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EverQuest: The Design Philosophy of EverQuest Next

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,595MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Garrett Fuller of MMORPG.com caught up with SOE's Dave Georgeson to talk the past, present, and future of the Everquest franchise: specifically the design philosophy behind creating EverQuest Next.

Check it out on our EverQuest video page.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • achesomaachesoma Portland, ORPosts: 1,000Member Uncommon
    So Dave is saying community and in-depth features are key to retaining a MMO playerbase.  MMOers have been craving this for quite awhile now.  Of course, all the features in the world are moot if they don't make a great performing, solid game. 

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  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,402Member Uncommon
    Player-Driven content is the key. You can't burn through player driven content. It's always there to grow. I'm not saying every game should be based solely on it, but it should be available and optional in every game.
  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,117Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Dauzqul
    Player-Driven content is the key. You can't burn through player driven content. It's always there to grow. I'm not saying every game should be based solely on it, but it should be available and optional in every game.

    Agreed.  My concern though are some of the comments made by the Cryptic guy as he alluded to games that are completely player driven.  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to fork out cash for a game where the developers do nothing but put in the tools for players to create content, unless most of that money goes to the author of said content and not the lazy developers.

    image
  • IadienIadien Charleston, WVPosts: 638Member
    Originally posted by Vorthanion
    Originally posted by Dauzqul
    Player-Driven content is the key. You can't burn through player driven content. It's always there to grow. I'm not saying every game should be based solely on it, but it should be available and optional in every game.

    Agreed.  My concern though are some of the comments made by the Cryptic guy as he alluded to games that are completely player driven.  I'm sorry, but I'm not going to fork out cash for a game where the developers do nothing but put in the tools for players to create content, unless most of that money goes to the author of said content and not the lazy developers.

    Vorthanion, you do know how much work these "lazy" developers put in to creating and maintaining these worlds, right? It's absurd to think that players will put in anywhere near the same amount of time and effort into the game that developers do. Do you think these tools are easy to create? Do you think that the developers stop working once the game is launched? I won't even discuss creating sound, art, lore, etc.... sigh

  • GreenHellGreenHell ludlow, MAPosts: 1,322Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by achesoma
    So Dave is saying community and in-depth features are key to retaining a MMO playerbase.  MMOers have been craving this for quite awhile now.  Of course, all the features in the world are moot if they don't make a great performing, solid game. 

    I don't agree or disagree but if that is true how do you explain WoW's almost 9 year domination of the genre? There isn't a whole lot of in-depth anything going on there and it is known for having one of the worst communities in any MMO.

  • finnmacool1finnmacool1 Corona, CAPosts: 453Member

    Im not sure why anyone would buy a $oe product. Eq was their one and only "hit" and it happened by accident and only due to lack of competition.

    1. Matrix (dead)

    2. SWG (dead)

    3. Vanguard (one server,might as well be dead)

    4. Eq1 (still their most successfull game)

    5. Eq2 (not a failure but hardly a success)

  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member
    SOE are using Planetide 2 engine so we are talking all the under-the-hood- stuff is A1 for the game. The issues likely to come are in the gameplay and how much content there is for players starting EQnext. Stack the content and max the gameplay and it will do well.
  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member

    I'm glad SOE is recognizing the failure of combat-oriented MMORPG's to maintain player retention.  So many games are just about continuous fighting PVE / PVP that the concept itself has lost some meaning.  Non-combat Minigames are a feature that often comes up over and over again, but developers don't seem to always listen.

     

    Housing / decorating is popular for example, because it is an alternate activity when combat gets boring.  It's a shame when gathering becomes the only escape from mundane combat and the genocide of tens of thousands of creatures - who would have never bothered you if you didn't invade their personal space.

     

    Well, I'll look forward to August then.  Holo-chess or Pazaak anyone?

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • BigdaddyxBigdaddyx California, WAPosts: 1,985Member Uncommon

    Anyone else had a deja vu feeling when he said 'holy grail of MMOS' and that they made a list of things which we love about MMOS nd a list about what we hate about MMOS.

    If you close your eyes it is like listening to guys at ANET all over again.

  • IadienIadien Charleston, WVPosts: 638Member
    Originally posted by finnmacool1

    Im not sure why anyone would buy a $oe product. Eq was their one and only "hit" and it happened by accident and only due to lack of competition.

    1. Matrix (dead)

    2. SWG (dead)

    3. Vanguard (one server,might as well be dead)

    4. Eq1 (still their most successfull game)

    5. Eq2 (not a failure but hardly a success)

    You forgot to mention Free Realms, DC Universe, and Planetside. EQ 2 is a success, contrary to popular opinion, an mmo does not need millions of subs to be successful.

    Yes, SoE has had failed MMOs, but they also try out many different things, and not everything always works out. As for EQ Next, it won't be a failure, unless SoE really screws it up.

