Siege Breaker Sessions: The Death of Everquest Next

 

The Death of Everquest Next

The crew bids farewell to the game that we hoped would bring back the good old days of long spawn times, placeholder monsters and epic fights over dragons. Maybe not, but we were hoping the game would be good, but now we will never know. We also talk a little StarCitizen, April fool’s pranks, a technology update that we promise won’t put you to sleep and another Rizim rant in our latest podcast.

Breaking down Everquest Next: The Rallying Call

What if a successful settlement opens an awesome dungeon and within that dungeon is incredible loot. What do you think will happen when some servers have it and others do not?~J.A. Laraque

Everquest Next: The Rallying Call

There is going to be a ton of news about Everquest Next and by now most people even slightly interested in it has read what they game is going to consist of. In all the reading and questioning I have done the one thing I hear the most is how it is supposed to change everything. I guess I could just roll my eyes especially considering the failures Sony has put together over the last several years, but then again Everquest did originally change everything as far as MMO’s. So perhaps the better question is who are they changing it for?

The way I read it, it seems almost as if the aim is to bring back people who loved the original Everquest. You continually hear them talk about the groundbreaking changes in the original and how people enjoyed EQ2. Obviously they are going after disenfranchised World of Warcraft players as well, but is that the right move?

When I asked, are we what is wrong with MMO’s, I talked about the changes within us and how we are different than we were during EQ’s days. Now, even more time has passed by and the question is, how many of us are really looking for something so new and different we will feel like it is 1999 again?

Everquest Next

The Rallying Call

Right away critics broke down all the new ideas that EN is to offer. Now the idea around the rallying call is that a call will go out across the server and everyone can come together to build and defend a new location. So while this new settlement is being built there will be quests and attacks from various monsters and crafting that will need to be done. Now the idea is obviously taken from world events where something big happens and everyone is involved.

Let’s stop there and look at the original EQ. Many will have fond memories of the world events in EQ, but then again many people look back on EQ like they do their early 20’s often making it sound better than it was. I remember a baby dragon event where people disrupted it so badly that the GM stopped the even and left. I also remember another dragon event where one guy stole all the loot and nothing was done about it. If you were that one person or small group that got to be part of the event or got the loot it was fun. For everyone else it was a waste of time and a zone of lag.

Now in games like Guild Wars 2, you have various events where you take down a big monster with everyone in the area. Once the monster dies you get your own points for the encounter and loot to go with it. I found it could be fun, but you also could just run in there and hit the boss once or twice and get the points and loot and still, even with a ton of players there it still did not feel as epic as you expected it to be.

Will the rallying call change this? So when a rallying call goes out it lasts for two months so right away that is different from the world or zone events you are used to. When everything is said and done your world will be changed and from what we here there are many different outcomes based on what happens during those two months. As an example, if you allow too many attacks and there are delays your settlement will be permanently impacted and on a different sever it could be completely different.

So with Cataclysm much of World of Warcraft changed, but every server changed the same way. With EN, sever A should not look like sever B, at least in theory. Now right away the question is asked, how many possible outcomes could Sony put into a specific rallying call? Well, we don’t know and this goes to another point.

I remember after Saturday morning cartoons on WGN in Chicago there was a chance they would show either Soul Train or a G.I. Joe block of cartoons. Now full disclaimer I’m in my 30’s so back then I did not have any guide or knew what was coming up next. I just sat there waiting with anticipation and when a G.I. Joe cartoon came on I was in heaven, it was an awesome feeling.

That is what Sony is going for, that feeling of not knowing that keeps you playing. Also, since the world is permanently changed if you miss it then to bad, you were not there and cannot share in the stories. Now will this make you want to play more and be part of the change? Could it make people feel they missed out like when you opened the doors to AQ in WOW?

Obviously if we are talking about new gamers then it may not matter. New gamers tear up content even faster than we did back in the day and they have a much more robust internet to rely on for it. If they are looking at us old vets then are we really after that kind of experience? Do we want to wander around waiting for what is next or have our lives changed so much that we almost rather have a simple liner world so that it will make our real lives easier?

Now what about the risk? Remember risk vs. reward? That was what was said a lot in the past. Hardcore people wanted real risk in a game and WOW was too easy and it did not matter if you died or not. In EQ it was about losing EXP and finding your body, but honestly new gamers would not tolerate that and most vets cannot deal with that anymore.

