Everquest 3

Everquest Firiona Vie

SOE's successful "You're in our world now" slogan stirred a lot of emotions in teenage boys.

So a few days ago SOE announced their next MMO in the Everquest series called, cleverly enough, Everquest Next (for some reason Everquest 3 just didn’t have a nice enough ring to it). I was very surprised when I heard the news as well as a little bewildered. At first I thought it was just another low-key video game like their Playstation 2 or PDA versions but nope, it’s apparently a real, full-blown, fully fledged MMORPG. Neat.

Even though SOE seem determined to make everyone hate them (maybe someone dared Smed at a drunken stag do one night?), I can’t help but have soft spot for them. They gave me my first MMO experience after all and no one forgets their first true love even if they’ve moved onto greener pastures. I’ve also always liked the Everquest lore and back story and even prefer it to the Warcraft or Lord of the Rings lore. I can’t really say why other than the fact that EQ has Beastlords and again that it’s probably purely a personal nostalgia thing.

Not much information has been released yet and it’s probably going to be a couple of years before the game materialises but a few interesting facts have already been stated. Firstly SOE want to embody and embrace the original Everquest feel and art direction; secondly they want to have fewer classes; thirdly they want to have more PvP; and fourthly they want to make the technology more scalable and run even on lower end machines. All of these things are definitely a step in the right direction and it looks like someone learnt a few valuable lessons from World of Warcraft.

And speaking of WoW, a lot of folk, including myself, are probably wondering if EQ Next is just going to be another WoW clone and right now it looks hard to tell. If I know my EQ community though then I’m sure most players will openly revolt at the mere hint of that so I’m hoping that SOE will try to forge their own path and not copy Blizzard’s implementation for the sheer sake of it. Saying that, however, there’s plenty of positive things to take from WoW (scaling the technology for instance) and with any luck SOE will find the right balance.

It’s also interesting to see that EQ3 – sorry, I mean ‘Next’ – is a reboot of the franchise and takes place in a completely new timeline or dimension or whatever you want to call it. I’m a little sad that they didn’t set it 500 years before the original Everquest just to mess with people’s minds but, after a little consideration, I think a clean slate is probably a good thing for everyone. It gives SOE more creative freedom and the opportunity to do things differently where necessary without worrying about affecting the lore or impacting the two other EQ MMOs.

Finally, I can’t help but wonder where this all leaves Everquest 2. The original will always be known for being the first 3D MMORPG and kicking off the industry but what about the sequel? It’s a fabulous game but SOEs vision for it didn’t quite meet the public’s demand and they made some poor choices, especially relating to the gaming engine (I swear even on my quad core machine with gigabytes of RAM oozing out of it the game still runs likes a sick three-legged dog). Hopefully EQ2 won’t become the red headed stepchild of the Everquest family and still get it’s much needed love and attention. Other than silly overpriced ‘free to play’ membership plans that is.

-Gordon

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46 Comments

  1. ogrebears says:

    EQ2 even though they fix a lot of the problem with the game later on will be remembered for sucking pretty bad at launch and getting owned by WOW

  2. Yetian says:

    Nice post it’s pretty much how i feel about the announcement.

    I have lots of hope but it is SOE afterall. It will mean the end of eq2 for me though as I won’t play both. ;)

    I hope they actually Market the new eq unlike eq2. Tv ads and the lot are needed.

    As your in the uk your welcome to join nexus on whatever server we choose when it’s released. ;)

  3. Twan says:

    They gave me my first MMO experience as well but I never migrated to EQ2.
    Here is hoping EQNext will drag me back into the fold.

  4. Occam says:

    Even though I’m not into any MMOs these days, EQ1 was my first, and EQ2 was my favorite, and is the only one I have an active subscription to at the moment.

    I’m not sure what to think about this just yet. I’m a little bummed by the news that it’ll be totally separate from EQ1/EQ2, though I agree that it was probably somewhat of a necessity. I really liked playing a character who was a great-great-grandson of my EQ1 character.

