Aug 5, 2013

What I want from EverQuest Next

Since SOE Live is now over, and Everquest Next has now shocked the MMO world with it’s new art style, and big golems smashing the place up, I feel like I should share what I want from the new game.

I want the art style to stay exactly how the art people at SOE want it, don’t bow to pressure from the MMO community.  The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was a radical new art direction for the Zelda games, at first, people hated it, now it is fondly remembered for how awesome it looked.  Please don’t compromise on your “Vision.”  There is a reason you people are making successful games, and we’re at home playing them.

I want diversity of character builds.  Yes, there is multiclassing, but I don’t want there to be only a few viable builds, this is a problem Rift had, some classes were pretty useless, and only a few builds actually worked, yes there was minor tweaks you could make, but it was not very open in what you could do.  People who specialise should be better at certain things than people who spread their skills across several classes, the specialists simply can’t do as much as the generalists, there is no need to balance unless there is a definite exploit going on.

I want no Endgame, or if there must be one, can it not be “Endgame = Raiding.”  You should be having the same amount of fun, and have the same amount of content available to you at low levels, as you do at high levels.  As you level, or in EQN’s case, “Tier up” into new content, leaving old content behind, there should be an equal amount of new content for you, no “funneling” into a certain zone, Paldual Caverns from EQ1 for instance, choice is paramount, it adds replay value for the alt-o-holics and gives others an opportunity to explore.  I’m hoping that once you hit the end Tier, you have more to do than raid.  Raiding is a barrier.  Raiding takes a lot of development time, and only a small fraction of players get to experience it, lets have the devs working on content everyone can experience.

I want epic journeys in the name of epic loots.  The game supposedly has a massive area of land to explore.  Can we please have quests that make use of it?  Think the Fellowship in Lord of the Rings, or one of the Viking Sagas.  It should be possible to get a band of likeminded adventurers together, and go on a quest to some far off place, where the journey is the majority of the fun.  A “caravan” system like seen in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, where you sign up to join an adventuring band, and when you have to leave, you can log back in where your party is, and not where you logged out.

I want to have to travel, the hard way.  EverQuest 2 had a huge gameworld, especially after the numerous expansion packs, did it feel huge?  No, it felt quite small with the myriad of travel options available.  My house had access to 9 different zones through teleport items, my guildhall could teleport me everywhere else.  I was never further than 3 zones from anywhere else.  Bring back ships, maybe add trading caravans you can hitch a ride on, and if you don’t want to pay the full price, you can sign up to be it’s armed escort, a la Age of Conan.  In the footage from SOE Live, I saw the Spires making a return, and they looked pretty intact, bring back Luclin while you’re at it.

I want crafting to be challenging, and rewarding.  I also want it to take time to learn. I want a player skill based mini game to get through.  No click and wait progress bars, a system like Final Fantasy XIV before the cataclysm (read: A Realm Reborn).  Crafted items should also be a lot more than just items to wear when you’re leveling up, the very best crafters should be able to make items on par, if not exceeding, with drops from raid bosses.

I want GM’s doing stuff.  In D&D, a Game Master is someone who reacts to what the players are doing, someone who creates content.  In EQ2, it’s someone you file petitions to, someone who gets you unstuck, and undeletes items you lost accidentally.  SOE should employ loads of people, and give them the “Big EverQuest Lore Book” and let them run wild with what’s contained in that Tome.  Keep things vaguely RP, but always interesting and fun.  A GM should be able to shapechange to a Lich Lord, and raise an army of undead to attack a village, players will then rally to defend the homestead, and will talk about it for weeks afterwards.  This is the stuff that keeps people playing, not scripted quest lines.

So, there we have it, just a few ideas on what I want from SOE’s latest.  I really hope it turns out to be so good, MMO’s in future are questioned if they’re the “Next EQN Killer.”  Thoughts? Any other ideas?  By all means, let us know in the comments below.

5 Comments

  • I have to be honest here since unlike you guys I wasn’t blown away by EQN reveal. My first impression was “meh”. I though this is GW2 with “emergent AI” and “destructibility” and nothing new. I guess I was expecting lot more new ideas from SOE. “Emergent AI“ and “destructibility” can be game changers but we haven’t really seen them in proper action to decide if they are new marketing buzz words or not.

    Here is a summary of my impressions and wants so far,

    Animation – I love the animation. All the movements looks very “fluid”. Combat feels visceral and you can feel the “impact” of your actions.

