EverQuesting: (Almost) everything we know about EverQuest Next

    
35

In a perfect world, we’d have the mana of EverQuest Next news raining down from the sky, enough to satiate our hunger for information about the game we’ve long looked forward to. Instead, to many of us, including me, it feels more like we’re wandering lost in the desert for 40 years while trying to squeeze water from a stone.

We know that Landmark news has always been EQN news, but I can certainly understand players wanting to see more concrete EQN-specific things; I want to see more concrete things! I’ve been asking for a little more show and tell for quite a while. Sadly, that just isn’t happening. I was momentarily excited when in June, devs announced that the Landmark team was shifting the bulk of its focus from Landmark to EverQuest Next. Oh that was music to fans’ ears! But what have we learned about the game since then? We’ve seen one screenshot of Qeynos and had a couple workshops, but there’s been very little concrete news. For now, we must assume that the previously revealed information is still valid. Here’s a recap of key points we know so far.

Launch?!

Let’s get this one out of the way. Although it could be dev speak just to cover their behinds just in case, I’d be sure to hedge any bets on EQN coming out anytime this year. Senior Producer Terry Michaels flat out said, “I want to clarify that although we are shifting our primary focus to EverQuest Next, this does not mean the game will be coming out this year.” It also doesn’t mean that it won’t come out this year, but I no longer am feeling very optimistic that it will. Bummer.

Launch isn’t the only thing up in the air; we no longer even know the proposed payment model. While the game was initially hyped as free-to-play along with the rest of SOE’s stable of games, after the change to Daybreak we learned that neither Landmark nor EQ Next is guaranteed to be “F2P your way”. That means whether or not these two titles will be a part of the All-Access membership come launch is likewise up in the air.

How do I look?

One area we do have more information on is the aesthetics. We’ve seen character models — and not just the artwork, but moving characters. Because of EQN’s ties to Landmark (which is not to say they are the same), we have a good idea how the human character model looks and acts in the game. But unlike Landmark, EQ Next has a ton of races. On top of human, we’ve seen the Kerran and the Dark Elf animated in clips during the last two SOE Lives, the former during the big reveal and the latter just last year. Other races have been shown conceptually. Ogres and Dwarves were also announced early on (though those poor Dwarves have lost repeated votes to be featured in a building competition), and you certainly can’t have Dark Elves without their counterpart, Elves. The most recent Workshop Show also introduced Halasians, known previously as Barbarians.

I’ve got class(es)

Another core feature of EQN is the fact that players will have the opportunity to learn a variety of classes and not be locked into just one. More than 40 classes were promised to be available at launch, though we know only a handful so far. SOE Live 2014 showed off the Cleric, Elementalist, and Tempest classes. We also knew about the Warrior, Wizard, Rogue, Necromancer, Beast Lord and Blademaster. That certainly leaves a ton more to learn about, so how about some more info Daybreak? Pretty please?

The lay of the land

If you want to get an idea of what the game will look like architecturally, you need only log into Landmark and stroll the Foundation Museum island. Both the Dark Elf and the Qeynos competition winners can be accessed via the main portal spire on every island. There is no promise that these specific buildings will be present in EverQuest Next, but we do know that they give the devs definite ideas. Just check out the in-game screenshot of Qeynos above that Michaels shared and compare it to the museum.

We also know there will be housing, including guild homes and towns in EQN. Sadly, we don’t really know more than that yet, such as how it will be implemented. We know only that guild housing will be really special and hard to get. Again, I see a great opportunity to divulge a bit more here.

Life of AI

One worry many players have is what will happen to the impressive AI system that has been billed as one of the most innovative features in EQN now that Storybricks — the company that was developing the technology — is no longer a part of the equation. According the devs, there’s no reason to worry: In that same announcement. Michaels made it clear that the work Storybricks was doing was not lost. Yes, the development was moved in-house (did you know that was the original path they were pursing before Storybricks was brought in?), but the AI plans still include adding actual intelligence to the artificial intelligence. This is a very good thing. I personally saw how player actions could affect the development of the world, and it was pretty awesome. And the idea that the NPCs change as their lives develops (including wearing better clothing as a merchant gets wealthier), well, that’s just freaking awesome. I’d be the first to be massively disappointed in this feature were scrapped.

History lessons

Norrath has been around a long time and has a very deep, rich history in both launched iterations of the land. So folks certainly want to know if EQN will follow in that tradition. The truth is lore and history is not where information is lacking; there’s plenty out there to immerse the players in the world even before it opens up. To introduce this new Norrath and its own special history, three different authors have penned 13 e-books to immerse players in the world long before they can log in.

