So, voxels. We now know something about Everquest Next. I’ll keep myself short on the reveals itself, there are features for your reading pleasure over at Massively, Rock Paper Shotgun, mmorpg.com and ZAM.
To summarize what i got from the reveals:
- Norrath, the world of Everquest Next, is voxel based. Quite like Minecraft, i hear. The thing is that this leads to destructible environment, caves you can explore/find and a changing world. It seems characters can start to dig anywhere they want and might find something underneath the surface of the world. Also, fights leave their mark in the world.
- Mobs will have some form of AI, they’ll function with a list of likes and dislikes and might for instance reposition themselves when their current spot strikes them as too risky.
- Questing will happen without exclamation marks, you happen to witness stuff in the world and choose to participate. There’ll also be public quests that last for months.
- Skill sets function quite like in Guild Wars 2: you get 4 abilities depending on your weapon and 4 abilities you can choose from a pool of abilities available to your classes.
- You can multiclass, but classes seem to have to be found in the world, as well.
- There are no levels, so you can play with your friends at any time
- Characters will be able to vault over obstacles, slide down inclines, or jump up and grab a ledge to pull up
So, that’s what i got from the reveal. First, let me mention that all these articles i linked above seem to have their roots in a presentation the authors saw at E3 earlier this year and yesterday an embargo was lifted so they could write up their impressions.
As far as the reveals go, i know they sound crazy and like a true innovation in MMORPGs, but i’m still cautious. If you recall my wants and needs for finding a new mmo home, here we have a feature list that concentrates on the world part, and it is done well. Norrath next seems to be a truly changing world and SOE seems to have found the RPG again. With EQ Next Landmark, which seems to be some kind of toolset for players to build stuff that might find its way in EQ Next, SOE seems to have the point of having something to return to, as well.
What’s missing for me, is something about crafting and trade. They didn’t say anything about that yet, and there are some clues one could follow allowing the assumption that crafting will be a solid experience in EQ Next (EQ2’s crafting is viewed as one of the better systems and there is a designer on board in EQN that changed EQ2’s system for the better), so i guess information on crafting and trade is still to come.
Here’s my main gripe, though: when you leave out the voxels, what’s revealed so far could just be Guild Wars 2 again. I’m not saying they are the same, but ArenaNet used almost the same descriptions for their game: changing world (“living story”), random encounters and “obvious” quests (dynamic events), mobs changing their behaviour as well as a living world.
There is something in all the information we got, something underlying everything, that makes me believe SOE. Maybe it’s that i think the message players have been sending for some years by now has reached SOE- MMORPG fans want better worlds instead of better games. Get the MMO-players instead of the “three month crowd” and you have a winner.
It seems to me SOE is aiming high, they seem to know that the time might be right for a new massive hit in the mmorpg space if you try to innovate and succeed in giving MMORPG players what they want- and judging by all we know, they might pull it off. Color me intrigued.