EverQuest Next Details: SoE is luring me back in a big way

Lots of additional information coming in from the SoE Fan Faire about EverQuest ‘Next’!

These EQ fans are astonishing! They’re amazing! I might actually have to go to the next SoE Fan Faire if it’s going to be attended by players like these. The questions they asked steered the developers to speak directly to the following points.

– Next Generation
– EQ players to feel at home
– Original EverQuest flavor and charm for art direction
– Want our feedback on what we liked from EQ1 and EQ2 (and you shall get it)
– Developer agrees that individual character strengths can not overshadow the “You’re in our world now” sense that the world is more powerful than you and you need to rely on others.
– EQ Next is a “re-imagining” of EQ and not taking place before or after.
– More engaging combat, more immersive, more cinematic, and story emphasis.

– Classes representative of what they’re doing in look, effect, what they do, animations
– Less classes. Closer to the original EverQuest (HECK YES). Smedley acknowledges issues with the classes. “What is a Dirge?”

– Realized they got way ahead of themselves announcing EQ2 when they did. Better planning this time + continued support of EQ’s 1 and 2.
– Better transitioning from other EQ’s to ‘Next’ for players. Not trying to migrate players to this new title.
– EQNext more scalable with technology whereas EQ2 wasn’t. Want everything from lower-end

“People think that because we made Free Realms that this game is somehow going to be like Free Realms — going to be for kids. It’s not. This game is in no way being made for kids…” – John Smedley

– Devs want there to be the same fond memories for ‘Next’ that people reminisce about over the old EQ.
– After mentioning that a lot of people talked about corpse runs and other memories of EQ1, a dev mentioned that they want memories of ‘Next’ to be fond memories. (Some concern here for me that there won’t be any of the more ‘hardcore’ aka oldschool mechanics. We’ll see).

Pretty fantastic questions that allowed the developers to divulge at least a lot of general theory and thinking behind where they’re going with the game.  I was quite pleased to hear a lot about what they’re planning to do different with ‘Next’ where they may have errored with EQ2.

I’m getting the sense that this really will be a ‘AAA’ title with the intentions of being a real modernization of what worked well in EQ1. I was really, really concerned that SoE would botch the whole idea of a new EQ game and make it a Free Realms style game.  I’m happy to be re leaved of that fear.  I’m also very pleased with this sense of respect and acknowledgement toward the EQ1 community.  In my opinion, you will not find a group of players that better understands MMORPG’s than the original EverQuest community.

The developers seem to understand this and I got the sense, from watching the panel videos, that they’re not going to jerk us around and change what worked.  It almost feels like something tangible to hold onto and helps further alleviate that fear that SoE will screw things up again.  I’m hoping praying at this point that SoE learned and that they know their core MMORPG players — theirs and the ones have strayed far and are ready to return — will back them and their new game.

SoE has a chance to lure in their original audience again and to expand that original audience to include this newer generation.  It’s definitely time for another solid AAA title that attempts to do what Vanguard did… but not be a completely unpolished and unfinished mess.

Nothing would give me greater joy than to be a loyal SoE customer again supporting the EverQuest franchise . I want EQ ‘Next’ to work and I want to champion this idea of it being a game that returns MMO’s to their former glory while still keeping things modern.  I’m on board and EQ ‘Next’ is on the top of my list until I hear that SoE is going to mess it up.

  • “In my opinion, you will not find a group of players that better understands MMORPG’s than the original EverQuest community.”

    LOL, that’s a pretty elitist remark. how does that little club of 350k people feel? pretty exclusive? what about UO before it? or the people who’ve been playing WoW since release? would you say Syncaine (for instance) doesn’t understand MMOs?

    Come down to Earth for a minute, Keen – the VAST majority of MMO players are happy with the “modern” mechanics. IF this released, IF it’s “hardcore” and “oldschool” how long do you think that will last? In the end it’s about profit, and a modern Vanguard will hardly be pulling in the player numbers that a lot of shareholders will want.

    Secondly, how far along in development is this? because we’ve seen two bits of concept art and a bunch of hype from devs.

    third, i LOL’d at

    -Next Generation
    – EQ players to feel at home

    wut. what does “next generation” even mean? graphics? it can’t be in gameplay, because if it was, the second point would be false. maybe it just means more bloom in the engine? lol @ it being a bullet point.

