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Post by Eorl @ 06:03am 03/08/13 | 29 Comments
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:
  • PC Gamer:
  • 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.










    everquest nextsony online entertainmentvoxelmmonext-gen





    Latest Comments
    groganus
    Posted 11:17am 03/8/13
    Gotta admit it sure looks cool.

    Wish those videos displayed the UI's. Also given the way the game play is described it sounds like its quite possible this is heading towards a console market.
    Khel
    Posted 11:23am 03/8/13
    Looks sweet, but I don't think personally it will appeal to me, a minecraft style sandbox isn't really what I want from an MMO, I prefer a more directed experience with some story to delve into.

    Still, that Iron Golem destroying the house looked pretty badass, and the dynamically spawning mobs that work out the best place to camp to kill players is very cool
    Eorl
    Posted 11:27am 03/8/13
    That is why there are two Khel :) Landmark will be for those wanting to build up and create whatever they want within the confines of some community rules, where as EverQuest Next won't offer the ability to build but simply the voxel destruction.

    Honestly what is not to like about a free-to-play next-gen voxel-based sandbox MMO that has no levels, environment can be destroyed and rebuilt, trinity system, over 40 classes based on what weapon combinations you use, dynamic combat that can be affected by the landscape damage, parkour movement and some gorgeous graphics to boot.
    arkter
    Posted 11:35am 03/8/13
    "try and make it looks like WoW as much as possible"
    Hogfather
    Posted 01:24pm 03/8/13
    Been following this for a while, looking the goods.

    There's gobs and gobs of 'on rails' story-deiven MMOs out there, not sure why someone would be disappointed that people are trying new things... Such a crusty old c***! :P
    Dazhel
    Posted 01:45pm 03/8/13
    So when the Iron Golem destroys the house, how long until fades back in and respawns for the next group to farm their s***?
    Hogfather
    Posted 01:52pm 03/8/13
    So cynical!
    Khel
    Posted 02:11pm 03/8/13
    not sure why someone would be disappointed that people are trying new things


    I'm not disappointed, I think it looks pretty cool, just not my cup of tea :)
    Dazhel
    Posted 02:18pm 03/8/13
    So cynical!

    Half cynical, half wondering how they'll pull off persistent destruction in an MMO.
    If stuff stays broken then the majority of players would eventually just see ruins. If stuff doesn't stay broken then it's really just part of the instance smoke and mirrors.
    ravn0s
    Posted 02:25pm 03/8/13
    looks like they're aiming this at kids judging by the art direction.
    TicMan
    Posted 02:29pm 03/8/13

    If stuff stays broken then the majority of players would eventually just see ruins. If stuff doesn't stay broken then it's really just part of the instance smoke and mirrors.


    I could imagine, and somewhat hope, that as part of someone elses motive/quest/job/whatever outcome driven scenario there is, that you rebuild those ruins using gathered materials or created materials.

    In much the same way Eve works - miners mine, builders build, people buy goods, goods get destroyed, cycle starts again.
    Eorl
    Posted 02:39pm 03/8/13
    Reconstruction goes in waves according to Smedley during the presentation, but they haven't said how often that will happen. EQHammer has great FAQ up now which answers some questions regarding "levelling" and destruction.

    Do note the difference between the two MMOs. Landmark is being used as a "test" game, allowing players to see how EverQuest Next will actually work and also build the world that they want to live in. Each server will have different constructs due to the players building it, and there will also be "special servers being ‘lore locked’, meaning anything constructed needs to conform to the rules and lore of Norrath. From there, players have the opportunity to directly impact and contribute to what you might see in the full MMO."
    deadlyf
    Posted 03:01pm 03/8/13
    That looks impressive but the people were a bunch of bads not moving out of the telegraphed AoE.

    I'd like to see an army of peons that work their way around a map rebuilding things and trees regrow rather than a simple now it's ruined, now it's not sort of scenario.

    I can imaging things would turn to rubble quite quickly on a populated server, wonder what that would do to the lag.
    carson
    Posted 05:26pm 03/8/13
    What exactly does voxel-based mean?

    It looks cool, but I think it's a bit weird they left their realism theme in previous titles for the cartoony one. Guess they thought wow did well in part to the art direction?
    Eorl
    Posted 06:22pm 03/8/13
    What exactly does voxel-based mean?It looks cool, but I think it's a bit weird they left their realism theme in previous titles for the cartoony one. Guess they thought wow did well in part to the art direction?
    Basically a voxel is simply one piece of a building block, with multiple blocks placed together to form a shape. The key difference between say Cube World or Minecraft and EverQuest Next is that the product that the voxel engine creates can have a smooth top to emulate terrain, similar to TUG.