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common
    Originally posted by Iadien
    Originally posted by finnmacool1

    Im not sure why anyone would buy a $oe product. Eq was their one and only "hit" and it happened by accident and only due to lack of competition.

    1. Matrix (dead)

    2. SWG (dead)

    3. Vanguard (one server,might as well be dead)

    4. Eq1 (still their most successfull game)

    5. Eq2 (not a failure but hardly a success)

    You forgot to mention Free Realms, DC Universe, and Planetside. EQ 2 is a success, contrary to popular opinion, an mmo does not need millions of subs to be successful.

    Yes, SoE has had failed MMOs, but they also try out many different things, and not everything always works out. As for EQ Next, it won't be a failure, unless SoE really screws it up.

    His failures include two games SoE didnt make and one thats reason for failure comes from a different company

  • BigdaddyxBigdaddyx California, WAPosts: 1,985Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by finnmacool1

    Im not sure why anyone would buy a $oe product. Eq was their one and only "hit" and it happened by accident and only due to lack of competition.

    1. Matrix (dead)

    2. SWG (dead)

    3. Vanguard (one server,might as well be dead)

    4. Eq1 (still their most successfull game)

    5. Eq2 (not a failure but hardly a success)

    EQ2 hardly a success huh? what is your definition of success?

    The game has been running for 9 years now with total of 12 expansion and adventure packs. You think SOE likes to spend money out of their own pockets if they are not making profit on it? why don't they spend that much resources on vanguard? answer is obvious... because EQ2 is very profitable for them.

    But hey EQ2 is hardly a success because it doesn't have 9 million subscribers!

  • GreenHellGreenHell ludlow, MAPosts: 1,322Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by strangiato2112

    His failures include two games SoE didnt make and one thats reason for failure comes from a different company

    That does not speak volumes for SOE's track record. They most definitely went through that quantity over quality philosophy a  few years ago. They were buying games that should have just closed in order to fill that station pass up. Now with Smeds love of F2P SOE seems to have moved past that phase.

    As far as EQ2 goes it really should have been a much more popular game. It offered more than WoW did. It had a built in player base from EQ. It's a very solid game. So as far as it being a financial success I'm sure it is. As far as it being the money maker that SOE wanted? No, probably not. 

    SOE went from being the leader of this genre to a side note. If you look at their past you can see how unprepared Smed was for the ass kicking that WoW would hand them. How they tried to scamble to be the big dog again and ended up failing. If SOE has a new attitude and they have moved away from trying to beat WoW and now just focus on making great games they could become a real player again.

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common
    Originally posted by GreenHell
    Originally posted by strangiato2112

    His failures include two games SoE didnt make and one thats reason for failure comes from a different company

    That does not speak volumes for SOE's track record. They most definitely went through that quantity over quality philosophy a  few years ago. They were buying games that should have just closed in order to fill that station pass up. Now with Smeds love of F2P SOE seems to have moved past that phase.

    As far as EQ2 goes it really should have been a much more popular game. It offered more than WoW did. It had a built in player base from EQ. It's a very solid game. So as far as it being a financial success I'm sure it is. As far as it being the money maker that SOE wanted? No, probably not. 

    SOE went from being the leader of this genre to a side note. If you look at their past you can see how unprepared Smed was for the ass kicking that WoW would hand them. How they tried to scamble to be the big dog again and ended up failing. If SOE has a new attitude and they have moved away from trying to beat WoW and now just focus on making great games they could become a real player again.

    Vanguard was a special case, given the person behind it.  Absolutely terrible business decision though, they should have let VG become vaporware(no one else would have touched it with a 10 foot pole).  MxO they knew what they were getting, it was already a failure when they acquired it.  they kept it running longer than it would have and Im sure made some profit off it.  And SWG was a success until the powers that be fucked it up (part SoE, mostly LA though)

    I dont think anyone could have anticpated WoW, Blizzard certainly didnt.  

    And SoE is hardly a footnote.  When it comes to market share(western).  Blizzard is obviously the leader and ArenaNet would be #2 (I would seperate them from NCSoft just as I would seperate Turbine from EA).  SoE is probably still #3.  yes, they have more games than anyone else, but its a pretty wide variety (themepark, console based action oriented game, MMOFPS, family friendly games, and EQ which fits none of those descriptions)

     
  • dougvandougvan Aberdeen, MDPosts: 5Member
    Let's not forget that SOE didn't develop Everquest, Verant Interactive did. While Verant was a group that formed inside of Sony Interactive Studios, they separated for Everquest in 1999 and wasn't purchased by SOE (a completely different Sony entity) until 2000.

