In my last article, I discussed recent news about two top Daybreak Games developers named Holly Longdale and Luke Sigmund. Executive Producer of the EverQuest franchise Holly has been involved at SOE and DBG off and on for about 17 years. Since Luke who is the Creative Director of the EverQuest Franchise was a complete mystery to me, I decided to learn more about him.
While searching for more information about Luke on Twitter, I found an interesting series of related tweets coming up from Brian R. James. Brian is an award-winning Dungeons & Dragons game designer with an extensive history of contributing modules to the D&D world. Brian creates fantasy lore for a living.
Not only is Brian an well-respected icon in the D&D community, turns out he’s a massive EQ fan.
The Plot Thickens
The first tweet of interest comes from a private meeting he had with Holly and Luke at Daybreak Games studio in metro San Diego in September of 2018. To my knowledge, the following seemingly innocuous tweet is the only public evidence of this meeting.
After reading this tweet, it’s obvious that DBG plans on announcing something of great importance in 2019. I wonder what it could be? My best guess is it will be a new EverQuest MMORPG.
When an award-winning lore D&D lore creator has a secret meeting with both the Creative Director and the Executive Producer of the EverQuest franchise you can safely bet it’s about a new EverQuest video game.
Now if you are creating a fantasy world, you most certainly need a map. Since the days of J.R.R. Tolkien, maps of fantasy worlds are integral part of creating a sense of immersion for the audience. Brian’s next tweet sheds more light on this mystery:
There have been many maps made of Norrath over the years by fans. But Brian is no mere fan. A fan would not hire a professional cartographer to make a map since many maps already exist of Norrath in its EQ and EQ 2 incarnations. Clearly, Brian looks to be creating the official map for an upcoming new EverQuest title.
Finally, Brian posted an interesting tweet about maps of Norrath he’s been creating with an incredible web-based fantasy map and world creator service called
That tweet pretty much seals the deal for me. When an award-winning lore guy is tweeting a map he created of Norrath from one age to another you know something serious is going on behind the scenes. I believe that Brain is currently collaborating with Daybreak Games. Even Brian wearing a Daybreak Games t-shirt on his Twitter profile is a bit of a giveaway. Combine that tweet with the previous two tweets and it’s a no-brainer about what is coming in 2019 for EverQuest fans.
It doesn’t stop there. If you read the tweets from the official EverQuest and the Holly Longdale Twitter accounts — too many to mention here — you will see that they are full of cryptic clues about some big announcements coming in 2019. I believe the biggest announcement from Daybreak Games will be a video game that is a successor to the venerable legacy of EverQuest and EverQuest 2 later this year. You heard it here first.
My greatest fear is that EverQuest will be morphed into some kind of battle royal game. Or it will be resurrected in mobile form. I urge DBG not to go that route and not make the mistake of incorporating the battle royal fad into the new EverQuest like Intrepid Studios has so foolishly done with alpha versions of Ashes of Creation.
One thing is for certain, any new EverQuest will absolutely have the support and approval of loyal fans if it is to have any chance of success. If it does not, it will crash and burn. In my conversations with hardcore EQ players about the future of EQ, many still feel letdown from the EQ Next debacle and are rightfully skeptical. DBG will have to pull out all the stops if it plans to regain their trust and win them over.
While there are other MMORPGs out there that claim to be the spiritual successor to EverQuest, I believe that only DBG has the best chance to accomplish this as they have the talent and the resources to pull it off. They also have
Just as the Ford Model-T with an engine, 4 wheels, brakes, a steering wheel and a chassis is the basis for automobiles created since likewise, EverQuest is a perfect starting point for any new high fantasy MMORPG. Blizzard took EQ and turned it into a billion dollar franchise with 13 million subscribers. DBG could easily do the same if they play their cards right and use the fundamentals of EQ and take it to the next level with enhancements and polish.
A new EverQuest may be our last best hope for a high fantasy MMORPG. This is DGB’s last chance to get it right. Failure is simply not an option.
In the coming months, I intend to focus on the future of EverQuest. I’m going to try to ascertain more of the magic behind this MMORPG classic. I will discuss what went right with EQ and EQ2 and what went wrong. Years have passed since my article about EverQuest 3 and I believe it’s time for a new look at the future of the EverQuest franchise. Stay tuned.
I read your article a while ago and, well, dismissed it as poor old Wolfshead still hoping. That would have been a short and not too useful thought/comment. But thinking about MMOs, their rise and current demise, I got something more to consider:
What do we want from EQ2 or new MMOs? Would what we got back in the days still work out nicely today?
Times changed, most veterans are also now say 40-50 years old. What would young gamers/roleplayers love?
Social media, mobile internet, ever faster paced social interaction and times. Even more people on the internet, to put it bluntly, we already had lots of weird and not so smart people, to put it politely, back in the days, nowadays they also have the advantage of sheer mass of millions. It’s not gold that is swimming on top of the internet river…!
WoW was the right thing for its time, it was an evolution of EverQuest that also and perhaps unfortunately killed off the social aspects. Perhaps that is just not viable with so many players anymore. And small, great, tight-knit communities aren’t what developers are looking for. The internet wasn’t “young” anymore at that time, but MMOs were still the amazing place to be together online. Forums and blogs were more frequented. Today we have Youtube, Discord, messengers and Twitch e.g..
So how to make a MMO for the times of loot shooters, battle royale, MOBAs, mobile games etc.?
Now that takes rather a visionary than an experienced designer. It would be risky and expensive. So, who will be it and “do a Blizzard” and take something from the market and make it great? Think of Apple, the “Smartphone” idea was not that new, PDAs existed already for quite a while, but never took off.
That’s what the new EQ would have to be. It will have to fight against a stale MMO market that got wowified and shaped player expecations and experiences for decades by now. It would require lots of genius, luck and determination to pull that off. And I can’t wait to shower praise on the person/company that will do it one day, hopefully soon. 🙂
Thanks for the post and interesting thoughts.
What bugs me the most is that the fantasy MMORPG genre still has vast amounts of untapped potential. The core mechanics are still very solid after all these years. Blizzard distilled EQ into a fast-paced one size fits all MMO and combined it with unheard of amounts of polish. However, the envelope has not been pushed for about 20 years now and it’s getting stale.
One thing is certain, another WoW clone is not acceptable. Even WoW in its current incarnation is an unplayable catastrophe. Blizzard’s only hope for redemption is for WoW Classic and as they move forward to chart a new course avoiding the pitfalls of flying mounts, group finder, etc.
Lots of people — myself included — would be happy for DBG to pick up where EQ left off and create a new version of EQ with AAA+ graphics, animations, effects, etc. EQ in its current incarnation with the TLP servers still has magic that is really not available in any other MMO.
I’m very worried about DGB and their love of cash shops and pay to win schemes like Krono. Monetization can easily destroy the integrity of a virtual world which is now happening on the TLP servers with Chinese Krono farmers and boxers locking down all of the rare spawns.
It’s going to take someone with the vision and tenacity of Steve Jobs to pull off the next great MMORPG. I don’t see anyone on the scene now who can pull it off. I still can’t believe that someone like Markus “Notch” Persson who sold Minecraft for a billion dollars hasn’t financed a serious MMO. He certainly has the resources.
I hope that DBG gives EverQuest another shot. EQ Next was a terrible mistake. If they don’t want to do something they should just sell the franchise to someone who cares.