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Nomad

Everquest Next

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At risk of riling up the haters, I'm excited enough for the new Everquest that I feel compelled to post about it even here. I know the majority of you are probably going to groan "MMO? YAWN," but if what they promise is true it looks like they might actually be on to something great.

The cornerstones of the new Everquest are the fully destructible and malleable world built from Voxels and the advanced AI for monsters with individual interests and motivations. All of the rest of the game stem from these two things, and while you might be thinking "Ok, so what?" I'm gonna tell you why this is going to create a whole new genre of massively multiplayer online games with persistently changing, living and breathing worlds.

What are all the things you hate about MMOs? I'm sure some of you play them, but I'm also sure those of you who do have a list of pet peeves that sooner or later drive you to dislike playing after a while. Mine include: Grinding for xp, doing countless "kill x amount of y" and "collect n amount of z" quests, running the same dungeons over and over and over, and ultimately the feeling of "I've done or seen this a million times" not just from a particular game but in all games.

From what I've seen, EQ Next addresses ALL of those issues and if everything goes as promised will be everything I've ever wanted from an MMO and more!

They've confirmed no levelling, but they have not disclosed exactly how one will advance in game. To quote an interview from PC Gamer:

It’s based on player accomplishments. It’s not skill based, so you don’t have to use your mace over and over again to level your mace skill up. [...] It’s not grinding XP. It’s not completing a thousand quests or whatever it is. That’s just not how it is. And we reward you with advancement in lots and lots of different ways. [...] I can tell you one of the things you won’t be doing as a crafter, and that’s making the same thing over and over and over again to advance your skill. That’s not how it will work.


The advanced AI takes care of most of the "questing" by itself. They've described several scenarios like so:

A band of gold hungry orcs has found a lonely road where weaklings are easy pickings. One of several things might happen from here. Maybe NPC guards might be convinced to patrol the area more, giving the orcs less incentive to terrorize and wander off to find another place to go. Or players go in and exterminate the orcs from the area. That's it; it's not kill x of y, it's go in and destroy the orc camp and then they no longer show up in the area, end of story.

The devs also described these server-wide events called Rallying Calls: A place is chosen (they haven't disclosed why or how a specific place is chosen, but bear with me) for players to start building a camp to be defended against some forest goblins. Starts with a little tent city but then goblin reinforcements show up, so a next stage would be to build ramparts and walls around the city and to drive the goblins even further back. Soon the goblin king gets word of the conflict and rallies an entire army to come seige the city. So the players work to both build the city, defend the city, and advance on the goblin army themselves to drive them back and perhaps eventually wipe them out.

So you've got an ever evolving world that's shaped by both players directly and through their collective actions. This translates to highly varied worlds across different servers. To quote an article from IGN:

Over time, individual servers in EverQuest Next are meant to become their own worlds. Jump to another server, and a city may be where a field is supposed to be, or it might not exist at all. It will be possible to dig deep into the ground and make all kinds of interesting archaeological discoveries. And to keep things fresh, SOE will occasionally use an earthquake to shake things up and open up new areas.


And on top of this, there will be procedurally generated dungeons. No longer will you be running the same dungeon over and over and over, it'll be different every time. Hell, the dungeons might not even be in the same place every time!

So all of this put together amounts to a highly unique, individualized experience both for players on an individual server and for individual characters. No two players at any given time will have the same experience, and no two alts will have the same experience. The end results of advancement are nearly unlimited, as are the methods of advancement.

I personally cannot wait for this to come out. If, as I said before, everything goes as promised, I think this is the game that I've been waiting a very long time for. I hope I've gotten some of you guys excited about it as well. :)

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At risk of riling up the haters


You're such a hipster. :P

But yeah, I'm stoked about EQ Next too. Been following Miguel Cepero's blog for a while and it's cool to see his stuff put to use.

I don't buy the whole procedural content = always new thing just yet, every game I've played using random generation ultimately falls into recognizable patterns once you play it enough, and the lack of focus and pacing you'd get from good human design tends to make things feel sameish. No doubt one day automated content will be better than man-made, but it hasn't been so far so it makes sense to wait and see.

The combat seemed terribly generic MMOish/fantasy as well (in the videos floating around). It feels surreal to see an audience get excited over the demo guy telling them your warrior can shield bash and knocking back some tiny rat guy a few steps. The whole standing around and mash buttons just doesn't appeal to me anymore. This kind of gameplay is inherently limited in depth, and besides it has been explored to death over the last two decades.

The cool thing is... Unlike most MMOs where not liking the dungeons and not liking the combat would be a dealbreaker, because then you can't level up to get X power and access zone Y or do thing Z, here this might not matter. What I like in MMOs is the exploration, sightseeing and moving around; and it looks like I'll be able to do just that with fast movement powers, some parkour moves, apparently no invisible walls.

Destructive environments are always fun too, and if the construction is as good as they promise, I could see myself spending a lot of time in this; *and* it's F2P, so there's no harm in giving it a go. Definitely the first MMO that made me take notice in 10 years.

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I'm almost certain those fight scenes were scripted and that the combat is still fairly early in development. I really really really hope they took some lessons from games like GW2 and DCUO; they did say that you'd be doing a lot of dodging and rolling so it does sound promising. At the very least I don't think it will be like old school MMOs with standing around with auto-attack and cycling cooldown abilities.

As for the dungeons, they haven't explicitly said how the procedural generation works. Considering it's all done via voxels, and the way they're pimping up how easy Landmark is to make prefabs, it shouldn't be hard to periodically keep the dungeons fresh. I'm sure each dungeon type we might eventually get pretty familiar with the variations but keep in mind in Everquest II there are player-designed dungeons too, which I'm 99% certain we'll see in EQN as well!

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I played GoodGame Empire for awhile and I guess what drove me away was the tedium of recruiting soldiers, moving resources between castles and other tedium such as putting out fires one by one each one taking between 1 minute and 3 hours. Nothing really changes--the game was repetitive, but it had strong balance and lots of different quests and events and the equipment aspect of the game was really fun, but overall all the tedium and repetition just became a drag.

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Hellbent said:

I didn't read your whole post because I'm at work but I played GoodGame Empire for awhile and I guess what drove me away was the tedium of recruiting soldiers, moving resources between castles and other tedium such as putting out fires one by one each one taking between 1 minute and 3 hours. Nothing really changes--the game was repetitive, but it had strong balance and lots of different quests and events and the equipment aspect of the game was really fun, but overall all the tedium and repetition just became a drag.


Maybe it's that you didn't bother reading my post, but on the other hand perhaps you are implying that EQN isn't doing anything new? I've never heard of this game you speak of, looks like a dumb browser based facebook game.

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Nomad said:

Maybe it's that you didn't bother reading my post, but on the other hand perhaps you are implying that EQN isn't doing anything new? I've never heard of this game you speak of, looks like a dumb browser based facebook game.

I've read this whole thread now. No, I'm not implying anything, just replying with my experience of an MMO of what I didn't like about it.

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Yeah, I think the folks behind EQN are fully aware of the types of things that eventually cause people to become jaded with a game. Sounds like the main difference EQN will have over other MMOs is that everything anyone does actually has an impact on the game world.

If there even are any kind of resource gathering quests or events, it will, for example, be because a crafter actually needs them for something and the quest will actually yield something of value. Say a new structure is being built in town, and they need wood and stone. You could join a gathering hunt and collect some things to contribute and when it's built it's built, that quest is done and over with forever (until the next structure needs to be built, of course).

That's my guess, at least, from what they describe.

Some people have claimed it's too much like a massive multiplayer Minecraft, but I don't see why that's a bad thing. What Minecraft did well, this is probably going to do better, and what Minecraft did terribly (combat, no actual incentive to play beyond exploration and building) this will fix.

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Yup. I'm feeling pretty pumped for this game as well. The geography of all of the game worlds are going to be created through procedural generation and the players will then have the opportunity to design and build all of the towns, cities and dungeons prior to launch. I'm crossing my fingers that they continue to allow players to make persistent changes to the game world and build their own stuff following after the final game ships.

(Skip to around 27 minutes into the video for more details).

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I played Tera in June for about a month or so but quit when they broke the combat by nerfing bosses to a ridiculous extent (10 minute fight became a 2 minute fight).

Might give this a try if I'm bored enough with other games.

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Stygian said:

(Skip to around 27 minutes into the video for more details).

I'll have to watch this later - but I'm skeptical. What they're talking about is WAY outside the tropes of the MMO genre and I feel there would be general outrage if they adhered to any of those "holy grails". We'll see...

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