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EQ Next Wiki -
You may have heard mention of the official Wikias from time to time, but you might still be a bit confused. What are these? Why should you check them out? How do you get involved? Be sure to check them out!
EQN Landmark Wiki -
What's the difference between EQ Next (often referred to as EQN) and EQN Landmark? Check here to find out!
Everquest Next - The latest saga in the ever expanding Everquest Franchise is coming soon. Information was very limited and recently unveiled at the SOE Live event in Las Vegas on August 2nd.
First Release Notes
The developers set out to reach 4 "Holy Grail" accomplishments when developing EQ Next:
Goal: To change the game unlike all other existing games to make it fun to play. They plan to accomplish this goal through:
Begins with 8 Basic Classes
Acquire new Classes (40+ new ones)
Through in-game opportunities (adventuring and tradeskill)
Mix and Match Classes
I.E.; Take parts of a Ranger and incorporate them into a Priest
Mix and Match Abilities
I.E.; Decide which abilities of each new class you want to learn
Weapons become a "Class-Defining" item for the game
Each Class will have a Class specific weapon
Switch out components of a weapon with another weapon component to create new abilities for the weapon
i.e.; Switch out a staff's leather handle for a metal handle giving it more piercing power
Crafters will be able to craft multiple item components
When weapons change, abilities change
When you change Class, your weapons will change
When you change your weapon, your abilities will automatically change
i.e.; When you switch from a bow to sword, you'll automatically loose your range attack and auto acquire slashing
Created game using a new platform
This new platform allows all the new applications mentioned here
World detail previously used huge blocks to create the environment
EQ Next will use tiny particles called "Voxes" which can be blended, shaped, enlarged, shrunk to give precise looking items (smooth rounded spheres etc.)
Goal: Blow up and destroy absolutely anything, anywhere, anytime within game. They plan to accomplish this goal by:
Using Voxes players will be able to accomplish this in great detail
Players can destroy the ground beneath a mob causing the mob to fall into the cavern (sub-terrain level) below it's feet. Opening up a whole new world below.
By having Voxes, not only can a player destroy absolutely anything, they'll also be able to create absolutely anything.
3. A Life of Consequence
Goal: Create an ever changing world that changes based upon player input. They plan to accomplish this goal by:
Emergent AI (Artificial Intelligence)
The game remembers EVERYTHING you ever did and the game reacts to it
Game developers have tagged every Vox (particle) within the game
Using the new game platform and the new tagged voxes, the game's AI system polls the world to find out where everything is and uses that information to create "sporatic spawns" and no more "auto static spawns"
What this means is the game will have objectives, say to find a country road that has gold moving along it with little to no guards and the game will send out a group of Ogres to attack players who come along in attempts to steal their gold.
Your actions will affect the changes within the world that you experience
The world will evolve with many tiers (or layers), sub-terrains and chambers, one beneath the other.
The world will be constantly changing as the Game AI constantly polls the world
You'll be constantly finding new content as you and other players cast changes upon the world
You'll virtually never be able to cast the same character and play the exact same game each time since the world around you will be changing so much.
4. Permanent Change
Goal: To create an environment where the game storyline could still be told within an ever changing world. They plan to accomplish this goal through:
Establishing "Rallying Calls" aka Public Quests
This sets up a story that constantly and permanently changes the world depending on the actions of the players
i.e.; A rally call will be released, tasking players to create a "Keep" which would require members to secure a particular section of a forest land. Players would need to roust the Ogres, collect resources to build a fort, fortify the fort, causing the attention of the Ogre God, which in turns sends hordes of Ogres to try to destroy the fort, causing multiple players to rally to defend the fort and defeat the Ogre horde.
Anyone or everyone can participate in a rallying call
Or a player could set out on their own instead and ignore the rally call
You won't or don't know when the next stage of a rally call will trigger
There will be dynamic quests
This should promote a TON of communication between players across the entire server
Then there will be a final stage of a rallying call which will culminate over time (months perhaps) and if the outcome is successful, major rewards will be achieved and the rally call reset and a new rally call will spawn somewhere else within the world.
