EverQuest Next Reveal at SOE Live: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by Wolfshead on August 8, 2013

EverQuest Next logoBy now most EverQuest devotees have watched the video presentations and read all of the coverage on various gaming websites about SOE’s reveal of EverQuest Next in Las Vegas over the weekend. We’ve seen and heard all of the hype regarding the new features of EQ Next. By now everyone knows what a voxel is and we’ve seen a lot of demos of things blowing up.

After ample reflection and analysis, I think it’s safe to say that SOE will not be bringing back many of the elements that made the original EverQuest such a magical experience. EQ Next is a brand new type of highly accessible superhero low fantasy MMO aimed at an entirely new audience of gamers that are more at home with a software toy like Minecraft then they are with a serious virtual world like EverQuest.

SOE has decided to entirely reboot and re-imagine the world of Norrath with the end goal of creating an intellectual property that will be the flagship offering for a vast franchise of products and services.

As well as attending SOE Live, I have poured over all of the videos multiple times to really digest what SOE has presented to give the best analysis possible. My assessment of EQ Next is based on what we currently know. I’m certain that many of my questions and gaps in knowledge will be answered in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Let me preface this article by saying there are a lot of things I like about EQ Next (and its companion offering EQ Landmark) and many things that I do not like which I will discuss in this article: the good, the bad and the ugly.

SEO Live: The Event

Held at the aging Planet Hollywood Hotel and Resort, SOE Live was a well-planned gaming event aimed at pleasing the faithful fans. Some of the lineups to various events were quite long.  The vibe was electric and the enthusiasm infectious. On a side note, the swag bags didn’t have much swag in them at all. The EQ Next poster was nice though!

I had a chance to meet some good friends that I had met during my years with the EverQuest Guide Program and picked up an EverQuest Guide T-Shirt. It was finally nice to meet Community Relations Project Manager Ashlanne in person and speak to many of the current volunteer guides. I also had a chance to speak with Jeff Butler but all too briefly. The schedule of the devs was very tight and in their spare but rare time they were doing interviews for all of the big gaming websites. I also met Steve Danuser briefly, congratulated him on his new job and commended him for an impressive presentation at the EQ Next Lore panel.

The Reveal Presentation

I don’t want to dwell too much on the actual EQ Next reveal presentation here (more on parts of it later) but I wanted to briefly list and explain the 4 holy grails that Dave Georgeson spoke about:

Grail 1: Change the Core Game – Traditional character advancement will be replaced by multi-classing advancement and character “tier” gear acquisition progression.

Grail 2: Destructibility – The environment of new Norrath will be destructible and constructable by players. Players will be able to explore deep within the world and uncover remnants of past civilizations and of course new mobs and loot.

Grail 3: A Life of Consequence (Emergent A.I.) – Every decision a player makes will have consequences and the world will remember everything you do and react accordingly. NPC’s will be have A.I. that gives them personalities that have likes and dislikes that will impact the actions or inactions of players.

Grail 4: Permanent Change via Rallying Calls – Certain areas in the world will have randomly selected dynamic areas that require players to participate in order to advance the objective from one phase to the next phase. An objective would be to build a new town or city. These events will be scheduled randomly for each server. The objective is to progress to the next phase; this can be accomplished in different ways depending on the actions or inactions of players.

The Good

Finally a Dynamic World with Permanent Change

For years I have wanted to be part of a virtual world that changed depending on the actions or inactions of players. It always irked me that every WoW expansion had to conclude with the scheduled death of the uber villain that graced the expansion box cover.

With the Rallying Calls feature, this will keep the world of Norrath from being predictable and will allow each server to enjoy a unique communal experience. It will also provide for endless replayability for players that choose to roll alts.

My one issue with this feature is that SOE should not guarantee the completion of a city (the end result of all of the phases) such as Halas shown in the example below. A city should be allowed to decay and revert to a more primitive state and if not enough players heed the rallying call then enemy forces should be allowed to lay siege to a city and ultimately destroy it. If the city is destroyed because high level players are selfishly allowing part of their factions kingdom to fail (think Nero fiddling away while Rome burns) when they are in a dungeon or raiding then there should be some form of penalty assessed.

Despite some of my concerns, this feature is amazing and top marks to SEO for having the guts to even attempt this.

EQ Next Rallying Call Halas stage 2

Advanced A.I. For NPCs and Mobs

It’s refreshing to see that both NPCs and mobs will get working brains, memories and motivations in the new Norrath. With the aid of Storybricks A.I. technology, mobs will be programmed with collective likes and dislikes and have the ability to migrate to greener pastures if their likes are being deprived and if their dislikes thresholds are reached. This should solve the static mob camping predictability problem that has plagued virtual worlds for years.

SEO also plans on giving mobs in combat far more advanced A.I. as well. I think this is a great idea and will make for more interesting encounters be more interesting. It should also put less pressure for game designers to worry about complex encounter scripting.

Interaction with non-mob NPC’s will also change as they will remember every decision and action that a player makes. This is what SOE terms “a life of consequences”. I think NPCs in virtual worlds have been ignored for far too long and finally they will help contribute toward the goal of a living, breathing world.

Bravo to SOE for this!

Player Emotes

There was a very good demonstration of a wide range of player emotes that will be accomplished by either using an emote or using the SOEmote system. This is a long sought after feature that will really help make avatars come alive and has the potentially to turbo charge role-playing within EQ Next.

I hope that both mobs and NPCs will have access to these emotes as well. Again good job SOE!

EQ Next emotes

Destructible and Constructible Environments

The ability for the player to change and impact the world — both geography and structures — has long been something that MMORPG players and designers have dreamt of. Inspired by Minecraft, SOE has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible with a voxel based destructible and constructible world.

Not only will players have abilities in combat and out of combat to destroy the environment, mobs and players themselves are subject to environmental damage. This should bring a whole new area of gameplay into the MMO realm.

One of my concerns is that SOE has stated that the environment will “heal” after 5 minutes. I think this is far too short as I believe that virtual worlds should have as much persistence as possible.

There is a disturbing trend right now for MMOs to sanitize their worlds. I do not understand why devs have this need to clean up and remove NPC corpses right after they are killed by players. This isn’t 1999 where an NPC corpse will create lag. Players need to know what they have done — for better or worse – has an impact. It’s rewarding to see a pile of enemy corpses after a battle. Don’t take that hard earned satisfaction from players!

If players decide to clear cut a forest it would be very interesting to see the results of it. Why should a full tree grow back in 5 minutes? 30 minutes would be far more appropriate and think of the opportunities for druid classes to help regrow and replant trees. Tunare would be most pleased to see her followers healing the planet!

One final concern is that destroying the environment should have a heavy cost. If SOE makes it too easy players will end up doing it all the time it could become annoying and disruptive. Who wants to watch a bunch of players destroy a town in minutes? If allowed, at least sick the guards on them and watch the hilarity ensue. As far as I’m concerned, the rarer it is the better.

