Let me preface this brief post by saying that I’m actually pretty excited at the thought of a new Everquest. I also apologize for the fact that this blog is going to be more questions than answers. I like the mythos SOE has created, there’s a soft spot in my heart for both EQ and EQII, and I feel that both titles have aged rather poorly (despite the throng of people who would contest otherwise). But is it really time for a new EQ? Is there going to be room for it? More so, is it necessary?
The fantasy MMORPG space is rather crowded these days. Will the Everquest brand be enough to make EQ:Next rise above the crowd and attract more players than the current juggernauts and those games which are on the horizon or will it suffer from the problem of merely cannibalizing Everquest’s own audience? I suppose that’s part of the idea though: SOE knows that in many gamer’s eyes Everquest is still a classic intellectual property. Maybe all it needs to rise to the top once more is a new take on the old formula. But if that’s the case, why are the early art and details promoting a game that’s very similar to the fantasy MMOs we already have in the field vying for gamers’ attention?
But with all of the other competition already out there, I’ll be curious to see if EQ:Next actually makes a real splash. It will take, as we’ve seen time and again, a special breed of game to really draw the attention of MMO gamers. EQ was the game that started the craze, but World of Warcraft took that ball and ran with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if many WoW players didn’t even know that Everquest was still up and operating, much less expecting another expansion.
Still, we know very little about what this next incarnation of Everquest will offer. All we have is basically an announcement that more news will come and some art to tease us of a more stylized Norrath. Maybe I’ll feel less skeptic when we know more, see more, and play more of what SOE has up their sleeve for EQ:Next.