All New Continents
Experience Time Change Within the world
Time of Day changes
Watch shadows move across your path as the sun goes down
Experience the misty fog rolling in across Feerrot
Ever changing world with multiple sub layers
You'll be able to destroy the land you're standing on exposing a sub-terrain level below you, then drop down into that cavern, destroy that level's floor and drop down to a sub-sub-terrain cavern
A NEW Heroic movement system
Automatic Vault over a fallen log as you run up to it
Automatically go into a slide as you travel down the slope of a riverbank
Pull your character up a ledge by grabbing the rocks above you
Do flips and tumbles in mid air as you jump across chasms allowing farther jumps
Wizard - will be able to summon an instant teleport while destroying all around them
warrior - Will have special leaps (similar to the old Mario "ground-pound")
Players will be given the same tools that the developers have to create the EQ Next game.
Players will be able to take those items they've created within EQ Next and place them on the Marketplace under Player Studio. Because the new items will be created vox by vox (particle by particle) directly within the game there won't be an issue of copyright or trademark infringement. So the approval process will be greatly streamlined.
Players will continue to earn a percentage of sales from items sold thru Player Studio.
In addition when another player places an item (a tower for example) within their house and then sells the decorated home via Player Studio, the original author of the tower item will be given a small bit of royalties from each sale of the items that contain their originally created item.
Players will use dev tools built within the Landmark game to shape new areas.
These tools will bevel, smooth and change size of objects and will be built right into the game.
Players will be given a "Claim Flag" - Plant it and you can build anything you want on your new claim site.
Players can EARN multiple claim flags
Players will be required to go harvest the resources, find objects and recipes to be able to build on their claim site.
One continent in Landmark will have contests that you can participate in with new items you've built. Contest hosts will pick the best of the contest and those chosen items will be "pre-placed" within EQ Next to be available on game launch day!
Those chosen to participate in EQ Next Landmark beta will work directly with the dev's prior to EQ NEXT's launch by creating items within EQ Next Landmark. Developers will utilize a "Round Table" to announce goals and landmarks to achieve giving Beta players a clear road map path to help develop EQ Next. This will result in a "hand-in-hand" game development between developers and players for Everquest Next.
As you read this, EverQuest Next is being unveiled to the world at large. Surprisingly, it’s not the only EverQuest game that fans are being introduced to.
Not only will EverQuest Next be a huge departure for SOE but EverQuest Next Landmark will be part of a completely new phase of MMO development that will make community input more important than in any other MMO.
More on EverQuest Next Landmark later; first, let’s take a look at EQ Next.
John Smedley introduced the presentation and explained that SOE wants EverQuest Next to be “the next defining thing in online gaming.”
To explain what that means, Dave Georgeson, director of development for the EverQuest franchise explained that MMO gamers have been playing “a lot of Dungeons & Dragons for the last 35 years,” and EQ Next is SOE’s answer to that paradigm.
The world of Norrath will look very different to fans of the franchise. We were shown a map of the world and were told that the team has taken a “JJ Abrams’ Star Trek” approach; Norrath will have familiar elements, “touch-points’ as Dave called them, but will branch out into new stories, including new areas.
I say new areas as EverQuest Next is an open world game—which means no loading screens between zones. We saw some previews of the new takes on classic zones, such as Lavastorm which is a molten landscape that will be familiar, but with a more dramatic art style.
The image of the Feerrott that was shown included a large central, towering mesa, which exemplified the verticality that is a big part of new Norrath’s design.
A video fly through of part of the Feerrott showed a lot of different tiers in the landscape, stone steps leading to different platforms within a humid forest, deep ravines cut through verdant planes, next to a classic wizard spire.
It looked very clean and the graphics are up to the expected quality of a modern MMO, with immersion enhancing lighting effects, such as the crepuscular rays teeming through forest canopies. Shadows moved across the landscape as the sun passed over in a demonstration of the day/night cycle.
Georgeson said that night time will be a true night, though still playable. From the brief glimpse that I saw, it didn’t look like the kind of darkness that would necessarily require a player to carry a light source to navigate.
What will be most interesting to see will be fans’ reaction to the art style of the character design.
The human female character has a clean, expressive face that is reminiscent of Pixar-style animated characters. The slight, playful exaggeration around the eyes and mouth lend themselves to the SOEmote, which will be incorporated in the game.
As EverQuest Next will be the first game designed with SOEmote in mind, the range of expressions that were demonstrated looked fun and fitting in a way that seems more natural than in EverQuest II.
The Kerran model is quite surprising and is a big departure from the original noble, panther influence of the race first introduced in EverQuest’s Shadows of Luclin expansion.
