EverQuest Next: SOE's next-generation, fully destructible, persistent MMO

EverQuest Next is a project so ambitious that the term "reboot" doesn't seem sufficient enough. SOE's vision is to make a world where everything is destructible, and every action is permanent and persistent.

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It's been three long years since Sony Online Entertainment announced EverQuest Next. From a behind-closed-doors presentation here at SOE Live 2013, it's clear why they called it Next and not, simply 3. It is an entirely different game from its predecessors--a project so ambitious that the term "reboot" doesn't seem sufficient enough. Running on a "heavily modified" ForgeLight engine--the same engine that powers Planetside 2--it's an unquestionably impressive game from the moment you first lay eyes on it. But it's not pretty graphics that makes EverQuest Next so impressive. Instead, it's SOE's vision to make a world where everything is destructible, and every action is permanent and persistent. According to SOE, "anything and everything" can be destroyed in EverQuest Next, as the entire world is made out of voxels. That lets you mend the world to how you see fit. For example, if you're being chased by an ogre, you could run across a bridge, and then cast Upheaval to destroy it, sending the villain plummeting to its doom. Destruction promises not only to give combat an added sense of oomph, but it's central to the game's design. EverQuest Next encourages you to destroy the world around--and specifically, beneath--you, as there are multiple layers underneath the crust to explore. In a nod to Minecraft, you can break into the ground and explore the "thousands of years of archaeological lore" that SOE has developed for the world beneath the surface. You'll fall into caves, abandoned mines, and even lava-filled caverns--all offering dynamic quest opportunities, and most importantly, loot. And the world will be ever-changing: "we can occasionally have earthquakes that collapse caverns." Systems will ensure the world is ever-changing, adapting to player actions. EverQuest Next aims not to have specific enemy spawn points. Whereas in previous MMOs, players could simply go to a specific place to encounter a specific enemy type, "emergent AI" will make enemy behavior more dynamic. For example, orcs don't like cities and don't like guards, so they will try to stay "in a place that makes sense." They will look for a place where they can ambush lone adventurers. However, should players start regularly patrolling that area in groups, it will "no longer make sense" for the orcs to stay there, and they will move on to find a more suitable place to live.

Click for all-new screenshots

"Rallying calls" are big set piece opportunities to affect change in the world. For example, a city may be under siege from an orc attack. You could, if you're a crafter, participate by helping build a wall to protect the city. Or, you could help gather resources by digging beneath the city, setting up a mine to gather materials. The wall you help build may cause the orcs to partner up with neighboring goblins in a more concentrated attack. Or, the mine that you build might end up becoming a back-door for more monsters to sneak into the town. The ultimate goal of EverQuest Next is to offer an experience where your decisions matter, and have permanent repercussions in the world. On paper, EverQuest Next is shaping up to be one of the most ambitious MMOs we've ever seen. Even if SOE only executes on a fraction of its promises, it's still quite exciting. Crucially, while the high-level concept is rather staggering, early looks at the gameplay look quite fun as well. EverQuest Next employs a new movement system that lets you parkour through the environment, sliding down hills, running over obstacles. You can also glide through the air and teleport-flash across long distances, making it simply "fun to move from point A to point B." EverQuest Next also utilizes SOEmote, but unlike in EverQuest 2, it's part of the game's core DNA. This facial tracking system lets you emote and speak in real-time as your avatar, and "really promotes role-playing." Coupled with the impressive new graphics engine, it's likely that a whole new generation of machinima will be birthed from within EverQuest Next. It's difficult to properly convey the enormity of SOE's next-gen MMO. And while the game isn't set to arrive this year, there will be another way to participate in the Norrath. EverQuest Next Landmark is a spin-off coming this winter that will allow players to explore their own procedurally-generated continent and build objects that can appear in "the proper game." We have more on Landmark here. For more videos from EverQuest Next, click here.
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 2, 2013 12:00 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, EverQuest Next: SOE's next-generation, fully destructible, persistent MMO.

    EverQuest Next is a project so ambitious that the term "reboot" doesn't seem sufficient enough. SOE's vision is to make a world where everything is destructible, and every action is permanent and persistent.

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      August 2, 2013 12:03 PM

      you guys getting paid by the story here or what?

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        August 2, 2013 12:03 PM

        Why is this gaming news website posting gaming news??

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          August 2, 2013 12:07 PM

          yeah, but three separate stories about the same game within seconds of each other?

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            August 2, 2013 12:12 PM

            I understand it might be a little annoying for web, but we broke it up because it's easier to consume when read on mobile and through our other syndication. Also, personally, I thought it important to make sure we highlight the difference between EQN and Landmark.

