I find this article from Guthrie at Massively really interesting. He actually saw the game, and is basically telling us EQN will be very different from EQ1 and EQ2 and will probably attract a new playerbase instead of cannibalizing the older games. This is significant because he's saying he can't really spoil it, but is giving us hints by repeating stuff that was said by SOE devs in the past.
"What EQN is not
Although it's third in line in the EQ franchise, EverQuest Next is not a sequel. Both Smedley and Georgeson have spoken on multiple occasions about how the EQN versions that were originally turning out more like EQ 2.5 or EQ III were scrapped. Even the title itself, EverQuest Next, draws focus away from the game's being just a rehash of its predecessors. In the aforementioned PAX East interview, Georgeson teased us with the line that EverQuest Next is "an MMO you've never played before" -- that it's "a completely different critter."
In that light, will this next version sound the death knell for EQ and EQII? Even before EQN's big shreenshot-blowing-up reveal at the convention, Georgeson addressed this concern by assuring that "EQN is not being designed to replace those games." And when I talked with him at SOE Live 2012, he reaffirmed that stance, pointing out that the newest sibling to the franchise is such a different game and fans are so loyal to their respective games that there is little worry of a mass migration. That certainly makes sense: If you've been a player of EverQuest for the almost 15 years or EverQuest II for nearly nine, would you seriously just drop everything and switch? It's not as likely. Besides, it stands to reason that SOE wouldn't want to cannibalize its other games for customers and instead will look at reaching out and grabbing new ones.
And finally, what it's not is here yet! It's going to be a long two weeks until we can all hear and see what's coming. So until then, let's let your speculations fly!"
So basically from a business standpoint they're aiming for a new share of the market as opposed to just migrating their existing playerbase to a new game.
In what ways do you see this appealing to a whole other group of players and not digging into the populations of EQ1 and EQ2?
For me, it's making the game a TRUE sandbox with as few restrictions on play as possible. It won't appeal as much to the folks who prefer something more scripted and predictable because other players will have so much control over the game.