SOE Announces EverQuest Next

It’s crazy to think but it’s been 15 years since EverQuest took root and began siphoning the hours away from millions of players around the world before the current powerhouse, World of Warcraft, stepped in. It’s also a franchise that many people hold dear.

In an effort to retake the throne and capture your attention, Sony Online Entertainment has been hard at work creating a new experience, almost like a reboot of the once very popular franchise. EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmarks are the results of these efforts and they’re also looking to change the way you think about EverQuest for good.

The first big change coming to EverQuest Next is the “multiclass” system. Ditching the standard D&D roles, Next will allow users to select around 40 different professions rather than select a class and stick to that role for the life of the character. Players will be able to mix and match abilities as they like so you could easily have a spell casting rogue or a tank who prefers ranged combat for example. I’m probably oversimplifying things just a bit here, but that’s the gist behind it.

The next major addition is one that I personally can’t fathom in an MMO. SOE is promising destructible environments with players able to dismantle, destroy, and damage the world around them. Coming from a franchise like Battlefield, I just can’t imagine how something like this would be possible in an MMO but trust me, I’m very interested to see how this comes together. SOE has also said the destruction doesn’t just adhere to structures, but deformation is also included allowing players to tear away at the land to explore subterranean caverns. Considering that all this destruction would lead to a shrinking and uninteresting world if kept permanent, SOE is making sure to let the world “heal” over time.

EQNCaves

Taking queues from a game like Rift and even the upcoming Destiny, EverQuest Next will introduce players to large events called “Rallying Calls.” These public events will also have a permanent change on the landscape. The example given was that a group of settlers asked you and other players to build a frontier town complete with stone walls. This town will remain permanent until destroyed. The quest will no longer be available ever again, so if you missed it, you’re out of luck. This system will also incorporate large-scale battles, dragon attacks, and many other events.

What is EverQuest Next Landmark?
Think of Landmark as EverQuest meets Minecraft, driven more by creation than combat. Each world can hold thousands of players at one time as they rush out to stake a claim on a certain part of the land. Once claimed, players will own that land permanently and begin building on. From there, players can gather resources, find premade items through exploration, or even recipes upon which to build new items. Structures and items will not be limited to fantasy/EverQuest related themes giving the players essentially, no rules to their imagination. Players can also sell items for real money for use in either Landmarks or Next once it’s released. Landmarks is due out sometime this winter for free.

There’s no solid release date yet on EverQuest Next but what has been detailed by Sony Online Entertainment sounds incredibly ambitious. Permanent world change, deformation and destruction, emergent AI, and just making the player feel like they matter in the grand scope of things are a great place to start. Here’s hoping they can pull it off as it could be the breath of fresh air that this genre needs. We’ll see.

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