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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Is Everquest Next really the Next Everquest?

2 comments
So, third Everquest Next post in a row. Not bad for a game I still have many doubts about. Still I can't help but be excited by the potential that Storybricks and Voxel Farm bring to the table (it also helps I don't have much else to write about at the moment).

Still, the more I read about the game the more I find myself cooling on the idea of it. Not because of the tech or the systems, which so far sound interesting at the least and mind blowing at best, but because it doesn't really sound like an Everquest game. At all.

Is that a gun in your pocket or...
My concerns have really solidified over the last day or so with the release of the latest EQNext Roundtable question. The EQNext Roundtable is a series of polls where the developers are gauging opinion on features and mechanics. Here's the question:

"How do you feel about modern concepts like guns and Ninjas in EverQuest Next?"

In and of itself that question isn't that worrying at first glance. I mean both World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 both have these kind of elements in the game. However, that's the problem right there. Everquest does not. Neither feature feels like it belongs in Norrath.

So, I started digging a little deeper. Nothing special, I just started reading some of the lore and developer quotes that are around. It quickly became apparent that guns are already part of the game's design. This article on mmorpg.com states "there will be guns, suggesting some elements of industrialism in this Norrath too". In the crafting panel from SOE live the developers stated "We don’t expect the need to build 10,000 rifle barrels to become a grandmaster". The Round Table question asks how we feel about the concepts, rather than should the game include them.


If guns are already in EQNext why even ask the question in the Round Table? Does that mean Ninjas are already in as well? I think it's very likely as we know there will be 40 player classes at launch.

It also raises the question as to what the Round Table is really for. So far many of the questions seem ridiculous. Should female dwarves have beards? I don't know, to be honest I'd rather talk about whether fast travel will be in the game or what the death penalty will be.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens, seeing as the poll results are so negative right now.

So, that's the first worrying thing. Things got more concerning when I started reading up on the lore.

It sounds like there will be one starting city for all races (likely Qeynos). Trolls and ogres (if they are in as player races, it's still to be confirmed) living side-by-side with halflings and elves? What about the faction wars that form such an important part of the EQ milieu? No Freeport, Kelethin or Neriak?

Half of the gods (an intrinsic part of EQ Lore and gameplay) seem to have gone missing. No Tunare? No Bristlebane? No Innoruuk? There are new gods (Amaril, Talin) but they seem to be much more neutral in outlook than the partisan gods of old.

Dark Elves (or Teir'Dal in EQ Speak) now seem to be a warrior faction of the main elf race. They have blonde hair. There's no worshipping of Innoruuk or delving into Neriak.

I know the developers have said that Everquest Next is a re-imagining (gah, hate that word) of the original EQ lore. They used the example of what JJ Abrams did with the new Star Trek movies in terms of existing lore. However, what I'm seeing isn't a re-imagining of the lore. It is throwing out the important parts of 15 years worth of lore and completely rewriting it from scratch.

Ahh, white hair... that's better!
Let me be straight here. I'm not worrying about the game from a technical or mechanics standpoint here. The game could include all the things I've discussed and turn out amazing. But it's won't be Everquest; it will be a new, different IP altogether.

Perhaps we just haven't had enough information revealed yet, and all my concerns will be for naught. After all, much of the fun of anticipating a new MMO is discussing and theorising on what will be in the finished game. Let's hope that the developers really are listening to the Round Table feedback rather than just laying out the groundwork for decisions already made. Time will tell.

Oh hell, as long as Fippy Darkpaw is in I'll be happy.

2 comments:

  1. I'm with you. There are some unsettling things with respect to lore changes. I really would have thought to see certain inalienable facts that would remain. A world, that deep down in its bones, was still very much what the original players know and love.

    I also found the consolidation of gods pretty strange. I guess my question is why? Then, the consolidation of cities. Even Everquest 2 started with two, based on race/class. So much hasn't been revealed so maybe this all turns out to make perfect sense. Change is scary shit.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it just seems a little like they are changing some stuff just because, with no rhyme or reason. Perhaps all will come clear later. I'm gonna miss the Qeynos/Freeport rivalry though.

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