EverQuest Next is slated to be revealed to the public on August 2nd at Sony’s summit for EverQuest fans, SOE Live 2013. As a former EverQuest Live and EverQuest II player, I have many EverQuest Next expectations.
Much like the way the world of Norrath changed a bit from the first EverQuest (EQ) to EverQuest II (EQ II) expect to that in EverQuest Next (EQNext), we’ll see Norrath as a fragment of its former self. Continents may be destroyed, or modified, but there’s an expectation of a world that is different, yet oddly familiar. I thought this was something that Sony pulled off very well from the transition from EQ to EQ II.
There have been little hints dropped by Sony developers that they’re looking to make EQNext as a true sandbox style MMO. That is a living, breathing world that you truly can do anything that you want in. In most modern MMORPG’s, you have the basic tools to be able to interact with the world around you, but the world doesn’t react back with you. As an example, if I accept a quest to stop an goblin raiding party from sacking the city, as soon as I kill ten goblins as part of my quest, I’m done. What EQNext is intending to do is to have players agree to defend the city, and once you kill enough goblins, the goblins realize the city is protected and they storm off looking to go sack some other city. Players have in this way, modified the world as a result of their actions.
Additionally, I’m expecting a return to gameplay more akin to EQ than EQ II. Anyone who’s played both quite extensively can tell you that in EQ you paid dearly for mistakes. Death penalties and the possibility of corpse rot were enough of a deterrent in EQ to make players learn how to play their classes better. Because of these challenges, victories in EQ felt sweeter, and in turn people grew to love the game more as they developed a deeper emotional attachment to their characters. That sense of identity with a person’s character, diminished a bit in EQ II as there is no corpse runs on death, or lost levels from dying.
Finally, I’m expecting EQNext to be using the Free to Play model. It’s been said many times by folks over at Sony, that they feel that the Free to Play (F2P) model for online gaming works best. If we use the examples given to us by EQ and EQ II, I’m expecting that the store will be extremely robust, with hundreds, if not thousands of offerings for players to spend their money on. I think EQNext will take this idea an additional step forward, and give players the ability to create and sell their own items in the cash shop. This seems like the next evolution in F2P gaming, which would give players a way to imprint their own style on the world, while adding items to Sony’s cash shop. Sounds like a win-win scenario.
There are many other possibilities for EQNext, and I would love to hear some of your EQNext thoughts. Feel free to comment on this blog post.