Hands-on with EverQuest Next Landmark
Why EQN is the next big thing
Long have MMO players wanted to have an impact on the world they spend much of their free time in. Developers have fulfilled that desire in limited ways. From World of Warcraft’s quests that permanently change the environment via phasing to EverQuest II‘s player created housing objects to Cryptic’s player created mission system rolled out in Champion’s Online, Star Trek Online and now Neverwinter. But players want more than just these small areas of control and Sony Online Entertainment hopes to deliver that in their recently announced Fantasy MMO meets Minecraft hybrid, EverQuest Next.
The entire world in EQN is destructible, from the buildings to the environment to the creatures that inhabit it. Players can build things up or tear them down. They can mine for resources and craft them into castles, caverns or even statues that look like mech warriors. Sounds great right? Just like, oh say, the den of depravity and scandal, Second Life.
But what separates EQN from other sandbox MMOs is, among other things, pairing it with traditional MMO features (dev created dungeons, gear, progression) and an amazing toolset the devs use to make the game that is handed over to the players to create not only their own housing, but their own game within the game. And it starts with EverQuest Next Landmark.
The toolset is the key
Let’s use the major inspiration Minecraft as an example. You mine for large, blocky resources such as wood, rock, sheep wool, etc. Then combine those into other large, blocky resources and use them in combination to make the things you envision, in all its large blocky glory.
EQN is, at its heart, the same, except the tools you are given allow you far more control over the resources. The flexibility built into the game engine allows you not to just to place a large block of rock, but size it very small or very large. You can then smooth the corners, change the texture, remove chunks of it, add other elements to it to get exactly the way you want.
So instead of building a castle out of blocks all the same size with some small variation in color, you can now build it brick by individual, handcrafted brick, if you want. You can add spherical domes to the towers (yes, there are more shapes to work with than square), you can add planks of wood that are narrow towards one end (no, you aren’t constrained to working in 90 degree angles), and you can change the texture of the material after you place it down.
A large chunk of squarish rock can quickly become a gem-encrusted spiral staircase or an elegantly sloping bridge over a babbling brook.