Sony said settlements that are successful remain in the game forever, so what happens if you fail? Can you imagine the crying that will go out if you see videos of a successful settlement and you think it is really cool, but on your sever for whatever reason it failed? Would the risk vs. reward people find it cool that it was even possible to fail or will they be mad they have such “terrible players” that they could not even finish the settlement causing issues within that severs community?

You almost have to assume that failing a settlement cannot have that harsh of a penalty. Some people speculated that a settlement could lead to portal points or new dungeons or even races. I just don’t see Sony allowing a server to not have access to something other serves get. What if a successful settlement opens an awesome dungeon and within that dungeon is incredible loot. What do you think will happen when some servers have it and others do not?

I get the feeling either these settlements will not have the impact players are expecting or that there will be multiple settlements or ways so that everyone can access the same thing. It is one thing if a building is a bit different or a city looks different in the end based on failed or successful settlements, but there is no way I can see them making a failed settlement cause you to miss out on something potentially cool and game changing forever. If anything that could tear servers apart and cause people to leave “fail” severs.

So there are a lot of questions about how the rallying call could work. While some players look upon the idea with a smile and think about how someday they can say they helped build Halas or Freeport, I know there are others thinking about the consequences of failure and yes, even a few thinking of how they can grief the whole experience. Anyone that plays MMO’s knows a community can make or kill a game and sometimes more freedom and player control does not equal a fun gaming experience.

In future articles we will be talking more about EN’s new features and their possible impact and target base and we will keep searching for more info on rallying calls. This feature could be a giant turning point for the game. Let’s just hope it proves to be a positive for us gamers.

What’s next with Everquest Next

eq2 -frostfellhall

Everquest Next

You might not know it, but Everquest and Everquest 2 still has a thriving community and fan base. Even those of us who have moved on from EQ often remember it with fond memories (yes, even camping for rare spawns). With so many MMO’s that have promised to be the next big thing, but ended up falling on their face many of us wondered if Everquest Next would bring something new to the table or at least take us back to the days of gaming we loved.

At the most recent SOE Live convention SOE president, John Smedley talked about Everquest Next briefly in his keynote address:

“I have to be honest with you. We have completely blown up the design of EverQuest Next. For the last year and a half we have been working on something we are not ready to show. Why did we blow up the design? The design was evolutionary. It was EverQuest III. It was something that was slightly better that what had come before it. IT was slightly better. What we are building is something that we will be very proud to call EverQuest.

It will be the largest sandbox style MMO ever designed. The same exciting content delivered in a new way. Something you’ve never seen before. The MMO world has never seen before. We didn’t want more Kill 10 Rats quests. We didn’t want more of the same. If you look at the MMOs out there, they’re delivering the same content over and over again. So are we. We need to change that. When we released EverQuest, we changed the world. We want to do that again with a different type of game.

What I will commit to is, at the next Fan Faire, not only will you get to see it but you will get to touch it. Most of the EQNext devs are in this room. If you get them drunk enough they might tell you. They’re led by Dave Georgeson. Terry Michaels. Vets from EQ and EQ2. We are remaking Norrath unlike anything you’ve ever seen, but you’ll recognize it. I’m sorry we don’t have anything to show for it, but I wanted to be honest with you and tell you a little bit about it. Keep the faith.”

Now there is obviously the joke about SOE getting something right or bringing us something new that is good, but there is also a slight worry that a project was blown up and redesigned. Just think of when you hear that about a movie or television show, it doesn’t bode well does it?

I guess we will see. As far as the sandbox MMO idea, that is not really new, but it at least gives us an idea of the gameplay style. For those that don’t know or fully understand what a Sandbox mmo is, here is a pretty good explanation I stole from somewhere.

“A sandbox MMO is a game that drops you into a player driven world.  Players are given tools, and sand, and they get to make whatever they want with it.  Just like when you were a kid in your sandbox with a shovel and pail.  You didn’t have much fancy stuff, but you had fun.

A non-sandbox MMO has already made all the fun for you, there is no sand, it’s a playground or a “themepark”.  it’s not about you creating content, it’s about having fun with what the devs made.  Like when you used to climb around on the monkey bars or whatever.

Simple eh? Player driven vs dev driven.”

Now we are not 100% sure if EQ Next will be modeled exactly like this, but you get the idea. Also we can almost guess that it will go free to play from launch. Our best guess is that you will need to pay for the game and then not have a monthly subscription, but you can purchase items from a store in-game like Guild Wars 2.

So we will see what SOE shows us next year. We do know that Planetside 2 is set to launch on November 20th so that will keep us busy until we hear more EQ Next news.