After almost three years of being teased, Sony Online Entertainment has finally unveiled the first glimpses at not just their next-gen MMO EverQuest Next, but also the voxel building based title EverQuest Next Landmark.
As with their previous EverQuest titles, the two next-gen MMOs will both be free-to-play, however EverQuest Next won't be coming out for some time. Landmark on the other hand is expected to be available at the end of the year with an alpha sometime in the very near future.
Of course it isn't just the voxel-based engine that both MMOs utilise that is interesting. EverQuest Next and Landmark will offer no levels, and will allow players to mix and match classes through their weapons. Players will also find persistent AI that "remembers" what you have done, ensuring the world always remembers just what you did to that farmer's livestock. Enemies can also utilise the destructible environments, punching through the surface to creating a void that enemies and characters can fall down into a new sub-surface environment.
A press embargo on a fresh round of previews for both upcoming MMO's has lifted, bringing with it a bunch of hands on impressions from a multitude of international outlets, based on what appear to have been quite extensive gameplay sessions. Here's a few snips:
EQ Next knows what areas are patrolled and populated, and how many adventurers have traveled any given stretch of road. So, rather than the designers plopping down static orc camps, orcs are created with these likes and dislikes and “released into the void.” They wander around looking for just the right stretch of road to camp near, and if guards start coming by, or players beat them back too often, they’ll move.Eurogamer:
SOE is at least going all in with this new EverQuest adventure, and it's a game that largely abandons a template still capable of drawing a convention's worth of fans together. It's a bold vision of what the company thinks a next-generation MMO should look like, and it begins with the world itself. Constructed using voxel technology - and layered on top of a heavily modified version of the engine powering PlanetSide 2 - the destruction and manipulation of your next home from home lies at the heart of almost every design decision.ShackNews:
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."
Hit the screenshots and videos below to see just what EverQuest Next and Landmark have in store for the MMO genre. Those wanting to try their luck can also signup for beta over here