If there's one thing to be said about Sony Online Entertainment, it's that it is one of the most prolific online publishers around. In addition to housing big-name massively multiplayer online games like EverQuest, The Matrix Online, and Star Wars Galaxies, the publisher has made several major acquisitions recently, including Sigil Games' Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and Flying Lab's Pirates of the Burning Sea.
Not satisfied with simply buying up other games, the publisher has also been working on several of its own unique MMOGs. At D.I.C.E. in February, the publisher revealed the espionage-themed shooter The Agency. In June, SOE teased its sandbox-style, free-to-play, casual-friendly MMOG Free Realms. Never one to sit back on its haunches, the publisher today unveiled its latest internally developed game at the SOE Fan Faire.
Delivering his keynote address, Sony Online president John Smedley announced the newest addition to the SOE family, Legends of Norrath: Oathbound. Oathbound is a collectible card game that is built into EverQuest and EverQuest 2, and is steeped in lore common to both games. The CCG spans both EQ and EQ2, where players from one game can play against those from the other. Players can also access the game from an outside client, or play against computer-controlled opponents.
Oathbound, the first of three planned sets, contains 375 cards, all featuring original art. Fan service abounds within the CCG, and Smedley listed a few examples such as fan favorites Fippy Darkpaw, Mayong Mistmoore, journeyman boots, and snow bunny hats.
All current EQ and EQ2 players will initially receive a starter deck, and additional booster packs can be purchased with real-world cash. However, those wishing not to spend any extra money will be happy to know that booster packs can also be acquired as loot off of boss mobs in both games, and the game will be free-of-charge to play. Of further note, the game will feature loot cards that can be redeemed for in-game items for players' characters. SOE plans to offer substantial support for the product, including in-game tournaments, card trading, a unique user interface, and deck-building functionality.
SOE's Denver studio, which up until it was acquired last year went by the moniker Worlds Apart Productions, developed the game on the down-low for the publisher. Legends of Norrath: Oathbound will undergo a soft launch next week, with an official launch planned for later this month.