Before World of Warcraft hit the scene, arguably biggest name in MMO gaming was EverQuest. EQ was one of the first fully 3D MMOs which allowed for up to thousands of players to be in-game at the same time. Since it’s release in 1999, there have been 19 expansions released for EverQuest, with the newest one slated for September 2013, showing that even with WOW there is still, however small, a dedicated EQ fan base.
Hoping to reignite the EQ flame, Sony Online Entertainment has announced the release of EverQuest Next, a sequel to EverQuest. A SOE representative had this to say about the upcoming release:
“With EverQuest Next, we’re going back to our roots – a space we defined with the EverQuest legacy – and ushering in a new era of MMOs: The Emergent Era,” said John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment. “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. What does the future hold for EverQuest Next and Sony Online Entertainment? It’s in the players’ hands, and we like it that way.”
“EverQuest Next is not the continuation of a familiar story. It represents the fundamental reimagining of the characters, lore and environments of the EverQuest universe,” said Director of Development for the EverQuest Franchise, Dave Georgeson. “Make no mistake; while great care has been taken to respect the extraordinary influence that EverQuest has had in this industry and with our player community over the years, this is a boldly different game unlike anything that has come before.”
A heavy focus for EverQeust Next has been placed on bringing something new to the table that as yet to be seen in MMORPGs. Here are some of the released features of EQN:
• Multi-Classing – EQN will offer players the ability to explore and interact with the world according to their individual style of play. 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 to collect and master. Players will even mix and match abilities from each class, creating truly custom characters that feel distinct and powerful.
• Destructible Environments – No modern MMO has successfully implemented destructible environments that stretch across an entire seamless game world – this changes forever with EQN. Every piece of the world is fully destructible and players will have the ability to manipulate almost all of it. They will interact with and explore the world in amazing ways; venturing down into the deep bedrock beneath the surface and using powerful combat abilities to blow gaping holes into the ground. The EQN world will extend far into the heavens and deep into the procedurally-generated earth through 10,000 years of known lore and history.
• Permanent Change – Players will also have the ability to cause the world to change around them, permanently, in dramatic ways. Through the concerted effort of the world’s inhabitants, including players, creatures, and non-player characters, city walls will be built and destroyed, large-scale wars will be fought and won, and epic stories will unfold over months and years.
• Emergent AI – In EQN, NPCs will have specific motivations and preferences that direct behavior in nuanced and unpredictable ways. Players will find themselves in a world where NPC decisions are based on core values, not dictated by static spawn points. For example, Orcs may attack opportunistically because they want an adventurer’s gold, not simply because a careless hero wanders into an attack radius.
• A Life of Consequence – Finally, each character in EQN will have a unique story; they will not follow a predetermined path. Instead, they will seek out adventure, fame and fortune in a constantly changing sandbox world. The game will remember every choice and action that players make and will organically deliver increasing opportunities to do more of the things players like to do … from crafting armor and exploring the wilderness to purging goblins from the forests.
Along with EverQuest Next, the release of EverQuest Next Landmark has been announced, which will give players access to the same level development and design tools that the Sony Entertainment Developers use to create new and innovative environments, structures and quests.
Here are some released highlights of Landmark:
Create Amazing Things
• Build highly detailed structures with powerful and intuitive tools.
• Quickly design complex projects or collaborate with friends to undertake massive shared builds.
• Lay claim to and control specific areas of huge persistent worlds.
Share Your Imagination with Friends
• Landmark’s persistent servers will enable players to interact with and experience the collective imagination of thousands of players in a unique shared world.
• Players will have compelling reasons to explore and interact with others. They will congregate at crafting hubs, build design templates to share and trade, and journey across the world to collect the resources required to build and craft.
Build EQN with SOE – Using the Same Tools
• Landmark players will gain increasing access to many of the same tools that SOE is using to construct the game world of EQN.
• Not only will Landmark give players access to these world building tools, SOE will provide specific guidance on what we want help building.
• Through this collaborative approach, EQN may eventually represent the largest overall collaborative development effort in the history of online games. For anyone who has ever thought about becoming a game developer, here is your chance. Together we will build extraordinary things!
Landmark is set to release this winter and is free to play as part of the EQN multiphase release strategy.