Forget about smashing voxel castles for a second—that’s crazy, but EverQuest Next is also kicking down the pillars of its own D&D foundation. SOE is changing fantasy MMO tropes it helped define and which its fans are used to—we’re talking getting rid of traditional leveling and introducing a multiclassing system, as well as handling expansions with Rallying Calls, which are grand scale, multistage storylines that permanently change a server’s world. These aren’t totally new RPG ideas, but they sure are for EQ.
It might have been just as risky for SOE not to change anything, but I’m happy that this is such an interesting risk. After the reveal at SOE Live in Las Vegas today, I met with Lead Designer Darrin McPherson and Creative Director Jeff Butler to get some insight on how everything will work.
Rather than releasing Everquest 2.5, which would have been far cheaper than this long-haul iterative design, SOE have actually used their talents, thought about what could be done, and understood the time and money that a cooperative big name publisher can provide. They have elected to experiment with the form and attempt something pioneering. I’m struggling to think of another project in development with as much concentrated potential.