There are some MMO industry events that, when they occur, spark a wildfire of blog posts across the community. This past week’s announcement by Daybreak that the EverQuest Next project was to be canned and that Landmark to be quietly pushed out the door this spring was one such event. It seems that just about everyone has an opinion or a perspective on what this means, not just for Daybreak, but for MMO gamers and the future of the genre’s development.
We’ve rounded up 17 articles and quotes on the subject to pass along as these writers have come together for an impromptu roundtable of all things EQN. For those dealing with grief, frustration, or bewilderment over the announcement, it might help to hear what they have to say.
“Over all I’m just saddened by the announcement. What more can we do except play the games we love, for as long as we are able to love them, and take our precious memories with us when we leave.”
“I hate to kick a company while it’s down, but can we take a moment to reflect on just how terrible a deal the Landmark founder’s packs were in retrospect? Don’t pay for early access, kids, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
“And just like that, my dreams of playing a super cartoony Ratonga in EQN is gone. Sad day.”
“So what happens now? Is this the end of the road for the classic Western PvE focused fantasy MMORPG? Is the lineage of Diku MUD dead now? Should we be happy or mourn its passing?”
“Even though it never got a chance to see the light of day, EQN still managed to be an influential MMO through sheer strength of ideas, and I hope those ideas live on to surpass their progenitor.”
“Like I mentioned in my post about H1Z1 splitting up, I have been losing faith in the company as a whole. This announcement that there isn’t a new EverQuest game on the horizon and the fact that I have basically found myself done with the classic titles in the franchise makes me lose it altogether.”
“On a high, conceptual level, the loss of EverQuest Next is not just a blow to the portfolio of Daybreak, but a blow to the future of the MMO niche. It truly was setting out to revolutionize the industry, and it actually had more than a couple of the building blocks necessary to get that done. I was also a huge fan of the artistic direction they were taking with the new EQ properties — I’m very sad I won’t be questing with a big lion dude anytime soon.”
“I’m so angry right now. This was my most anticipated game and it’s gone. There was so much promise and it was going to be a more modern version of the EverQuest franchise. The official response was ‘Unfortunately, as we put together the pieces, we found that it wasn’t fun.’ That’s right, they gave us the same excuse that Blizzard gave us for Titan. I would like to know more on why it wasn’t fun. Were they just mimicking their previous games and finding it to be boring? Did the new stuff they wanted to do not work together? Could they not find a proper balance between systems? Or are there more reasons that they aren’t sharing?”
“That aside, while it’s unfortunate a project like EverQuest Next, which had notions of combining world-building, dynamic AI, and fully affected game systems, came to an end, there are some silver linings to be found in such an occurrence. For one, is the flexibility of a company or studio to be able to cancel a project in the first place. You’ve probably seen it before, but many studios can’t simply afford to take a project off the rails. You put in a lot of investment money, marketing, development, and design into any game, and having to push it off the table is never easy or even plausible to do. Some games have to march towards release, coming out to perhaps no-so-good reviews and struggling to regain goodwill. It obviously still hurts them, but if a studio can press the reset button in order to come out with something better, then being able to do that can only help the next project.”
“Landmark is — and I apologize if you are a fan of it — an incredibly poor consolation prize to the faithful and those interested in the next step of the EverQuest franchise. Daybreak shot itself in both feet this past weekend and undoubtedly wasted countless hours and resources by scrapping this game.”
“There was little surprise with the announcement of the cancellation of EverQuest Next. Some hopes and dreams were minorly dashed as a game that never really was a game was finally ended the way it began. As an announcement. EQN was never really there so the announcement that they officially ended their prior announcement that they were building some successor had all the shock of telling a 25-year-old that Santa wasn’t real.”
“So when Storybricks parted company in February 2015 and SOE was sold to the holding company that renamed it to Daybreak… I fully expected we would never see anything further from Next. Storybricks was going to be the guts of this new approach at how to create an MMO and allow it to almost center around procedural interactions with he various factions and NPCs in the game. With that core gone… I could not reason how the game would function, and deliver even half of the lofty promises it had made.”
“Perhaps this is all a cosmic example of the futility of trying to bottle lightning. Perhaps this is the result of an industry quick to jump on the e-sports bandwagon or rot out its floor just to microtransact individual boards to players for repair. I know for a fact this article will accomplish nothing more than cementing my bang in the face of EverQuest Next’s whimper.”
“So, we’ll have Landmark, if anyone wants it. We won’t have EQNext. I’m glad about that. Let’s be honest, it looked awful. Other than that jaw-dropping first presentation, when did anything about the project inspire excitement or anticipation from anyone with a strong affection for the franchise?
“EQNext was going to be a bright, brash technicolor ARPG in which cartoon characters bounced Tigger-like across frangible landscapes with all the subtlety of a runaway wrecking ball. It would have been a center-targeted, left/right mouse button hammering, console-favoring experience that bore little or no relation to any previous version of Norrath’s story.”
“Daybreak says they have things in the pipeline, which I hope they do, ’cause right now things look somewhat bleak for the company.”
“We’ve known all along that Landmark was the prototype for EverQuest Next. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was dreading the day that they released Landmark with Norrath assets and called it EQN, because Landmark is not a very good game. There’s no doubt in my mind that EQ1 and EQ2 fans would have hated it.”