is at best an incomplete concept.What we saw was a demo of some ideas and technical capabilities.That's it.
ESOL is clearly defined.It is actually a game in need of substantial work to finish it.

That's because the Elder Scrolls was originally slated to be released less than 3 months from now, so of course it's much farther in its development than EverQuest Next is. This is how all games progress from ideas to fruition.

The EQNext reveal today actually dashed a few of my hopes for the game. While the ideas and concepts (4 grails) were interesting, zones with their lighting and shading were gorgeous, I just had a hard time dealing with the character models (specifically the lion king). I know it's too early to really know what's coming but first impression oozed a hybrid between Disney and WoW art. ESO, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous from a visual standpoint. I was really expecting to see EQNext's graphics to be somewhat comparable but they simply weren't.

First impressions are huge but nothing is set in stone at this point. I think both of these games will be powerhouses in their own rite. I'm a huge fan of both Skyrim and EQ but these two games are going to be totally different in my opinion. ESO will mimic the usual MMO of today with beautiful graphics and a unique combat system. EQNext "appears" to be somewhat of a "sandbox" but there wasn't enough information shared at the reveal to know for sure.

Even though I love Skyrim, it's the same thing I've played for the past 14 years now (beta confirms this). EQNext probably won't be much different but I have more years invested in Norrath so I'm willing to give it more of a chance simply because of the lore. I haven't heard enough about the story line to sway my vote one way or the other. We will just have to see what the future holds for these games... I'm sure they both will do extremely well.

I had the opposite reaction to the art style.

EQ2 had bland art design. Good 3D modeling but no flavor.

EQNext's models have a lot of flavor to them, and the lion specifically is drawing me in making me want to get in there and play the thing. Distinctive, stylized art that is not anime - that's a BIG draw for me.

I have no doubt TESO will sell a lot of copies at launch, but since it's more of the same people are going to get just as bored with it as they did with SWTOR.

EQNext on the other hand looks extremely interesting, a voxel based world with seemingly intelligent monsters and player created content is honestly the minecraft MMO everyone has been craving since Terraria showed us action RPG mixes really well with a minecraft styled world.

The open class system is just brilliant and a nice change as well, but to be fair, a thing like economics and how crafting/resources play into the game will have a huge influence on how good of a sandbox it becomes. They sort of skipped out on that completely.

Overall EQNext has the potential to do things only Eve-online has been successful of for years while TESO will just be yet another boring themepark. But it depends entirely on how SOE actually pulls of the game, if they put a themepark in a sandbox world it'll not be very interesting.

As BioWare learned with Star Wars: The Old Republic, releasing during the week of Christmas was not the best thing the company could have done.

Not being a ass but your clueless if you think that had anything to do with the Star Wars failure.

SW:TOR had the potential to be so great but a combination of multiple things lead to it's downfall. A few that irked me consisted of no group finding tools, totally unbalanced PVP (Sith sorcerer ftw!), little endgame content, and sorry space missions (this could have been phenomenal, x-wing vs tie-fighter anyone?). Their timing of release may not have lead directly to their demise but it sure didn't help them either.

"Not being a ass but your clueless if you think that had anything to do with the Star Wars failure."

Of course, because I was only there in the room as the impact of those sales were discussed...

I see what you're getting at - it was not a direct cause, but it *did* have an impact.

EQnext is panning out to be another twitch combat game like GW2 and TSW and that will not bode well to old school EQ players. 4 combat skills your stuck with and 4 you can mix and match, actually in that sense it will be less customizable then TSW, and equally as boring as GW2 combat.

Now there are some very cool features EQnext will present that will set them apart, I just don't know if it will be enough to offset the terrible class system they have decided on. They have shunned their bread and butter players in hopes of grabbing new blood.

ESOL on the other hand has a much more customizable class system but still has chosen the minimal UI format.

Longevity in an MMO comes from character customization, a large array of choices, and the need for all types in a community. Most new MMOs focus on one aspect ( lately it has been dumbed down action combat ) forgetting to make roles important and leaving crafters all but useless. All these games have been release thunder, 4 month dead zones. So boring you would rather get a root canal, then log in, so they have to go free to play just to keep people.

I think both games will be release thunder, but EQnext has the most potential for longevity, though I think the door is open for an old style, tons of skills on your hot bar game, like WoW and EQ2 had, to steal the show. Someone just has to have the balls to make a skill based game as opposed to a ridged class based game, and use armor types to control spell and ability failure.

8 abilities is just too limiting, where as 30 abilities is a lot to manage how about 12 abilities EQnext, that would be a happy medium, and bring back taunts and healing, at least to the point where they can be viable play styles.

I'm interested about the combat system in terms of taunting, crowd control, etc as well.

Since the game will have 40 classes though (I'm still wrapping my head around that one) and players will be able to mix and match abilities from multiple classes, I think that the combat system will won't be as boring as the combat choices in GW2 were. I love the team there, but I will freely admit I was not a fan of only have a few weapon choices per class. So hopefully the ability to pick and choose from so many combination choices will alleviate the issues GW2 had in that regard.

Originally, for Guild Wars 2, every weapon could be used by every class.
I was very disappointed that they removed that feature.
Very excited for EverQuest 2's very dynamic world, with destructible environments, and player-built content.
With that many people developing content, there's a very good chance much of the world will never be repeated/recycled.

March 19, 2014 -- I played TESO beta for most of the beta time period. And though I did have fun TESO didn't end up being as appealing as I'd hoped. EverQuest Next -- the Landmark Alpha has been very interesting and reveals a real change of direction for MMO development (though not 100% unique pretty darn close).

I'm a HUGE TES fan -- Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim. Lore nerd. That's really the only reason I wanted to try TESO. I'm a single-player gamer for the most part and totally disinterested in most MMO models. The RPG elements just pale typically.

I'm not a huge EQ fan. I tinkered with it back in the day. It's cool, fun. Not nearly as familiar with the lore.

At this point I'd say TESO hasn't kept my attention -- or my friend's attention. Some of them I got extra keys for during TESO beta. We did give it a shot -- and I've written lots of game design analysis about it elsewhere.

EQN does have my attention. I've totally switched gears, dumped money into Alpha access for Landmark, etc. I'm really looking forward to watching EQN develop. Also, their more open development process is really the only way to do business in the game industry now. The ivory tower technique of releasing after completion is a dead methodology.

So -- my sense is that for older gamers looking for something interesting and not just some marketing ploy is EQN. TESO will go the way of SWTOR. I'm really sad to say this.

TES VI, single-player -- I'll buy full price without question though.

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