Hype Meter is a FreeMMOStation show where we give you an overview of the most anticipated free MMO games. This time we take a look at EverQuest Next, the hugely ambitious MMORPG that is split in two games.
A few days after Sony Online’s big… I mean, HUGE EverQuest Next reveal, it’s time to see what this PC exclusive has to offer. In fact, this isn’t one, but two games, since before EverQuest Next itself we’ll get the free-to-play EverQuest Next: Landmark –more on that later.
But EverQuest Next is one of the boldest MMORPGs ever, not only due to its revolutionary features but also because it’s a reboot, a re-imagining of the EverQuest universe, of the characters, lore and environments. Risking change in such an established franchise? You have balls, Sony, you have balls! Anyway, let’s see what else there is.
First of all, don’t worry, EverQuest Next is still set in Norrath and some popular regions are part of the game: Lavastorm, Feerrott and more. Visually, the game seems to mix the standard fantasy look seen in other games such as Guild Wars 2 with cartoonish characters, but these two parts blend incredibly well and the result is astonishing, colorful enough but never to the point of looking childish. Watch the day and night cycle and you’ll understand just how stunning the game is shaping up to be. Character movement is extremely fluid even if controls seem a bit arcade-y, with some automatic jumping over obstacles, but you can also jump at your own will.
EverQuest Next features multi-classing, with over 40 distinct classes to progressively unlock, with unique abilities and weapon skills to master, along with the option to mix and match abilities from each class, resulting in truly unique characters. There’s even a clever way of distinguishing the characters classes from subtle hints, things such as the way a character stands or how he holds his weapon.
As for the races revealed so far, we have the Dwarf, Human, Ogre, Elf, Dark Elf, and Kerran. The reveal focused only on two classes of the final eight, but we now know a few: Rogue, Warrior, Tempest, Blademaster, and Wizard.
Now for a revolution: destructibility. Sony claims and even showed a few examples of the destruction level and the player’s ability to manipulate almost the entire game world, thanks to the use of voxels. Things like razing a huge castle or using some combat abilities to make holes in the ground, collapsing bridges to stop enemies from approaching and so on. We’re extremely excited to see how this works in the seamless game world of EverQuest Next, but we remain very cautious and have a few doubts about the alleged fully destructible environment.
Let’s go back to EverQuest Next: Landmark, the starting point of this new adventure that is scheduled for the end of 2013. Already dubbed by some as a construction and exploration game like Minecraft, it’s a social MMO in the developers’ own words. Players will interact and experience the work of others and explore this huge community that they are building, solo or with friends. Of all the different continents, only one will force you to keep in tone with Norrath, while elsewhere you can choose other themes such as horror or modern-day, it’s up to you. Of course, you’ll need to gather or trade the materials before you can build anything. Best of all, you can even earn royalties in case an item you created is used in something that is sold in the Player Studio! There’s the option to review constructions and subscribe to your favorite builders – but do not fear, there will also be adventuring in Landmark.
So, Landmark is pretty much a way of getting players involved in the game world, giving them the tools to build structures that may end up included in EverQuest Next. Now for some bad news: the character you create in Landmark won’t be transferred to EverQuest Next. Oh well, we can’t have it all…
What else? Emergent AI, as Sony calls it. It’s an AI that isn’t scripted and that gives the creatures of Norrath desires and motivations that shape their behavior in realistic and unpredictable ways. Here’s one example: Orcs that decide to attack you because they’re motivated by taking your gold, not just because you happen to wander into their attack radius. In battle, creatures are supposed to combine their efforts and adapt to our fighting strategy, something that we’ve heard so many times but rarely seen in a convincing way, so let’s hope they get it right.
The sandbox world of EverQuest Next is in constant and permanent change, with all characters seeking out adventure in an ever-changing world that remembers your choices and actions. With everything that is going on, all the destruction, players that come late to the party may not even see how Norrath looked like at first – each server evolves in a different way and will be in a different state; unless Sony decides to launch a new server with a clean and brand new Norrath, you may be experiencing a very different world, something that sounds very appealing. I mean, you can help shape it and destroy it, something that other MMOs haven’t been capable of doing in the slightest.
What do we have to fear in such an ambitious game? For starters, we have to experience the AI to see if it’s up to all the promises, it just sounds too good to be true. As far as destructibility goes, will we find ourselves frustrated by some specific buildings or objects that could be destroyed but for some weird reason or bug just won’t? And we’re also a bit scared at how Landmark may turn out to be a tool for greedy players to just build and build, farm and farm, hoping to get some items sold and thus collecting the royalties. Finally, no news yet on the character creation for EverQuest Next, which we hope is in par with games such as Aion or even Dragon’s Prophet.
It’s crazy just how ambitious and massive EverQuest Next looks. I mean, it’s even two games in one! Although we still have plenty of questions and most of its killer features have to be seen – and played – to be believed, it’s hard not to see it as the future of MMOs! The game even looks really good and happily balances casual with hardcore, a bit like ArcheAge, so Sony seems to have mastered all the major milestones so far. This is without a shadow of a doubt the most anticipated MMORPG of recent years and if it works as it should, it will crush the competition. Landmark will be free-to-play, so hopefully EverQuest Next will be too.
I hope you enjoyed our feature. While there’s a lot more to say about EverQuest Next, we tried to give you an overview on what makes this game so special. Please give us a like and subscribe to the channel if you want to see more features like this one on other games.