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              August 2, 2013 12:35 PM

              That doesn't make any sense at all. A mobile consumer would want the content all in one place. I think you just want to justify page hit inflation.

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                August 2, 2013 12:39 PM

                Well, I'll certainly keep this feedback in mind for our next lengthy feature.

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                  August 2, 2013 12:40 PM

                  or at least split them up a bit time-wise

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                    August 2, 2013 1:46 PM

                    scumbag website. bans users for crapflooding. crapfloods the front page.

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                  August 2, 2013 3:24 PM

                  Don't listen to these guys. Pointless whining

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                    August 3, 2013 5:06 AM

                    Yes pretty much...don't like content then stfu and don't read content.

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              August 3, 2013 9:13 PM

              Absolutely.

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        August 2, 2013 3:29 PM

        You don't think you guys need to chill about stuff like this?

        Heaven forbid you guys help out the site we frequent daily by giving it some extra hits.

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        August 2, 2013 7:44 PM

        What an odd thing to say. This whole thread. I appreciated the seperation, because I only saw landmark because of this format.

        weirdos.

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        August 3, 2013 11:03 AM

        Go outside and play

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      August 2, 2013 12:03 PM

      What the.

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      August 2, 2013 12:06 PM

      That sounds awesome - a Minecraft MMO!

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      August 2, 2013 12:07 PM

      Very ambitious, but also the idea has me excited. And that short video was awesome.

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      August 2, 2013 12:19 PM

      Well, the question that immediately comes to my mind is: if this is an MMO with thousands of players on each server, in a world where "everything is destructible, and every action is permanent", how long before everything is destroyed and the "world" they've crafted is just a muddy sea of crumpled voxel ruins?

      Because If they don't have any sort of system to counter thousands of players destroying everything willy-nilly I really don't understand how this is going to work long-term.

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        August 2, 2013 12:25 PM

        It is definitely something I'm also curious about. I joked with Alice that they could embrace the "you break it, you buy it" model. It's free-to-play except when you break shit. That would be hilarious.

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          August 2, 2013 1:01 PM

          "The world heals after a while." Looks like that's how they're going to address this.

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        August 2, 2013 12:26 PM

        Yes, have you ever been on a public Minecraft server where everybody was allowed to do everything? It didn't take long for the whole place to turn into a cratered ugly mess. I wonder how they will get around that?

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          August 2, 2013 12:29 PM

          Yup if they are planning on making a MMO around player driven content then I expect it to be pretty horrible as most player made content is just horrible.

          I'm hoping they just make a sandbox zone for people that want to do that stuff and then make use of the dynamic world to move the world through some actual planned and designed history with official events and such.

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            August 2, 2013 12:31 PM

            I think that's why there's a separation between Landmark and the main game.

      • DM7
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        August 2, 2013 12:33 PM

        Maybe the towns and cities have guards/wizard that know repair spells?

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        August 2, 2013 12:34 PM

        Betcha there are "off limits" places where certain cities / areas cant be toyed with.

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          August 2, 2013 12:39 PM

          That doesn't really solve the problem. A scorched and barren wasteland of cocks with occasional cities is still a scorched and barren wasteland of cocks.

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            August 2, 2013 12:40 PM

            I don;t see a problem here

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              August 2, 2013 12:59 PM

              Can you imagine the work GMs will have to moderate all the cocks?

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        August 2, 2013 2:15 PM

        "In EverQuest Next, a rallying call with periodically go out across an entire server; and for the next two months, every player can work together to build a permanent settlement. Along the way, there may be subquests or monster attacks, and construction may be delayed. But when it's all finished, it's very much permanent." -ign

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          August 2, 2013 2:17 PM

          "Players will occasionally be prevented from destroying things, Georgeson says, because otherwise "player cities would become player parking lots." Monsters, however, can and will show up to wreak havoc, and left unchecked, they can do plenty of damage to player settlements. A dragon, for instance, may come in and knock a castle wall down, necessitating repairs."

          http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/08/02/everquest-next-is-real-and-its-amazing

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            August 2, 2013 3:17 PM

            Saw that one coming. It'll be interesting to see how quick the terrain resets and things are.

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        August 2, 2013 3:23 PM

        I'm guessing that in the game's final iteration it will be very expensive or very difficult to meaningfully modify the overworld except in specific pre-planned scenarios. If much of the content is going to be procedurally generated (i.e. instanced?) then it's really just how you'll play around with each encounter set.

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        August 2, 2013 3:25 PM

        Ideally, for me, they'd just let the world go to shit. The players made their bed and they can sleep in it.

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      August 2, 2013 12:25 PM

      That actually sounds very cool. I think it takes something this drastically different to make something exciting in the MMO space. I have to admit, I'm more excited by this announcement than I ever thought I would be for a new EQ. Cool stuff (if they can pull it off).