EverQuest Next Landmark

EverQuest Next Landmark is software that will be freely available to all that’s all about exploration and building. EQ Next Landmark will also serve as a good viral buzz generator that keeps EQ Next in the minds of the public as they await it’s inevitable release.  With Landmark, SOE is expecting to leverage the creativity of the community and get them to create thousands of buildings, items and other assets. With the help of voting from the players, SOE will take the best and include them in EQ Next.

It’s an ingenious idea that Tom Sawyer would be proud of. If their scheme works, SOE will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in development costs by utilizing the free labor and talent of the community. At the same time, it will also serve to generate viral interest in the upcoming EQ Next. It’s refreshing to see SOE actually thinking outside the box for a change. I hope it’s a success.

Day and Night Will Be Different

According to one of the dev panels day and night differences will shape the types of NPCs that will be out. Merchants will be out during the day, shady vendors will be out at night.

I really hope that NPCs will have their own schedules and places to live. It’s high time we got rid of NPCs that stand at the same spot for 24 hours a day.

Unlocking Classes

I like the idea that outside of the core 8 classes that players will have to do some work to unlock the remaining 32 classes. Too often in MMORPGs classes are far too easy to get and rare classes would be an excellent status symbol for players in lieu of levels.

Another interesting advantage is you don’t have to create as many alts —  just find a new class to play with your existing character. There are some other advantages and disadvantages that I will discuss later.

The Bad

The Combat Demo

The ill-fated combat demo now conveniently known as the tech demo, was a real disappointment. It was so juvenile and over the top that it bordered on being offensive. I just didn’t feel like EverQuest combat to me. Instead, it was full of shock and awe explosions and particle effects that looked like a 4th of July celebration meets the Avengers . Some of the mobs didn’t even fight back and were instantly vanquished.

Producer Terry Michaels later admitted that everyone was spamming very powerful high level abilities and that it did not accurately represent how a typical group fight would unfold. This silly combat display needlessly turned a lot of people off. They really should have rehearsed the combat for a more accurate representation for the audience.

Multi-classing

I believe the ability to create new classes by picking and choosing abilities from a list of unlocked classes is over-rated and verging on gimmickry. I would hope that every class that the devs design will have the optimum skills associated with it and it’s hard to believe that players will somehow be able to choose better ones. Trion tried this to some extent with RIFT and it had little to no impact on me as a player; I felt many of the class abilities were the same except with new names and icons.

Jadeon from a really good EQNextFans thread made this really great point contrasting both the EverQuest and EQ Next class systems:

The fantastic part about Everquest was the diversity of the classes, the weakness inherent to each that had to be offset by the strengths of another to create dynamic and successful groups. Furthermore the sheer amount of knowledge and learning it took to truly master each class with the intricacies of all of their abilities was astounding. Mastering a class no longer means researching your spells understanding them fully and knowing when it may be better to use a downgraded version to conserve mana or choosing one of your 5 different nuke lines because of an enemies resistances. Instead we have 8 “amazing” abilities, and we can change them to suite our needs at any time and always enter a battle with optimal setups so long as we have farmed up the “classes” that would be “optimal” for it.

I completely agree. There is something cheap and inappropriate about the level of unearned power that SOE will be imparting to players. Players are treated like superheroes instead of being an organic part of a virtual world. This of course ties into the heroic entitlement philosophy that SOE has recently adopted that I vehemently oppose.

While it’s good to offer players the ability to customize their class it’s also problematic to offer endless array of choices. Too much choice is stifling. Often less is more.

I also feel that multi-classing feels a bit too much like a marketing hook rather than a serious MMORPG feature.

Character Advancement: Gear Tiers Instead of Leveling via Experience

The big elephant in the room in Las Vegas was that SOE is doing away with traditional Dungeons & Dragons character advancement via leveling and replacing it with “tiers” namely in the form of gear sets.

In actuality, we’ve all seen this before as gear tiers in popular MMOs like WoW have been with us for many years. Once you reach the level cap in most MMOs, the only way to progress your character is to acquire new sets of tiered gear. Completion of one tier of gear acts as a gateway to more challenging content that enables you to get the next tier of gear for your character. Rinse and repeat.

In EQ Next, gear tiers are essentially cleverly disguised proxies for character levels. Contrary to the claim that EQ Next will have horizontal progression, this is indeed a form of vertical progression. I suspect EQ Next will eventually have scores of tiered levels.

The tried and true character level system was useful because it gave players an easy way to distinguish each others comparative worth. Players need to be able to know the skill and power level of their fellow players. Without a level system to denote character accomplishments, I expect players will create their own or develop some kind of mod such as PlayerScore. Expect players to identify themselves by class and tier.  We will see thing such as: T3.5 blademaster LFG and so on.

Traditional RPG Classes Will Not Exist in EQ Next

The core of any MMO is combat. As mentioned earlier SOE revealed that the time-tested Dungeons & Dragons system which has permeated the RPG world for over 35 years will not be used, other than substituting the idea of multi-classing, they failed to fully explain what would take its place leaving some in the audience in a state of bewilderment.

In fact Dave Georgeson didn’t even mention that levels would no longer be used in EQ Next which he has revealed in interviews with major gaming websites. I believe that statement, if made, would have shocked many of the people in the audience which is probably why he omitted it.

So EQ Next will not have the traditional class role structure of tanks, healers, damage classes that traditional fantasy MMORPG and single player RPG’s have relied on for years. Instead it will be replaced damage dealing classes. There will be 8 damage classes available to the player and 32 more damage classes that the player can unlock as they adventure and explore.

Let’s compare the class roles of the original EverQuest to the class roles of EverQuest Next. (Note: the EverQuest list is by no means complete):

EverQuest

  • tanks -warriors, paladins, shadowknights
  • healers – priests, druids, shaman
  • damage dealers – wizards, necromancers, rangers, mages, rangers, monks, druids
  • utility/support
    • crowd control – enchanters, monks
    • pullers – monks, rangers
    • debuffers – enchanters, shaman

EverQuest Next

  • damage dealers – every one of 40 classess

The comparison between EQ and EQ Next is sobering. The first thing one notices is how one-dimensional gameplay is going to be in EQ Next. Damage dealing is everything and the only thing.

A Host of Unintended Consequences

The very best game designers can see the future, just like the very best chess players can see many moves ahead. Every design decision is prone to creating a plethora of unintended consequences that can ruin a virtual world in short order.

Virtual world designers are in reality social engineers. By their design decisions, they can create good communities or bad communities.

With the abolition of traditional MMORPG combat mechanics and class roles, SOE is heading into uncharted waters here that could potentially spell doom for EQ Next.

If they continue upon this current course, EQ Next will consist of groups of damage dealing players that nuke down anything in their path as is now the case in other “revolutionary” MMOs like Guild Wars 2. Since damage is king, the min-maxers will have a field day gravitating to classes that are heavily weighted towards DPS. Once the theorycrafters such as Elitist Jerks have done the math, I envision most players following their lead and gravitating to probably about 4 popular overpowered classes. This is what will happen when you remove the necessity of having roles in a MMORPG.