    Also I’m not so enthused about an increased focus on PvP, but that’s just because I personally hate PvP. :)

    Definitely going to have to keep an eye on this, but I don’t think I’ll be getting into any MMOs as heavily as I used to.

  5. Jeff M says:

    I recently had the opportunity to visit SOE, I saw a little of what they have in mind for EQ 3… I am not allowed to say a lot because the security guys there ..yeah they scare me, I can say that EQ3 (do not think it will be called that BTW) is going to be so unlike EQ or EQ 2 that it isn’t even funny, but it will have more in common with EQ than EQ2 They were using terms like Online Role Playing game instead of MMO and path instead of quest. make of that what you will.

    I don’t see either EQ or EQ 2 going anywhere, but they will both get the F2P treatment and most likely will consolidate down to one or two servers.

    Oh and look for EQ 3 to have districts like Free Realms not servers.

  6. Epiny says:

    I’m interested in EQ Next atleast. Like alot of old gamers EQ was my first and probably truest love. I tried EQ2 but was lured away to WoW by friends, never to return.

    EQ Next is on my watch list but if I’ve learned anything about MMOs over the last 10 years it’s that most of them suck.

  7. Gazruney says:

    EQ2 has gotten pretty close to WoW over the years anyway in playstyle and looks. The new client being released for the free to play server runs a hell of a lot better than the old one, mainly becuase they switched the UI to more WoW type affair.

    I don’t know now if EQ2’s mediocrity is due it being so watered down over the years or just that MMO sequels do not really work very well.

    Either way I have ended playing WoW in the end after playing EQ2 since launch because rather than play a what has becom pale imitation of WoW I may as well play the real thing. It’s a sad state of affairs for EQ2 and I think Sony are paying dearly for treating their EQ2 customer base quite arrogantly over the years to put it bluntly.

    • Gordon says:

      I think SoE thought EQ2 was going to be a sure-thing and that it couldn’t possibly fail to succeed given the popularity of the original. Oh how wrong they were. Kudos to them for turning the game around though after a ropey launch and creating a fantastic game but it certainly shook them up a little. Hopefully EQ3 will see a lot of lessons learned.

  8. Bhagpuss says:

    I’d be surprised to see EQNext released in less than three years, quite possibly as long as five.

    By then, if Everquest and EQ2 have survived the onslaught of AAA MMOs and F2Ps that will roll over us all in the next few years, the launch of a third EQ title won’t sink them.

    I’ll be playing all of them until they switch the servers off and then I’ll go find a nice private server. I fully expect to wear out before EQ does.

    • Epiny says:

      I would actually be surprised if it took longer than 3 years from this point. It seems to be the going trend to announce a game 2 years before your intended launch then another 6-12 months of delay.

      Announcing a game 5 years before it’s release is a bad thing because it’s hard to keep momentum on the Hype train for so long… and so much can change. Remember 5 years ago WoW was just another MMO. Imagine what will change 5 more years from now.

      • Gordon says:

        Indeed. 5 years is a long, long time and a lot can happen. Who knows what the next big MMO will be then? Give the long development cycle of these games, I think it’s part of why the industry is so hard to judge.

    • Gordon says:

      Hehe, I don’t think EQ will ever die :) And, maybe it’s just wishful thinking talking, but I don’t think EQNext will be that far away. SOE has a tendancy to rush things out ;)

    • Mark D says:

      I already play on various EQ1 private severs…some are identical to old eq, others have very different zones,lore etc….gives you that warm nostalgic feel….watching eq3 with some anticipation tho =)

  9. mbeers says:

    Everquest 2 is a game that even as others try to draw me away and do sometimes for a time, I always come back to. I look forward to the Next version for sure!

    As for the comment about it running like sick dog on a quad core, that to me, says someone must have their computer running at less than optimum, since I’ve been running eq2 with 2 cores less and only 2.5 GHz, mid range video card! One reason I DO stick with EQ2 is b/c it runs as smooth as WoW with way better graphics and gameplay!

