A lot of people are excited about Everquest Next, but I’ll be honest: all I’ve seen are some fancy world deformation/construction tools and DCUO’s combat.
It’s that last bit that bothers me. All the jumping around and huge particle effects. The wizard’s blink move and warrior’s jump (and especially the glide ability) look straight out of DC Universe Online. I guess that’s not the worst thing, but DCUO’s combat always seemed messy to me, and definitely isn’t what I expected to see in an Everquest game.
As for everything else…we’ve heard the whole “emergent AI” song and dance multiple times now. Guild Wars 2 and Rift come to mind. These systems sound great on paper, but they’re hardly ever as deep or permanent as we’re led to believe. They also seem to get just as old, just as quickly, as any other static system.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot to be excited about here. At the very least, SOE is doing something that appears to be different. But I’ve seen every major MMO launch since Star Wars Galaxies (ugh), and I want to share my prediction. I might be wrong, but given everything I’ve heard so far:
- Multiclassing will be cool, but with the lack of levels (even though tiered zoning remains), it’ll end up being a lot shallower than it seems right now. Combat itself won’t actually mean much, and the ability to mix and match will be as mind-blowingly exciting as it was in FFXIV.
- Destructible environments and the ability to build stuff will be cool. Can’t complain too much about that, but we’ll see how it actually turns out in-game.
- Rallying calls (or whatever) will involve “Kill X of Y” and “Gather X” and maybe some “Craft Z” quests. Players won’t actually be building anything. I imagine a static spawn of enemy catapults that players have to sabotage, after which they’ll disappear. Something like that. No “epic, large-scale wars.” At least, not the kind you’re imagining right now.
- Emergent AI means that angry mobs will spawn randomly (or maybe based on certain criteria) instead of at a predefined area…but will still pretty much be regular old mobs.
- Gameplay: Imagine DCUO as a fantasy game set in Norrath. That’s seriously what I’m expecting Next to be like.
Bottom line is this: SOE showed a lot of flash, but they haven’t said anything about the core gameplay. Being able to shape the world is fantastic, but what will players actually be able to do in the world? It’s like with Star Wars Galaxies: they gave us this big old sandbox — do what you want to do, be who you want to be — but no tools to play with.
Nothing much to actually do in the sand.
I hope I’m wrong.