Will EverQuest Next Do Away With Leveling?

everquest-characterA couple more of weeks of waiting and we will get to see how EverQuest Next plans to revolutionize the mmorpg genre when Sony Online Entertainment officially unveils the game during SOE Live 2013.

But before that, there’s already speculation that one of its groundbreaking innovations will be to do away with leveling completely. Those who choose to believe this point to the promise of EverQuest Next developers that the game will be the biggest sandbox game ever. Leveling is a pretty much a gaming system that encourages linear progression — zones, armor, skills and a lot of other things depend on the level of character. If EverQuest Next does away with leveling completely, then it also frees up gamers from the mentality of racing to the endgame.

Still, removing leveling is much easier said than done. Some advocates of leveling believe that it is a great feature that gives you incremental goals during each play session, like hitting level 10 before going to sleep or spend the whole month to reach level 40 in order to ride that awesome mount. Others fear that without any leveling, EverQuest Next will be one big boring sandbox especially for goal-focused players who want to feel like their characters are getting stronger, and are not so much into role-playing. Level-less online games are also the minority in the industry, although some like EVE Online have thrived.

The chances of EverQuest Next cutting out leveling is not really high, but there is the possibility that it could de-emphasize the value of leveling. Many mmorpgs tie in many features, zones, skills and even storylines based on a player’s character level, and here is where EverQuest Next could come in and turn the status quo on its head. Opening up all the story content regardless of leveling could be a possibility, which should push players to explore every nook and cranny of the EverQuest Next world, like visiting a far-flung town without having to worry about being one-shotted by a rampaging monster on the way.


EverQuest Next Wishlist: Leveling Into Your Chosen Factions

everquestIn the original EverQuest, you were not shoehorned into a particular faction. Sure, creating a new character meant you started off as part of a particular race — along with the rivalry and alliances that come with belonging to that race — but the game allowed you to strike your own path. You could take on quests and perform actions that could anger your pre-set allies, and before long you will find your character aligned to a faction that previously wanted to kill you on sight.

Right now, most modern mmorpgs make it simple and easy for players to belong to a faction and remain in that faction forever. This makes for a very unexciting role-playing experience for some fans, especially for EverQuest veterans who know how wonderful it is to choose who you want to befriend and behead.

It would be great for EverQuest Next to go back to its roots and revive the faction system of the original into the upcoming next-gen sandbox game. And hopes are high, if only because EverQuest Next developers have promised that it will offer player-driven content, and nothing says player-driven content more than the freedom to level into your chosen factions. Faction fluidity fits very well into the ultimate sandbox experience that EverQuest Next wants to deliver to fans who have long been caged into choosing a faction at the start of character creation with little emotional investment.

Hopefully in EverQuest Next, we can be left to choose our own allegiances and archnemeses, and be given the questing and leveling tools to make each faction storyline a compelling arc.