EverQuest Next and Landmark (Preview)

EverQuest Next is the planned next game in the EverQuest franchise of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, a successor to EverQuest, EverQuest Online Adventures and EverQuest II. A full reveal of EverQuest Next has been made at SOE Live lately.

One notable thing at SOE Live is that EverQuest Next will not one game, but two, and one of them, known as EverQuest Next Landmark releases this coming November. This showcases to be a next-gen MMO with a distinctive graphics style and a game design philosophy built on four core aspects.

The first is changing MMO native. According to the game designer, players have been playing a form of online D&D for up to fourteen years, that is picking a character and leveling up through slaying monsters and looting their corpses. In EverQuest Next, player will choose from one of eight classes to start, armed with two weapons and with four to six abilities. Then, when interacting with the world players learn new classes which can be then mixed and matched to change the abilities reflexively. For example, a wizard who could use a vortex ability to pull a group of enemies close together, teleport you out of the immediate area, then smash the tight group with a powerful area-of-effect attack. A warrior character had a shield bash, and could roll through entire lines of enemies.

The second one is destructibility. In EverQuest Next environments that are fully destructible all the time. The persistent world is built of voxels (you may remember them from back when Novalogic was touting them as the key to their realistic environments in the Delta Force games) and that allows the team to knock down, then rebuild these blocks somewhat like Minecraft. This destructibility should also serve as a vital story-telling mechanic as the shape of your environment changes over the course of a particular adventure or session…or your hiding space gets obliterated by a massive iron golem.

The third one is a life of consequence. That means your actions have a lasting, persistent impact on the world. That means while enemies will always spawn in one spot in current games, in EverNext they will spawn and decide what to do next, which could be to camp a road or go hunting for adventurers. But if the players are constantly wailing on them in one spot, they’ll find somewhere else to go, and in the process alert a higher NPC what you’re doing, which in turn spawns new, dynamic missions.

Last one is permanent change. Just like those dynamic quests change, so will the world; so on day 30 from launch the game will be different from day one, and day 90 very different, with towns emerging, driving new missions to get resources or protect routes. The land of Norrath changes every day, based on the actions of all players.

Putting all 4 these elements together, EverQuest Next promises to be an all-new MMO format of this generation.

But what’s interesting about EverQuest Next is that EverQuest Landmark, a totally separate game that will embrace community involvement like no other since its release this November. Essentially, SOE is releasing the tools, textures, and objects from the game and letting players build, shape, destroy, rebuild, and retry almost anything in the game.

Landmark also builds on SOE’s Player Studio, which allows players to make real cash money for creating in-game items. But the system works on a deeper level here, whereby if player A builds a really cool tower that he can sell, then player B buys that tower and builds a big expansion around it then sells that, player A will get royalties based on the amount of that original design in player B’s creation.

With these reveals, SOE has satisfied most fans of EverQuest series after a long time of waiting with no hint at all! However, this game of intriguing visual style and revolutionary gameplay will not see its release until late 2014 at the soonest. But Landmark is coming this November and will offer an opportunity for gamers to get involved like no other game.

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