EverQuest II beta-test sign-ups start next week

Actual testing of the sequel to SOE's popular MMORPG begins in June.

It looks like World of Warcraft won't be the biggest beta test on the block for much longer. Today, Sony Online Entertainment announced that sign-ups for the EverQuest II beta will start one week from today, with the test itself to follow in June. “We’ve been playing EverQuest II internally for months, and we’re finally ready to begin letting people in to see the world we’ve built over the last four years,” said SOE president John Smedley.

Beginning May 3, 2004, at 10:00am PDT, those interested in signing up for the EverQuest II beta can log onto the game's official Web site for application instructions. Longtime subscribers to SOE’s EverQuest Legends service will be given top priority in the application process, followed by qualified applicants of the Lords of EverQuest special offer.

EverQuest II comes five years after the original EverQuest, the ultrasuccessful fantasy PC MMORPG that spawned eight expansion packs, two PlayStation 2 iterations (three if you count Champions of Norrath), and a real-time strategy spin-off. The sequel will feature an all-new world with 100,000 lines and 130 hours of dialogue, equal to about 65 feature films. The game will let players choose from 16 races and 24 branching classes and let them customize their characters' armor and facial expressions. The game will also let players purchase property in the realm and engage in in-game trade.

According to SOE, EverQuest II will be released "later in the year." GameSpot will have more information on the game as it becomes available.

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