EverQuest Next: The Need for Kill-on-Sight Factions

Updated Thu, Jun 20, 2013 by Dalmarus

I’ve been an MMO player since the launch of EverQuest’s first expansion, The Ruins of Kunark, released in early 2000. Since 2005 I’ve been involved in the game industry, whether on the press side of the fence, or from inside game companies themselves. One of the most perplexing things I’ve witnessed in that time is the disappearance of KOS (kill-on-sight) factions, and it’s high time they made their return. I’m hoping EverQuest Next will be the game that does it.


So what exactly do I mean by KOS factions? In today’s games, when you try to approach a guard post or enter a town belonging to a faction that doesn’t like whichever faction you happen to be a part of, you’re either magically blocked from entering, or ignored completely. Even those games that do have KOS factions really have no reason to do so. For example, sure, my human Paladin would be set upon if he tried to enter Orgrimmar, but this is a failure for two reasons.

First, there’s absolutely no reason I would ever need to go there. I have no need to enter for any quest, there isn’t any vendor there with a spell I can’t get elsewhere, nor is the town blocking any shortcut to a desired hunting ground. Because of this, the concept of making any faction’s guards attack players is pointless at best and a slap in the face at worst.

Second, and more important in my opinion, there is no system in place to allow you to earn your way via friendly status. Now before you get your knickers in a tizzy, I don’t mean some system where I only need to kill 50 humans to gain access to the deepest secrets of Orgrimmar; I’m referring to a long and grueling method of gaining favor, whether that means having to kill tens of thousands of certain mobs or a new system equally as difficult but less mind numbing.

Why would anyone want to do such a thing? For bragging rights, of course. In the early days of EverQuest, everything took time and there were numerous ways to earn bragging rights without having to say a word. Were you a Dark Elf Necromancer with a duck staff? Sure everyone may have laughed at the way the staff looked, but they weren’t laughing at the Necromancer because it was instantly clear just how much time and effort he put into getting that weapon. Maybe you were a High Elf that could waltz right into the heart of the Iksar city, Cabalis. Not only would such a sight cause instant shock and awe in any witness, it was clear you had spent a completely incomprehensible amount of time killing more Sarnaks (or other mob that granted favorable faction with the Iksar) than anyone would think possible.

EverQuest dark elf

It ain't easy being blue.

Finally, there’s also the matter of genuinely needing to get in and out of cities. Freeport was a hub of activity, quests, merchants, and more. Numerous races were unable to enter the city without having to work for it. Those who couldn’t enter through the front gate either snuck their way through the sewers or asked an Enchanter, Magician, Wizard, or Shaman to cast Invisibility to grant temporary invisibility. As a side note, even then, the spell duration was always unpredictable at best, so there was always a certain level of panic waiting to boil up from the pit of your stomach.

At the end of the day, it’s that tiny spark of panic that I think I miss the most. Whether you snuck in somewhere you shouldn’t be by timing the movements of the guards, were aided by a spell, or attempted the brute force method, it was exciting to explore places you knew you were unwanted. Having a system like this would never entice players to push the boundaries on their own though – for it to really work, players need a reason to go anywhere gaining entrance to would prove incredibly difficult. So how do you pull something like that off? It all goes back to making game mechanics interlock and support each other. You see, back in the day, we didn’t instantly have access to all our new abilities when we reached X level. We also didn’t have the luxury of getting them all from a single trainer. Spells and abilities were scattered across the continents, and some of the most highly sought-after could only be gained by traveling to the middle of a dungeon and buying them from the merchant there, or created through the Research skill. But as you’ve probably already guessed, that’s an entirely new topic we’ll talk about next week!

While you wait for next week’s piece, catch up on any previous EverQuest Next articles you may have missed! If you’ve got questions, old-school aspects you’d like me to cover, or anything in between, shoot me an email or hit me up on Twitter!

Even more so on the team pvp servers... killing enemy players guaranteed you would always be KOS to their cities' factions. When Kunark released I spent ridiculous amounts of time trying to build my shaman's faction with the Iksar, but ran into a hard limit on the faction my Zek worshipping Ogre could gain with the Thule worshipping Greenmist Knights.