    So far this EQNext is much hype, not a lot of substance. I’ll start getting excited when SOE shows off some gameplay, and some solid mechanics info. till then, this is you just projecting what you want onto it.

  • It probably will be zoned/instanced up the ass. Why can’t they expand on Vanguard’s zoneless system? I NEVER ran into camping problems in VG dungeons, and I believe VG was even working on some experimental techology that would open new wings of a dungeon if you find certain keys and such, splitting people up without instances.

    And it probably won’t have any PvP worth mentioning.

    I don’t know, after 5 years of garbage and WoW clones and mainstreaming from SoE, I have rock bottom expectations. But I’m desperate.

  • @Telke: It was more like 500k. I don’t feel that the WoW crowd, or rather those who associate themselves as being a WoW generation player, understand the genre nearly as well as those who have been playing since at least EQ. The UO crowd certainly has an angle to leverage, but many are stuck on hardcore PvP.

    I didn’t say it would be oldschool. I didn’t say it would be hardcore. I said that I hope it brings back what worked in EQ and modernizes it to attract the old crowd while appealing to the new crowd in a way that returns MMO’s to their lost glory.

    Of course this is what I want being projected onto a few theories and ideas presented during a panel at a Fan Faire. That’s abundantly clear.

    I could join you in the strawman and ad hominem arguments by pointing out that based upon several things you’ve said you’re clearly a Darkfall generation kiddo, but I think you’ve done well enough for me to go ahead and not waste time trying to discuss with you something you’re clearly incapable of comprehending.

    @Tobias: That’s a definite fear of mine that it will be instanced. However, EQ2 isn’t instanced and the EverQuest team has yet to show they lack a solid understanding of how the world plays into the game. They haven’t shown Cryptic’s level of instancing yet (DCUO is still unreleased though…).

    PvP is definitely not a factor that I would expect or really even want in EQ Next. It’ll attract the wrong crowd (like the commenter above you) which is a group that will 1) hate the game because it’s not their next hardcore mecca and 2) hate the game because it isn’t WoW.

  • Keen, I agree with Telke and disagree with you. There isn’t much to ‘understand’ in the MMO genre as they are all pretty straight forward; you slay baddies, get xp, improve, rince & repeat.

  • That “elitist” group basically brought you WoW, well at least WoW Vanilla which was 100x better then current luls WoW.

    A throwback to what made EQ great (community building and dependance) is what many want, but too many now are used to having everything handed to them with almost zero effort… that’s kind of hard cycle to break.

  • bwahaha, he thinks I’m a PvPer.

    firstly, you’ve pegged me wrong; for the last five years, with the exception of a few months of WAR, I’ve been playing WoW on a PVE server. I found your blog through the whole blogger initiative after WAR’s release.

    second, there’s only one Ad Hominem in my post – where I call you an elitist – because of your incredibly blanket statement. I’ll agree that it’s a slightly strawman argument, but it mostly fits.

    However. literally half a sentence after calling my argument ad hominem, you call me “clearly a Darkfall generation kiddo” and then say “you’re clearly incapable of comprehending.” – Bam, an ad hominem, AND a case of “my argument is so powerful it’s not necessary to talk about it”.

    I’ve made my points – that it’s far too early to buy into any hype from SOE – that’s my position. I’d like to promote some proper discussion, rather than calling me a darkfall kiddo.

  • I enjoyed the TeamPvP in EQ… but that was largely a reaction to the static nature of the world.

    Two things I loved about the old EQ: ambiguous lore and hidden quests.

    There was room for your own take on the history, as a lot of the stories you heard contradicted themselves, and although I love the book quests in EQ2, there’s something confining about having all the lore bound and put on a shelf.

    And although the WoW style ? quest markers are industry standard these days, there was something special about hailing an NPC and discovering they had a quest for you. I remember stumbling across a quest in Oggok… no one in the guild had ever heard of the quest before… and being so surprised when the reward turned out to be the best shammie hammer in the game up to that point. The Gatorsmash Maul. Hit like a ton of rock and so slow I could practically sit down and meditate a tick or two between swings. 😉

  • I agree with Keen. Eq and UO were where mmos were basically born. Wow has NOTHING on EQ. Wow is so easy mose it’s crazy. If you could raid well in eq every game since then has been so easy. Almost ever game after eq they give you maps to everywhere, they give you quest icons over quest givers, they show you where to go for the quest, there is basically non-existen death penalties, leveling is extremly fast and easy, etc etc etc.

