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EverQuest Next Aims to Evolve the MMO Genre

Sony Online Entertainment revealed on Friday the next chapter in the EverQuest saga which began in 1999: EverQuest Next. Like the original game introduced 14 years ago, this new installment will supposedly change the way gamers play together online. It's been in development since 2009, and promises a different experience than other MMOs using elements like permanent change, multi-classing and more.

"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."

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Emergent AI is one of the key features in SOE's third-generation EverQuest MMO. Decisions made by NPCs will be based on "core values" instead of static spawn points, meaning a group of Orcs will attack a player because they want his/her gold, not because the gamer wanders into a pre-defined attack radius. NPCs will have specific motivations and preferences that direct behavior in nuanced and unpredictable ways, the company explained.

Destructible environments is also another key feature. SOE claims that no modern MMO has successfully implemented this element across an entire seamless world. Every piece of the virtual realm is destructible, and players will have the ability to manipulate almost all of it. As an example, adventurers will be able to explore the deep bedrock underneath the surface by blasting a hole in the ground.

"Players will also have the ability to cause the world to change around them, permanently, in dramatic ways," the company said. "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."

Thus, EverQuest Next will be a constantly changing sandbox world. This allows SOE to free up the player from predetermined paths, allowing them to develop their character based on actions and consequences. The game will remember every choice and action that players make and will organically deliver increasing opportunities, the company said.

In an interesting twist, SOE has ripped out the typical character leveling. Instead players will have more than 40 classes (or professions) to explore at launch along with multi-tiered abilities and specialized weapon skills to collect and master. Characters will be truly customized thanks to the way players can mix and match abilities from each class. Guess that means no more DING!

In addition to the MMO, SOE is also introducing Everquest Next Landmark building tools. This will allow players to build structures and other content to be considered for inclusion in Everquest Next. Gamers are essentially building the virtual world along with SOE using many of the same tools used by the developer.

Landmark is slated to launch this winter as a "Free To Play Your Way" offering, and as the first step in a multi-phase release strategy. Currently no formal date has been set for the actual EverQuest Next MMO, so stay tuned.

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  • clonazepam
    Way too cartoony... They haven't showed any sort of UI that I've seen, either. You can explore the bedrock beneath you? Awesome! Hahaha, will I find secret warp levels? (kidding)

    Ok, well, I will be checking out whatever pops up on youtube, and keep an eye on it. I still play Everquest, and don't see anything replacing that, but we shall see.

    I think they should stay away from having Everquest anywhere in the title or subtitle of the game. There haven't been too many horror stories lately, but I still think that name evokes bad vibes from a lot of folks still - Neverquest, Evercrack, etc etc
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    Way too cartoony... They haven't showed any sort of UI that I've seen, either. You can explore the bedrock beneath you? Awesome! Hahaha, will I find secret warp levels? (kidding)

    Ok, well, I will be checking out whatever pops up on youtube, and keep an eye on it. I still play Everquest, and don't see anything replacing that, but we shall see.

    I think they should stay away from having Everquest anywhere in the title or subtitle of the game. There haven't been too many horror stories lately, but I still think that name evokes bad vibes from a lot of folks still - Neverquest, Evercrack, etc etc
    Reply
  • solomaniac85
    Like no other game has said/tried to do this.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    I'll give it a try only if its Action Based combat. I'm way too bored of target-cast based games/MMOs. I'll even say that most players will agree if they try action combat based games.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • clonazepam
    "I'll give it a try only if its Action Based combat. I'm way too bored of target-cast based games/MMOs. I'll even say that most players will agree if they try action combat based games."

    That's what they are saying Elder Scrolls Online will be like, mostly, while still being able to focus on a single target in a field of many clustered together. That's the one I'm most interested in seeing more of.
    Reply
  • alxianthelast
    It is good to see them trying to develop new ways to pull in MMO players.. but I'm not buying that you smash a hole in the ground and mr giganto boss is just stamping around in his full armour and best weapon waiting to die.

    Too japanese.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I highly doubt they can deliver. SOEs management has gone from bad to terrible, and the chances the marginal developers they keep on could pull this off are slim to none. SOE at a point had some of the most fantastic programmers that could probably pull that off. However, the shit management has no care for retention and they shed off those programmers who are now at Molten, Rockstar, Qualcomm, and Trion Worlds.
    Reply
  • Vorador2
    All of this sounds way too good. If they can deliver, this will be interesting...
    Reply
  • CZory91
    "Players will also have the ability to cause the world to change around them, permanently, in dramatic ways,"

    Why do so many MMOs try to promise this? Seriously, it's not happening the way you're trying to word it. I see this on every new MMO release and it's always ridiculously minor things or gimmicky zone phasing crap (phasing is ok, putting it as "changing the world" is not).
    Reply
  • CZory91
    "Players will also have the ability to cause the world to change around them, permanently, in dramatic ways,"

    Why do so many MMOs try to promise this? Seriously, it's not happening the way you're trying to word it. I see this on every new MMO release and it's always ridiculously minor things or gimmicky zone phasing crap (phasing is ok, putting it as "changing the world" is not).
    Reply