But that was okay... it made sense with the lore, and meant I would always be a barely tolerated outsider in the Iksar city.

It made for some real 'white-knuckle' merchant runs. I don't remember whether I was ever able to get close enough to use the bank...

The Frost Giants of Velious on the other hand... were my homeys.

I felt obliged to make an account so I could thank you for these wonderful articles. I was an avid Everquest player up to the first expac (had to make the decision to focus on real life priorities, such as uni, etc) and like many others, have since played other MMOs. *Nothing* has ever come close to that EQ experience, arguably the closest thing these days is P1999 and even then it's not the same.

I could read articles and comments about old school Everquest all day long. August won't come soon enough and I simple wish for EQN to be remotely similar to EQ1. Another regret of mine was never playing Everquest Online Adventures, for I hear it was great.

Thanks, Cyph (and everyone else that comments!). I know creating a new account for yet another site can be a pain, but thanks for taking the time to do so. It's greatly appreciated because I love hearing from everyone, even those that don't like what I write. I'm glad you're enjoying this series of articles. ^_^

Hah, yeah, between work and online communities, I have more accounts and passwords than I can remember. But in all seriousness, I love these articles. They return me to those exciting days of trying something 'new' and 'revolutionary', we could argue that everything since has simply been a rehash with minor changes. I know elsewhere on the net there is a lot of hate all things SoE but I simply ignore all that, EQ was never meant to be a mass appeal game and I'm happy with it being somewhat niche. There are plenty of other games to fill the MMO itch, and thus, I hope SoE make EQN to be a lot like EQ1 :)

Keep up these articles, I could read them all day, over and over and over :)

Minor detail, necromancer gather shadows spell is self only :)

Here is to $oE remembering some of the early eq fun in EQNext.

OMG you are absolutely correct. Needless to say, it's been quite a few years since playing, haha. Article corrected! Thanks for pointing that out!

This is not a KOS moment but close. How many of you have been destroyed by your Class trainer with the old chat isnt open hitting A key trick lol? Had some funny moments

Wow... talk about a key remapping that needed to be done immediately. Without fail, every time I left the game for any period and came back, I would always die at least once because of that "a" key. :P

Hahaha! I'd forgotten all about this. I did it many times. Start typing before you realize you never entered chat, and then BAM! Dead.

I could never go back to playing it, but I do miss the good times. Here's to EQ Next!

Thanks for the articles about EQ, Norath is one of my all time Favorite places after Thailand, lol.

I completely agree with you. This is just one of the many things that made the original EQ so fascinating to play. Along with the early days that we had the comradeship with other players, and the buying and selling in the tunnel. I enjoyed reading your article, and I sure hope they read it at Sony and are listening.

I hope so too. I really have a sense of excitement that I haven't experienced since the really days of EverQuest. The way I see it SoE has two choices;
a) make a MMO that is like all the others out there, it will bring in big numbers initially and then it will dramatically die down
b) make an MMO that the EverQuest fans want, sure it won't have the initial high numbers that other big league MMOs have (though I challenge this notion from what I'm reading; seems like a lot of people want something 'different', aka, old school) but it will have a solid and consistent subscriber base and will last for many many years.

John Smedley answered my tweet concerning factions.
You can read it at this link. Very good news.

I think a KoS system should be in every online game. I mean honestly, there are reasons why opposing factions hate each other in games (lore anyone?) and in real life. It's really no different. One thing that always had me coming back to EQ (and EQ2) was basically the lore. Sooooo.... if you were a Dark Elf and you tried to waltz into Felwithe with your necromantic tendencies, I think you might be unwelcome to say the least. If you really, REALLY wanted to enter Felwithe there should be a way in-game to allow something like this regardless of how absurd it may be. Bragging rights, quest lines which offer rewards with greater stats, etc when they fall into the wrong hands (good vs. evil) or maybe you even want to repent of you sins and be welcomed back "home".

I think there should still be levels of KoS like it used to be. I think how close you get to the opposing faction dictates when they finally had enough of you and start chasing you down. I definitely don't want to see something like DayZ where you are chased across the continent. However, there should be a genuine fear of dying if you start poking your nose into areas it doesn't belong.

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