The e-books currently available are Prison of Fire, Rise of the King, The Enemy of My Enemy, The Razor’s Edge, The Mage of the Teir’Dal, The Stars of Home, The Arch Mage (part one and part two), Fall off Bastion, The Last Stand of the Teir’Dal, From Ash Comes Fire, No Poetry in Death, and the latest, Dreaming in Shadow. Even if that list seems daunting, it’s not that huge an undertaking if you haven’t started yet; some of the pieces rank closer to a short story in length (Prison of Fire is only 26 pages including the cover, introduction, and author pages), and others are short stories (The Stars of Home is under 20 pages of text). Others, however, are novellas and can be upwards of 100 pages. Even so, taken one book at a time, the lore can be digested in a reasonable length of time, though it may be worth drawing it out as we wait for more official news! For those who don’t have time yet to delve into all of the e-books, you can peruse a handy CliffsNotes version of the history to get a feel for how this Norrath was shaped.

As for familiar names and faces that are beloved to franchise fans, many of those are promised — albeit possibly with different lives due to different life choices. Fippy Darkpaw will be in attendance, as will Ambassador D’Vinn.

On hold…

Obviously, I couldn’t cover every single scrap of information that has been presented previously here. Nor am I completely confident that all the older scraps are still completely accurate after this year’s massive shakeup at SOE/Daybreak. Without evidence to the contrary, I am one to err on the side of optimism, but with so many changes and so much silence, it’s no wonder fans are losing hope and confidence. I’ve said it much more than once and I’ll say it again: Daybreak needs to release more concrete news about EverQuest Next. Show us more than just one screenshot! For now, it feels as if we are stuck on hold, and we don’t even have some cool music to listen to while we wait!

The EverQuest franchise is a vast realm, and sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores all the nooks and crannies from Antonica to Zek. Running biweekly on Thursdays, EverQuesting is your resource for all things EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Daybreak. And keep an eye out for MJ’s OPTV adventures!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Nekhebet
Guest
Nekhebet

I know one thing for sure. If EQ Next is delivered, and lives up to 3/4 of the hype and videos, it will decimate World of Warcraft and a number of other games. I’m currently playing WoW doing end-game stuff (we are bored) and the consensus is, we came from Everquest, and we would go back to Everqust Next in a heartbeat. And we’d pay to play, too. Maybe give us the same chance to pay with gold, since we already make so much gold we give it away.

A good implementation of EQ Next will inspire a level of loyalty surpassing even what Everquest had, and I say that as someone who invested thousands of days of /played into the game. Once hooked by Everquest Next, players will so fanatical and loyal Daybreak won’t have to worry about the viability of the game ever again.

I was young when I played a Monk and pulled Hate and Fear for 12 or more hours per raid, back when you could lose your corpse and all your gear. And levels too. I’m not so young anymore, so I hope Daybreak doesn’t take too long. :)

Hopestealer
Guest
Hopestealer

Cramit I personally feel like the EQNext and Landmark fans have protested to much and that is exactly why the information window has gone dark. I was really disappointed in the fan base and how they reacted to Daybreak’s “transparency policy”

Bonnenuit
Guest
Bonnenuit

I want more info as much as the next guy/gal, but I have to wonder if possibly this isn’t all part of Marketing’s plan.

Seriously consider:

Option 1:
Put out weekly/monthly/whatever periodic press, and hope that players continue to gain excitement over the LONG stretch to release.

I can’t speak for others, but there are several games I am VERY anxiously awaiting, but the more info that comes out, the less likely I am to read all(any) of it (looking at you, @StarCitizen).

Option 2:
Wait until you are much closer to release, then unleash a deluge of information, polished gameplay vids, and very post-alpha goodness.
Everyone who has been SO mad for so long will forget about it, get super excited for the game, and hype will peak much closer to release, instead of far, far earlier.

I actually don’t think the hype machine is this sophisticated, so I doubt that this is the case — but wouldn’t it be great if it was? If the reason they are releasing no info is NOT because there’s nothing exciting to share, but instead because they have a plan and they’re sticking to it?

*crosses fingers*

Seriously, though. If you doubt how much early hype can be damaging, go check Steam’s Early Release games, and read comments. There are plenty of gamers that understand the development process well enough to get that a lack of polish is expected early on. There are also plenty that expect a game, in any form, at any stage of development, to look and feel like a finished product.

Sarigar
Guest
Sarigar

I remain a faithful, abiding fan, and I hope that eventually we get the game we all want to see: one that kindles the spark of adventure and exploration like the original EverQuest did, with its soaring triumphs and agonizing failures, using the newest technology to broaden and deepen the experience. I look forward to returning to Norrath.

