Since Fan Faire 2010 there has been a lot of buzz regarding SOE’s EverQuest Next. Everyone wants to speculate on what the game may be and how it is going to change the MMORPG market. I have high hopes for the title and was quite thrilled to see the method by which SOE handled it during the faire. The panels devoted to it were not as much information sharing as they were information gathering. SOE was interested in knowing what we wanted out of our next EverQuest title. This posture was a nice change of pace and shows a real commitment to the next generation of MMORPGs.
What we know
In all honesty we don’t know very much at this point. That is mostly because there wasn’t a lot to tell. We do know that EverQuest Next is not a sequel or sequel gone alternate universe like EverQuest II. EverQuest Next is a reboot of the franchise. It will tell the story of EverQuest again but the results are not likely to be the same. We also know that SOE is focusing more on EverQuest for this product. They see the slowly growing but very present “return to MMORPG roots” faction in the community. They will be looking at what made EQ so memorable and bringing that to EverQuest Next. That was abundantly clear.
We also know that they recognize some of their larger mistakes. 24 classes? Absolutely not! EverQuest Next will not have the insane amount of roles that EverQuest II does. PvP after thought? Again, no. PvP will be in SOE’s mind from the very beginning. This will likely mean that it can be handled separately and won’t muddle with the balance of the PvE game. In short, SOE has a huge list of mistakes that they intend to learn from.
What I want
I think the point was driven home that one of the things that made EverQuest great was the large, expansive world of Norrath. We were able to explore at our own leisure and find amazing things. There was not a string of quest hubs that you ran through. They simply didn’t exist and I hope they cease to exist soon. There are far more interesting ways to distribute quests than a bunch of zombie NPCs with !s over their heads.
Instancing needs to start being scaled back. It destroys community and has been way over utilized. You will always need some of it to ensure everyone has content but we need to see more open zones that force interaction. Open zones offer the ability to give greater rewards, foster competition, create heroes/villians and I’d like to see that. I want to know more about the players on my server than I can learn in general chat.
The return to clearly defined class roles will also be a big change for me. EverQuest II has muddle the roles and shoe horned too many classes into generic archetypes. It is hard to feel unique in the game. With less classes each one can have a bigger role and that is very important to me. I’m sure someone will made an anti-trinity plea for this game but to that I say, “Don’t mess with what works for EQ.” If anything lets bring enchanters back into it!
If those three items alone appear in EverQuest Next I’ll consider it a great game. I’m tired of the WoW system of MMORPG design. I want to see more of the EQ system and I think that opportunity will present itself in the next few years. I’m excited to step back into Norrath again! I want to have the same memorable experiences that I had before and that seems to be the goal for the game. It is a large one but if anyone can manage it SOE can.