The EverQuest franchise is big in the news today with some big announcements for both EverQuest and EverQuest 2 as well as the palpable relief that fans of the forthcoming EverQuest Next are feeling after a big scare yesterday.
Breathe Into the Paper Bag and Relax
The scare started with a fascinating ‘tweet’ from Sony Online Entertainment’s John Smedley:
Judging by the reaction on our forum when we posted this news, the idea of permadeath in EverQuest Next was an unpopular one. Within minutes of the posting, there were over fifty responses in the thread at MMORPG.com and a wild number of responses on Smed’s Twitter account. It was enough to scare the bejeezus out of people.
Luckily, we had a previously scheduled appointment with Sony’s Dave Georgeson to talk about today’s big EQ-EQ2 news and had the opportunity to ask him about Smed’s tweet.
“The idea of permadeath in EverQuest Next needs to die a permanent death.” Georgeson stated emphatically. “Smed’s tweet was great though. It sure created a lot of buzz!”
Georgeson also responded on his Twitter account:
There’s no telling if this was a coordinated effort on behalf of SOE to generate a lot of buzz surrounding the EQ series or not but, suffice to say, it did no matter what. Still, fans of EQN can breathe a hefty sigh of relief at Georgeson’s confirmation that permadeath will not be included in the game.
EverQuest & EverQuest 2 Going Freer to Play
Once we’d cleared up the permadeath issue, it was on to the big news that restrictions on free to play EverQuest and EverQuest 2 accounts will be lifting in a big way.
“We didn’t like a lot of the logic we put in our free to play.” Georgeson said. “We were conservative and when we look back, we thought it was too restrictive.”
Much of the inspiration for next week’s lifting of restrictions came at the hands of Vanguard, which recently did much the same thing as is being implemented in EQ-EQ2. Vanguard, Georgeson said, had its F2P model based on EQ’s but Andy Sykes advocated for easing the restrictions. When the new F2P model was released, “nothing bad happened”, according to Georgeson. From that point on, it was a go to see the same thing happen in EQ-EQ2.
“This is part of our overall ‘return to the game experience’. It’s just the first step, but it’s a big one.” Georgeson stated.
So what’s changed? Check out this list of lifted restrictions:
*exception for EQII: Beastlord is still only accessible via the “Age of Discovery” expansion pack.
** exception for EQII: The Freeblood race is still an SC-only marketplace option.
The lifting of these restrictions, Georgeson told us, wasn’t soley the idea of the EQ-EQ2 teams but also was inspired by player feedback. From what we can see, there are a lot of great reasons to return to EverQuest and EverQuest 2, now more than ever.
And If That’s Not Enough...
If all of the above isn’t enough for those who dearly love the EverQuest series, players will also want to pay attention to the flagship title’s fourteenth anniversary celebration on March 16th.
Players will be treated to a series of terrific in-game events including:
The player designed missions are something that Dave and the whole EQ team are very excited about. During last year’s SOE Live, the design team met with players to talk about the game and then took the best ideas and turned them into real content for the game.
Lastly, Georgeson told us that the anniversary events will be a foreshadowing of the next big content expansion, “Shadows of Fear”, that will arrive later this year. The team isn’t ready to talk about it yet but players are urged to “pay attention”.
So there you have it: All the EverQuest news of the day. With the lifting of the F2P restrictions, will you be returning to EverQuest or EverQuest 2? Let us know in the comments!