EverQuest Next revealed

Sony Online Entertainment's new MMO game aims to be different from all others with multi-classing, destructible environments, permanent change, emergent AI, and new Landmark creation tool.

Today during a Las Vegas event, Sony Online Entertainment gave first details about its grand vision for the upcoming massively multiplayer online game EverQuest Next.

According to SOE president John Smedley, many MMO games fail because "players consume content faster than developers can create it." With EverQuest Next, Sony is introducing a "living world," where players can create content alongside the development team.

"What does the future hold for EverQuest Next and Sony Online Entertainment? It's in the players' hands, and we like it that way," Smedley said.

Concerning story, EverQuest Next will be a continuation of the familiar Norrath narrative, but will represent a "fundamental reimagining" of characters, lore, and environments in the game universe.

"Make no mistake; while great care has been taken to respect the extraordinary influence that EverQuest has had in this industry and with our player community over the years, this is a boldly different game unlike anything that has come before," development director Dave Geogeson said.

EverQuest Next has been in development since 2009, Sony said. Two years ago, the company made the decision to "rethink core creative and technical aspects of the design" and begin again with a new approach. As a result of these changes, Sony claims EverQuest Next will be unlike any other MMO game for a variety of reasons.

First, the game will feature "multi-classing." There are no levels in EverQuest Next, but more than 40 multitiered unique classes will be available at launch. Players can mix and match abilities from each class to create a distinct character.

EverQuest Next will also feature destructible environments, which the developer claims no modern MMO game has successfully implemented so far. According to Sony, "every piece of the world" is fully destructible. The game also boasts "permanent change" as a selling point, allowing players to change the world around them in "drastic" ways.

Sony said EverQuest Next will also feature emergent artificial intelligence, which means non-player characters will have "specific motivations and preferences that direct behavior in nuanced and unpredictable ways." Lastly, Sony believes EverQuest Next will stand apart from others because each character in the gameworld will have a unique story instead of following a predetermined path.

"The game will remember every choice and action that players make and will organically deliver increasing opportunities to do more of the things players like to do…from crafting armor and exploring the wilderness to purging goblins from the forests," Sony said.

Beyond EverQuest Next's new game features and components is something called EverQuest Next Landmark, a world-building tool that will be available to the public this winter.

Landmark enables players to create structures using Sony's own Player Studios Software and share--or sell--their creations with friends. Sony will even give specific instruction regarding what elements it needs help crafting.

"Through this collaborative approach, EverQuest Next may eventually represent the largest overall collaborative development effort in the history of online games," Sony said. "For anyone who has ever thought about becoming a game developer, here is your chance."

Landmark will be released this winter as a free download and serves as the "gateway" to EverQuest Next, which Sony has not announced a release date for.

For more on EverQuest Next, check out GameSpot's just-launched preview of the game.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

143 comments
Ovirew
Ovirew

interest piqued.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

I was disappointed with Ever Quest 2. I hope they can deliver on the hype this time around.

NikIvRu
NikIvRu

Sounds way too ambitious. If they pull it off, I will be deeply impressed.

Xardas_1
Xardas_1

I see it  as an attemtp to save on professional devs. Game will be  full of noobs making stupid quests no GM and a lot of hacks, cheats .Even regulated games like WoW still has cheats. I am playing GW2 and sometimes i feel like am last one not using any hacks. In this game with player developed contest hackers will have a field day.

Hope die last. Maybe ill see MMO of my dream some day or maybe not. Any way is there a beta?


Hiliary
Hiliary

I think the reason why most mmos, no matter the budget, fail is because they make the game too accessible. In my sole opinion only, I believe that mmos core gameplay and structure SHOULD be the players doing, not developers. With that, I do look forward to this game most definitely. 

nigelholden
nigelholden

The more I think about this, the more I'm getting kind of stoked. That said, I felt the same about guild wars 2. It was cool, but like most MMOs, it didn't hold my interest very long. Perhaps the genre isn't for me... or perhaps I just haven't found the right one. 

BLaverock
BLaverock

This really sounds like they're taking the next step up in MMO innovation! Consider it "tracked" !!

orthodox1976
orthodox1976

I will keep an eye on this, for sure.

That screenshot of the girl standing in front of the earth elemental looks fantastic. I like the art style. 

servb0ts
servb0ts

I'd really like to see a MMO without levels, how will 40+classes balance out while 90% gamers pick all powerful spells?

eriktkire
eriktkire

Fully destructible huh? Why am I already expecting at least one entire guild to devote their sole purpose in the game to dismantling cities.  You'll see a raid party hanging around a part of a city wall where they're relatively safe from their insta-death NPCs, just chipping away at the stone.

