I want Everquest Next to come out. The problem is, I have no control over any new information coming forth from Sony Online Entertainment regarding the development of Everquest Next.
If Landmark’s development cycle is any indication of the development time for Everquest Next, news regarding EQNext may need to wait till they get some of the other rudimentary systems coded and working in Landmark.
Of course, a lack of information running right before E3, along with the lack of a Landmark Live segment this week due to E3 means there is a chance, however small, that we may see some Everquest Next-related news or updates tacked onto Landmark showpieces on E3.
To wit, I’d like to list down three things I would like to see or hear from SOE upon the MMORPG.com team’s return from E3.
1. The fourth and fifth race selections
We have humans. SOE is already working on dark elves and dwarves are slated to follow. One thing I’d like to know is, what are the next races slated for the development cycle of Landmark and EQNext?
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m seriously hoping to see Ratonga or Sarnak, but those might not be in the running as they may take more time to develop. I’d think SOE might want to ramp up the hype a bit more by throwing a tweaked race with its own distinctive architectural style into the fray.
I’m hoping Wood Elves and Barbarians would be possible, since they can shave some development time by adapting existing models and bulking them up or slimming them down accordingly.
Moreover, Wood Elves and Barbarians, depending on how you remember EQ1 or EQ2, will likely have a very different architectural style from Humans, Dark Elves, and Dwarves. Treehouses and igloos, perhaps? Or maybe Barbarian forts made from wood? I’d love to see an igloo though in the future.
UNLESS… Fippy Darkpaw is the best race in the game and we can all be Fippy.
2. If not combat, then damage and death
One of the things that drive me crazy about Landmark is that there’s no consequence to falling from horrible heights other than a feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re going to throw up from motion sickness as your character plummets to his… well… safety.
Before combat can be made useful in the game, I’m sure death has to be introduced into the game.
While the latest development roadmap the company has slates death and damage for after E3, I wouldn’t put it past SOE to hint at consequences for crazy stomach-curling jumps during the event.
At the very least, they can introduce slowfall-enabling items into the game as craftables as a hint to players that something’s coming that can be game-changing for the risk-averse.
3. A “By Hook or By Crook” Release Date
In the age of early access alphas, a release date for an alpha is just enough of a tipping point to bring out the wallets of gamers. The game doesn’t have to start out complete, and as Landmark shows, for a game to be worth selling, someone simply has to make something that works well enough to capture the hearts and minds of a suitable demographic.
I want to see a release date for Everquest Next early access. I will pay a reasonable amount of money to test Storybricks and how thousands of players can change the world by toying with NPC emotions. I will even test dying repeatedly at the very first kill ten rats quest if it’s needed.
But for the popularity of Everquest Next and Landmark to spread, SOE has to give gamers something other than incremental Landmark updates. Something like a promise that by X date, we will have Y functions ready for testing for Z number of people to buy into.
So long as they’re upfront with the expectations – and I don’t think they’ll lie to us if Landmark Live streams are any indication of their commitment – then they can have some of my money and I will dutifully test EQNext till I burn out from killing rats because the woman of my dreams in-game has a thing for rat tail necklaces. Go figure.
Before I go, let me leave you with a little tidbit officially introducing caves into Landmark beta proper. Cheers!
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains the Landmark/Everquest Next column for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.