Instead of caring about group dynamics and strategy, players will do as they please and behave recklessly. Since there are no tank classes that can keep aggro, most encounters will be about doing as much damage as fast as possible.

Without well-defined class roles, players will be forced to think of their own safety first before the safety of others. This will breed a contagion of self-absorbed players who will not stop to think of their fellow players because they don’t have to.

With minimal need for cooperation, I predict communication among players will be non-existent during combat as players will be busy watching the fireworks. When you remove the need for communication in your most fundamental activity in a MMO you are ensuring that you will have a poor community.

No Tanks and Healers Allowed but Feel Free to Play the Way You Want

One of the mantras that the EQ Next devs have been expounding is that “we want players to play the way they want”. What if players want to play tanks, healers and support roles? A number of questioners in the class panel made this very clear to the devs.

SOE is making a rather arrogant assumption that players attracted to their re-imagined Norrath somehow hate playing tanks and healers and just want to be damage dealers and enjoy being in the thick of the mayhem and confusion of combat. With everything they supposedly know about EverQuest they are demonstrating that they do not fully understand and appreciate their core audience.

Not everyone wants to play a damage dealing class. Look at any military organization and you’ll see that for every soldier on the ground, there are numerous support staff. For every top gun fighter pilot and sniper there are scores of military people in support roles. Not everyone wants to be in direct combat or is cut out for it.

To use a football analogy: not everyone can be or wants to be the quarterback or the wide receiver.

In both cases, the people occupying those roles have the same level of enjoyment and dignity as those on the front lines getting all the glory. SOE is desperately trying to make a diverse bunch of polygonal pegs fit into their circular slots.

EQ Next: More God of War than Classic EverQuest

Another clue that the only role in EQ Next will be damage is the fact that the only targeting system is positional. You just press a button and whatever happens to be in front of you will get hit. That’s it folks. Since you can’t target, you won’t be able to heal or buff specific targets except yourself.

The end result is going to be a fast-paced action video game with lots of moving around. It’s hard to see what inspiration if any, they took from EverQuest and EverQuest 2 for their combat system.

Multi-Classing: Better Suited to Traditional MMORPG Class Roles

At one point in the EQ Next character panel, Jeff Butler gave an impassioned speech about how he had selflessly played an off-tanking role for a MMO guild he was in and that he had seen too many raids and guilds suffer because a player playing a core class such as a tank or healer failed to log on thereby cancelling the raid which enjoyment of the guild members. I sympathize with him but throwing out the traditional class system is not the answer.

In my mind, the multi-class approach of EQ Next is the perfect solution for this problem and paradoxically it makes far more sense for EQ Next to embrace traditional RPG class roles then the current schema that offers only damage dealing classes. If a required class fails to log on then most certainly there would be raid members that could press a button and switch to their tank, healer or support class. Problem solved without destroying a time and battle tested system that has served the RPG world for 40 years.

The Realism Fallacy

I would also like to rebut a point that some of the panel members made during the class panel. They used what I call the “that’s not realistic” fallacy that I’ve been hearing for years in the MMO world. This fallacy can be used to attack almost any feature in a MMORPG on the basis of “that’s not realistic”. Since most MMORPGs are fantasy, there is very little if anything that is realistic rendering the argument rather meaningless.

The devs stated something to the effect that it’s not realistic for a mob to wail on a tank just because he’s taunting him and since EQ Next mobs have advanced A.I. they will naturally want to kill the primary damage dealers first and not the tank. I would counter that not all mobs will have the same A.I. Some will be very stupid, some will be very intelligent and many in between. Not all mobs should be smart enough to figure it out.

Also, in mobs that have increased intelligence, player classes could blind mobs and cast spells that could befuddle mobs. Intelligent mobs could also be rooted, stunned, stupefied and snared. Any number of solutions that make for more interesting combat strategy and contributions from other classes could be employed here to still allow the existence of traditional class roles.

Eliminating the need for tanks, healers and support classes is going to cause far more problems than it solves. It will erode — as one questioner brilliantly stated – the sense of teamwork and strategy that makes grouping and raiding both fun and interesting. It will also erode the diversity of roles that one rightly expects to see in a MMORPG.

Passing the Community Test

One final but important point needs to be made about all of this. How will SOE’s decision to eliminate class roles impact the sense of community that SOE prides themselves in creating and nurturing all these years?

When I scrape away all of the hype,  I see no meaningful class interdependence in the current design of EQ Next. That is a disgrace and an insult to the legacy of EverQuest and EverQuest 2.

The remove of the traditional class paradigm will also erode the natural sense of community gleaned from class interdependency. Every feature, mechanic and element of EQ Next should have to pass the community test. If it does not enhance community then it should be either improved until it does or gutted completely. Creating community is far more important in the long-term than the creation of a talking point that will keep the PR and marketing types at SOE happy.

What is true in real life is also true in MMORPGs. A basic understanding of types such as the Myers-Briggs personality type indicators shows us that players are human beings with diverse personality types that have aptitudes for various roles.

TLDR version – People are different. Not everyone is the same. It is short-sighted to think that everyone will want to play a damage dealing class. You’re making a virtual world here. Be inclusive and make sure there is a role for EVERYONE. That’s your job as game designers.

Combat and Classes: the Core of Fantasy MMORPGs

The core of any fantasy MMORPG is the combat and class system. Every other feature and mechanic is subservient to this. All of the wonderful new features proposed for EQ Next will mean nothing if the devs fail to get this right.

Unique roles for classes are what defines us as players within a virtual world. Forcing players to conform to a one-dimensional, fast action philosophy of combat is a risky gamble.

I believe in time and with a healthy dose of logic and gentle persuasion from the community, the EQ Next dev team will see the error of their ways and bring back a robust class system that encourages class interdependence. Jeff and company, I beg you, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Fix the chemistry of the bath water instead.

Very Little EverQuest in EverQuest Next

Even though SOE cleverly introduced the EQ Next reveal by leveraging touching stories from EQ and EQ2 players, in reality there is precious little of EverQuest within EQ Next. Even the scintillating new theme music by Jeremy Soule doesn’t sound at all reminiscent of the original inspiring EQ theme.


The term “reboot” has enjoyed immense popularity since the recent success of J.J. Abrams Star Trek films and The EQ Next dev team have used this terminology extensively when speaking about a new and reimagined Norrath. To be accurate, the new Star Trek films are far closer to the original TV series than EQ Next is to EverQuest.

SOE has also used the term “franchise” quite frequently. Clearly SOE fully intends to follow the lead of Blizzard and create an entire industry around their EverQuest intellectual property with books, calendars, lunch pails, toys and possibly TV shows and films ahead in the near future.

With regard to the lore and the geography, they’ve brought professional writers on board and recreated the entire Norrathian mythos from scratch. Many of the cities no longer exist. Some races like halflings may never even come back. Traditional combat is gone. Traditional classes are gone too. I would wager that classic EQ features such as corpse runs will never return either.

