Over the past two days, news about EverQuest: Next, the upcoming sequel to the the blockbuster MMO franchise, has been pouring out. To be quite honest, we’re incredibly excited for it. If you haven’t yet heard about EverQuest: Next, or have, but are fuzzy on the details, here are seven reasons to get excited.
7. A seemingly timeless art-direction
Something that has helped World of Warcraft stay popular as long as it has is its cartoonish art-direction, and it appears that EverQuest: Next has taken a cue from its highly successful competitor. With the intense use of color and beautiful contrast, EverQuest: Next is sure to look good for years to come.
6. Landmark sounds incredibly addictive
For those who don’t know, EverQuest: Next Landmark will be a separate free-to-play game that releases this winter. From what we’ve seen of it, it appears to be a lot like Minecraft without any combat or enemies. It puts an emphasis on mining minerals, and other natural materials, and putting them to use in the game’s building mode. Players will be able to build castles, statues, pretty much anything they want. On top of that, there’s a chance their structures will appear in the world of EverQuest: Next proper.
5. It Comes with Tools to Create Objects for the game’s Online Marketplace
I’ve recently heard a lot of success stories describing how people have been quitting their day-jobs to make DOTA 2 items and sell them for quite a reasonable profit. As someone with a background in 3D-modeling, I wanted to give it a go. Unfortunately, from what I could tell, to successfully export an object into a format that is compatible with DOTA 2, you need an expensive program like Maya. Fortunately, EverQuest: Next comes with a complete toolset for those interested in creating different objects, and selling them on the game’s online marketplace dubbed “Player Studio”. Whether the ambiguous word “Objects” just means structures, or also means items such as weapons and armor, is beyond me. But the proposition is still pretty exciting.
4. Emergent AI
During the game’s reveal event, the director of development Dave Georgeson made it a point to emphasize the game’s AI, and what they are claiming it can do is unheard of in a MMO space. Supposedly, player’s actions will directly affect the actions of the NPCs that inhabit the world. The primary example Georgeson provided was this: imagine a mob area in a modern MMO. It’s just a patch of land that is known for having one kind of creature. From the game’s launch to the day its servers are shut down, those creatures continue to spawn in that one, predictable place. In theory, that wont happen in EverQuest: Next. Enemy AI have a list of things they want in the area they set-up camp in. For instance, Orks don’t want to be anywhere near guards, so they typically stay far away from heavily populated cities. Instead, they prefer to be near lightly traveled roads so they can catch lone wanderers by surprise, and overpower them. Players can do one of a few things. They can tell a city’s guards to patrol the road the Orks are near, and drive them away. Players can stop using the road, making it a unprofitable resting place for the Orks. Or, of course, the players can dispose of the Orks by force.
3. Procedurally Generated Dungeons
The title sort of says it all for this one. But I’m a big fan of procedurally generated environments in games. I’ve really been enjoying the recently released Cloudberry Kingdom, and I had a lot of fun with Sword of the Stars: The Pit. Both of those games are almost infinitely replayable because of their random environments. Pair that randomness with an already highly addictive MMO dungeon-raiding formula, and what you get is an incredible loss of productivity.
2. The Potential of a persistent world made of Voxels
One of the most exciting things about the game’s debut was the announcement that the entire world was being made out of Voxels. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “Voxel,” please allow me to educate you. The easiest way to describe Voxels is to say that the entire world is made of tiny cubes that can be broken apart in real-time. That means that holes can be made in the ground and in castle walls, entire buildings can be broken down to rubble — everything in the world is destructible. But not only can anything be destroyed, things can be built in the world in real-time.
Dave Georgeson offered a peek at a potential quest scenario that is fueled by this feature. Imagine a server-wide quest where players are tasked with taking lumber to a small group of elves. The elves receiving the lumber allows them to build a camp, walls — however much lumber they get, their base will be all the more fortified. But, during the construction, Orks may attack, so it may be wise for some players to guard the encampment as it is being built to ensure that the whole thing isn’t burnt down. If the Voxel destruction/building is implemented in quests regularly, those missions have the potential to be the most dynamic quests in MMO history.
1. It wants to be different from what you’ve grown to expect from an MMO
If EverQuest: Next is able to deliver the kind of features promised in its reveal, it will be a truly unique experience. For the past eighteen years or so, MMOs have all pretty much been the same. But maybe, just maybe, SoE’s latest will be able to break the genre’s stagnation.