SOE pulls back the curtain for EverQuest Next

SOE today formally announced and revealed EverQuest Next, the forthcoming re-imagining of one of the grand-daddies of modern MMOs, the 14-year old EverQuest.

Part of what SOE is hoping will help vault EQN ahead of its peers is player-created content.

“Today, many MMOs fail because players consume content faster than developers can create it. With EverQuest Next, we’re creating a living world that players are part of and empowering them to produce new content alongside the development team.”
John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment

EverQuest Next has been in development since 2009, but almost 2 years ago SOE sent it back to the drawing board and rebuild it from the ground up.

The original, harsh, and painful world of Everquest—a game launched when in-game death was actually a painful experience and meant you could lose all your cool stuff—will be re-imagined and re-invented. Two of the more interesting changes:

There won’t be levels

There are no levels in EQN, but there will be more than 40 distinct classes (or professions) at launch, with multi-tiered abilities and specialized weapon skills. Basically, the EQN class system will be more akin to the system used in Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World. You’ll be able to effectively “collect”, mix, and match whatever skills you want from any class.

You can blow stuff up—almost all of it—real good.  

EQN implements destructible environments that stretch across the game world.  Every piece of the world is fully destructible and you will be able to manipulate, blast, or break most of it in some fashion. “The EQN world will extend far into the heavens and deep into the procedurallygenerated earth through 10,000 years of known lore and history” according to the SOE press release.

The world changes—permanently.

Sure, you just cleared out a bandit camp and saved the village, but we all know those bandits will respawn and plague the village again—in about 3.5 minutes—so the next schlub that wanders over the hill can save the village too.

But EQN promises that you will be able to affect the world in permanent ways—although you may need some help doing it. “Through the concerted effort of the world’s inhabitants, including players, creatures, and non-player characters (NPCs), city walls will be built and destroyed, largescale wars will be fought and won, and epic stories will unfold over months and years. “

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Unpredictability (Emergent AI)

NPCs will act with their own motivations and they can behave in unpredictable ways. NPC’s actions are directed by their motivations, not be pre-determined spawn points, aggro-radii, etc. For example, Orcs might spontaneously attack you to loot your stuff, not because you stumbled into their aggro radius.

Unique character stories

EQN promises that each character will have their own story in a sandbox-styled world. More interestingly, the game will remember your choices and actions, and respond accordingly.

Landmark event begins this Winter—sort of

This winter, SOE will introduce EverQuest Next Landmark. Landmark will “give you the tools to create the fully destructible world of EQN with all of the social functionality expected from a modern MMO.” (Think of it as a sort of EverQuest Minecraft.)

Landmark features persistent worlds, each capable of supporting thousands of players. More importantly, you can build structures and (eventually) create other types of content to be considered for inclusion in EQN.

Landmark will enable you to:

  • Build cool, detailed structures with intuitive tools.
  • Work with friends and collaborate on more complex projects.
  • Control specific areas of the game world.

Landmark will also give you a window into helping to create the world of EQN. Developers will gradually release more tools to the community, and even provide guidance on the type of content they need. It will be your chance to contribute something lasting and unique to EQN.

Landmark will launch this winter as a free-to-play and the first part of what will become a multi-phased release strategy (i.e. you’re a beta tester of sorts). Landmark will serve as the gateway to EQN and as the collaborative building hub where SOE will guide the development of selected structures and environments for inclusion in EQN.

No formal date is set for the launch of EQN. Additional information, assets and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at the Everquest Next home page.

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