SOE has finally unveiled its long awaited follow up to the Everquest series of games today in Las Vegas, NV during their SOE Live 2013 festivities.
Last night revealed Jeremy Soule, the composer of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, to be the composer of SOE’s upcoming MMORPG Everquest Next. Today saw concepts, character models, game worlds and early gameplay unveiled, as well as an extension to Everquest Next its self, to be released before the MMORPG.
Everquest Next Landmark, a previously unannounced sister release to the core product, will be available by the end of this year.
Everquest Next Landmark is a building tool that lets players create sections of land, buildings and such, which can possibly be implemented into Everquest Next its self by the dev team. Structural erection isn’t unlike titles such as Minecraft, but with the tools provided with the Landmark toolset, players can add levels of formation, deformation, detail and smoothing previously unavailable in similar games.
Below is a picture of what was described as what a typical sphere would look like in any game with a similar mechanic:
and this is what that same sphere would look like with the tools provided in Everquest Next Landmark:
Along with the ability to build areas in Everquest Next Landmark, the actual MMORPG its self has the ability to deform terrain, buildings and so on. Whether player dealt or through an enemies attack, the world of Norrath will be subjected to terraforming. Not only does this give beneficial and disadvantageous moments during gameplay, but it can even change the scope of what players have come to expect from an MMORPG. It’s quite possible for a group to plow downwards into the depths of Norrath and discover an underground cave system with more opportunities at adventure. Need to stop a train of mobs from advancing to your position? Have a wizard erect a wall via Upheaval to stop them in their tracks momentarily.
Barricading ones self inside a structure might prove futile however, if a titan sized mob barrels down the path and punches off half of the structure:
Early builds of certain areas were available to show off by both real-time and pre-recorded means. They give a glimpse of the grandeur and scope of not only the size of the game world its self, but the minute details peppered through each area.
The way players have thought of classes within the genre looks to be changing as well. Everquest Next will have over a half dozen starter classes players can start with. While one can start with a singular class to enter the world of Norrath with, they can ultimately be blended together, with dozens of additional classes that can be unlocked around the game world. Ever wanted to be a warrior that can tank mobs up close and possibly barricade a wave of incoming enemies for a little while with a wizard Upheaval spell? SOE looks to be heading in this direction. There are similarities to such titles as Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV, though by all indications, the line as a whole seems to becoming blurred when it comes to singular, static classes.
SOE even had some early real-time combat to display in both pre-recorded and live fashions. It shows off the character art so far and how they move in the environment, as well as a small handful of actions they can perform. With just two player characters and one enemy on screen, the action becomes intense, as do the effects that come about:
Everquest Next is already looking like one of the most ambitious MMORPG’s since the genres inception. Most of these concepts and practices might have been done elsewhere in a somewhat similar manner, but incorporating them into one package in an attempt to redefine the genre as a whole, is something that SOE might just be able to pull off. It raises plenty of questions in the meantime, such as “if deforming areas around Norrath is a permanent thing, could this lead to grieving in certain areas?” but in due time, these questions will be answered. While the Everquest Next Landmark toolset is scheduled to be ready by years end, a firm release date for Everquest Next, or even a beta date, have yet to be determined. What is certain is that there will be a free to play structure built, with the ambition levels overall breaching the stratosphere.
For some more information on what was revealed, check out the Everquest Next website, and sign up for the beta, which again, has not had a timetable released for. Check back with Chocolate Lemon for more information as we get it. For now, here are some screenshots of how the game looks as of now: