Massively have an interview with the EQ dev Dave Georgeson, a k a Smokejumper, about EQ Next. This latest game featuring the fantasy world of Norrath is predicted to release in late 2013 (no firm date yet), with a probable big reveal at SoE Live this August.
The interview talks sandbox gameplay (players are the content), that this will be a new game not just a sequel and that crafting and community will be core to the game’s design. On one hand it all sounds promising, and I’ll be tempted to jump into the game at launch just to experience that exuberant feeling of being there on day one. I’ve not seen enough detail on the game yet to decide either way, if it ends up being “not my kind of game” then I could always stick to EQ2’s Norrath anyway.
A big potential factor is of course the Pro Sieben Sat sell-off. I’ve been happily logging into EQ2 on occasion to pay house rent or manage broker sales since the existing European playerbase was given the choice to stay with SoE. I seem to remember vaguely that this “stay of execution” did not extend to future games such as EQ Next. If I’m forced to create a Pro Sieben Sat account to play, then I’ll hold off at launch and wait to for at least the first major content patch before deciding.
I’ve posted before about just how bad a service Europeans usually get through hosting service providers for MMOs. I’ve followed over the years the long catalogue of delays on content patch delivery for Aion and Tera (with Gameforge in Europe), that informed my decision to play on the North American Tera servers. I’d experienced first hand the problems of delayed content in DDO and LOTRO with Codemasters as well, so this is a long running issue for the industry spanning many games and companies.
Best case scenario is that I can use my existing SoE account to play EQ Next with SoE as my service provider. Otherwise if Pro Sieben Sat, after launch and the release of at least one major content patch, prove themselves competent and capable of keeping pace (no more than a few days delay from US release) in which case I’ll say fair enough and sign up through them. One to watch…