EverQuest Next: destructible environments, voxels

Friday, 2 August 2013 20:27 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Sony Online Entertainment has announced its vision for the “future of online games” with EverQuest Next.

In development since 2009, SOE has been rethinking the core “creative and technical aspects” of the design and started from the ground up to build a new kind of MMO, different from all the others out there.

“With EverQuest Next, we’re going back to our roots — a space we defined with the EverQuest legacy — and ushering in a new era of MMOs: The Emergent Era,” said John Smedley, SOE president.

“Today, many MMOs fail because players consume content faster than developers can create it. With EverQuest Next, we’re creating a living world that players are part of and empowering them to produce new content alongside the development team. What does the future hold for EverQuest Next and Sony Online Entertainment? It’s in the players’ hands, and we like it that way.”

Here is how EverQuest Next will differ from previous iterations in the series, as well as other MMOs, according to the press release:

Multi-Classing – EQN will offer players the ability to explore and interact with the world according to their individual style of play. There are no levels in EQN, but there will be more than 40 distinct classes (or professions) at launch, with multi-tiered abilities and specialized weapon skills to collect and master. Players will even mix and match abilities from each class, creating truly custom characters that feel distinct and powerful.

Destructible Environments – No modern MMO has successfully implemented destructible environments that stretch across an entire seamless game world — this changes forever with EQN. Every piece of the world is fully destructible and players will have the ability to manipulate almost all of it. They will interact with and explore the world in amazing ways; venturing down into the deep bedrock beneath the surface and using powerful combat abilities to blow gaping holes into the ground. The EQN world will extend far into the heavens and deep into the procedurally-generated earth through 10,000 years of known lore and history.

Permanent Change – Players will also have the ability to cause the world to change around them, permanently, in dramatic ways. Through the concerted effort of the world’s inhabitants, including players, creatures, and non-player characters (NPCs), city walls will be built and destroyed, large-scale wars will be fought and won, and epic stories will unfold over months and years.

Emergent AI – In EQN, NPCs will have specific motivations and preferences that direct behavior in nuanced and unpredictable ways. Players will find themselves in a world where NPC decisions are based on core values, not dictated by static spawn points. For example, Orcs may attack opportunistically because they want an adventurer’s gold, not simply because a careless hero wanders into an attack radius.

A Life of Consequence – Finally, each character in EQN will have a unique story; they will not follow a predetermined path. Instead, they will seek out adventure, fame and fortune in a constantly changing sandbox world. The game will remember every choice and action that players make and will organically deliver increasing opportunities to do more of the things players like to do … from crafting armor and exploring the wilderness to purging goblins from the forests.

“EverQuest Next is not the continuation of a familiar story,” said Dave Georgeson, director of development. “It represents the fundamental reimagining of the characters, lore and environments of the EverQuest universe.

“Make no mistake; while great care has been taken to respect the extraordinary influence that EverQuest has had in this industry and with our player community over the years, this is a boldly different game unlike anything that has come before.”

Hard to believe that EverQuest is 14 years old isn’t it?

No formal date is set for the launch of EQN, but additional information will be announced soon and you can sign up for the eventual beta here.