    The only reason why EQ had so few playing was because that was the first mmo basically. Not many had computers then or could play it. I remeber playing with an old school modem. They also didn’t do a ton of advertising and it wasn’t played outside of the US. WoW only has like 2.5 mil in NA, most of it’s player base is outside the US.

    I don’t know why people get so upset when the first generation players of MMO’S, those that were around for the begining of mmos, make statments like Keen did. Sorry, but playing EQ for even a short time gave you more experience in an mmo than years of WoW ever could.

  • I wouldn’t say EQ wasn’t played outside the US. Xegony in particular was home to many Japanese guilds like Clan Divine Song, Junx/Cognatus, True Reign, etc. I know there were other servers with heavy JPN or EU player bases as well, which was a common whine of the US base guilds that everything would be dead after a server down before they could even log on, cause the Asian or EU crews would clear Naggy / Vox / VS / Trak, then VT, etc etc.

    And yeah, that kind of competition got pretty ugly at times (Sleepers Tomb and killing all the warders), but it also made the game worth playing. When your player base isn’t separated by fake factions, and allowed to police themselves, the community makes their own heroes or villains. It allows for so much more of a MMO experience, with a huge bonus of requiring little development resources in the grand scheme of things. The fact there was never ending character progression via AA added to that, XP grouping was one of the fondest memories and where many people made online friendships that have spanned multiple games to this day.

    When you have these false faction borders, you require so much more dev made content for the game to have any type of community. As WoW has shown through it’s 6 year run, even with the largest payroll in the business to churn out content, it wasn’t anywhere near enough. Thus the ‘replay the game 8 times with alts in random pugs every 15 minutes’ mantra was born. While EQ brought in the concept of alt boxing, they served a purpose, and weren’t a design decision made just to attempt the recycling of very expensive to make content.

    Really, all of us ‘old school’ MMO EQ era gamers are in their 30’s now, most with families and such that can’t commend the 6+ hour streaks we had with EQ. I don’t think anyone is really banging the drums loud asking for that exact same type of experience again. The genre has grown and things like that just won’t work anymore, but on the other side of the scale many of us are disgusted at the ‘text message’ like mentality that WoW for example has become. A game in which there are no losers, because losing is now a faux pas in society and nothing can take more then 15 minutes of brainless button mashing with zero effort or risk.

    What all that basically means is there is no sense of accomplishment with the current general MMO genre, and unfortunately it’s a direct result of the widespread appeal of post vanilla WoW. I find that very ironic, because it was us hardcore EQ bastards that basically shaped vanilla WoW (and from which the highest levels of WoW’s design team was recruited, namely Rob Pardo, Jeff Kaplan from Legacy of Steel, and Alex Afrasiabi Furor from Fires of Heaven).

  • If EQ wasn’t played outside the US, how come it had two servers based in Amsterdam? Some of the U.S. servers were so popular with players around the world that server raid schedules operated in three shifts by timezone. One of the best things about Everquest was that it was a truly global game with no access restrictions by region.

    @Darkstyle “Really, all of us ‘old school’ MMO EQ era gamers are in their 30′s now”

    Make that 50s 😛

    @Keen You must have missed the bit in the EQNext panel where they confirmed it was being “designed from ground up with pvp in mind”

    I don’t think there’s much point getting overhyped about EQNext yet. I’ll play it, I’ll almost certainly love it, but it’s years and years away. I don’t propose to try and sustain a pitch of excitement about it from now until halfway through the decade. When they open beta applications is the time to start getting excited.

  • It sounds very much like WoW to me but, to be honest, I’m fine with that and it could even be a good thing. I like SOE a lot (even though they constantly try to make me hate them 🙂 ) and a new, streamlined, more Everquest-style EQ could be excellent. Fingers crossed!

  • @xtinct

    WoW has EVERYTHING to do with EQ, and if you can’t see that you are really jaded. WoW was designed basically with the intention of being “EQ but more accessible” and thats certainly what it was at release. Its continued down that path to the point where NOW its barely recognizable as an EQalike, but thats not really the point.

