We love our lists here at MMORPG.com; so much so that after the heady days of the "What We Want/Don't Want" odyssey we are back to bring you more cataloguing of things we’re most looking forward to in EverQuest Next.
And let's for one minute hear it for the guys and gals at Sony - oh sure, us MMOers might from time to time refer to them as the evil empire, destroyer of enjoyment, and harbinger of Jedi doom, but even a serial killer can be really nice to animals. SOE, today we salute you on what, for now, appears to be a job thoroughly well done. Time will tell if EQN lives up to its promises, but for now here are five things we like about the newly announced game.
5). It's Frickin' EverQuest
OK, so this one isn't a biggy in terms of actual gameplay but: it's frickin' EVERQUEST! Being a massive fanboy of the original game, and a mildly impressed flag waver for the second, I adore any Norrath related news. The fact that all of this conjecture, debate, and anticipation has actually culminated in a physical product has made me do that bit of excited wee, known only to children and idiots. The world is somewhat intact, the same spirit remains, and the developers seem intent on delivering an experience that isn't taken from the same, worn and dulled cookie cutter mould that everyone is now used to.
Oh go on, just once more: it's frickin' EverQuest!
Someone over in San Diego has obviously been playing Minecraft. I'll admit, it wasn't high on my list of "MMO things to do today" but it is an intriguing concept. During the keynote presentation Dave Georgeson explained how whenever they sit down to talk about new game ideas, the suggestion of being able to destroy everything always comes up. And in reality, it is something that I give pause to every time I play a new game. Why can't I blow that up, why can't I move this, why can't I surmount that obviously poor attempt at railroading me into the linear path setup by the developer?
Giving EQNext players the freedom to blow entire portions of Norrath up allows for immersion, and the feeling that it is actually alive and real. It sounds like a concept off of the beaten track, but one that after some thought, sounds immediately like the kind of thing all developers should now be thinking about. Hidden dungeons, unique landscapes, and tales to come along with them: let's just hope it doesn't make Qeynos Hills look like the surface of the Moon.
3) AI Sounds Like A Dungeon Master
Perhaps my most anticipated feature is that of the game's AI. As explained in the keynote, the server will collect information on which paths are most travelled, which areas are least frequented, and which mobs get slaughtered quickest. Gathering all of this data, the server will then react to player choices, creating new spawn locations, new mobs, and even an invasion or two.
Just a week ago, I wrote about how I don't wish to be special in an MMORPG, and I definitely don't want the same experiences that every other player has had within any given virtual world. What SOE have effectively announced is that their server will play as Dungeon Master and will literally react to the activities of the players.
Another amazing trick? Each server will then be intrinsically different. How's that for intelligent design?
2) Rallying Calls
Everyone enjoys a public quest. In Guild Wars 2, they resemble feeding time at the zoo; everybody gathers around; somebody bunny hops; somebody dances; and something gets brutally murdered by a baying mob. Scratch that, it isn't feeding time at the zoo, but more like a Friday night in my hometown: we don't like us some strangers.
SOE is proposing a mixture of public quests and something a little more grander with their rallying calls. The example given was the raising of Halas, literally by the players. Over the course of a few months, players will craft, cull wildlife, and bat down threats. As one developer put it "when talking to a newbie after a year of play, you can tell them how Halas didn't even exist when you started." Now that's a cool talking point.
1) Mix and Match Classes
One that might ruffle a few feathers, but one that seems to make total sense to me. It has long been a dream that I can roll the type of character that can conjure flame, whilst wielding a sword with proficiency. I essentially want to be Gandalf fighting the Balrog, with less beard, but, interestingly, even more "NONE SHALL PASS" thrown in.
Players will be able to take spells and abilities from over 40 classes, mixing whatever they wish. Interestingly, new weapons also bestow different ways to approach combat in a Guild Wars 2 style. Throw in a few quests to unlock classes, and you have a recipe for intrigue. Let's just keep fingers crossed that they are not cash-shop-locked.
Adam Tingle / Adam Tingle is a columnist and general man-about-town for MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and FPSGuru.com. He enjoys toilet humour, EverQuest-themed nostalgia, and pointing out he's British: bother him at @adamtingle