While I appreciate and respect the fact that SOE is trying to advance the genre, they have not done enough to leverage the passion and nostalgia that we in the player community have for EQ for the previous lore.

The Ugly

Avatar Models: Ugly and Disneyfied

Despite the 10o°+ degree heat in Las Vegas, the part of the EverQuest Next reveal received the coolest reception was the reveal of the Keran warrior. It looked like a cartoon lion reminiscent of Disney’s Simba the Lion King or Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Tony the Tiger. In all honesty, the Keran looked completely ridiculous and I cannot believe that SOE could not produce something more professional looking to show to the entire world at SOE Live.

Even worse was the fact that the Keran warrior was decked out in WoW vanilla tank gear — almost an exact replica of a certain armor set my warrior used to have. On one hand they violate a Blizzard cardinal rule of not releasing something until it’s done and in the other hand they copy Blizzard famous shoulder pads look. It’s disheartening and speaks volumes about the difference between Blizzard and SOE with regard to their standards of excellence and level of polish.

During the world panel, a questioner took the EQ Next art lead Rosie Rappaport to task for such terrible looking avatar. She appeared distraught after hearing the questioner’s statement. Clearly the Keran avatar was not ready for prime time and I find it hard to believe that the EQ Next devs would have not objected to it and prevented it from being released in its current woeful state.

The Keran in the official EQ Next poster is what they should be aiming for, not Simba the Lion King.

The human avatars were not much better and were very Disneyfied. I found them somewhat reminiscent of the cartoony characters SOE used in Free Realms which I actually thought worked well with those environments. As an aside, it’s worth noting that Rosie Rappaport was the art director of Free Reams and incidentally the one constant member of the EQ Next team in all its iterations.

EQ-Next-Character-Comparison

SOE needs to go back to the drawing board revamp their childish avatar models to reflect more of a mature, high fantasy feel. I would suggest using the wonderful character models that were created by the talented Milo D. Cooper in the original EverQuest for inspiration.

Lack of Cohesion between Character Models and Environment

Another problem with the graphics that has bothered me is the lack of cohesion between the caricatured cartoon avatars and the somewhat more realistic looking environments. The avatars look like they don’t belong in Norrath. Contrast this with the Free Realm characters that feel right at home in those stylized environments.

For my money, the environments are spot on and have the right amount of stylization versus realism. What needs to be changed are the characters.

Some Additional Thoughts…

What Happened to the Sandbox MMO?

For months SOE has been talking about EQ Next as the triumphant return of the sandbox MMO. At SOE Live, we heard nothing about that at all.

Perhaps they pivoted and decided to make EQ Next Landmark the sandbox MMO. They need to clarify this and set the record straight.

No Endgame in EQ Next

Apparently there is no endgame in EQ Next as revealed by Dave Georgeson in this video. (Go to 5:28 in the video).

I’m ambivalent about this. The current endgame in most MMORPGs has become very cliched and stagnant. Yet many folks like the current endgame activities for the challenge, cooperation and loot. To be sure MMORPGs need plenty of challenging content for players to the top levels.

Since there are no levels, I have this feeling that the real endgame will be in the Rallying Calls, as they seem to be the best legitimate place for uber bosses to appear, harass the world and mobilize the player community. The best part of  this speculative EQ Next endgame is that everyone would be able to participate in taking down a uber boss mob since it would not happen in an instance. That kind cooperation and camaraderie is something we sorely need to get back to in MMOs.

Crafting in EQ Next?

Again lots of hype about crafters being respected but no real details or presentations on the subject. All we know is that crafting will be integral to EQ Next and used for in Rallying Calls and for weapon augmentation.

Will EQ Next Foster Player Interdependence, Social Cohesion and a Sense of Community?

Probably the number one complaint that I and many others have had about the abysmal state of the fantasy MMORPG genre in the past decade has been the erosion of player interdependence and the terrible community that results. So one of the big letdowns for me and others who attended and watched the EQ Next reveal presentation and many of the panels was the lack of emphasis on community. Since SOE Live, I’ve seen many comments on various social media sites alluding to this and frankly SOE really dropped the ball here failing to promote proposed community aspects of their new MMO.

Interestingly enough, SOE opened up the EQ Next reveal presentation with quite a few moving videos from players who talked about how the original EverQuest had changed their life. The common thread in all of these videos was that EverQuest created a passionate community that actually brought people together both online and in real life. This is far different from how the term community is often misused today in our culture. EverQuest had a real community with a caliber that no other video game or MMO has been able to equal or surpass.

However, as the presentation commenced and finished I was struck by how community was barely even mentioned as a goal of EQ Next. SOE simply cannot rely on their existing fanbase to transplant a sense of community in a new and re-booted Norrath; it must have a purposeful and inherent capacity to attract new players that will create, grow and nurture unique communities of their own.

Is Community the Hidden Grail of EQ Next?

Just when I thought all was lost and with only a few minutes left in the EQ Next Q & A Panel, the following conversation happened:

http://www.eqnextfans.com/news/25318-part-2-of-the-everquest-next-q-a-panel-including

Paul: I’ve been playing EverQuest since I was twelve years old. Been playing a long time with all my buddies. We’ve gotten used to, you know, playing in groups and having lots of friend connections in the game. That being said, having 40 different classes and you being able to change whenever you want, granted it might be hard to get each of them. But once you get them does that mean that the game is going to be more solo based because you can just change to something that you need to be to complete something?

Darrin McPherson: Oh, no, we certainly have content that will require you to be with other people.

Paul: Other than the rallying call stuff?

Darrin McPherson: Oh, totally, we’ve talked about Rallying Calls as one of the pieces of content and we’ve mentioned dungeons and raids in some of the panels. There’s group content out there that requires a group. It doesn’t matter how many classes you collect, you’re still only one dude.

Jeff Butler: It’s a great question, right, in all of our panels and in the debut we focused specifically upon what’s new and what’s different about EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark. We have not necessarily spent a lot of time talking to you about what is the same. There is a lot that is the same. One of the things are the mechanisms that allow people to create and perpetuate social bonds so that the critical mass that we gain, in whatever way, related to the game that we’re building remains so that you can entice your friends based on the enjoyment you’re having in the game. You can get them to come and join and then stick around — so that you don’t have to worry about who you have to group with next week. Dave talks about his “grails”, right, there’s lots of hidden grails, the community is one of them. Everything that we’re doing, our entire focus is driven towards building that community and keeping it.

Dave Georgeson: You may not look for a specific class to overcome a challenge but you will be looking for good players.

Jeff Butler: Skilled players, people who care about their game, who invest time into the game, who are fun to hang around with, who have great emotes. I mean literally we’re trying to give every tool in the toolbox to people to reach out and find those folks who they share like interests with and to form those in-game relationships.

Terry Michaels: Yeah, social interactions and social bonds are extremely important for MMOs, they’re the backbone of what an MMO is, we take that filter when we’re looking at everything and how it’s going to promote that sort of things.

