EverQuest Next is a Different Kind of MMO

by on August 3, 2013

The original EverQuest was released back in 1999 and today, Sony Online Entertainment revealed that the series will continue with the just announced EverQuest Next.

President of SOE John Smedley, was notably excited about the announcement:

“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. 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 began development in 2009, but was gutted in 2011 and the team started over due to decisions that lead the studio to rethink how MMOs were done. The game will take much of the original ideas, characters and lore of EverQuest and reimagine them in what has been called a, “boldly different game”, by Director of Development Dave Georgeson.

SOE are calling this a very different Massively Multiplayer Online title and for good reason. You can check out the full breakdown of what Sony Online Entertainment have planned for players, below:

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 (NPCs), 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.

On top of all that, SOE is intending on making players assume a very important role in the EQN community with EverQuest Next Landmark. Come Winter of this year, EverQuest players will be able to create the world in EQN with building tools in Landmark. In almost Minecraft fashion, large persistent worlds will host user created content in the form of buildings that will be constructed using tools that will – in time – be the exact same tools used by Sony Online Entertainment to create EQN’s game world.

While there has been no release date announced, the game will be free-to-play on PC. With Sony’s apparent push to get some F2P games on PlayStation 4, there may be a chance this could come to the next-generation console, too.

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