    • WTG says:

      If I had a plat for every time I saw this argument on 1-9 I’d still be poor because plat isn’t worth a damn thing.

      All that aside, I played EQ2 intensely for several years and actual answer to this conundrum is you are both right. This is because the “best” available core setup is never optimum for any game especially MMO’s even if they’ve just been released due to the lag time between creation of engines and games and the pretty rapid quarterly increase in processor speed and core number.

      Quad Cores were out when you were playing EQ2, but they weren’t involved in the creation of the game, which is why dual cores consistently perform WAY better than Quads. People who had quads ran it poorly, people who had duals didn’t because the game was intended for duals.

      This is a worthwhile lesson to take for all of you that just because there’s a fancier number next to the “core:” index on newegg doesn’t mean your game will run better!

  10. Barrista says:

    After all the talk over which game is the hardest/best/blah blah, I decided to finally try EQ2 and subscribed this weekend (not a free server).

    Honestly, my comp is a dual core at 2.3g and it runs fine on higher settings typically. The only spot I’ve had issues is the first large city I’ve come upon.

    If changing it to be more like WoW means less npc interaction during quests and the loss of other nicer nuances (short npcs actually face me and don’t just stare at my crotch!), then I feel sorry for the EQ community. EQ2 has seemed to retain at least some rpg feel while WoW has none left at all (in the game itself).

    I bought a game card with this one because I wanted to see what it was about and don’t want to have the hassle of cancelling my account. I’ll see what happens and if I enjoy, I don’t mind paying the full sub for the full game.

    • Lomax says:

      I think there are a lot of bitter people out there who exagerate the specs needed to run the game, I run during the week on a 1.5Ghz core 2 duo laptop with a HD2600 graphics card (all DDR2 ram) and its fine.

      The weekends I run with a 3.2Ghz AMD Phenon2 and ATI HD4870 and it runs on extreme pretty well, yet the difference in graphical looks isn’t so bad that I spend my weekdays desperately wishing for a hardware upgrade.

      Ditto with all the people moaning about how its become “just like WoW”, the RP elements in EQ2 are still much stronger although they have become weaker over time. But gameplay wise its much more different, and while there is a bit of “clockwork” technology in there there isn’t the hi-tech motorbikes, cars, tarmac’d roads like WoW.

      But back to the EQNext talk, I was at the Fanfaire this year and one point to make to the above comments is that Smedley was definitely against a shard style server (he said he preferred the EQ1 style server communities), although the comments about online role playing was very interesting.

      Overall though the stylised graphics they showed off didn’t do anything for me, I like the realism in EQ2 and I expect I’ll be sticking with that sort of graphical style for the future now.

      As whatever the next game is I’d expect the graphics to be better then we have today then worse, the days of needing to use graphical styles should be behind us now.

      But until they make a true next generation MMO I’m not moving on, to me EQ2, WoW, WAR, Aion, AOC etc all are basically clones of the EQ1 style of gameplay. I’m looking for something with a truly dynamic world, intelligent AI etc I’m just not going to get excited by another MMO that is just the same formulae with a new graphical skin.

  11. 6Leiber says:

    OP: “Even though SOE seem determined to make everyone hate them (maybe someone dared Smed at a drunken stag do one night?), I can’t help but have soft spot for them. They gave me my first MMO experience after all and no one forgets their first true love even if they’ve moved onto greener pastures.”

    SOE was NOT the creator of Everquest!

    BLIZZARD created Everquest

    Let us not forget

  12. jason says:

    I’d love to see them get the veriant team back in and help develop it.

    Vanguard was decent after a few years but lacked raiding and pvp. not a big pvp fan but if it’s confined to battlegrounds and arena’s giving people a choice, hate walking out your city or doing a quest then getting attacked.

    also miss having my Mage and summoning all his weapons and armour.

    • Gordon says:

      Vanguard could’ve been great had it had another year of solid development before release. It never recovered from it’s fizzle at launch unfortunately.