Paul: Just ’cause I highly doubt any game is ever gonna be as hard as EverQuest to get to the top.

Terry Michaels: EverQuest is probably the best example I can think of for promoting social interaction and social bonds, more so than any game I’ve seen in the last decade. I think that’s accurate.

Dave Georgeson: I mean our goal is the same, it’s just our mechanisms might be different.

Jeff Butler: But certainly our understanding of interdependence and the need for your fellow community members couldn’t be stronger.

Jeff Butler is spot on here. After I watched this part of the video, I felt reassured that EQ Next would not forget to include content for groups and require some form of player/class interdependence which are the fundamental ingredients in creating a good and cohesive player community.

Part of the problem is a lack of communication. The marketing team became too obsessed with all of their promotional hype which has been primarily focused on new and possibly gimmicky features such as emergent gameplay, destructibles, multi-classing and a dynamic world. Creating EQ Next is not all about just the new features; it should be about reclaiming what was once great about EverQuest: the features that fostered community. Failure to strongly promote community as a holy grail design ethos needlessly alienated a lot of EverQuest fans that were hoping for something more from EQ Next.

I think that the marketing team needs to recalibrate their plans and talking points so as to reassure EverQuest fans and the millions of players who have become disillusioned with Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and other MMORPG offerings.

A Video That Says it All About Player Interdependence and Community

This is probably the most moving and honest video I’ve ever watched about the power of EverQuest and how it changed people’s lives. These are the kinds of people that I knew and met in EverQuest. I want a MMORPG that will do that for me again. I just hope that EQ Next team has the courage and vision to make that happen again.

Some Final Thoughts

Something seems amiss in EQ Next. Perhaps it’s the lack of a high fantasy feeling that is absent in the voxel formed and Minecraft inspired environments. Or maybe it’s the overly stylized and caricatured superhero characters that stampeded their way around the comical live demo. Honestly, I think it’s something much deeper.

I believe what is really bothering me is that I feel betrayed by SOE and the EQ Next dev team. I feel that SOE forgot about us. Even sadder is the possibility that EQ Next was never intended for us.

Many loyal fans were expecting that EQ Next would include some semblance of the original EverQuest’s design elements. We were extremely disappointed to learn that it would not be the case. Regrettably, it seems that EverQuest Next is EverQuest in name only. I hope they understand that there is no way that thousands of loyal fans would have spent thousands of dollars each to fly to Las Vegas and rally around a new MMO if it didn’t have the word “EverQuest” in it.

Part of me feels that SOE, perhaps not intentionally, took advantage of our trust and enthusiasm in order to promote EQ Next — a MMO that barely resembles the original EverQuest in appearance and in spirit. To make matters worse they didn’t even have the decency to announce that SEO Live attendees would be guaranteed a spot in the EQ Next beta.

I know that I am not alone. I’ve seen a lot of angst and disappointment expressed on various forums in the aftermath of the SOE Live EQ Next reveal. After coming to terms with that EQ Next will not be what we desired, I feel like I’m going through the stages of grief. Today I feel particularly angry about the whole thing.

Maybe there is enough in the current proposals for EQ Next to keep EQ veterans happy. Right now, I’m not at all convinced. I give it a 60% chance of succeeding right now given the design, the assembled talent and SOE’s track record.

As much as it pains me to say this, it needs to be said: if SOE fails to properly execute their vision for EQ Next, Blizzard could take all of those new concepts and just as they did with the original EverQuest, they could turn it into a polished successful MMO in the near future.  If that were to happen, it would be the ultimate irony. You can bet the clever people at Blizzard are all over this — hurriedly taking notes and making plans.

If there is any silver lining in all of this is that SOE seems to have turned a new page in MMO development with regard to their relationship with the community. They seem to want the community to participate in the development of EQ Next using both Landmark and the suggestions and concerns of players via their Roundtable website. I sensed a genuine desire for community collaboration during the various panels.

One way that SOE can help alleviate the concerns of their loyal fanbase is to for them to honestly acknowledge the problem, reach out to the real EQ community and find ways to bring back more of the EverQuest spirit and magic back into EQ Next.

I also feel that if enough respectful pressure is applied upon SOE that reasonable people like Dave Georgeson and Jeff Butler will take heed and listen. After all we have invested many years of our lives into SOE and EverQuest. We are family. We have paid our dues unlike the new gamers that they seem to be EQ Next’s target audience.

Given what I saw at SOE Live and given the history of the MMO industry, I suspect that EQ Next will go live in 2015. It goes without saying that I really wanted to like EQ Next and I really wanted to believe all over again. I wish SOE and the EQ dev team all the best in the next two years as they break new and untested ground both literally and virtually. I predict the MMO we saw at SOE Live will be drastically different when it is finally released.

I commend SOE for what they are trying to do in moving the genre forward in such a bold and original way. Since they have claimed this is collaborative work in progress, they can’t do it without us and we can’t do it without them. As a software developer myself, I know what it feels like to have ideas of mine rejected. It’s tough and it hurts, but you need to have humility and be open to criticism if you want to succeed.

We all want EQ Next to be the best MMORPG on the planet. SOE has revealed a lot here and we’ve listened patiently. Now it’s the community’s turn to tell them what we think and it’s their turn to pause, take some time and listen with an open mind.

-Wolfshead

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Dullahan August 8, 2013 at 3:19 am

Spot on.

Disappointed more than excited. Mostly because they thought they had to completely reinvent the MMO instead of building on the amazing foundation that Everquest laid.

Their remarks about community were nothing but rhetoric. Its plain to see that community is an afterthought because everything that establishes it has been removed. The dangerous world that was Norrath forged communities by naturally encouraging people to work together to survive and progress. Everything they have envisioned thus far for EQ Next works to remove that interdependence, and its extremely disappointing.

My only hope now is that they see the error of their ways and humbly bring these issues up for players to vote on at the EQ Roundtable.

Good article though, even if this is a bummer for us all.

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Alyndale August 8, 2013 at 6:20 am

Greetings!
It is so good to be reading your threads again. In my humble opinion some of the best crafted regarding games/mmo’s on the net! Thank you for this thread.

I would like to say first, that I’m quite excited about most of the changes in EverQuest Next. Many will, I feel, become cornerstones for mmo’s we “play” in the future.

Now, I do want to briefly discuss the combat system. Obviously, this was the most widely discussed aspect of last weekend’s reveal to the public. From what I have seen and read, not too many understand nor agree with the plan or direction taken thus far. Much of this is as you observed, Terry Michaels admits the team didn’t “put their best foot forward” with the tech demo of combat. Now, yeah I sort of felt there was something not right about the visuals and am hoping the team will respond by cleaning things up a bit. remember, we really simply do NOT know enough about how all this combat will actually work in EQ Next. I believe there is yet more to come here.

Now, something I have not seen on any forum discussion as of yet is how emergent AI effects combat in general. It is my understanding that mobs/AI are let loose upon the land to act upon it as they will. To me, I think this means AI can and will make many decisions on their own based on the consequence of their actions. If an orc, say, has some modicum of “free will” in-game, then does this not mean that they will choose how to defend themselves in case of a fight with you or me? Go back to WoW’s, Burning Crusade, 2.4, when Magisters’ Terrace was created. I remember the third boss encounter, I believe, where there were four or five “named mobs” that had to be dispatched in a particular order originally the way the mechanic was set up

If I’m not mistaken here, there was not a fight quite like this previously in Blizzard’s development cycles up to that time. It was more like a pvp encounter than the traditional tank n spank fight with the typical “disco” type dancing about. There was NO aggro mechanic, thus it was a chaotic fight that really took “heads-up” teamwork to complete at that time. I hated it and so did many of my guild mates, but eventually we puzzled it all out.

Thus my point here, is if in EQ Next all AI is now emergent, (greater artificial intelligence), then it seems we shall fight less as a typical trinity team and more as a pvp team in these encounters.

This is how I perceive the combat mechanic as it should work with emergent AI/consequence philosophy. Of course I do feel we’ll know more withing the next several months about much that was left out. We have much to look forward to and it appears that we as a community are invited to discuss with the development team. Let us ALL hope that SoE now will actually pay attention.
We shall see…

Thanks for the fantastic blog! I look forward to many more threads and the many great bloggers that responds here. I sort of feel as though I walk amongst giants of the player-based mmo genre here! I am humbled.

Alyn- Lineage ][, Gustin server, EverQuest 2, Butcherblock, and WoW, Uldum.

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Wolfshead August 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Excellent point about that particular Magister’s Terrace encounter that had no agro or threat component. I do agree that was an interesting and unique fight for players to figure out.

My concern with that is that players get into a comfortable rhythm of how to play and to reinvent the wheel on every encounter may be asking too much of most players. I would be like coming into work each day and be given a completely different job. It would be perplexing for most people to have to encounter such a steep learning curve on a daily basis.

I think SOE should keep traditional roles but give the mobs more advanced A.I. that makes combat fresh and interesting but not completely bewildering and obtuse. It’s all about maintaining a balance that works for the players.

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Targeter August 8, 2013 at 7:52 am

The overwrought combat demo was … er … poorly done. And I thought the character graphics would turn off a lot of players, especially since it emulates Kingdoms of Amalur and Fable (not WoW … the gear in WoW doesn’t look THAT good). But they’re trying something new and dammit, it looks interesting as hell. The real question is: can they pull it off? It already looks more immersive than WoW, TOR, or LoTRO, but can it deliver the rest? I’ll be interested to see and EQN is definitely on my radar.

Don’t give up yet, Wolfie. Let’s see what they talk about next (hopefully crafting and social systems).

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João Carlos August 8, 2013 at 8:30 am

@Wolfshead

“I commend SOE for what they are trying to do in moving the genre forward in such a bold and original way.”

We need remember what was the original EQ: we had only MUDs and EQ was a bold and original way to add 3D graphics to MMO. While UO created sandbox, EQ created themepark. Inovation was the most important feature that EQ had. But they innovated for good and too innovated for bad.

They decided to scrap everything and re-start MMO from zero. But we know that MMO is following the wrong path for years now, so IMHO it is a good idea start from zero.

They are being bold, not only they bring Storybricks to game, but they too bring Voxel Farm. Voxel Farm permits a procedural world be created. Take note what they want: no instanced dungeons. There are dungeons below everyplace and prcedural world make each server will have diferent non instanced dungeons…

I fear players get accoustumed to the things that this wrong path give us. The holly trinity is an example: are you sure that we really need it? If we want player interaction, maybe be better not have fast tranpostation (no teleportation, no flying mounts) and no auction houses, I guess players will come to EC Tunnel again… or maybe other place… for trade.

[mmmm... EC Tunnel and player emotes... can be an interesting combination.... mmmmmmm.... why they are giving to all players abilities that are equivalent to SoW? we can ever hope....]

Levels don’t help too. I think almost everyone is seeing “tiers” as being the same as levels. However, they said that there are few tiers (vertical advancement is shallow), and everything we saw until now do’nt go above tier 3 (http://i.imgur.com/Zz7I2ma.jpg). Be warned they said there is no xp and no skill points for advance tiers, so how the advancement is made? My best guess is that they want use an achievement system like GW2 for open classes and tiers.

Try be more optimistic: try imagine how awake the Sleeper and rallying calls will work together… because I can see the Sleeper being an one time event, not repeatable… it was not repeatable in original EQ.

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Dullahan August 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Theres no scenario I can think of where its wise to completely scrap a design or philosophy when it worked well in the past. Especially in the case of Everquest where its never been duplicated and the original mechanics have only been forgotten over the years in the very game they first appeared.

Innovating just to innovate is generally (almost always) a bad idea. Its important to build upon the things we’ve created, making them better. Just because MMO’s are “following the wrong path” today, doesn’t at all mean the path they started on 10 years back was wrong. Threat management, for instance, was not the sort of thing you had to tear down to change the dynamics of combat.

The idea that the trinity or threat management was an “unintelligent” mechanic or “primitive” from the start is ridiculous. Threat management, when properly implemented was a very challenging mechanic and the fact that it has been dumbed down over the years does not change the fact that it was once a very fun metagame and provided a great foundation for combat AI.

In fact, the threat system very closely imitated PvP combat when it was done properly and could have only been improved upon. For instance, in classic Everquest, taunt did nothing if your threat as the tank was no where near the threat of other players. Very similar to the drawbacks in PvP, if a wizard “revealed himself”, nuking early before the tank did damage or procced/casted spells, no amount of mashing the taunt button would keep that wizard from dying. Other countermeasures like CC would have to be relied upon, the tank was taken out of the picture. The entire system was very touch and go.

In addition, contrary to SOE’s insulting straw dummy arguments that aggro and taunting were some form of trickery, the tank was never meant to be a deceitful class. It was never meant to be the smart guy trying to pull a fast one. The tank is supposed to present a very real threat. Powerful, nasty, mean and deadly was their role so that other players could play their own. Making up silly, fictitious arguments about how they’ve made AI so smart they don’t recognize a class designed to be a very clear and present danger is bogus, and to those of us who understand the role system, makes their AI inherently stupid.

Anyway, point being you can build upon the old foundation and keep the aggro system and class roles. These mechanics aren’t the constraints that SOE is making them out to be, and I found it an insult to my intelligence that they went as far as they did in bashing what made games so enjoyable in the past, knowing what they presented us with was unsubstantiated and inferior not only in show, but in concept.

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João Carlos August 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm

@Dullahan

The ironic thing about your logic is that if SOE and Verant (remember this name?) were never to develop EQ if they followed your advice.

In the 1990′s existed only MUDs and UO and they scrapped completelly that philosophy and design for launch EQ in 1999. EQ was the first 3D MMO, it was the first themepark, but it is more than that: they created themepark, quests, the holly trinity and pratically everything we see today in any MMO. They scrapped out everything that existed and started a new model.

