I’ve been known to dabble in the MMO space. World of Warcraft, DC Universe Online, and even some City of Heroes have sucked me in a great deal, but I never would call myself a huge fan of the genre. Even having played my way to level 90 in WoW and gotten into a little raiding, I am not what most players would call “hardcore.” However, a new is game on the relatively distant horizon that just might be the one to suck me – and plenty of you – in.
The game, called Everquest Next, looks to be everything players could want from an MMO. Whether you are old school veteran of the genre, going all the way to back to the original Everquest, or a new fan who just wants to dip their toe in and see what it’s all about, EQN might just be the perfect game for you. I am just as shocked as you that Everquest is the franchise that might bring me back, but when you see these four reasons why I am so excited, you will be eagerly anticipating its release as well.
Massively multiplay Online Role Playing Games (or MMORPGs) general feature a very static world. After all, thousands of other players need to be able to do the same quest you just did. They need to be able to explore the same environment as you, and so on. So when Sony Online Entertainment announced that EQN will feature destructible environments, needless to say, this caught the attention of the gaming world.
In the early demo shown off, you can actually see walls being knocked over, which is pretty sweet. Generally, this kind of thing is seen in shooters, as the map reloads and starts fresh in each new round. In an MMO, making this work is quite a bit more challenging, and if nothing else, I am very intrigued to see how it all comes together when the game finally hits.
Changing World Based On Player Actions
Since it’s still very early in the development process for Everquest Next, some of the things they talk about are a little vague. This is one of those. Here is what the website says:
The land of Norrath changes every day, based on the actions of all players… including you. Cities rise and fall, kings live and die, even the gods may change. You won’t want to miss a moment of it!
Your choices will rule your destiny. Do you save a villager’s burning farm or choose to do nothing? Do you clear orc camps away from Qeynos or help them destroy the city? You will make your own story — and shape the world for those who follow you.
Based on that, I am forced to extrapolate some key things. First, the changes they mention in the first paragraph indicate some kind of epic world events, where large-scale battles will change the game world. Other MMOs have this, but the changes are generally very small. If Next actually changes kings and gods it seems that could change entire quests, which would be very interesting.
Now, they also mention your choices changing the world for those who follow you. Those last few words are key. I take this as small players choices will not change the world at large, as that would be impossible with thousands of other players doing the same things. Instead, it will change for your friends, and presumably, your world will change with their actions. Time will tell how this plays out, but that’s how I see it going down. Either way, it sounds awesome, so sign me up!
Landmark (User Created Content)
Another really interesting feature of Everquest Next is ability to own and create property in the game. Generally in an MMO, your character rests at an inn of some sort, which is just a part of the standard game world like anything else. In Next though, things will be different with the team releasing a set of tools that will allow the players to craft buildings that others will see in the world.
This will actually function as a separate sandbox game, so in a lot of ways, it will probably feel like Minecraft, except the content created can feed into Next, instead of the content creation being the main focus of the game. Additionally, skilled creators can actually earn money selling their goods to other players, and who doesn’t love making some cash?
Mixed Character Classes
In an MMORPG, there are usually a number of different character classes, but generally, they all fall into one part of the trinity – healer, DPS, and tank. With Next, this looks like it’s going away with mixed character classes. SOE describes this change briefly:
Our character classes are streamlined and designed to be mixed. Want to be a teleporting rogue or a backstabbing barbarian? The choice is yours!
This sounds like you will still pick from a set of classes, but the skills you take as you level will come in a broader range of choices than normal. This could be very interesting, and it could certainly open up plenty of new options in the game.
On top of all this, Everquest Next is going to be free-to-play. As long as Sony comes up with a monetization system that is not intrusive to players who don’t want to spend anything, this could be really awesome. Keep your ears open for new developments on this game, as we still don’t even know a final release date.
Are you going to play Everquest Next when it comes out, likely sometime in 2014? Do you think it’s just going to be another boring MMO? Hit the comments section below and let us know!