    Art – I am happy with their art direction but not blown away. I think I prefer GW2 art direction over EQN. I did feel the world had a “washed” out or white feel even in Feerrott. I was expecting the greens to be bit more vibrant in Feerrott. I hope they fix this.

    Races – Why is my beloved Kerran a Lion and not Tiger like in EQ2!!!! SOE you must change this or I won’t play EQN!!!!!

    Combat/classes – I like the idea that you can build your own “class” using skills from other classes you have collected. However. I want to see “roles” in combat. It doesn’t have to be tank/healer/dps but I still want to see well defined roles. People should have the option to take any role they like at will. Without roles combat will be a mess. People just run around like headless chickens. GW2 tried to get rid of roles but I think they have failed.

    I don’t like that fact you get 40+ skill on your hot bar in EQ2 but I think 8 skills seems very low. I think this needs to go up. Even GW2 hard around 14 (15 if you include dodge) skill at any one time. I think the 8 skill limit is a concession to consoles (PS4).

    Solo/Group/Raids – MMO are really about socialising and playing with other people, so there need to be group content if anything. I would like to see open/contested dungeons which needs a group to complete. There need to be content for a guild. This will give some for the guild to do. Raids are the obvious solutions but I don’t want raids as the only “end game” content as well. Sometime I only get 30 minute play time so there needs to be good solo content as well.

    F2P model – we haven’t heard anything about their F2P model. This can make or break the game. Here are how I think F2P can ruin the game,

    - Class collection. You will be able to collect all the 40 classes in game but you can also buy then on the shop too. Some classes will be extra hard to get… /wink.
    - Rallying calls. These are temporary content which last for about 2 – 3 months with rewards which can *only* be obtain during that time. So if you want those rewards, you play like mad during that 3 month time or you go the cash shop! For example, say you get 6 piece armour set ( a way to level you class) as part of the rallying call. They will easily give you 3 pieces and make the other 3 hard to get. You as the player will think, hmm since I already have 3 I might as well buy the other three from shop!

    I have read bit more info about EQN since the reveal and after having slept on it for couple of days, I think I am still giving SOE the benefit of the doubt!

    • During the presentation they mentioned the new Star Trek films as giving the Star Trek movies a breath of fresh air and they are right. The two new movies are fantastic, they keep the same style of film, comedy, seriousness, aliens, battle scenes baddies etc, but then they’ve given themselves the opportunity to explore an entirely new Star Trek previously unavailable.

      This is what they have allowed themselves in EQNext, the opportunity to take the series a new direction, with the same places and continent we all know and love but still keep the same feeling for the series.

      I’ll have to admit that Keran’s where not my bag, personally I don’t think they were tigers, more feline cat people. What they’ve done is made them more masculine and ultimately more attractive to new younger players who are after that macho character to play.

      The F2P in Planetside 2 is a pretty good model, ok it draws you towards purchasing those weapons that you want as they’re generally out of your reach (cert collection on a 2 hour session is probably around 50-150, so you need a good 10 sessions to unlock a single weapon and then probably another 1000 certs to equip the weapon to your personal standard).

      F2P EQ2 style was pretty much unusable without a huge outlay for a raider, but then after that it will be manageable. I personally hope they don’t go the route of buying quests. This to me will be a big no-no…

      • They definitely have given themselves the opportunity to build a new and better Everquest . How much they succeed still remain to be seen since they “told” me lot about EQNext but they didn’t “show” lot of EQNext. I understand the release is another 2(?) years away so there is plenty of time to “show” but the way things currently stands I am not very impressed. Some of their design decisions (we get rid of the trinity but replace with what?) feels like two steps forward but one step backwards.

        My Keran rant is bit of joke really. I prefer them to be tigers/feline cat people but on the grand scheme of things its nothing. :)

        Compared to many other F2P games, I like SOE F2P model. The cash shop doesn’t seem to adversely affect game decision. I hope it remain that way for EQNext.

        Btw I post on other sites as well but using the handle “lostforever”. So if you see similar rants from “lostforever” it’s me and I am not copy pasting!

        • I’m hoping the F2P model allows for a Subscription style thing where you can skip most of the cash shop nonsense, but gives you a monthly allowance to spend on stuff if you wish. Dragon’s Prophet was awful with it’s cash shop, free players were severely hampered by it.

          • That’s how PS2 works, you get 2,000 SC a month for £8 a month.

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