    X

  • observerobserver Houston, TXPosts: 3,004Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Dauzqul
    Player-Driven content is the key. You can't burn through player driven content. It's always there to grow. I'm not saying every game should be based solely on it, but it should be available and optional in every game.

    This^

    Games like IMVU, SL, and Minecraft prove this.  Although these "games" are pseudo-sandboxes, they just don't interest a majority of players that MMOs do for various reasons.  User created content is the future.  The recent Neverwinter Online is another example with their Foundry system.

  • dougvandougvan Aberdeen, MDPosts: 5Member
    Let's not forget that SOE didn't develop Everquest, Verant Interactive did. While Verant was a group that formed inside of Sony Interactive Studios, they separated for Everquest in 1999 and wasn't purchased by SOE (a completely different Sony entity) until 2000.

    X

  • William12William12 Saint paul, MNPosts: 680Member

    EQ2 is the best fantasy MMO out the problems are at the core of he game engine and they simply cannot fix that.   The game still runs bad for most people although if you can manage to run it on max settings it looks amazing.

    Vanguard was brads mess the lag the poor coding the poor development its all on his door step and SOE stepped up when NO ONE ELSE WOULD to keep this game alive for the fans to play.   You people who would rather have a game dead then 10-20k playing it can stfu you aint playing it so you have no opininon in the matter.  If you played the game back then you knew what you were getting into and you still played you have no right to complain its like buying a car and complaining it doesn't have enough room well you should of bought something bigger.

  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member
    Originally posted by dougvan
    Let's not forget that SOE didn't develop Everquest, Verant Interactive did. While Verant was a group that formed inside of Sony Interactive Studios, they separated for Everquest in 1999 and wasn't purchased by SOE (a completely different Sony entity) until 2000.

    Theres a cool history of Everquest done by G4TV, when they had really interesting programming.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubokT1_AZWo

     

    Alot was put on the line to make this vision, even mortgaging property to achieve the Vision (tm).  Smedley had a belief that his idea was gold, and it paid off.

     

    When Verant was bought by SOE, that is definitely seen as a turning point in quality.. small company makes artistic flare .. big company makes generic content bland.  Customer service was still a lot better than other games nowadays, even when SOE took over (they prioritized nicely - hot tickets got fast responses, trivial responses might take a week - wish other companies realized customer satisfaction).

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • William12William12 Saint paul, MNPosts: 680Member
    Originally posted by Karteli
    Originally posted by dougvan
    Let's not forget that SOE didn't develop Everquest, Verant Interactive did. While Verant was a group that formed inside of Sony Interactive Studios, they separated for Everquest in 1999 and wasn't purchased by SOE (a completely different Sony entity) until 2000.

    Theres a cool history of Everquest done by G4TV, when they had really interesting programming.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubokT1_AZWo

     

    Alot was put on the line to make this vision, even mortgaging property to achieve the Vision (tm).  Smedley had a belief that his idea was gold, and it paid off.

     

    When Verant was bought by SOE, that is definitely seen as a turning point in quality.. small company makes artistic flare .. big company makes generic content bland.  Customer service was still a lot better than other games nowadays, even when SOE took over (they prioritized nicely - hot tickets got fast responses, trivial responses might take a week - wish other companies realized customer satisfaction).

    SOE never bought Verant.   Sony owned EQ from the start it just wasn't under the SOE brand until after its release.  

    Development started under Sony Interactive Studios America when Smed got the funding to do it.    They launched the game under the Sony brand Verant Interactive a few years later Sony merged all of them into what we know today as Sonly Online Entertainment.

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EverQuest#History

     

    would help you understand it easier.    This is a common mistake made by people every day EQ has always been a Sony game one way or another.

     

    Everyone can bash smed all you want, but we have games like wow and gw2 because he had a vision 15 years ago and knew the right people to make it happen.  Would someone eventually of done it ?  Sure but he did it and he is responsible for EQ and most other MMOs who cloned or copied every idea the game had.   For all his mistakes what he brought MMO gamers far out weighs any SWG crap where the blame is put on him instead of lucas.

  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member
    Originally posted by William12
    Originally posted by Karteli
    Originally posted by dougvan
    Let's not forget that SOE didn't develop Everquest, Verant Interactive did. While Verant was a group that formed inside of Sony Interactive Studios, they separated for Everquest in 1999 and wasn't purchased by SOE (a completely different Sony entity) until 2000.

    Theres a cool history of Everquest done by G4TV, when they had really interesting programming.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubokT1_AZWo

     

    Alot was put on the line to make this vision, even mortgaging property to achieve the Vision (tm).  Smedley had a belief that his idea was gold, and it paid off.

     

    When Verant was bought by SOE, that is definitely seen as a turning point in quality.. small company makes artistic flare .. big company makes generic content bland.  Customer service was still a lot better than other games nowadays, even when SOE took over (they prioritized nicely - hot tickets got fast responses, trivial responses might take a week - wish other companies realized customer satisfaction).

