So after dinner with friends I stayed up late watching the Everquest Next reveal (Youtube of Keynote). This post is some initial thoughts without much time to digest. The hour plus reveal keynote had some pretty big surprises:
- At least partially destroyable world (no hint how quickly damage will ‘heal’)
- Collectable classes / weapon skills (linked to classes?)
- It looks more movement and action focused than I expected – like Guild Wars 2 with parkour and class movement skills as standard
- Dynamic world (large scale events that can branch over long but unspecified time periods)
- A separate sub-game to be released this Winter that will allow players to start building in a randomised clone of Norrath. My first thought was EQ Minecraft edition
I’m really not sure what I feel about some of this. Another action-heavy “wading through mobs” (Quote from Keen) game when there are already several of those. Smashing through weak spots to reveal new layers of the game world sounds cool on paper. In reality though will the world constantly look half-wrecked as a horde of the players run around in circles constantly smashing anything they can?
The dynamic events system sounds to be a better iteration of what Guild Wars 2 tried to do with their events system. This one was described as being more long-term with lots of sub-events and branching possibilities. Events need to be larger scale I think for players to not quickly memorise every little detail. I do like the idea of collective ‘communities’ building towards a goal over time. The obvious allusions made to a mix of contributions from combat and crafting was also welcome.
The class system needs a lot more details before I can judge it. There will be a collection aspect to finding classes (or class skills at least) and multi-classing as a ‘thing'; is this locked within an archetype though? If you choose to play a mage will you only be able to collect mage sub-class skills? He talked about having weapon skills (and weapon swapping) like in Guild Wars 2. There was one slide about customising weapons, but does that mean you can alter the skills it gives as well? Skill collection in the world was a fun aspect to Guild Wars 1, and Guild Wars 2 looks to be bringing that back. I’ll be very interested to see what all this actually means.
Edit: Here’s a link to the class panel with a lot more detail on ability builds.
The world graphics look gorgeous and very high in detail. That we’ll have access to the same tools ourselves could be a big plus for the game. The character graphics are like higher fidelity WoW – heavily stylised fantasy. The character models linked with the movement and combat actually made me think of Ratchet and Clank as well. That’s a bit of a strange combo for the next EQ game, it certainly will be a major shift in direction for the franchise and I presume will not kill of the earlier games because it’s so *very* different. SoE have already announced expansions for both Everquest I & II in an earlier Keynote (Youtube of this keynote), so if people keep playing the earlier Norraths then I guess SoE will keep churning out content for them too.