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Did you know Sony Online Entertainment is making a new EverQuest? You can't be blamed if you don't. They've kept the game under tight wraps but buzz from press-only E3 previews suggests this MMORPG could be worth watching.
MMORPG site TenTonHammer named EQ Next as the "Best of Show" for E3. Although they're unable to go into details, they did dole out some heavy, if vague, praise for the game.
"Even though our expectations heading into our private viewing during E3 were high, EverQuest Next exceeded those expectations on all fronts," the website said.
The folks at MMORPG.com gave the game their "Best of Show" award as well. They said they were "blown away by every little detail" and that the game "stood head and shoulders above" anything else they saw at E3. Like TenTonHammer, they're muzzled by an embargo but they did mention that EQ Next has "grand plans for the world's largest sandbox."
EverQuest Next doesn't continue the storyline of EQ or EQ2. Instead, it's said to be a reimagined version of Norrath. You might recognize some of the races and locations but the story is different. It's powered by Forgelight, the same graphics engine seen in SOE's PlanetSide 2.
While the game world might resemble old Norrath, the gameplay should be radically different. After all, the first EQ launched 14 years ago. Even if the basic formula of MMO's hasn't changed that much in that time - you still kill 10 rats for the innkeeper to get some EXP - the expected features list for a new MMO has grown dramatically. SOE has their work cut out for them if they want to modernize the EQ series.
The game is almost certainly going to free-to-play with optional microtransactions. SOE uses that business model for recent releases DC Universe Online and PlanetSide 2. They also revamped older games like EQ and EQ2 for free-to-play. I can't see them making a subscription-only game, given how successful F2P has been for them.
The official reveal of EverQuest Next will take place on August 2nd during SOE Live. Players might not have to wait much longer after that to actually play the game. SOE president John Smedley implied earlier this year that EQ Next will launch before the end of 2013.