That was a phase of crazy experimentation. No one know exactly what they were doing, and EQ had zones that had diferent mobs at night, zones where 3 diferent faction were in war and players can choose a faction for help, and they had an one time event not repeatable, when the Sleeper is awaken. That was a time when players walked all way from Freeport to Qeynos and that was a real adventure, but that crazy experimentation made them create first the spires, then PoK, that ended that heroic age.

WoW later make exactly what you advice: they build upon the things that EQ created. But built oupon other things was not what made EQ great .

The real secret of EQ is not mantain and preserve forever a tradition from old, it is innovate, it is create new things, new models, new systems, it is look for the future.

That was the real magic, currently lost, of EQ: innovation. Let’s that magic return.

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Dullahan August 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Everquest took most of its ideas from MUDs and DnD. They didn’t try to create everything from scratch the way EQ Next is. The class roles, the vertical leveling and even a lot of AI type stuff from combat existed before Everquest. EQ just pioneered the 3d world and used things that worked in other games to make it run.

As you can see, very different strategies. One builds on the things we know to work, the other is attempting to build as much from scratch as possible.

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João Carlos August 10, 2013 at 8:11 am

MUDs don’t had the holly trinity….

EQ created the holly trinity.

Veynos August 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Everquest wasn’t the first 3D MMO. That honor belongs to Meridan 59.

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Robert Thompson August 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Initially I was extremely disappointed, but after attending the panels and personally talking with Darrin, Terry, Dave, and a few of the other devs I am extremely excited about this game.

I think the concerns most people have with the classes is a tad overblown; the trick is going to come down to balancing. A character wont be a jack of all trades superhero due to the fact that your base class determines what types of abilities you can customize. And just because they are moving away from the holy trinity doesn’t mean that class interdependence will die. Imagine taking on some monsters with a group of friends and you fail miserably. You’ll have to strategically retool your characters and try again rather than wait around for tank/heal/mez. The more I think about their class system the more I’m looking forward to it.

I think it is important to think about why they showed us what they did. The combat demo was less of a combat demo and more of a “this is why destruction is going to be important” demo. As you said they just sat there spamming abilities. We have little information on how combat is going to actually work, and I get the sense that they’re not entirely settled on the matter either.

They also spent a lot of time showing us EQN Landmark to show us ‘the hype machine’ that will hopefully hold us over. I think the technical aspect of this game is quite often overlooked though; EQNL will serve as a test bed most of the EQN subsystems. Think about it, things like procedural terrain generation, resource management, UI, social tools, tiered levels of content, permission systems, the list goes on and on. EQNL is basically giving SOE a head start on fine tuning these systems and make for a much more finely tuned machine once EQN launches.

However, I whole heartily agree that they should have put a tad more emphasis on what elements are the same rather than what was different. Every dev I talked to over the weekend was extremely passionate about the EQ Classic experience and I truly believe they’re doing everything in their power to recapture that experience without rehashing it.

Either way, great article keep em coming!

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Gronky August 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Many good points. But he talks all the time that lack of classes is bad bad bad. He thinks that all classes in EQN are damage classes. He is forgetting that rogue has two ability slots for utility skills and one two for damage. So I see it as a great support/cc class. Another class may have two defence slots and two utility (damage could come from two weapon skills only) which may make it a great tank especially if you add shield as a left hand weapon with its own two defence skills (so 4 defence skills altogether, 2 utility and 2 attack from weapon).

There may be high damage classes like some crazy wizard with one utility skill and 3 damage ones. And who knows maybe some high level weapon sets may give so much power that class with 4 utility abilities and 4 incredible skills which comes from weapons may be super effective healer if those abilities are mostly healing and weapon skills are quite utility like. I don’t even mention combos and ability synergies (they mentioned them in class panel) which may give some crazy effects. For example exploding magic bubble which normally would just do huge aoe damage, if infused with a healing spell, which was cast at the same location before explosion happens, could do damage to mobs and heal players in the area at the same time. So you can imagine how two players one which is casting explosion bubble and another healing spell could synergy.

Basically we may have classes and roles which are more diverse than author of this article believes. They may be cooler than a few role/classes in EQN. Big questions is, will sony deliver ? :)

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Gronky August 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

They could make everything destructible and just make people pay for damages which could then be repaired by town folks. No matter if player is seen or not, magic all around will tell guards who was destroying marked environment. Environment which was not marked (with magic) can be destroyed freely. Players which do a lot of damage will have to pay in some way not necessarily always money. It would make it a good money sink.

Also if player is attacked they still will have to watch out what marked things they damage (guards can’t get money from orcs but can still charge player :)). This way we could learn how to avoid some fights or do them in smart ways. Regarding mark things. City walls and everything in the city could be marked. Everything in important places outside, bridges, villages and plants there could be marked as well even if their value is lower. Even trees in the forest represents some value to town folks so they should be marked as well. Mines as well and whatever may have any value and seems like something what is known by town folks. This leaves hidden areas, mob camps, some dangerous caves and such to have almost or no worth and be not marked at all. But those not marked places will be usually dangerous so nobody will be wrecking them all the time. Also such not marked areas will be little less visited so they could be repaired faster or slower but there should be no need as world will be changing constantly procedurally.

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Brian 'Psychochild' Green August 9, 2013 at 12:05 am

Well, wish I had known you were going. I’d have liked to have said “hi” at least.

I do find it funny that you criticize the developers for saying something isn’t “realistic”, then criticize the stylized graphics. I’m careful about what I talk about these days, but there’s a reason why Disney faces are so large: it’s easier to see the emotion. Typical MMO faces that have “realistic” proportions are too tiny to really notice in typical gameplay. How many times have you spent several minutes picking just the right eyes on an avatar, only to have them essentially be reduced to a few pixels on the screen when in the actual game world?

Seeing emotional expressions in the world given the typical distance between camera and character will give a very different feel to the game world.

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Wolfshead August 9, 2013 at 11:39 am

I like stylization actually and have been saying so for years on this website; I just don’t like the EQ Next models. For me it’s a matter of degree, style and execution. They are just stylized too much and have ventured close to cartoon territory.

Look at the Blizzard WoW females, they are stylized but without the over the top Disney look. That’s the difference between an AAA studio and a regular studio; they understand their target audience and create art that is aesthetically pleasing for them.

The original EverQuest models were stylized as well but they didn’t have the over the top Disney look.

I watched Rosie’s presentation at SOE Live and I understand and have been aware of the theory for years It’s the same reason theatre actors use exaggerated makeup to make their eyes stand out — so people can read their expressions from a distance.

Congratulations on Storybricks being implemented into EQ Next!

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Brian 'Psychochild' Green August 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Thanks! I’m obviously very excited for the game. I’m trying to balance between being a tease and violating NDA.