EQ Next’s Kerrans are based on lions, making them noticeably daunting in their silhouette—the Kerran we saw was a warrior—and the choice is quite probably influenced by the longer, more expressive snout that lends itself to SOEmote more naturally.
Georgeson stated that the SOE team thinks that SOEmote, as realized in EQ Next, will be a real boon to role-players and machinima producers. I can certainly see how that could be true from the brief demo I watched.
The style of the character models is a radical departure from the classic idea of an EverQuest character and seem to be focused on a more broadly appealing style, perhaps a more varied, younger-skewed demographic than the first two EQ incarnations.
The style works very well, particularly when in motion, and is abundant in personality. I do wonder how the core EQ fan base will react to this departure, but the alternative—perhaps a standard but high definition Dungeons & Dragons direction—would probably not have the same degree of distinctiveness, fun and personality.
The movement of each character was very fluid; their travel abilities were visually striking and promise a lot of options for involving gameplay. The wizard ability, Flash, involved a swiftly generated, coalescing portal that rippled with energy before a fiery eruption, moving the wizard instantly.
The furry warrior showed off a leap ability, powerfully propelling himself forward through the air before hitting the ground with force.
Items will also play a part in altering your character’s movement. The wizard was shown gracefully gliding across a chasm due to her Boots of the Zephyr which granted the movement power. Having items that grant powers of movement in such a dramatic way is a very cool idea.
What I really want to know is the way in which those boots will be obtained. What kind of crafting can we expect? I’ll be asking that question in my interview with the dev team, coming soon.
To give an idea of just how different EQ Next is—and trust me, it is most assuredly different than any other MMO on the market—we were introduced to the four “Holy Grails” of the development team.
Grail 1: Change the Core Game
Multiclassing was held up as one of the ways that EQ Next will change the core farm/quest/level advancement in MMOs. Every player will begin the game with a choice from eight classes.
Each class will have two weapons and four associated abilities to those weapons--something that seemed reminiscent at first glance to Guild Wars 2.
As players adventure and quest—I think the first mention of the word other than in the game title—they will have the opportunity to unlock the total of 40 classes that will be available.
Not only will you be able to switch between classes, but you will be able to mix and match abilities—something that points toward a deck-build style of hotbar, but we didn’t see the UI to get confirmation.
Some of the weapons which were shown in a concept art slide included: spellbooks, fist weapons, flails, foci, spellblades, swords and shields.
A few combat abilities were demonstrated at this point in-game. The warrior Shield Bash attack hit a poor, unsuspecting kobold rather forcefully knocking it back. The follow up demonstration of the animation seemed to indicate a lack of need to tab-target, in missing the kobold corpse initially, then clipping it and sending it flying down some nearby steps.
The wizard ability, Chronosphere, generated a massive ball of radiant energy which, when unleashed, had a devastating effect, leaving a trail of destruction along the ground. A vortex spell granted the wizard a teleport, but with the added twist that a large explosion is generated at the point of origin.
The wake of destruction left by the spells—as well as the eye-searing particle effects—was impressive. One would expect that the small crater in the ground that had been wrought would soon disappear, as in every other MMO this would be an overlay effect on the terrain.
Not so in EverQuest Next.
Grail 2: Destructibility
EQ Next’s game world is completely built from voxels—think of them as building blocks that form all structures. This allows the developers and, more importantly, players to wreak havoc not just on NPCs but the environment around them.
The warrior ability, Whirlwind, acted as you would expect: the Kerran spinning furiously and knocking the tar out of a crowd of kobolds. This would be where a normal MMO ends, but EQ Next goes a step further as the warrior destroyed nearby walls at the same time.
We’ve seen walls knocked down in MMOs before, but usually through a transitional animation between before and after states, pre-designed models showing the wall as it stands then after it has fallen. Instead, Whirlwind left small, individual piles of rubble strewn across the ground—the joy of voxels.
That’s all well and good, it looks cool but what does this destructibility do for gameplay? As it turns out, the answer is quite mind-bending.
The wizard let rip with Upheaval, a power that destroyed NPCs and objects with a more magical flourish. The wizard then ran across a small stone bridge and used the ability again, this time hammering the stones apart, causing the kobolds to fall to their untimely deaths.
Being able to destroy the surrounding objects of an area has a huge amount of potential for turning combat into something more than a slash-fest. Instead players can truly start to use the surrounding terrain to their advantage in tactical ways.
