We got a good deal of EverQuest Next info at SOE Live, but, as always, there’s more to know!
In particular, we were impressed with the Storybricks presentation on how content will evolve in SOE’s next MMO, but there were still a few finer points we were curious about. So we got a hold of Director of Development Dave Georgeson to quiz him about a few salient points:
MMOBomb: What’s your plan for server structure? I ask this for two reasons:
It’s becoming more common in MMOs to make server-switching easy or to do away with servers altogether (“megaservers”) so people can more readily play with their friends who might have made characters elsewhere. This is generally a good thing because few things are worse than having all your friends creating characters on different servers.
However, if a game has big public events going on at different times – rallying cries in your case – and it’s easy to switch servers, this can lead to people hopping around, not because they want to play with friends but because they want to exploit the system to get all the best loot as often as possible.
Which direction do you plan to go?
Dave Georgeson: We’ve made some very careful choices about worlds in both Landmark and EverQuest Next. The end solutions are different in both games, but are tailored to the needs of those games.
In Landmark, the game revolves around the creativity of the players, so we want the players to be able to go everywhere and anywhere – no limits at all. However, megaservers are not necessarily the way because they seem perpetually endless. Players don’t ever get a sense of “neighborhood” on those worlds.
We settled on islands so that players develop a sense of community in their local area. They have a “home” that they feel comfortable in even though the world is constantly changing around them.
On the other hand, in EverQuest Next, a big focal point of that game is that the players can affect real and permanent change around them, steering the course of their world. In this case, we want players to feel a sense of responsibility for the world that they’re playing within, giving them a real feeling of attachment and belonging. Character movement between worlds is much more restrictive there so that characters get a feeling of consequence for their actions.
MMOBomb:Atthe Storybricks panel at SOE Live, they talked about how NPC groups take over territory, how rallying cries are triggered, etc. Can you give me an idea of the time scale of this? Doesn’t have to be exact, and it will obviously vary in testing, but in a typical case, are we talking days? Weeks? Months?
Dave Georgeson: There’s no set duration. Some rallying calls will take months to play out. Some will be of much shorter duration. There will be many rallying calls going on around the world and the players will be able to choose what and how they deal with those events.
MMOBomb:And while we’re on that subject… not that you haven’t taken everything into consideration 🙂 but knowing that MMO players are MMO players, if you intend for something to take months, are you prepared for it to happen in four days? Do you have systems in place that will ensure that the “big” content is delivered in something approximating the time required for you to build it?
Dave Georgeson: Yes we do. [Editor’s note: So secretive! However, after seeing comments like this from other MMO devs, it’s nice to know they at least have a plan, even if they can’t tell us yet.]
MMOBomb: What about (gasp!) faction rep grind? At the Storybricks panel, they talked about the example of helping the dark elves so you can gain rep with them so you can get cool stuff, and my first instinct is to think that they’ll have me doing the same thing over and over – or that I’ll find the most efficient thing to do and choose to do it over and over – because I’ll need a kajillion rep points to get what I want.
Dave Georgeson: Faction grind is a particular and valid type of gameplay. It is not, however, in our plans for EverQuest Next. Our entire intent with this game is to avoid that kind of repetitive task. Everything changes, all the time.
MMOBomb: Will the procedurally generated underground regions have the same kind of stories and rallying cry potential? Or is their random nature all that’s required to make them interesting?
Yes, they will.