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      August 2, 2013 12:35 PM

      Oh. Fuck. Yes.

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      August 2, 2013 12:37 PM

      This looks and sounds ambitious and impressive.

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      August 2, 2013 1:05 PM

      This are some Molyneux-level doomed promises in this article. They may intend well, but a week of Goon Squad entropy will force them to rethink things.

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        August 2, 2013 1:08 PM

        I think Goon Squad level shenanigans are what make these sandbox style games so awesome.

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        August 2, 2013 1:18 PM

        Yeah, this is starting to sound a lot like Molyneux's fable 1 discussions.

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        August 2, 2013 2:02 PM

        Listen. I am already prototyping a anatomically accurate statue of robin williams (nude). I will keep you updated. Godbless.

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          August 2, 2013 2:54 PM

          Maybe I should give this game a chance

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        August 2, 2013 5:54 PM

        SOE would do well to hire the Goon Squad as a beta-testing group to see what they would come up with.

        Of course, knowing Goon Squad, all they'll do is take notes and rehearse for the moment the servers go live before they unleash their mayhem.

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      August 2, 2013 1:20 PM

      EQ was my first MMO back in 99.. Really liked some of the ideas presented today. Interesting to see if it all works out.

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      August 2, 2013 1:30 PM

      neal stephenson predicted this

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        August 2, 2013 3:12 PM

        Yeah, I had some Reamde level feelings going on when they were describing the world and the layers which its built.

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      August 2, 2013 1:39 PM

      Pretty cool stuff, just not sure how its really going to work.

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      August 2, 2013 2:07 PM

      Looks amazing so far. I cant wait to see all the stuff they haven't talked about - Raiding, open-dungeons, pvp, loot, building your own home in the actual game, auction house stuff.

      I want to be able to mine and chop trees like in UO, create mats, and make cool armor. Or even better let someone else do it, PK them and loot away.

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        August 2, 2013 3:25 PM

        Dig a hole to the final raid boss of the dungeon. It'll be hilarious to see.

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          August 2, 2013 3:33 PM

          You know.... Vox and Nagafen come to mind here. When they were doing the lavastorm overview, I was half expecting that.

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        August 2, 2013 9:33 PM

        Havn't read a lot yet, but actually physically building it in game? Like collecting every part and building it? haha cool

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      August 2, 2013 3:47 PM

      This is starting to sound a lot like the game from Austin Grossman's "You".

      And not in a bad way.

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      August 2, 2013 4:00 PM

      However it works out I'm very happy they're trying something different. MMOs were starting to get stale.

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      August 2, 2013 5:57 PM

      Just looked at the screenshots, wow.

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      August 2, 2013 7:32 PM

      I love everything about it..almost. The graphic are stunning but the art style is the one place I feel they stumbled at. It smacks of WoW with oversized armor and cartoony exaggeration. I'm more then a little surprised they went this route art-wise.

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      August 2, 2013 9:29 PM

      Looking like it has a LOT of potential, love the artwork for one thing, looks cartoony but in an awesome way. In my opinion nothing looks realistic yet in games anyway (maybe in 10 years?), so why go for fake looking realism. Will be testing EQN out for sure.

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        August 2, 2013 10:03 PM

        Could crank up the detail though.

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      August 3, 2013 12:31 AM

      Wow this sounds... Awesome?

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      August 3, 2013 5:11 AM

      This sounds ambitious enough. Someone finally got it. A "kind of like WoW but a little different" just won't cut up.

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      August 3, 2013 10:21 AM

      Man I can't wait to start building things with that!

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      August 3, 2013 10:02 PM

      reminds me of Penny-Arcade ripping EQ2: http://www.penny-arcade.com/2005/02/28/eq2-looks-dumb (the pictures are dead, they can be viewed here:
      http://web.archive.org/web/20050305055252/http://www.penny-arcade.com/docs/eq2_screen.jpg
      http://web.archive.org/web/20060403223132/http://www.penny-arcade.com/docs/eq2gif.gif
      http://web.archive.org/web/20070217040316/http://www.penny-arcade.com/docs/wow_screen.jpg

      basically, the EQ2 demon looks super uninspired (hooves, horns, yawn). Meanwhile the WoW demon.. rocks! glowy green! Now look at the EverQuest Next shot posted in the story haha

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      August 5, 2013 5:50 AM

      Dunno if I've got mmo burnout, or if I'm just cranky this morning, but everything that I read just seemed to be the new catch phrases that we are going to hear until its release. Dynamic events anyone?

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      August 5, 2013 10:59 AM

      I got the same feeling looking at this that I got when I was looking at all the stuff teasing GW2. I feel like GW2 even said the same things. And then GW2 came out...:(