But, in terms of how destructibility would affect the world, there was much more to come—more on that later.
Grail 3: A Life of Consequence
It’s been a complaint aimed at MMOs for a long time: I can’t really change the world I play in. There are some exceptions to the rule—such as EVE Online—but it’s generally true that if you clear a pack of mobs, you can soon swing by and see the identical pack standing happily where you had just been.
EverQuest Next is attempting to change that concept through the use of more emergent and dynamic AI.
Instead of a static spawn point of Orcs—such as the millions killed in the same spots in the original Crushbone—the NPCs in EQ Next have a bit more independence. The orcs are spawned into the world and they find the kind of environment that appeals to them, which might lead to them congregating in similarly isolated areas that would be dangerous for unaware passers-by.
Though this seems a negligible difference, the use of self determining AI for the characters means that they can change their location due to their interaction with the player and the world.
If you were living in a place where you were being attacked on a daily basis, what would you do? I hope the answer is that you would move to somewhere else, which is exactly what the orcs of EverQuest Next will do.
Inform the guards of a local town of orc ambushes and they might start patrolling that area. Not wanting to tangle with the burly law enforcement, the orcs decide to relocate and find a new area to live in.
In other words, the days of spawn camping seem to be at an end.
Another example given was that the Combine Accord might ask you to go clear some enemy infestations from a forest. In any other MMO you would see the same mobs there within minutes of slaying them. In EQ Next, those same mobs figure “Forget this, these trees aren’t that great to put up with being killed on a regular basis” so they move off.
Your actions really do have an effect on the world around you, NPCs react to you in ways that finally make sense in a world that’s suppose to be immersive.
The AI works on a more granular level too; the enemies will even adapt to your combat style. Keep bashing the same attacks and you will be predictable and the NPCs will begin to counter you—making weapon switching highly important in order to keep them on their toes.
NPCs will react different to you socially; an example given was that if you help orcs kill humans, the local humans will start responding to you negatively.
Though this all sounds wonderful, the most mind-blowing example of changing the world is through its physical structure.
Our plucky kerran and human were up against an ominously large earth elemental which unleashed a barrage of flashy attacks. One of them left a crater in the ground. I looked for where the player characters would be standing, but they weren’t there.
They had fallen through the earth.
EQ Next’s Norrath is much more than it first appears. Not only can you travel across and over it, you can also travel through it.
The elemental’s ability had hit a thin spot in Norrath’s crust, revealing a subterranean cavern which could have held more mobs, more quests, more adventure.
The world is multi-tiered and based on a timeline stretching from the ancient Keldan to the current Combine Era. With each epoch comes a buried area for you to unearth, with its own distinct environment and challenges.
They are procedurally generated, meaning that, for example, if the devs set off an earthquake it could collapse one of the caverns, which would be automatically created elsewhere below Norrath’s surface.
Players will have abilities allowing them to phase through the ground—or just grab a shove and dig—to find these hidden areas. The potential for exploration is absolutely massive and it can happen on the fly as an unexpected, dangerous and exciting by-product of exerting the great powers you can wield in combat.
Imagine getting into a standard fight with a local creature and accidentally destroying a weak spot in the ground. Suddenly, you find yourself in a completely new area below, with new mobs that aren’t happy about the unexpected visitor in their midst.
Doesn’t that sound pretty great?
Grail 4. Permanent Change
So even if you do see some change in your MMO, it rarely feels like you had a great hand in it or that it will last for very long. Dave and the rest of the team want to make that kind of experience a remnant of the past.
Rallying Calls are like public events but more. Much more.
Lasting for months, Rallying Calls, when initiated, automatically flag every player in the world and allow them to contribute.
The example that Georgeson fleshed out was the overarching task to build a city called Halas. At first players would just set up tents in the area while they found resources to build better structures.
This could lead to them interacting with NPCs and, due to the dynamic AI, lay out in ever expanding ways. Imagine the local Goblin King being displeased with the new interlopers on his lands. He decides to send in raiding parties to wipe out the annoyance.
Players with a crafting mindset could help build new defenses to fend off the attacks while the more muscular adventurers try to rout the goblins.
As the fledgling Halas’ defenses improve and the strength of force of the townspeople increases, the Goblin King decides he can’t handle the situation alone, so forms alliance with other NPC races to really bring the pain.