Forever MineCraft Griefer Guild.

BuBsay
BuBsay

Yeah I've heard practically every single MMO released in the past decade say they would be groundbreaking to the genre.

The only one that actually came through with that was WoW, and we see how far down that's gone now.

ivanfred
ivanfred

This is great news for PC gamers. Now Sony needs to show PS3 gamers some love and make an Everquest game for us.

OblivionsFlower
OblivionsFlower

Well, as an old school EQer, I'm starting to lose hope.


No levels, class is meaningless, and they opted for cartoony character graphics.  I understand that realistic graphics outdate easily, but this doesn't look even thematically like anything EverQuest.


I guess it's my fault for wanting to relive somewhat of an era long past.


Take WoW, add some new gimmicks, rely on legacy to sell your game.  That's what this is looking like.


I don't even want it to be super hardcore hard, but handing everything to everyone on a silver plate leads to a snooze fest quickly.

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

Voxels are a fairly new technology in the world of games. Lets see if its a hit or a miss. If its a hit it can open up a whole new approach to how games are created and played, offering both a new layer of depth but also potentially a cheapened less hand crafted feel.

User generated content is also a plus, but its also a double edged sword.

This is a grand experiment that will either revolutionize how we can look at games and look at voxels as a technology, or it will showcase how some tech just isnt ready for consumption yet.

blackace
blackace

Game looks good, but how much will the games cost and will there be monthly FEES? You can get Landmark software for free, but it'll be useless if you don't have the full game and can put the buildings, weapons and other items you make into the game.

NoxiousBass
NoxiousBass

Holly cow, this looks very promissing! So many great MMO's coming out and I can only afford to use my free time to play one... :o

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

I call BS.

There is no way they are gonna do a fraction of that stuff right.  But it does sound awesome.

DarkReign2552
DarkReign2552

Permanent destructibility = a handful of griefers will destroy EVERYTHING! Won't lie. If I was going to play, I might even be one of those people. It seems almost enticing as a concept. An MMO where players can be a bad guy attempting to destroy the world and the heroes have to stop you. Interesting in theory, but would probably be an extremely difficult concept to work into gameplay. I've always wanted a game where we play from the villains side of things, devising evil schemes and sending hordes of minions after the good guy to try and stop him from thwarting our plans. I may have to pay a visit to my design notes and see if I can rework one of my old game ideas to utilize it.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

I was overall disappointed with the presentation. I think people are so desperately trying to reinvent the MMO formula that they omit crucial elements that have been intrinsic in the genre. 

"There are no levels in EverQuest Next"

Say what you will about a level system, but it is simple to follow and gives a representation of a player's progress. There are plenty of MMOs who have done away with leveling, and I didn't like a single one of them.

Unholy123
Unholy123

Sounds nice.

Doubt it will be as ambitious as they say because if it was chances are wouldn't work cause the playerbase would break and exploit the hell out of it.

At this point its hot air like whatshisname telling us 'Titan' Could be huge.

Everyone wants to be the company who owns the next WoW MMO with the current Dinasour showing signs of making the trip to the ancient burial grounds of MMO's but what if... just what if the next WoW doesn't end up being just like the current one. 

Perhaps it will be an amazing FPS or Space Sim or W/E MMO some other type of genre with a massive multiplayer persistent element.

Pretty sure people are burning out on on the current tab attack fest RPG style MMO's they keep pumping out.

LalchandTudu
LalchandTudu

A new EverQuest......worth looking for...


Kjranu
Kjranu

It sounds way too ambitious. I suppose we will see how it turns out this winter... 

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

Very interested in playing but don't let it be too sandbox like.  Seriously there are other ways to make an mmorpg better and I have a long list to share with Sony if they care to hear it sometime.  Email me or give me a call.

M3o5nster
M3o5nster

@nigelholden Don't give up hope :( if EQN nearly delivers, we'll be in for something special.

canelacandy
canelacandy

@BLaverock ''Sounding like'' is part of publicity, it would be nice if it actually delivers.

M3o5nster
M3o5nster

@servb0ts I think the trick is to balance the spells/skills themselves... For example an attack that does 100 damage with a 10 second CD is pretty much the same as a damage over time spell that does 100 damage over 10 seconds. It's a basic example, but you get the idea. 

Also healers won't pick the same spells as tanks and damage dealers, so that creates diversity right there. Some healers prefer defensive healing with shields, some like healing over time, others like big heals. If they really plan out each skill, I think it could work.