    SOE never bought Verant.   Sony owned EQ from the start it just wasn't under the SOE brand until after its release.  

    Development started under Sony Interactive Studios America when Smed got the funding to do it.    They launched the game under the Sony brand Verant Interactive a few years later Sony merged all of them into what we know today as Sonly Online Entertainment.

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EverQuest#History

     

    would help you understand it easier.    This is a common mistake made by people every day EQ has always been a Sony game one way or another.

     

    Everyone can bash smed all you want, but we have games like wow and gw2 because he had a vision 15 years ago and knew the right people to make it happen.  Would someone eventually of done it ?  Sure but he did it and he is responsible for EQ and most other MMOs who cloned or copied every idea the game had.

    While Smedley was a Sony employee, the EQ project was not fully funded by Sony.  Non-Sony emplyees were hired to make the Vision a reality.  Thus Sony didn't completely own the license.  It was funded by sources outside Sony.  Although not stated, Sony likely had some investment as well .. since an employee of theirs was spending company time on a dream.

     

    So when Sony bought Verant Interactive, it was more like they bought the company out.  They already had a stake in it, but they wanted more than 50%.

     

    ps - I'll go by video interviews & not press releases or wikipedia...

     

     

     

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common
    Originally posted by Karteli

     

    When Verant was bought by SOE, that is definitely seen as a turning point in quality.. small company makes artistic flare .. big company makes generic content bland.  Customer service was still a lot better than other games nowadays, even when SOE took over (they prioritized nicely - hot tickets got fast responses, trivial responses might take a week - wish other companies realized customer satisfaction).

     

    EQ was under Sony control right up until a month before release.  Verant was only independant from march 1999-june 2000.  So the only thing you can really attribute to it was Kunark.  Vanilla, Velious, Luclin, PoP, LDoN...those were all while Smedley was directly running the show.

     

    Funny thing is, you mention this 'quality drop', but as someone who played from Kunark through DoN I cant tell you where this mythical quality drop happened.  You could try and say GoD, but it was followed by OoW which was excellent.

     

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common
    Originally posted by William12

    SOE never bought Verant.   Sony owned EQ from the start it just wasn't under the SOE brand until after its release.  

     

    As I said above, there was a brief 1 year period where Verant was not part of Sony.  SoE didn't develop Everquest, but a team of employees led by Smedley under a Sony division did.

  • KarteliKarteli Providence, PAPosts: 2,646Member
    Originally posted by strangiato2112
    Originally posted by Karteli

     

    When Verant was bought by SOE, that is definitely seen as a turning point in quality.. small company makes artistic flare .. big company makes generic content bland.  Customer service was still a lot better than other games nowadays, even when SOE took over (they prioritized nicely - hot tickets got fast responses, trivial responses might take a week - wish other companies realized customer satisfaction).

     

    EQ was under Sony control right up until a month before release.  Verant was only independant from march 1999-june 2000.  So the only thing you can really attribute to it was Kunark.  Vanilla, Velious, Luclin, PoP, LDoN...those were all while Smedley was directly running the show.

     

    Funny thing is, you mention this 'quality drop', but as someone who played from Kunark through DoN I cant tell you where this mythical quality drop happened.  You could try and say GoD, but it was followed by OoW which was excellent.

    Gates of Discord was pretty bad.  That was the last expansion I bought before giving up.  I think, it's been awhile and don't feel like looking it up.  I did play DoN though, which was nice.

     

    Actually the expansions you listed were from when EQ was most popular .. capping at 450k+ players, which was damn good for the era of dialup transitioning to highspeed (and the #1 game of it's time).

     

    So listing the expansions that built this game up as awesome, then not listing the ones that attributed to EQ's decline is a little humorous :D  To me .. not to any arguement.

     

    Drop in quality was more smaller x-pacs, less customer service than originally, and way more bugs / unfinished content released too soon .. LDON was bought why?  Oh yeah because it increased your bank slots - not because you "wanted" another newb zone.  One of those x-pacs also had the only flavor being the usable gem slot, I forget which.  Anyone without the x-pac couldn't use it.

     

     

     

     

    Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NNHmV3QPw&feature=plcp
    Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

  • AG-VukAG-Vuk Phoenix, AZPosts: 823Member Uncommon
    Two reasons I'm not impressed. In fact a little despondent. Firstly this is being built to go on their console. ( Even if it is their new system it still places the tech at a period at best 2 years ago. I'm not against consoles I'm against trying to deveolp for one and making it work on the other. We all knoiw how wildly successful this has been.)  Secondly they are using the Planetside 2 engine. Neither of these points are raising my level of excitement , in fact it has the opposite effect.

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