Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Chance to Play in the Sandbox

Thanks (yet again) to Syp, I had an easy way to find recordings of the great Everquest Next Reveal videos aired yesterday over TwitchTV. At the time, I was at work with access only to Twitter, reading people's reactions as they watched the show. I did get to read a couple articles from Massively and MMORPG.com that revealed some awesome stuff.

Part 1 covers various people's EQ Stories, tales of how playing EverQuest has changed their lives. Of course, SOE chose stories that had a maximum emotional impact. But watch them, think about how different games you have played have impacted your life. The friends and memories you've made. Lives have literally been created because of MMOs. Did Tetris ever do that? These are way more than just games.

Another thing shown in Part 1 is the amazing sandtable performance art "The Founding of Qeynos" created by Joe Castillo. Excellent highlighting of the importance of the lore as well as the "sandbox" nature of the game.
Part 2 gets more into the design of the game; wherein Dave Georgeson, Director of Development, discusses what he calls the Holy Grails of MMOs. Obviously, he makes all of SOE's design ideas seem original; and yes, there's nothing else out there exactly like them. But multi-classing looks a lot like TSW's Ability Wheel to me. Not that SOE won't have an awesome spin on it, and the idea that I might need to go out into the world and hunt for new classes/abilities is certainly appealing. The Permanent Change idea might be like the Living Story of GW2, but it sounds more organic to me. It's not a bunch of mini-games and activities that come and go. There will be things that need to be done to bring about the change intended (like building a city), and there may be unintended consequences.

A couple things have some together that have really piqued my interest in this game, though. The first is that I (belatedly) found out that Storybricks, the "emergent AI" developed by Stéphane Bura and Brian 'Psychochild' Green. I've written about Storybricks before; I think it's a great idea and am delighted that a AAA enterprise like SOE picked up on its potential. In EQN, NPCs will have preferences and wants rather than set scripts that dictate where they'll be when, giving you a quest or waiting to bash your skull in.
The other thing has gotten me excited has to do with the ability to create things in the world. My recent posts on the Dimensions of Rift may have given you impression that I like to build. That is true. I have liked creating ever since I was a kid playing with Legos. I am fascinated by model railroads and other miniatures. Given the money and the time, I'd love to have a woodshop. The voxels and tools of EQN—and particularly Landmark—are right up my alley.

Honestly, having played neither EQ nor EQII, I was not that interested in the upcoming game—before hearing about these design "Grails." Now, I am definitely looking forward to this winter and seeing some of them in action.

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