EQ Next to be “the largest sandbox MMO ever designed”

In 2010, SOE announced that they were working on a follow up to EQ2, code-named EQ Next. There was some muted excitement from Everquest fans, but after that we didn’t hear much about the project. Yesterday, John Smedley announced at SOE Live that they’d trashed their original design and now plan to bring EQ Next to market as a sandbox style MMO game.

I had been wondering whether Blizzard would end up taking this route with Titan (or going for a FPS MMO), as the trends simply aren’t towards large subscription MMOs and ‘more of the same’ isn’t going to cut it.

As it happens, with Planetside 2, SOE along with CCP’s Dust are both shaping up as good options for FPS MMO fans. And with this EQ Next announcement, suddenly a lot of old school MMO players will again be very very focused on what SOE is doing. I think this was a momentous announcement for them, it’s the day they became relevant again. And now Blizzard is on the back foot. Check out the link, there were quite a lot of announcements and statements about how they see the industry.

10 thoughts on “EQ Next to be “the largest sandbox MMO ever designed”

  1. MMO FPS is probably the next stage of MMO evolution. Or at least something towards a more action-y vein.

    Sandboxes, ignoring the gaming presses obsession with emergent gameplay, has there ever been a successful sandbox since UO? I mean, even EVE, king of the Sandboxes, has a relatively small player base in the scheme of things.

  2. I think that little squeak I just heard was the air being let out of the Pathfinder MMO balloon. I wonder what Ryan Dancey’s face looked like when he read that announcement.

  3. The thing about sandbox games (at least as old school players define them) is they contain some very harsh game mechanics. Eve features and SWG featured item destruction, long travel times and crafting systems so onerous that only a handful make it to the top. Personally I love those game elements but there’s a sound reason why commercially successful games moved away from sandbox style 7 years ago.

  4. The thing is that SWG WAS commercially successful, especially at the start. The long crafting process, the item decay etc…. was never a problem for the player base, at least that I saw. When SOE constantly changed the game due to the success of other games, THAT is what killed the player base. The game they loved (as flawed or buggy as it was) was replaced by something they didn’t want. I know a lot of people still disenfranchised from those days still long for a game that provides the same kind of gameplay that we enjoyed in those early days.

  5. I wouldn’t call say SoE is more relevant than Blizzard just yet.

    I mean, SoE (and hell, Sony in general) has a long and impressive history of being it’s own worst enemy. Stuff like the PSS1 nonsense and, of course, the NGE immediately spring to mind. Needless to say, there is a lot of bad blood out there aimed directly at SoE. Getting over that mountain is going to take a significant amount of effort.

    Marketing EQNext correctly is going to be a hell of a job, and a position I do not envy.

    On the other hand, I do like this seeming push towards emergent gameplay. And I’m wondering if PS2’s surprisingly early launch and stuff like DCUO’s housing DLC aren’t the result of SoE trying to play with emergent systems before they set too much of EQNext in stone.

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