    Curse also have a great interview that should explain some stuff as well

    :
    groganus
    Posted 05:50pm 03/8/13
    So when the Iron Golem destroys the house, how long until fades back in and respawns for the next group to farm their s***?


    From what I read new towns/settlements buildings are rebuilt using quests ect... it is quite possible for something to get damaged and never rebuilt.

    Eg, settlement gets attacked on a regular basis, the npcs will offer quests to collect resources and then to eventually build a wall.


    The majority of quests will be dynamic like this, the emphasis with this game is to make a lot of the content user generated.. Everquest next landmark is the next step in this.. it allows users to create structures and the devs can then import those structures with the users being paid for it. They don't expect a lot of content to be acceptable enough to be imported, but they figure if 50,000 people create content and only 100 people create decent content that thats 100 more designers than they previously had.
    Eorl
    Posted 06:23pm 03/8/13
    Also grog I can definitely see Landmark being useful in expansions, having players create new content for the dev team. That is one thing I love in Neverwinter, in that it isn't just developer content I'm playing, but also very talented player content.
    DM
    Posted 07:33pm 03/8/13
    I saw an animated gif on reddit showing off the facial animations and while they are good and all, if they are reserved only for emotes then they are wasted imo. I really want a game where your location in the game world dictates how your character walks and/or acts when moving slow or when idle. If i'm in a desert I want them constantly brushing dust out of their eyes and squinting. If i'm in a tropical jungle I want them to look sluggish and worn out from the heat under their armor. same for if i'm in a snow area, I want my character to shiver and have this really frozen look on their face while trying to keep their hands warm or something. Other than that it looks rather nice
    ravn0s
    Posted 08:40pm 03/8/13
    Eorl
    Posted 09:23pm 03/8/13
    Baby steps DM, baby steps. They seem to be pretty keen on pushing the facial expressions so I have no doubt we'll see it elsewhere.
    E.T.
    Posted 09:41pm 03/8/13
    longest thread title in this forum's history?
    Lynx
    Posted 12:07am 04/8/13
    I was reading some where (maybe reddit) that they are including facial recognition for those with webcams, allowing you to control your characters expression with your face.

    looking it up...

    EDIT: Seems it was used in Everquest II and, based on some interviews with creative director Dave Georgeson, is getting some big upgrades for EQnext
    Trauma
    Posted 06:18am 04/8/13
    First thing that came to mind was lag, if this has raiding then multiply those particle effects (not to mention physics) by 20-40 and you better have a beast of a PC. Other than that, looked pretty cool.
    Lynx
    Posted 10:38am 04/8/13
    Maybe they just transmit damage radius and power and the cords and let the client calculate the physics. If everyone has the same code and world data, everyone should end up with the small destruction.
    ravn0s
    Posted 11:06am 04/8/13
    First thing that came to mind was lag, if this has raiding then multiply those particle effects (not to mention physics) by 20-40 and you better have a beast of a PC. Other than that, looked pretty cool.


    they reckon it will be playable on 4-5 year old PC's.
    Eorl
    Posted 11:40am 04/8/13
    Here is the class panel, really great discussion on what to expect. Basically you get four "class" abilities and four "weapon" abilities (similar to GW2). The weapon abilities can't be customised as they are assigned to the weapon, but you can customise your class abilities to your hearts content.

    I really like the no levelling idea, if done right. It seems like they'd rather have you go out and explore, with exploration being your levelling through advancing classes (like FF14 ARR).

    Midda
    Posted 03:38pm 04/8/13
    This came out of nowhere for me, and it looks awesome. It sounds like they're expanding on what ArenaNet did with GW2, with the weapon sets stuff, but they're taking it a step further in that it lets you change your whole class. Sounds potentially awesome.

    I also love how GW2 tries to make questing feel more dynamic, which again, it sounds like this new EQ is taking even further. If they also tailor their combat to be more on the GW2 end of the scale and less like WoW, I'll be all over this.
    Trauma
    Posted 04:56pm 04/8/13
    they reckon it will be playable on 4-5 year old PC's.

    Of course they do. I'm sure they will be fine solo, but a raid boss fight means effect everywhere. I remember way back my wow days staring at the floor during some raid bosses to get a decent framerate. The final boss of the Sunwell was pretty laggy, I had a mid range system at the time.
    Obes
    Posted 08:53am 05/8/13
    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.

    Anti camp code!!!
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