Cramit
Guest
Cramit

Personally I feel like the EQ:N community, especially the landmark players and forum goer’s need to protest to get some more info.  They need to just post that they will not play the game, spend money in the cash shop, watch the live streams and/or even spend time on the forums till they release some actual info on EQ:N.  The amount of communication Daybreak has given on this game really is terrible even though they do a bit better with their other games.

If there was actual pressure put on them by the community that supports them now, they might actually do something.  This is a company that has plenty of experience with games in development and the only way I can see them being forced to give info is if that small community that is still “waiting on baited breath” for the game just stopped, they would have to do something.  Nothing like the loss of fanbois.

   Most of the other folks who have been waiting for the game are like myself who just don’t follow it closely cause there is no point with the lack of communication.  Check out their reddit page and you will see how dead it is over there as well.  There are more topics on EQ:N being vaporware than anything else and you have a handful of fanbois’ trying to defend it while the studio is silent.  ~12 users and 12k subscribers on reddit, HELL H1Z1 has more followers and users logged on than that.  For a EQ game, that is pathetic.

   Don’t get me wrong, I love EQ, still play Project:1999 to this day but EQ:N is in a terrible state.  If the dev’s aren’t interested in doing anything with the community other than, “Build our world for us!” than it’s either time for the community to put their boots in the dev’s asses or just walk away from the game.

Jack Pipsam
Guest
Jack Pipsam

I really hope this game does end up coming out.

Zunjin
Guest
Zunjin

Dystopiq  No we don’t the the whole company is moving August / September and there isn’t something new to show. The are atm working … which means coding … the core mechanics that the need to even start creating the game. And since code isn’t that sexy, there won’t be any big update for quite a while… 6-12 month. I wouldn’t count for a realse before Q3/4 2017.

Where do I get the numbers from? The are from Terry and Pentapod (last producers letter, last Landmark Live stream and Tenmas/Geos interview with Pentapod on Twitch). The most important sources are: https://youtu.be/yjyvxT5hiUk?t=33m50s and https://youtu.be/E1E-73Pqd30?t=8m55s

A few weeks ago they already managed to create system that allows to create big seamless (no loading screens) Voxel landmasses. Before the could only manage those smaller Landmark Islands. Which means, that they weren’t able to create Norrath as whole world, until than. And they won’t create Norrath for a while, since there are a few other hurdles. In the interview Pentapod talks about them… thinks like Pathing in a changing voxel environment (something no one of the team has ever done before) as well as some other stuff related to the seamless world.

While a few programmers are working on those mechanics, some others are working with the DBC engine designer team on the implementation of the new DirectX to improve performance, but the biggest part of the Team is focused on the new combat system. Terry told us during Landmark Live, that it might take multiple iterations, and that it won’t be finished this year and not even early 2016. So 6+ month is a good guess.

He and Petapod (Landmark Live and Interview) talked about the … let’s call it … Dungeon-Questmaker-Tool for Landmark. Which is the same tool the Devs need to create Content for the game. A new mechanic which is build of the new AI the want to create, the once called Storybricks AI. Without that there is no content, and no Gameplay and nothing. He said it might be a while… certainly quite longer than the combat system …until the AI/Dungeon-Questmaker is ready. After everything he said 12+ month is a good guess.

After that, after the creation of all those mechanics, the rest is more or less easypeasy, since the creation of the world and the content is to 95% automated by those mechanics. But like I said, this is way down the line. Before release we still need, lots of Workshops and Contests, like the new Halas Workshop, after that the Dwarves, Halflings, Iksar, Elfs as well one for Freeport, Dragon, Shissar etc.  so 7 to 10 Workshop Shows x 3 month each = 21 to 30 month to create the assets for the world.

BhimaJenkins
Guest
BhimaJenkins

deekay_zero melissaheather
Don’t have to be so doom and gloom. Clearly if Columbus Nova wanted to just scrap it that would have already happened. The fact that the team isn’t talking about much leads me to believe they 1) aren’t very far along in the development and 2) they aren’t being rushed to make some janky WoW clone or EQ version of Candy Crush. 

I’m with Melissa, though I take a more positive overall outlook. I think the game WILL launch one day, it is unfortunately very far from launch, and I think it will be a great game when all is said and done. It may not live up to the hype, but I have a feeling it will be solid enough to enjoy for a long time.

MJ Guthrie
Guest
MJ Guthrie

SallyBowls1 No, I said EQ2 fans, and that was the return on the Isle of Refuge and the Far Journey boat zone on the progression servers. =D

AlexanderDeLarge
Guest
AlexanderDeLarge

It’s vaporware.