The news coming out of SOE Live has my hands shaking as I write this post. John Smedley, President of SOE, has dropped a huge announcement that will interest those of you who, like me, live for the glory days of MMORPG’s and EverQuest. Apparently, what SOE had in the works for EverQuest Next isn’t the direction they’re going to take the game. It was originally going to be just the ‘next’ EQ, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but now it is going to be much, much more exciting. Here’s what he had to say:
“I have to be honest with you. We have completely blown up the design of EverQuest Next. For the last year and a half we have been working on something we are not ready to show. Why did we blow up the design? The design was evolutionary. It was EverQuest III. It was something that was slightly better that what had come before it. It was slightly better. What we are building is something that we will be very proud to call EverQuest. It will be the largest sandbox style MMO ever designed. The same exciting content delivered in a new way. Something you’ve never seen before. The MMO world has never seen before. We didn’t want more Kill 10 Rats quests. We didn’t want more of the same. If you look at the MMOs out there, they’re delivering the same content over and over again. So are we. We need to change that. When we released EverQuest, we changed the world. We want to do that again with a different type of game.
What I will commit to is, at the next Fan Faire, not only will you get to see it but you will get to touch it. Most of the EQNext devs are in this room. If you get them drunk enough they might tell you. They’re led by Dave Georgeson. Terry Michaels. Vets from EQ and EQ2. We are remaking Norrath unlike anything you’ve ever seen, but you’ll recognize it. I’m sorry we don’t have anything to show for it, but I wanted to be honest with you and tell you a little bit about it. Keep the faith.” – EQ2Wire.com
I know there isn’t any reason to believe that this will be some messianic MMO release. I know it’s coming from John Smedley. I know there isn’t any tangible reason for me to be excited, but I have to put my faith in something. I have to believe that some company out there has the capital, the desire, and the talent to take what I love about EverQuest and the sandbox genre and combine into one game. Why can’t that company be SOE? I know there’s about 100 things wrong with that last sentence, but I’m at the point where I have to sit back and realize that beggars can’t be choosers.
I’m excited to think about all the ways that EverQuest ‘Next’ (are we still calling it that?) can transition from what I have thought of as pseudo-sandbox to a full sandbox experience. There are opportunities to revive open-world dungeons, player dependence, and the scope of a virtual world to just name a few.
However, I am going to hold John Smedley to every last oozing drop of hyperbole.