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.

Do you have to be a gamer to be in the industry?

Generally my take is you have to really care about the field you focus your life on or you just won’t be the best at it. There is a difference between being good at your job and really loving it to where everything you do is a pursuit of putting out perfection. ~J.A. Laraque

Do you have to be a gamer to be in the industry?

When it comes to jobs people often put them in two categories. One is the job to pay bills and one is the career that you really work towards and care about. Obviously for just a job you can learn what is needed to do well and even excel at it, but for your career do you really have to be “all in” to do it well. More specifically, do you have to be a gamer to work in the gaming industry? Well John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment says, yes, you do.

gaming industry, gamer, john smedley, sony online entertainment, alienware

“In my opinion, people that don’t play games have no business in this business. It should be the gamers-only club, I think. I can’t stand people that don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to playing these things,” Smedley said in a recent interview.

The responses to that comment have been mixed. Some believe he is right on saying that many of the rehashed and awful games that have come out recently are the result of suits in management positions and not real gamers and people who know the community and the culture. Others had a different view saying that one can be good at their job without taking it home and with responsibilities like family, school and bills one does not always have time to be totally engulfed in their work.

Generally my take is you have to really care about the field you focus your life on or you just won’t be the best at it. There is a difference between being good at your job and really loving it to where everything you do is a pursuit of putting out perfection. I also believe it depends on the job and the community you are creating a product for. It is one thing to work in plastics and not live it 24/7, but in some industries like politics, cars and games, if you only focus on it from 9 to 5 and then walk away there will be something missing.

When I started working at Alienware there was a proud culture of gamers there. I was even asked what games I played in the interview. Now while every position within a company, even a gaming related one, does not need a gamer manning the helm it did create a company culture that really felt like we were creating the best computers for the love of video games. With that said sometimes, and for certain things, you might need an outside view. Perhaps when going into a new market or expanding overseas you might need someone with those specific skills more than a gaming background. However, I believe you still need those gamers right there to make sure the heart of your company stays intact.

Also, the wife and kids excuse is just that. There is a difference between ignoring your responsibilities and giving up everything you used to love because you started a family. Perhaps you do not play games for every waking moment when you are not at work, but it does not mean you do not have time to put in to keep fresh. Sometimes there comes a point where you might have to step aside because of your responsibilities. If you cannot put in the time there will be those that can so you can focus on what you want to, but the point is you made that change.

When it comes to games most of us understand that it can become a part of our lives in one way or another. Many gamers do struggle with dividing life with gaming, but for people in the industry it may be even more important to listen to those of us for who gaming is a major focus. Too many suits see games like fast food and just feed us the same old crap and sadly most of us eat it up. There may be great new games out there, but they do not want to take the chance on something new. This is where we as gamers have the responsibility to let people in the game industry know what we want. Only then will things change and you don’t have to be a gamer to listen to the concerns of one, but it definitely helps.

So what is your take, do you need to be an active gamer to work in the gaming industry?