    That being said, I’m not particularly interested in EQ Next, I think its just going to be another overhyped MMO that ends up being incredibly average.

    @Keen

    I know you get excited easily, but don’t let the hype get ahold of you or you’ll end up obsessing over this until it comes out, play a month, and quit in disgust because it doesn’t remind you of the original enough.

  • So Keen shows his true colours at last. What is it that you think makes your little (well, big) cadre of EQ1 (and by extension UO and possibly AC) players understand MMORPGs so much better than the WoW generation? All those memories you have of your incredible “adventures” and community in EQ1? I can guarantee you that people who started with WoW (especially when it launched) and just went into the game knowing nothing will have pretty similar experiences to the ones you did. It was a totally different beast back then, and the players were totally different people to what they are today. There was none of the hand-holding you get now, Christ on a tractor, there wasn’t even WoWhead, and Thottbot wasn’t a widely known website where you could look up everything. You had to read the quest text to find things. You had to group up (shock horror) when levelling to get things done, and if you wanted to level as a healer or tank? No dual-spec for you sunshine. No spell power or damage talents to help you on your way, you were going to be spending a long time killing mobs that others could kill in 15 seconds. And you’d be grouping, and doing dungeons, and talking during the downtime while everyone drank and ate, since mana regen wasn’t the beast it is today; and you’d make friends. You’d find guilds, join them, level with them, and maybe even raid with them, if you made it to level cap. A casual like I was back then couldn’t reach it in 3 months. It took much longer, but you made it anyway, and you felt great, because it was your first max level character in your first MMO, and your first max-level dungeon and your first raid. But as time went on, things changed.

    Let me take a moment now to say that WoW as a game has changed. That’s undeniable. But, more importantly, people have changed, or, rather, they’ve done what they always do: make things easier for themselves.

    Websites started popping up telling you how to do things, and it wasn’t the sparkling new adventure anymore, it was: oh bloody hell, just drop my loot and be done with it. Stats weren’t just numbers anymore, they were values that had to be managed to maximise your dps, and it was all about the numbers. TBC, and Wrath released, and it was no longer an adventure, levelling. It was a grind to the new level cap, to the new raids, to the new gear. Your guild and friends kept you there, long after the adventure left. Finally, even that wasn’t viable: your friends (and your guild) split up, across different guilds, different servers, different factions.

    After trying a truckload of MMOs, even far out of my normal range (i.e. Darkfall) that first feeling won’t ever be recaptured. Why? Because all MMOs are similar enough that any noobishness is overcome within a week or so, and you just see the same formula underneath. Only something totally new, that you know nothing about, can truly rekindle your EQ1 feeling. Not the same game, but reinvented, because even then you know it too well.

  • EQ1 — despite my not being a RAID-player, despite my dislike of the gigantic timers on some baddies, despite my dislike of the run to retrieve your corpse. Despite all of that, and having played far too many P2P and F2P titles now, EQ1 remains the place with the most vivid memories and the most terrifying sense of “being there”. When it got dark outside Queynos, it got dark — not the faux-dark as in WoW, where you can still see everything, but dark, as in, scare you to death because you can’t see something twenty feet away because IT’S DARK. That also made light sources genuinely useful and desireable (eyeballs, anyone?). Knowing that i could die and have to do a (cursed) corpse run actually made the game FEEL dangerous — whereas in WoW, i literally used dying as a tactic, since if you timed your death right, you could respawn halfway across the map (Wetlands, i’m looking at you) at the next respawn point. Feel the darkness, feeling like you’re in danger — I never felt that for one moment in WoW, nor most of the F2P titles, nor LOTRO (as good as that game is, in its own way, and that mostly because of its setting).
    Then again, I’m someone who, if asked, would say that the best MMOs out there would be Vanguard (love the crafting, love Diplomacy, wish to God diplomacy was more fully implemented everywhere, wish anyone else would copy that system into their games) and AC1. But the memories and the sense of danger and of being there? The best immersion, in other words? That’s still EQ1.

  • I think Dril has it right. It has far less to do with the game itself and far more to do with your “gaming innocence” when you played it. The enticing thing about EQ Next isn’t actually EQ next, but rather that the EQ next announcement makes you remember how playing EQ1 made you feel. What you are hoping for, Keen et al, is that you will somehow regain the mentality you had playing those earlier MMOs, but I think that ship has sailed.