      • Bob says:

        Vanguard was more enjoyable while in Beta then in release. At least while it was in Beta falling through the world to your death was expected every now and then as it was Beta. After launch it was just a bug which never got fixed from beta and after a month or 2 of playing was just too much. (also maxed out level in that time was way too fast)

  13. Solomon says:

    I would be all over this game, but not sure if I want to get involved with SOE again.

  14. Totania says:

    Even though I know it would never happen, I’d love it if there were a standalone PC version, or one for a console (xbox, etc.) where the encounters were scaled down for a party of 6. Install a way to switch between party members (e.g. Such as the style used in Dragon Age and others). Hell, leave the graphics as they are. Just scale back the encounter difficulties to let a single person play through them all.

  15. Gemma says:

    I’ve just found out about EQ Next and I’m quite excited because EQ was how I first got into MMOGs. I was so addicted to EQ. I really hope they do keep it much like the original EQ, but I wouldn’t want to park my char in the Bazaar for days on end trying to sell stuff. And I really hope they will have a fully fleshed out quest system. I wonder if SoE will keep the rest of the game world the same? One thing is for sure though. People who are used to WoW and other easy-mode games will cry and whine about the difficulty and the lack of mounts at low level, about a lack of LFD tool and everything else. And I wouldn’t be surprised if SoE gives in to the demands.

    BTW, one thing I’m a bit confused about. I’ve seen people mentioning EQ3. Is EQ3 the same as EQ Next or is that another sequel SoE are working on?

  16. Tolkan says:

    My hopes for EQNext.

    It’s taken me along time to realize what made EQ great and what I miss about it. It’s the social part of the game. There have been a lot of well done games but none of them have the game mechanics that created the social aspect of EQ. And I think that’s why I lose interest in other games after only a few weeks or months.

    When games added multiple abilities to use during combat in the name of making combat more than just auto attack with an occasional kick or bash I think we all thought it was the right thing to do, it would add excitement and more to do. But instead games are now about pushing buttons as fast as you can and we no longer have time to communicate, strategize and socialize during combat.

    When games removed the downtime we again thought cool, no more 15 minutes to meditate. But what has happened is we no longer talk, we go from battle to battle at a run and never talk. And the games have become so easy no strategy is needed beyond “ZERG”. There is no more “CAMPING” I miss camping!

    When WoW came up with the random dungeon grouping I thought “this is cool” I can log in and be in a group in a dungeon with-in 15 minutes. No more 30 minute runs to a dungeon followed by a 30 minute wait to get a group. And for a few months it was enjoyable, but with no social aspect to the grouping and no challenge, just a ZERG mentality. Most of the time I could run a 30-45 min dungeon without a single person saying a single word in group chat. When asked if I am getting the new expansion for Wow I think to myself “What’s the Point?”

    EQ felt like a real world, through travel, exploration and real danger of death and a corpse run the world felt big, dangerous and real. Easy travel and in particular the random dungeons of WoW took away all the feel of a real world with real places, people and dangers.

    EQ was a real MMORPG, I’m not sure what the new MMO games have become but without the social aspect I don’t think you can call them an MMORPG in the true sense and meaning of the title. There really more of a single player game with a group option.

    There are several well done games currently, RIFT, EQ2, WoW, LOTR online, and Vanguard. But for the most part they have become a single player game focused on simple and easy quests to get to max level followed by raids. Other than guilds for the end game raids the social aspect of the games are only a side note.

    Call of Duty has an online feature that I really enjoy but it’s no MMO. Xbox Halo has a similar feature. Unfortunately all the current MMO’s are a lot closer to this than they are to the roots of a real MMORPG.

    For a long time I have looked forward to each new title hoping it would be the game that brought back what we experienced in EQ. Most new games started with high hopes and real potential and promise only to quickly fade into disinterest. I think I now know what I’m looking for, I’m just not sure any games out there in development will offer it but I do have high hopes for EQNext.

