Reports of a Gamasutra interview with SOE boss John Smedley have stirred up some speculation that EQNext could be released this year.
“Players will get their hands on an actual release version of what we’re doing late [this] year – and I don’t mean a beta”
This quote from the above-linked article could be read several ways. Will it be just friends and family style alpha testing or actually the game launched?
I actually find the “players as content” quote more thought-provoking. I personally love leveling characters through standard quest-focused PVE content. I’m currently having a blast in EQ2 doing just that, plus the same in Rift and now-and-again LoTRO too. So for me, someone who was turned off an early experience of MMOs by Star Wars Galaxies’ rather ‘new player unfriendly, ultra sandbox’ design, I may actually not like EQNext that much. However I *do* believe the MMO market needs some shocks. Maybe EQNext will start the change.
The “players as content” concept makes sense to stretch out people’s interest in the game where devs cannot keep creating enough content. But if the pendulum swings too much the other way and we’re left almost exclusively to our own devices I’d be less enthusiastic about playing such a game.