  • Some of you guys need to relax a bit. Keen’s excited for EQ Next, I don’t blame him. The mmo genre needs something to be excited about, it’s stale currently.

    What better way to boost up some excitement then announcing an extension of one of the greatest mmorpg’s of all time? Would you rather him write about a PS3 or XBox 360 game? Meh.

    Everything on EQ Next atm is speculation, it’s fun to do. Perhaps we may even be surprised by it. I for one am enjoying the discussions around it so far.

  • I won’t get into the WoW vs EQ debate, but I will say that it’s SOE the people that brought you Star Wars then dumbed it down, Planetside then added mechs and craped it up, and Vanguard (bought) then canned it (Crap support). SOE doesn’t really have a good history with me.

  • I’m having trouble imagining what a “modernization of what worked well in EQ1” would actually *be*.

    The original EQ was built from a fundamental misunderstanding of what players wanted in a game, and over time most of its core design tenets have been superseded by things that are, well, a lot more fun. By today’s standards, practically every aspect of EQ’s original design looks woefully obsolete; it’s pretty much a recipe of what not to do.

    I don’t see much there that warrants going back to, and outside of recycling the world and lore a “modernization” would pretty much involve throwing away the entire game.

  • I understood the statement about being designed from the ground up for PvP to mean that it wouldn’t be like the past two EverQuests, where PvP feels awkward by being added after release. I didn’t take it as EQ Next being a PvP game at all.

    I’ve read all the comments so far (even those walls of text that crit me for over 9000) and it’s clear that we have some fundamental issues that we disagree upon. That’s cool. Not much to fight about. It’s like someone wanting vanilla ice cream and someone wanting Chocolate… how do you tell the person they’re wrong for wanting vanilla?

    Here are some things that I want to reiterate and clarify.

    1. This is all speculation based upon ideas and theories presented in a panel. However, it’s information from the developers and it’s all we got.

    2. I want EQ to return to its roots. I want it to offer players a new type of game by giving us an older style that has been updated for today. Clearly that means getting rid of some “hardcore” elements.

    3. I never once entered the EQ vs. WoW debate in this thread, and I won’t. I play WoW currently and enjoy it. However, I know from experience that the WoW generation as a whole does not understand MMO’s like the EQ and earlier generation.

    4. SoE screw’s stuff up. No secret there. See the last sentence of my post.

    5. EQ Next won’t be the original EverQuest even if they tried to remake the game. That’s not what I’m expecting. I’m expecting a game cut from the same type of cloth though, with more of what people want today. Perhaps a real “EQ that is more accesible”. WoW was first created to be that, but then attained their own identity and ran with it.

    6. I choose optimism and excitement, even hype, over constantly being jaded and feeling like there’s nothing to ever look forward to. It’s much more fun to dissect why something went wrong, anyway, than to peg something we know SO LITTLE about as a failure just because we want to avoid being hurt.

  • It is understandable Keen, I remember when Mythic announced WAR I was so pumped because I thought it was going to be similar to DAOC or at least utilize stuff that should have been learned from DAOC

  • EQ and that whole old school style will never work, its to narrow minded in scope and no amount of window dressing will keep players in game in any significant numbers. Look at WAR, it was a flop not just becasue of the myriad of problems but mainly because that style of game such as DAoC keep warfare isnt a good MMO goal any more.

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see mythic create an Asherons Call 3 that had the same game play and treasure draw from the original, but ill be honest that it wouldnt work now since the best way to make a MMO is to have it be as broad as possible to attract as many people. AC3 would rock for me, but not for alot of others, and the same with EQnext, unless they broaden their scope.

  • @Branith: Not sure where to begin.

    Mythic didn’t make Asheron’s Call. Turbine did.

    WAR failed because it WASN’T like Daoc. I’m not sure how you could possibly dismiss the “myriad” of problems but try and pin it on being like DAOC there. Doesn’t make any sense.

    EQ being too narrow of a scope is also nonsensical. EQ created the foundation of scope for the 3d worlds. Since EQ’s release, only DAOC came close in scope. SWG was a different style but would be a relatively close runnerup.

  • I’m with you, Keen. I have been boring my friends to tears with wishes for SOE to do exactly this. Just between you, me, and everyone else on the planet who has access to the internet, when I saw the concept art piece that looked like it was supposed to be the Innothule swamp, I got a little misty.

