I’m still digesting the EQ Next reveal. There’s a lot to it. For me, two surprises and and one “hmm” and a general happiness. Surprises first!
Voxels come top of the list. I know they are using them already in Planetside 2, but using voxels to create a world and using voxels in the gameplay are two different beasties entirely and I was amazed and excited by this part of the reveal. I thought http://procworld.blogspot.co.uk/ was on my blogroll but it wasn’t (is now). It’s a blog I’ve been following for a year or two because I’m already fascinated by voxels and the journey described in that blog is a great read in itself (bedtime favourite of mine).
(Update: and a few hours later this turned up in my twitter feed: http://procworld.blogspot.ca/2013/08/everquest-next.html – well how fabulous! Heh, really chuffed about this for Miguel Cepero, and for meee. After reading about his Voxels for so long, I’m actually going to see the Voxel Farm in action! Oooh – and while I have your attention, here is my favourite quote from that blog: “The honest answer is I don’t know. I have a very demanding job, whatever little time I have to spare, I use it in this project. I only do it because it relaxes me. Some people count sheep, I think about voxels.” I just like the image that conjures up.)
So, yes on voxels I’m agog for details from SOE, and agog to get my hands on them too.
…And springing fully formed from ‘voxels in gameplay’ (like Venus’ armpit hair), the other surprise is a second game. That completely blindsided me. Ooooooh. and Aaaah. So we have Landmark to look forward to this winter in which we can play with the voxeltools ourselves and make our own things for EQNext. Which in the half empty glass is cheap assets for SOE, and in the half full glass might be amazingly good fun, whoknowspossibly leading to fame and fortune. Woah.
The “hmm.” is I can’t imagine identifying with the characters they showed, it’s a taste/style thing. I thought they were very sugary and kiddie – very, very like a Disney cartoon in style. I like cartoon graphics in games, but there are all kinds of cartoons. For me that particular style comes with an inherent barrier. It’s a convention I personally associate with looking at, rather than with ‘identifying with’ – still, I’ve become accustomed to being inside worse avatars (!), so just have to see how it plays, (and everyone has different tastes – of course.)
General happiness from me about all this! All the ideas aren’t 100% all new and original, they just aren’t. And I think 100% new and original is a silly thing to be insisting on parrotlike anyway. Mainly interest comes from how things are iterated and built on, now and again something new does spring from the void, but mostly new things come from looking again at old stuff. Giving players voxeltools as part of the game is pretty new and original anyway.
Other things in there we’ve seen something like – for example the large scale dynamic events look like quite a lot like the events we already see in other games, maybe on a larger, slower scale. Multi-classing has been tackled in various ways by various games at various times, destroying the environment happens in world-building games etc – well it just depends how these things are done whether they come across as fresh and bold, or as a minor variation that in hindsight seems obvious, or as a dead end, or as not much new. On my reckoning Everquest Next as revealed yesterday is different enough to make quite a splash. Yay!
And Landmark will make an extremely interesting pre-splash – I look forward to it.