I have to admit something: I secretly angled to go to SOE Live in August once I heard that the big news of the annual event would be more information released about EverQuest Next. After reading the list of SOE Live’s newly announced panels, I figured that it was a good time to dive into each and to talk about what they could mean.
First up, let's take a brief look at the panel entitled Creating a World. This panel advertises itself as “Come learn about how we go about making the world of a brand new MMO!” This could mean any number of things, but I suspect it’ll highlight the Forgelight Engine and the toolsets the devs are using, as well as how they’re going to make this version of Norrath different from the EQ1 and EQ2. Make no mistake, however: we’ll be in a familiar surrounding... but it’ll be plenty different from our traditional theme park Norrath. "Only the names have not been changed" in a manner of speaking.
The second EQN-specific panel on August 2nd is all about the world itself: The World of EverQuest Next. This one is likely to be about how much the general world of EQN will have changed since most recently seen in EQ2. As we know from hints dropped by Dave Georgeson and others, EQN will be a parallel version of Norrath, different but the same, in a way. Each game world shares similarities in the form of people and locations of the Norrath we’ve come to know and love. "The same, but different" gives the devs a clean slate to make the world new without sacrificing all of the nostalgia.
Showing Off Your Creativity is a bit more cryptic but judging from the fact that we all know EQN will be a massive sandbox MMO, it's going to be the one that any fan of EQN will need to see. It's likely to focus on all the different ways that players can 'play' in the huge sandbox that SOE is creating for players. Given the past and SOE's commitment to giving players lots of ways to interact with their games, this is probably going to be the most revealing of all the panels.
The second panel on August 3rd is The Classes of EverQuest Next. That pretty much confirms that there won’t be some Ultima-esque free-form progression in EQN. Given EverQuest’s rich history with classes like the Necromancer, the Bard, the Monk, and many more I’d expect nothing less. What will be interesting is to see just how many favorites are making it into the game and how they’ll be represented. My guess is that SOE has a good idea of the direction in which their players would like to see EQN go based on the past games and, speculatively speaking, of course, secret player polls and/or deep reading of years' worth of information on the official EQ and EQ2 forums.
The last main topic panel is The Lore of EverQuest Next. There are not one, but two Q&A panels which will no doubt bring forth tons of tidbits of information for players, and I’ll definitely be attending both. Of all the announced EQN panels, this is probably the one that will be of keenest interest to players. While EQN has been billed itself as a big sandbox, there has to be a story, at least at the forefront that will drive what players do within the game. I’m very curious to see what direction SOE takes this version of the world and how it’ll play out with the players and their own actions within the sandbox.
In less than a month, all of these will have happened, and you all will know more bout this crazy and ambitious new game. Which panel are you looking forward to most, aside from the actual reveal on the 2nd? Let us know in the comments!
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom.
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