    • Veeshan says:

      Your Exactly Right with this!!! What made everquest so great was the social aspect of the game it made the game feel more real and was a great deal more immersive, if there gonna get one thing right in EQ next it wil need to be this other wise it just gonna be the same thign as every other game in the market with a few slight differences. Social aspect of a game makes a realy MMORPG.

    • Oren says:

      Well said.

      Hope someone that has the power to make an impact actualy reads what you just said.

      I do hate certain time sinks, there must be a balance but they swing from one extreme to the other.

      Social aspect is what kept me coming back.

  17. Tolkan says:

    I had a few more thoughts about how to take what was good from EQ and add to it to keep the game real, dangerous, exciting, and rewarding but to also eliminate some of the things that got frustrating at times.

    I think the key may be finding the game mechanics that are difficult and at times even painful without getting to the point of frustration. The hardest part may be that each player will define frustration differently. A game should not feel frustrating or like a job. To me EQ got frustrating at times and WoW got to feel like a job.

    Let’s take death in EQ as an example, if/when you are grouped with a cleric death makes the game interesting/difficult and maybe even painful but not frustrating. It’s when you don’t have the cleric that it gets frustrating. Something as simple as giving Shaman and Druids the ability to Rez removes most of the frustration that came from death since you will almost always have one of the 3 healing classes in your group.

    Staying along the same lines of death, a difficult corpse retrieval could be frustrating even with a cleric, but with a necro and summon corpse, bam! Still painful but not frustrating. Let 2-3 other classes summon corpses and again you have removed most of the potential frustration involved in a difficult corpse run..

    At least for me, a lot of the frustration I had in EQ was wanting to do something or go somewhere that required a specific skill from a class that was not available. Make those skills available to more classes and a lot of the frustration goes away. I think this could be done through actual class skills and/or through AA’s.

    Let’s say our group of friends that likes to play together doesn’t include an enchanter so as a ranger I select an enchanter aa line for some limited ability to mez/kei. Or maybe we don’t have a wizard so as the shaman I go with a wizard aa line so I have some limited ports and evac. Maybe the warrior goes with the necro aa for summon corpse/life tap. It would take a lot of thought to make this work but I think it has the potential to make the game even more interesting but not frustrating.

    I for one enjoyed the travel in EQ, but at times it was frustrating when you had less than an hour to play and your friends are 30-45 minutes travel time away. What about the ability to form something like a fellowship that would allow you to immediately teleport to the location of your fellowship members. Maybe limit it so that it takes two members side by side to summon another member to them.

  18. Mark says:

    Funny thing about this article is that the writer failed to realize is that E.Q.O.A or EverQuest Online Adventures for the PS2 was the past of EverQuest. So the idea of setting it in the past has already been done and as far as I can tell is still being played. I loved the lore and legends of EQ1 and the game play but of course the GFX is pretty bad compared to new titles. Not to mention EQ1 quickly became a game where new subscribers could not get anything done due to needing groups to fight and lack of non power leveling characters ruined the game. EQ2 had a bad start being that they did not have items that droped from certain creatures all the time at first and also there was no way to port from land to land. At one time the creators were stating they did not have any plans on doing this because they wanted everyone to use the boats and bells which was very lame. Instantly I had a issue because I loved druids but without the ability to port what was the point. Not to mention the druids root and snare did not work as well as it did in EQ1. However EQ2 turned out to be a pretty killer game unfortunetly it took so long for it to get there that most people settled into other mmorpg and never got a chance to play it. I am hoping EQnext will have a great start because I do love EverQuest and I would love to see it thrive!

  19. Marcrollins says:

    EQOA was set 500 years before EQ classic

  20. Oren says:

    Glad to hear they are focused on PVP. To me this adds more danger and realism. ANd its easy to plan and outsmart an NPC but entirely different when faced with another thinking person. Hate one shot kills and stun locks though. Battles should take a while and people should have a chance to run away, this helps build reputations as being brave or cowardly.

    The prooblem I have always seen about PVP is that they make a game with PVE in mind then try and add PVP and then enter a never ending cycle of tring to gain balance.