Snowx1
Snowx1

@eriktkire I dont know why..but that made me Lol :P. I can see that happening too oddly enough.

nigelholden
nigelholden

@eriktkire I'm definitely curious how they're going to balance the freedom of a destructible environment with greifers. I suppose, in a magical world, there would be those that just destroy things. So perhaps part of the game's dynamics would to be constantly fighting to preserve the world. That could be a cool angle. 

Elann2008
Elann2008

@eriktkire 

Why are you so pessimistic, Mr. Future?  You reviewed the game already?

surrealme
surrealme

@BuBsay WoW wasn't groundbreaking. There's very little in WoW that hadn't already been done by the likes of Everquest and Asheron's Call.

BraollusBeBack
BraollusBeBack

@OblivionsFlower Well this seem something different, because 99.9% MMO's that came out after wow, was the same as wow, only worse. If they make a massively multiplayer game, and manage to create a completely different experience from wow clone, this is a very good news, because MMO's became crap, after 100th clone. It's good that they are trying to create a "living world" that would be a first, and a destruction that too, something new, no levels? Maybe more interesting gameplay than spending hours after hours of grinding just to level up, and usually leveling is the main part of these games, and it is the most boring part too... Of course a lot of companies manage to create hype by promises, let's just hope they can maintain that hype after game release, and deliver.

xerotolerant
xerotolerant

@Shiftfallout worms 3d used voxels and it worked pretty well. That was a fair amount of time ago. The game was no where near as fun as armageddon, but the voxel thing was pretty sweet.

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

@Buck_Swaggler Most of what they have done is already achievable. The key here is that they are using Voxels. Its a completely different technology from your usual polygon based 3d assets you see in other games.

With a solid voxel system in place and a Project Spark like visual scripting and building system, its entirely possible to have the community really make quests and assets for the game. Furthermore, its pretty easy for them to generate a world.

So its all possible. This doesnt mean it will feel good though. Often that approach can leave a very lackluster world as a result.

The importance of this however is that if it does succeed, then it can showcase the power of voxels for future game development (at the cost of realism as an art style), and showcase the user created content is a viable design approach (valve is also pushing user generated content as part of their design approach).

Tixylixx
Tixylixx

@Buck_Swaggler People are confusing EverQuest Landmark and EverQuest Next, one is a Minecraft clone and the other is an MMO.

Tixylixx
Tixylixx

@DarkReign2552 They're releasing two games, one with perma destructibility that's basically a Minecraft clone called EverQuest Landmark. The main game will have the destructible environment  but I'm imaging it'll be much more limited and that's called EverQuest Next.

Tixylixx
Tixylixx

@Ayato_Kamina_1 Levels cause a world to be linear and that's not good, people have been fed up of top heavy worlds for years. Just because there are none you like doesn't mean there aren't any and haven't been any that are good. Tbh though the MMO genre has been crap for years, levels or not...

NotCeo
NotCeo

@Kjranu The game that's coming out this year isn't Everquest Next, it's Everquest Landmarks. It's basically just about building stuff using some of the EQ Next tools.

I wouldn't expect EQ Next until at least late 2015, if not later.

Dumachum
Dumachum

@DeViLzzz No thanks. People like you, with your "helpful ideas", and the devs actually listening were half the reason the genre got screwed up in the first place.

CombatIT
CombatIT

@Ultimate_Noob I'm sure there will be some form of a Q&A process for player created content before it makes it into the game. As long as enforce a standard it should be fine.

atopp399
atopp399

@Ultimate_Noob It's a good thing that graphic artists will most likely be the people who's art makes it into the game.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if the best things that come out of the landmark game come from people who will not even play the actual MMO game.

CombatIT
CombatIT

@M3o5nster@servb0ts I think balance will become a lot less important, as it should. If one class set up is more powerful than another, so be it, what's the big deal. If anything that will add replay value. A lot of players just want their own unique character, despite whether or not it's the most powerful. I'm not saying balance shouldn't be considered, it just shouldn't be priority. If you make an MMO that doesn't demand near perfect balance, you've truly succeeded. I'm sure there will be more than enough competitive class combos for the min\max players.

eriktkire
eriktkire

@Elann2008 that wasn't a swipe at Everquest: Next, it was a swipe at the griefer nerds that troll anything multiplayer... and for hours on end.

Shiftfallout
Shiftfallout

@blackace @NoxiousBass Only the landmark version will be free. No word on the actual game, though I would prefer and expect it to either be buy to play or pay to play. Its much better that way for the end user.