EverQuest Next …. *prays*

This artwork just begs to be a sandbox world, doesn't it?

The Future of EverQuest:  EverQuest Next.

The announcement from Smedley at SoE’s fan faire that the EverQuest universe would be expanding is amazing news.  It’s nothing but an announcement right now with a followup coming this weekend though.

Time for some speculation.  SoE has defined a very clear trend for their games over the past two years.  They’re going for a casual, low entry barriers, cash shop model that results in rather shallow MMO’s.  Will this be the fate of EQ Next? Unfortunately, it’s likely that EQ Next will be the Free Realms style of game but I’m not giving up all hope.

If it’s the game that I want it to be, EQ Next will be a serious MMO for SoE and one that reflects a different or additional direction for SoE.   They can show people that they’re able to trend towards the popular free gaming as well being capable of providing the hardcore MMO enthusiasts a reason to be SoE customers.

EQ Next could be the next step of MMO innovation or the next stage of what the original EverQuest started.  Afterall, EQ pioneered much of what started the industry.  Having the original universe be the one to move us forward seems appropriate.

I’m wanting a sandbox or more open game.  I’m wanting a lot of group-centric gameplay and traditional MMO mechanics, but updated for this generation.  There hasn’t been a real attempt since Vanguard and I really, really think it’s time.

Will it happen?  Probably not, but I’m crossing my fingers and praying that this weekend will be full of awesome and upbeat blog entries about how great EQ Next will be instead of why it’ll be a step backward.

  • Interesting even so I was never a huge EQ fan it will be interesting to see which way they will take this game

  • I LOVED eq1, was my first mmo and still the one i believe i enjoyed the most

    however, i cant see myself playign any new ones, they would have to be very very very good to ever get me to play a game with the $on¥ lable on it

  • We already pretty much knew EQNext was coming from things that came out at the 10th anniversary, of course, but it’s nice to hear it confirmed.

    Early days yet, but I would think the chances of it being anything remotely “sandbox” are minimal. I’d expect it to be a more action-oriented take on Norrath, probably using a lot of what they’ve learned from making DCUO. Unless DCUO tanks, of course.

    Failing that, my second guess would be a cartoony and colorful Free Realms style approach. Certainly the concept art of the swamp area there could almost be a Free Realms screenshot.

    On the other hand, if it follows the established development timeline, we won’t be seeing EQNext released before, what, 2014 at the earliest. Who knows what MMOs will look like by then? It might even be a mobile device only release if that’s where the market goes.

    I don’t really care, although like anyoen I have my preferences. So long as it’s recognizeably Norrath I’ll be playing it.

  • Keen, how big of an audience do you think fits your definition of “hard core MMO enthusiast?” Unfortunately, my guess is that number is simply too small to justify investing in the sandbox design you would like to see, at least at the moment.

  • @Bhag: I hope it’s nothing like the DCUO/Champions way of creating a game world — all instanced and chopped up and without any soul.

    Action-like might work. As I said, if there’s a way to modernize traditional MMO mechanics then I would be on board.

    @Sleepysam: There are plenty. Certainly plenty to justify creating a game to satisfy our unfulfilled wants. It’s not 11.5 million, but it’s 500k at least.

    Keep in mind that there hasn’t been a successful game matching the traditional style (or a sandbox game) in a very long time. There definitely hasn’t been one since the days of WoW. The industry has grown exponentially since then and the vast majority don’t even know what EverQuest plays like. For all they know, they might love it.

  • close to 200,000 people bought Vanguard in a very short window after release, most knowing that VG was going to be a more serious, deeper mmorpg.

    Release a game in the same vein like VG only make one that, you know….works, and with a a ton of polish, and you can get more than enough subs to make your investors very happy.

  • I don’t see it being EQ3 at all. Look at the failures of Asherons Call 2 and even EQ2 at release. WoW is doing WoW2 right by just reinventing WoW1. So I’m thinking EQ2 will continue to fill the traditional MMO shoes while EQNext will be the pop version of mmo’s a la Free Realms like you surmised. I just don’t see the SOE behemoth saying in the boardroom “hey let’s go back to our roots with a game with class trainers that are behind hidden doors and extremely high death penalty”.

  • @coppertopper The failures of AC2 and EQ2 had more to do with the devs not understanding what we the player wanted. AC2 was 100% nothing like AC1. I played AC1 for 2+ years and would have definitely played AC2 had it been anything like AC1. It wasn’t and was rushed to the market and sucked.

    EQ2 again was NOTHING like EQ1. I played EQ1 and am actually playing on an EQ emulated server right now. I couldn’t stand EQ2. Devs for some reason have no clue as to what their customers want. I’m hoping that EQ3, the Devs at Sony will have realized their mistakes.

  • SOE needs to put money in Vanguard. It’ll fill that niche. but we know who their favorite child/project is.

    so when SWTOR comes out, SWG and VG can shut down their servers finally? I mean did they have anything VG during their Fanfaire event?

  • Vanguard’s chance has come and gone. They would be far better off going with the universe that has seen success and carries with it a fan base already.

    I’m with Jordan on this one. A Vanguard style game with actual polish, the features promised, that actual works would be great.

  • @Graev: heck yeah, man! They’ve gotta take all those Farmville players, knock Zynga down a notch. =P

    But in all seriousness: while what you’re hoping for, Keen, sounds great and is a nice ideal, it (per your prediction) probably isn’t what EQN is going to be. Yes there are enough people out there who would probably dive right in to a more sandboxy, EQ style MMO, but as you yourself pointed out: it’s not anywhere near the ridiculous numbers WoW posts, and what a lot of companies pray they can match. I imagine a company’s thought process goes: “We want money. How can we make money? MMOs can make money. WoW makes gobs of money. We have a longstanding universe with a fanbase – let’s try and capitalize on that and make money.”

    While I would definitely be interested in seeing a great, polished sandbox MMO akin to what you’re hoping for, it just wouldn’t post the kind of numbers big MMO developers expect in order to call it “successful.” With that alone in mind I wouldn’t expect to see your dream come true just yet. (Though I stand on record as being very happy if proven wrong)

  • I’d love it if they re-released Everquest as a browser based game (and perhaps even mobile too) with an updated UI and a more casual friendly, sandbox style interactions. I’d pee my pants at that news.

  • Sony is a big business. One option will be for a more hardcore game type appealing to lower numbers of customers and the other will be a casual game type appealing to higher numbers of customers. I would believe the buzz word at the shareholders meetings would be “accessibility”…