    On a side note, I also play wow and enjoy it. This has nothing to do with bashing other games, and everything to do with me loving the world of Norrath from eq1.

  • Sorry Keen, I am not with you on this one. “Bringing back what worked for EQ1” that’s never going to happen. What worked for EQ1 was there was no competition, the genre was new and multiplayer/internet was in it’s infancy.

    Today people will never stand for what EQ was then even with good graphics. Shit back then I was playing AC1 and was amazed I could trade an item with a guy in real time and when i logged back in I still had the item. That’s how “crazy” the online world was..That was awesome, today it’s an after thought.

    If SOE’s goal on this is to have a niche market of under 400k sure they may be able to sustain for awhile and please the Old timers. Somehow I doubt that is their goal so if they want to appeal to the masses it will be more “wow like” and hence piss all those old EQ fans off anyways. Catch 22…

    I dont expect anything good from SOE to be honest.. their time is done. Smedley needs to move along.

  • @Greav

    Keen actually let’s you out form under the stairs? 😛

    @Keen

    I’m going to have to disagree with you big time on this…

    Vanilla ice cream is where it’s at anything else is just pure delusion.

  • Dril is right. It’s the MMO-innocence you’re longing after (I too long after it) but it’s like your first love, you’ll never experience that exactly same feeling again. You will fall in love again, but you will never ever forget your first love and all the good memories you had together.

  • I will never understand why people still use the argument that casually friendly is the only way because its a larger audience, when the rehashed WOW design has proven to fail time after time. To sit here and act like theres only one successful way to design an mmo just makes me feel sad for people.

  • Wow, some really good posts and discussion here fascinating really.

    I agree with Drill as well, even though I’m certain I won’t get to feel the same way I did when playing M59 or UO it doesn’t mean the game lacks something or isn’t really good. Some features (a lot rather) that were prominent “back then” should be exluded when making a MMO nowdays and some should be brought back. However, it’s easy to wish for things that we might or will not like, because sometimes we cannot separate good gamplay mechanics from bad ones due to nostalgia which in large part springs from “MMO-innocence” at the time”

    I wonder if in 10 years, the “WoW-generation” will be clamoring for a “WoW Next” project with the same hopes of bringing back mechanics and memories mostly long gone.

  • Keen,I think that your looking so hard to recreate that honey moon feeling of your first MMO that you experienced(like mine was with Daoc), and probably will never feel again.

    Chasing ghosts, like I used to.

  • EQ wasn’t a honeymoon experience for me. It was years of enjoyment that I never stopped enjoying. I’ve even since gone back and played on emulators and had the same great feelings. Perhaps others who have done and feel the same will comment.

    Also, many people are still misunderstanding what “bringing back what worked in EQ” as some decision to bring back a grind or death penalties. Not at all.

    I’m talking about the following:

    1) Less classes with more defined roles. Not several classes overlapping.

    2) A big open world with open dungeons, not instances.

    3) Players rely on each other more because the world is more powerful than the player. A more immersive game that promotes grouping and working together yet allows players to advance solo (JUST LIKE THE ORIGINAL EQ DID).

    4) A more open-ended faction system with races.

    Lots more.

    Those are some of the ‘roots’ that I’m referring to. I consider those to be major positives without a single negative — something SoE said they wanted in ‘Next’.

    These aren’t ghosts. These aren’t mechanics that won’t work anymore. These are simply things which haven’t been done lately.

    @Jay P: With how things are going these days and SoE as the developer… definite concerns.

  • It is hilarious that people still think that making big $$ WoW clones is good business. This formula failed and failed and failed and.. 10000 fail. Last few years are filled with corpses of MMOs that thought they could copy Blizzard and make quick buck.

    I also think there is a lot of ignorance about economics and investment in such projects. Audience you expect to attract with 5 mil investment is not same as with 80 mil.. Stupidity comes from people not gettign that you can make great cash from cheap projects and smaller audience. That is how original DAOC and EQ worked both were dirt cheap(especially DAOC that was purely ghetto) and made investors good return.

  • @smthin: It’s just another indicator of what I’m talking about when I say that the “WoW generation” (or the generation that never played UO/EQ/DAOC/SWG) doesn’t understand MMO’s like the “EQ generation” does.

