So, should I still look forward to Everquest Next?

Chatting with comrades on teamspeak the other night, the topic of Everquest Next came up along with “vaporware” and equally unflattering comments. I admit, I really wanted to believe in EQN; SoE sure made their other upcoming MMO(RPG!) sound and look exciting before the launch of Landmark. And really, what is there left in the AAA-segment after EQN? THIS NEEDS TO BE A THING!

EQNlogo

That notorious green picture of many years.

I get how the Everquest veterans feel about this title however, which has become a running gag of sorts ever since the early days. One day, some day sure, there will be a next Everquest! And by now, I am not feeling it anymore either, I certainly don’t expect to see it launch this year and god knows what the whole acquisition by the grey men might mean for the future of these MMOs. All the more surprising therefore that official press statement, referrring to EQN’s more imminent launch:

“Sony Online Entertainment, newly rebranded as Daybreak, is a great addition to our existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies. We see tremendous opportunities for growth with the expansion of the company’s game portfolio through multi-platform offerings as well as an exciting portfolio of new quality games coming up, including the recently launched H1Z1 and the highly anticipated EverQuest Next to be released in the near future” [Jason Epstein, Senior Partner of Columbus Nova]

Now ‘near future’ is a vague enough term but it still suggests things happening in under a year or so. May be that a senior partner of an investment company with a career in venture capital doesn’t have a clue about MMO development speed, may be that it’s just the usual corporate marketing speech to appease the masses. Or maybe they really intend to release EQN on a set date in the near future no matter what, which would add another chapter on catastrophe to the great book of MMO mishaps.

Ever looking for an upside, I wish it was neither of these options; I wish that EQN was farther ahead in development than SoE let on until now and that they’ve just kept things quiet – which makes no sense whatsoever really and is not how they are typically handling their pre-launches.

Call it vaporware, call it getting the Titan vibes, what’s pretty clear to me by now is that holding out for EQN as the next great thing requires a considerable effort in wishful thinking.

13 comments

  1. Right there with you. :'( I was REALLY looking forward to EQN, too. If it vanishes, or gets rushed out to a subpar quality? I’ll be ma-hoo-ssively disappointed.

  2. I liked what I heard about EQN, and I actually enjoy my time with Landmark, when I’m in the mood for it. I’d love to see this be a thing, but I have to admit I’m also a bit concerned about the future of Daybreak.

    1. It’s always problematic imo when you go out and make some noise about games and then go quiet. It should be steady and increase gradually with the hype and info, but since LM launched EQN has been flying under the radar.

  3. My guess (and obviously it is purely a guess because we pretty much have no hard information to go on) is that the acquisition will get EQNext out the door sooner rather than later. Columbus Nova must have bought SOE for something and it seems a fair bet it wasn’t for the income or resale value of the existing games. I’d guess they will want H1Z1 and DCUO on XBOX asap and EQN on all platforms very soon after that, probably in some kind of paid alpha/early release state.

    Personally I am past caring. Feldon at EQ2Wire seems to have some information he’s not ready to go public with yet but he’s clearly hinting at the imminent closure of either EQ2, EQ or both. Once they go, and if EQNext uses the current Landmark combat controls (which it will, although presumably an improved version) then I’m done with Norrath. Officially, that is.

    At one point I did think I might buy a PS4 to play EQN but now I think that, since it will be F2P, I really don’t need to bother. I can just download it and dabble at zero cost so I’ll probably do that. The chances of playing it “seriously” look non-existent right now.

    I find I’m oddly calm about all this. I think the whole Vanguard sunsetting prepared me emotionally for the inevitable closure of the EQ games and nothing I have seen of EQN so far in any way makes me feel it is even part of the same world or tradition so I don’t see any continuation there. I would actually be best pleased if CN did sell the two older games on to another games company but given the confusion that would lead to with branding and trademarks I imagine they would prefer just to close them down.

    1. I didn’t know that this is where the other games stand but then, with new titles incoming it’s a matter of time before something will end up on the chopping block, yeah. I have a very hard time imagining this community to give up lightly though, will be interesting….At least with UO, the game was allowed to be continued by others.

  4. I posted a similar sentiment when it was announced SOE was closing. Even before then, my interests in EQN had severely waned. Landmark was a real no-go for me after a VERY brief venture into its earliest builds. I hated how my character looked, how the world looked, how it felt, and how I felt like I had been played.

    Other than that, the none Storybricks-related information about EQN has all been a turn off. I don’t want action combat, at least not the sort indicated from the game’s over the top animations that have been shown. I don’t want another MMO like Guild Wars 2 with ill-defined group roles. Even if Storybricks proved to be amazing, I think EQN was always bound to be an only-okay experience for me given my tastes.

    While I don’t like to wish for people to lose their jobs, I hope if things go south for EQN, someone else can do the EverQuest license some justice.

    1. To be honest, and I was certainly a SB supporter (I did a signalboost for them after getting a first basic look on skype even before they went sony), this whole project has proven to be rather ill fated and struggling to retain key members of its staff. I was weary when I heard about the marriage with EQN but ironically, now both things seem about equally likely to turn out particularly well. Maybe that’s too harsh of me but myeah.

  5. I was really excited by what I heard about EQN but it was one of those where it was on my radar but I had my eyes narrowed in suspicion. I’ve gotten in this habit of scaling back my expectations of any MMO I come across lately. Anyhoo I suspect this split probably messed things up; they have to sort out who owns the rights to what (since I assume Sony had some hands in the mix). This team also sounds like the type that wants everything to be perfect so I suspect a lot of ideas have been scrapped b/c they just weren’t working. Sounds good in principle but means the game takes eons to come out.

    1. That and developing two games at the same time is probably a bigger bite than anyone can easily chew off. Tool for EQN or not, I think they underestimated the work that would go into LM and it’s demanding community – in essence this is now a standalone game they keep pouring more features into. I get that the same stuff is going to be in EQN but it’s still seems like a high maintenance way of doing things….but what do I know. :)

  6. I was already most of the way into “EQNext is vapourware until I actually see it running” territory.

    Now I’m 100% of the way there.

    Will it ever be finished and released? I have no idea. But if it is .. that’s when I’ll pay attention to it again.

    That’s a shame, given how excited I was about it back at the time of the very first announcements. But SOE had already done most of the damage long before this sell-off.

  7. I was initially really looking forward to EQN and SB. But the action/console/twitch combat was a real disappointment and almost certainly a deal breaker for me. I certainly hope it is successful, but with a lot less passion than if I wanted to play it myself.

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