I made the error of taking a look at the MMORPG.com EverQuest Next forum. As usual, it’s mostly vitriol from know-nothing vermin. I’ve come to the conclusion that people who post on MMORPG forums don’t play MMORPGs much, because my actual in-game experience is generally more positive.
Typical fanboy dumbfuckery aside, EQNext is one of the games I’m most looking forward to in the virtual world space. But we really have relatively little information about it at this point. Here’s what we know about EverQuest Next, along with some commentary and speculation from me:
- EverQuest Next was the working title; now it’s confirmed to be the actual title.
- There will be a reveal at SOELive on August 2nd. Live streams from the event will be available.
- Based on stuff Smed has said, it’s supposed to be sandboxy. To what degree we don’t know. But SOE has a strong sandbox pedigree from SWG, and even their average (in-house) game is sandboxier than the current industry average. This is, as far as I’m concerned, the biggest unknown variable about the game at this time.
- The game was well into development but was then substantially rebooted. Exactly how much was redone is unknown, but it sounds like a significant overhaul. I kind of doubt that it was a 100% scrap and restart, though.
- EQNext will use the ForgeLight engine. This is the same engine used for Planetside 2, but don’t make the mistake of assuming this means that the graphical style of EQNext will be similar to that of PS2.
- Since there’s a classes panel at SOELive, it’s a good bet the game will have classes. These might be tight rigid, classes or open, loose classes, but it won’t be 100% skill-based like EVE or anything.
- It’s a good bet that Kerrans will be a playable race. I’m lukewarm about that personally, although if they look more like the cool tiger-guy in the promo artwork and less like domestic shorthairs that’d be great.
- It would be stunning if EQNext were anything other than free to play with some kind of subscription option. Don’t be shocked to find that there’s a new twist or two, however minor, to the formula for EQNext. Certainly, expect some kind of preorder bundle, and perhaps a retail box, but it won’t be required to play.
- Something is supposed to be playable this year. This might mean some kind of testing, or it might mean playable demos at SOELive. It might mean launch, and in fact that’s my guess. In general companies are more willing to launch f2p games light on content than was the case for games under the sub model. It’s hard to see what the long-term ramifications of this are, but for a game with substantial emergent gameplay, which I think is what SOE is aiming at, it should not be an insurmountable issue. Planetside 2 launched quite soon after we started to get the first substantial details about it. End of year is awfully quick, but it is not, I judge, impossible.
I personally will be unplugged the weekend of SOELive, but plan to catch up afterwards. It may be that my opinion will change completely after the reveal, but that’s as it should be. I cannot foresee not playing it at all, though, even if I become less excited about it.