    500k subs was enough to keep EQ going 10+ years with 10+ expansions. Less than that kept DAOC alive and would have kept it alive forever if not for a bad design decision with an expac.

    That’s what I would shoot for in my MMO and I know it would be profitable based on the idea alone.

  • I can’t make that assumption for sure, but I’m positive more people would have continued to play. I would never have stopped. I know about 20 people who would never have quit.

    Perhaps a larger number of subscribers would have led them to create DAOC 2.

  • At this point an EQ-like game will be a niche market. It just won’t have a broad enough appeal given the other titles that are out there and the new ones that are coming.

    I’m not getting any excitement from this announcement but I am one of the more jaded MMO players these days. Maybe if it were a free-to-play game…

  • @Curious George: Which mechanics are you referring to that would make an EQ-like game a niche game? Is it the death penalties and steep leveling curve?

    What do you think about a MMO that doesn’t have the harsh mechanics but keeps the fundamentals of EQ?

    Also, I guess the first question I should be asking you is whether or not you played EQ.

  • All those saying that Keen is looking for that ‘innocence’ or ‘honeymoon’ with a new MMO, I don’t necessarily buy it. I’ve been playing since UO, and while I do wax nostalgic on occasion about the old MMOs, I’ve fallen in love with several MMOs, although for different reasons. I’ve absolutely loved: Ultima Online, EverQuest, Star Wars (before the NGE Travesty), and Shadowbane. I’ve liked other MMOs, and I would place WoW in between love and like. I have always secretly wished that Blizzard would have done a World of Diablo instead of World of Warcraft… for the reason that WoW seems to be mostly comedic with a touch of seriousness and Diablo probably would have been mostly serious with a touch of comedy.

    I guess I can sum up my argument (if I can call it that) is that what we’re looking for doesn’t have to be totally new, but if it can bring some new elements to the table and immerse us in our game… well, that’s what we’re looking for.

    One last note, I do like WoW quite a bit, but I think they are starting to cross the line for Convenience vs. Immersion. A lot of the more recent changes have been very convenient to players, but also tends to break immersion in the game.

  • It’s many aspects. Back when EQ was THE game it had what comprised almost the entire MMO gaming market but later MMOs came out and expanded the market by broadening their appeal. These days a game with old-school mechanics will get only a small portion of the entire market.

    That said having a niche market is not a bad thing as those games can thrive and expand but it won’t more than just the “next” EQ. At least in my opinion. Even a game without old-school mechanics that is based on the EQ universe won’t be that much more appealing though it might bring in more people who are nostalgic (like me).

    I’m not against SOE making a “next” EQ as the more games out there the better for all of us.

    I played EQ for a long time when it came out in 1999. My Shaman in EQ was perhaps my most fondly remembered character though EQ is not my most fondly remembered MMO (DAoC is).

  • These are the things that I really liked about EQ and would want to see in EQ Next:

    1) The world. By this I mean the geography and the NPC’s. Obviously the world will not be exactly that of EQ, and I am ok with that.

    2) Mythology. I liked the mythology in EQ better than any other game I have played. I’m not saying that it’s better, I’m saying that I liked it better.

    3) Races. I really liked the races from EQ and the way they were depicted.

    4) Classes.

    Things I hope they lose from EQ:

    1) The incredibly slow grind.

    2) The over-taxing death penalty. XP loss that makes you lose a level is the worst!

    3) Horrible questing.

    I’m sure there are other things that I could come up with that I would like them to keep or lose, but that’s it off the top of my head.

    I don’t get the “old-school mechanics” thing either. And who said anything about using them, whatever they are? I want the world of EQ with a better chassis underneath.

  • My list is similar Lee. Except that the questing worked, it just needs to be updated a bit. Having to type out and guess what some NPC’s needed is a bit much, but the idea of them being few and far between, important, difficult, and really ‘epic’ is what I want to remain.

  • Best of luck to you guys at getting what you want. I’m just afraid a lot of the things you like are anathema to mainstream developers at this point.

    Personally, I decided to enjoy big AAA games for what they are (or just ignore them, more often), and to try to support indy game makers and modders in doing what only they can do – making weird, niche indy games that scratch my bizarre itches.

    We shall see, I suppose.

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