Anyway, the difference between WoW and EQN is that WoW faces don’t have to be expressive. Your female WoW character will have the same dead expression (especially if they’re Forsaken! ;) from creation until the artist tweak the face visuals. So, I think it’s not a good comparison.

I say give it some time. I think once you see the faces in the game world and see how expressive they are, and how that adds to the feeling of actually being in the world, you might grow to appreciate them.

I think the big problem is that the game is so different than what has come before, so it’s hard to really understand it. Without context people will compare things like gameplay without the holy trinity and art direction to what they’ve seen before. So, this leads to a lot of inaccurate speculation.

Anyway, I’ll stop now before I say something I shouldn’t. :) But, I think the end result will be a lot better than a lot of the worriers are fearing, including you, Wolfshead. :)

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Wolfshead August 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Fair point Brian. Thanks for your comments and insight. Always top notch!

Given the fact that EQ Next faces need the capacity to convey expression may be part of the reason for the heightened exaggeration.

I’m just hoping they can try to incorporate a bit more of a high fantasy feel to the models and the world. I think also what worried me was the modern day hairstyle the female had.

I’m hoping that the character models are works in progress and that we’ll be seeing some real improvement. Avatars are a big deal for players as they really need to be able to fall in love with them to help them bond to the world.

As to your point, I agree when you don’t have enough information that opens the door to speculation and concern. I just wish we could have had the chance to actually play with these characters at SOE Live.

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Rob August 9, 2013 at 7:46 am

Faces in EQ have gone downhill since the originals in EQ1. Those had character.

The new faces introduced a few years into EQ1 were worse than the original faces, and it’s all been downhill ever since.

I look at all those beautiful Asian character models and wonder why they can’t import some of those artists, or open an art branch office in Asia.

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Dullahan August 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I actually didn’t mind the art for the human female, as it was a little more moderate. The kerran on the other hand just looked more out of place, especially in the more realistic looking environment they put them in. Not against the kerran altogether though. The textures on the armor looked pretty incredible, its just the art style of both the armor and the character didn’t seem to suit the world they were creating.

Maybe it was just me and I’d adjust to it over time.

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GrumpyKoala August 10, 2013 at 8:05 pm

So now that we have had the big reveal of Everquest NOT! ( after all they must have spent 60 minutes over the weekend telling us how it was not Everquest).

How long do you think it will be before someone releases an MMO that could truly be called Everquest Next?

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cc August 18, 2013 at 6:38 am

Im sorry to all those fan boys with blindfolds over there eyes, game looks horrible all the new stuff is not that impressive because the graphics look like they were designed in the 90′s, the team behind eq next are all washed up idiots or they are too old to be designing video games, the only people who are going to play this game are kids who think its a dysney game this will be very apparent when the sales figures come out and they are no where near projected, there are just too many quality games out there for a dysney looking game to do well, hell even eq2 looks better than this pile and its 10 years old…lol. The industry needs more young blood to push the envelope, I understand that graphics are kind of at a stand still but to go 10x backwards is ridiculous, example if this game even remotly looked like ffxiv or AOC, it may have a chance

The truly funny thing was guys who presented the game the entire auditorium was is shock not at how great the game looked but at how horrible it looked, the presenters had to ask for applause basically, the would say something and no one would be clapping because they were in shock at how bad the game looked, the looser were all impressed with the lighting and shadows LOLOL come on loosers thats so 90′s every game has lighting and shadows sorry to burst your bubble. Again no one is going to be impressed with say building anything if it looks like it plopped out of a dysney universe. I feel sorry for these developers they are all going to be unemployed before they no it lol. Games like Elder Scrolls online and ffxiv ARR, are laughing all the way to the bank, this game will only draw competition for wii games lol.

What a waste of 5 years, looks to me like they tried to do a good looking game with these so called ground breaking ideas but did not have the talent to do so , so they just stuck with uninspired graphics to get the job done, and plan on the gaming world to turn a blind eye to it, well im sorry I will not you guys suck and dont say we never intended to make a game like eq2 of course you did not you could not talentless loosers. If they thing there going to charge a monthly fee for this game that will make me laugh right out of my shoes. I will admit I absolutely love EQ2 , I think the reason im so mad is because its 2013 and games are not looking as good as they should and i was hoping for something spectacular for eqnext what a let down, but sony needs to clean house over there has anyone even seed dragons prophacy what a joke as well, game looks and plays like a browser based game…anyway thats my 2 cents im going to be just fine playing ffxiv or any of the many other games that trump this garbage.

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Hardrains August 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I suspect the reason for 8 skills assembled from many classes is because the PvP will be a MOBA. Might as well cash in on the success of those games since they’ve already copied Minecraft.

When Smedley said they threw out the first two iterations of EQ Next I honestly prepared to see something innovative. Oh well. Once my expectations were shot I remembered that ultimately Sony sells consoles.

I think a truly deep virtual fantasy world, one that appeals to an older audience (like EverQuest did), will need to come from a small indie developer who simply wants to make a game they themselves want to play and would be perfectly happy with 250k subscribers.

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bjr January 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Well most of the old school EQ players like tough raiding intensive games like the original, but most regular gamers these days don’t like that stuff. EQ2 struck a good balance between being a bit on the challenging side (but nothing like the original) but also being solo friendly.

After watching and reading all this, I’d say the jury is still out for me. I don’t know what the make of it. Some of the characters and zones look kinda EQ, but it’s really different.

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Boosher January 25, 2014 at 10:17 am

My excitement went from off the charts (before the reveal) – to buried 6 feet under by the time the reveal was over. Seriously the biggest joke and debacle I’ve ever seen. Oh I’m sure they will make a ton of money off the wow generation of gamers which this is clearly marketed towards. But calling this an Everquest game takes the term “laughable” to a whole new level. And watching the youtube video called “Everquest Next Parkour” hits even harder the flying circus that Everquest Next is and will be.

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Gronze February 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Read the whole article. Great read and a nice departure from the typical air-headed over-optimism that revolves around new MMOs. I realize I’m a little late to the party but I’ve been reading up since playing the alpha if Landmark. What I experienced lead me to believe that the EQN team does not have what it takes to put out a game of the quality needed to take the crown from WoW. Anything short of a mini-remake will result in the game being awkward and disappointing.

It’s widely accepted that flying mounts and automated dungeon systems are the real reason behind the decline in quality if WoW. I imagine Blizzard is aware of this. You made a good point in noting that Blizzard is likely watching in the shadows and taking notes. Given my recent loss of hope in EQN, I’m actually hoping this is the case. It’s become apparent that no other company is capable of putting out a decent MMO. With the current iteration of Titan having recently been scrapped, I see the possibility of Blizzard changing its game plan.

I’m much less optimistic about EQN than the 60% chance of success you threw down now that I’ve played Alpha. There is way too much wrong with even just the core gameplay, mechanics, visual style, among other things present in Landmark. It shows a deep lack of competency in the devs behind the game. I’m not hopeful so I will be looking to Blizzard from this point on while occasionally taking a skeptical glance at EQN from time to time.

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