    Build the game balanced at the start for PVP because encounter and mobs can always and easily be adjusted without pissing off people for tamering with class balance.

    Wouldnt mind seeing max lvl at 20 and focusing on AA or other skills and gear to advance your toon. This makes it posible for peple to experiment with multiple classes and also allows the average gamer to mingle and fill spots when needed with then hard cores.

    The constant lvl increases just makes balance harder and harder to maintain as well as orginal content getting outdated too fast.

    would be nice to have quests and pvp work together. I dislike arena/battle ground pvp and much perfer open world pvp where you can use landscap and strategy.

    I like free movement and none of this locked in combat stuff. Freedom is what makes it feel real. and kiting/fer kiting was just god strategy as well as root and shoot. and loved pulling. Miss where is actually took skill to pull an encounter

    EQ1 just had so much freedom in it, and everything since has been dumbed down easy mode. I do think some of the time sinks in EQ were excessive and the lvl’ing grind but again this helped build the social side.

    I think players per class should have a progressing like trials they should meet befor advancing. that realy pushing their personal skill of their class and not just some twinked power lvl. Altough I belive power lvl has its place. I can remember being a newbe in my teens running to unrest from kelethin just to die and have to run back and then some high lvl druid showed up board and started power lvling my group, was a nice way for higher lvls to help and interact with low lvls

    EQ1 Rallos Zek PvP was massively different than EQ2 Nagafen PvP. Both had their strong points I loved the freedoms allowed in pvp in eq1 but socially speaking they were very different. In EQ1 you had PKs which were for the most part like serial killers they just went ut looking for random targets but they were for the most part all known. Then at higher end guilds would war with each other and this was the greatest. Because you could group and have a truce so to speak, based on nothing but someones word and reputation that could break at any time. EQ2 I seen alot more pvp and loved it because it was mostly Team based. But it is nice just tobe able to smack a buddy messing around without having to duel him or the idea of ‘friendly fire’ specially with AEs just adds realism but know can add difficulity in game dynamics during PVE but it was nice tring to find work arounds for that.

    its late (3am) this thread just awaken some old memories of the good times and the great people I got the experience, sorry for the ramble

    Going to give SWTOR a try soon, I love star wars but the fantasy setting has alwasy been the best setting for MMOs/RPGs

    love the idea they are finally taking notice that people dont want to spend thousands of dollars to build a machine to play a game. graphics are important but nothing compaired to the game play, social aspects, and story lines/quests.

  21. 031CkA says:

    EQ 1 was amazing, slower paced combat that was rewarding, where every mob kill your lvl felt well deserved, and the community in crushbone was outstanding. Trains, groups camping spots, moving from one camp site to the other as other groups disbanded, chat in zones. Everything felt personalized and special, where you actualy got to know your group.

    As far as PvP went, I loved it before the point system where you looted one item and all gold. It was scary joining groups and not knowing if they would turn around and kill you once you sat down to meditate. But because of the zones being shared those groups would be known and eventually be hunted down by the players so they could again creep mobs. It was exciting to have PK’s and PKK’s (player killers and PK killers) guilds who would actually work to try and change zones. It was a player created war between two factions that directly impacted the area and either made it safe or dangerous.

    Nothing beats the feeling of getting PK’d then seeing 15 other people hunt down that PK so they could farm safely, or having a guild come into the zone because of it. It really was its own world with no limits, where the players shaped each zone each day, and each day was different depending on which players were logged on.

  22. b5cents says:

    Want to get something real straight here. WoW is a straight up rip off of Everquest. Had Varant and SOE not been in such legal trouble at the time of its launch it would not have been viewed as taking the heat off them and probably would never have got off the ground. And in my absolute rage over SOE giving away my information I went back to try WoW. 10 years later it is still a rip off of EQ and in general a steamy stinky piece of crap. I am amazed at how little good lore means to 13 million people or whatever it is that play that game.

  23. Impressed says:

    Guild Wars 2.
    Raising the bar?

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