Well, it's been a few days since the big reveal and everyone and their froglok has had their say. Now it's my turn, a little delayed because I was away all weekend. I'm not going to cover what was actually revealed here, that's been done in plenty of other places.
Before the reveal I'd been hearing some worrying things about the game. I'd been told that the only sandbox element was user-created content in the same way as EQII's Player Studio. What we were actually shown is potentially much, much more interesting than that, but there remain so many unanswered questions that I'm still unsure about how sandboxy the game actually will be.
My initial reaction after seeing the reveal was very positive, but since then I've calmed down and realised that SOE didn't actually tell us very much. In fact, they didn't really show any content at all, just a glorified tech demo. So, it's going to be very interesting to see how the game develops over the next year or two.
I have real concerns over the game still. Apart from all the unanswered questions I have concerns over the combat, pvp, how much of the game will be instanced (especially with regards to the "underworld"), how much of the lore I love from the original they are going to "reimagine", how much choice players will really have in shaping the world (the devs have stated that destructible environments will heal and you can't be a villain during the Rallying Call events), and so on.
Another thing was that for all their talk of destructibility we didn't actually see that much of it demonstrated. During all of the combat there were plenty of rocks and stones flying round, but apart from the broken bridge and the hole to the underworld, the floor and walls of the area were left completely unmarked by all the activity.
My biggest concern is that SOE have constantly made bad decisions about their games in the past. From terrible combat updates, to the Star Wars Galaxies debacle, to the move to ProSiebenSat.1 for European players. It's this last part that has me annoyed (still). Even without going into all the myriad of problems ProSiebenSat.1 have brought to the table, it looks like I won't be able to play EQNext with all the friends I made during my time in EQ and EQII, because I won't be able to play on US servers. These are people I have known and player with for years.
There are glimmers of hope. I'm really interested in the work Storybricks are doing with the AI system. It sound really interesting, but I can't help but feel that it won't actually turn out to be anything like as powerful as the hype says. Still, it's this one factor that I feel really has the promise to set EQ Next above the competition.
Despite all my concerns the reveal did it's job in that I am actually interested in following the game now, and will very likely play it come release (I played both EQ and EQII for very extended periods). It's one game I'm not going to get too hyped up about though. There is so much potential, but that could just mean so much more potential disappointment as well.
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