Under this new threat, the settlers dig into the ground, creating a quarry to hew stone for a more permanent defensible structure. Unfortunately, digging deep into Norrath unleashes strange creatures that attack indiscriminately, killing both players and enemy NPCs alike.
Breaking the siege of Halas would complete the victory scenario and end the Rallying Call. So would Halas soon go away, its lands cleared ready to set up the long term public quest once more?
No. Halas would stand, a new city for players to visit, one that they helped build themselves, a permanent mark left on the game.
The team would then start a new Rallying Call elsewhere; a new indelible change to the world begins to take shape.
I’m delighted with the concept, I think it’s something that makes a ton of sense and brings an interaction with an MMO world that’s been sorely lacking.
So that’s EQ Next then. Nothing more to see here.
Well, except for the other game.
After watching a iron golem smash a building in a way no other MMO has the capability to show—the massive fist smashed debris apart in precisely the way it physically should, not in some pre-ordained approximation—the throng present at the presentation were told just how powerful the voxel tools the team has are.
They’re so powerful, the development team would spend time one-upping each other until the question was asked “What if we let the players do this?”
And so EverQuest Next Landmark was born.
A playground for creators, EverQuest Next Landmark is powered by all of the tools that are being used to develop EverQuest Next. A multitude of procedurally generated worlds are spun up for players to jump into and begin to build objects.
A player, through a character that resembles one from EverQuest Next, simply has to find a free spot of land and plant a flag in the ground, claiming the land. Then it’s up to the imagination of the individual to make best use of the tools at hand; which seemed to have an impressive scope of creation.
The voxel tool used to create blocks is resizable, meaning a very precise power to build. Added to this are a bevel and a smoothing option which can have quite startling effects, to sculpt pretty much any shape conceivable.
Obviously, Minecraft will immediately spring to mind, but the tools that players in EverQuest Next will wield have much more refinement available. A sphere was shown which had the appearance of a typical Minecraft object: a series of blocks in a step formation that forms the basis of an identifiable, but imperfect, sphere.
Then, with obvious contrast, an EverQuest Next Landmark version with its smoothing tool was revealed; the sphere was perfect in shape.
Enter the Player Studio; all objects built in the game can be bundled and sold. Not only will the object bring cash to the creator from the original conception, if it is incorporated into another player’s larger construction, it will generate further royalties.
The example used was of a tower, created by the first player, which is incorporated in a castle designed by the second. Each time the castle sells, both players receive cash.
There are some limitations. Of course, what you build must adhere to certain common sense restrictions—sorry, no giant genitalia allowed—and must befit the concept of Norrath.
Make something that is tremendous. That would look good even in the world of EverQuest Next and that could be the outcome: the best builds will be included in EverQuest Next at launch.
To end the presentation after more Steve Jobs “one more thing” endings than a Peter Jackson movie, John Smedley returned to introduce the evolution of PlanetSide 2’s Roadmap.
PS2 gives the community the chance to have a say in how things are developed for Auraxis, with voting determining priority and comments giving feedback to developer choices.
This has been the testing ground for EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark’s approach to hivemind design.
Roundtable, which will launch immediately, promises to make the two games the most openly developed in MMO history.
“We will show everything” but the overly complex nitty gritty Smedley promised, with the community being brought in to discuss everything with the developers.
The concept of “It’s our world now” sums up an intended, involved partnership between the developers and the fans of the games. SOE hopes the result will be something that has never been seen before, from conception, to development to realization.
And that was that.
Frankly, I was a little stunned by the events that transpired today.
This wasn’t what I expected, which, as a slightly jaded MMO gamer, is a simply marvelous feeling. For as many surprises and treats that were garnered a dozen questions spring to mind.
I still have no idea about the “heart” of the game. What kind of MMO will this be? Are these incredible tools, an amazing environment and incredible options there to add depth to the kind of theme park MMO that players might be used to?
Or are there sandbox crafting systems and PvP—not mentioned once—waiting to just explode all of these fascinating developments into something mind-bogglingly expansive?
Those questions will be answered very shortly. I’ll be pestering the developers like a rabid dog for the rest of this week here in Las Vegas to get more answers. But, everyone will be able to find out very soon as SOE promises that we will be hearing a lot from them through an open dialogue with the gaming community at large as development moves forward.
Take a look around. Consider what MMOs mean to you.
If SOE delivers, today could be when the game truly changed.