A 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.