For those of you who do not know Wreck, he posts under Boomstick and has been following the blog since it started. He is the only remaining returner, besides myself and Vic, and plays under multiple names including Wreckanize, Wreckula, Wreckeium, and hopefully one day… eWrecktion. This is an email he sent over about a future EQOA/SOE console game along with some changes he’d like to see. Lastly, apologies for the spacing issues. I did my best to fix them but copy-and-paste from emails tend to screw things up.
Without further adieu…
“Recently I have been thinking a lot about the future of Everquest on consoles, and this inevitably leads me to start to think about what I would do with an EQOA sequel on PS3 (possibly PC also). Before I can think about what I would add or take away, it is important to figure out what I would keep. Some of these things have been discussed on the Stoney’s blog previously.
1. Targeting – this was something that Stoney pointed out, so i figure
it’s a good place to start. I totally agree, the targeting system on
EQOA is incredibly accurate and fast. I have never been a big fan of the keyboard/mouse combo and targeting could have been a very cumbersome process using a controller, but it seems they really took the time to get it right, particularly with the added option of going into first person and searching the screen manually for what you are looking for.
2. Class/Race Variety – I am a big fan of having a wide variety of options for character creation. Some games, such as WoW, launched with fairly minimal amount of classes and races to choose from. Having played EQOA since December of 2003, I have had plenty of time to create and explore new race/class combinations, and I have still yet to try them all. In actuality, I have yet to really delve into 3 or 4 races. The only game I have seen to launch with as wide a variety of options in this category is Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Which incidentally, was created by the original developers of Everquest PC under their own company, Sigil, which was purchased by SOE after the release of Vanguard. My own personal recommendation, if you liked EQOA and are looking for an MMO to try out, give Vanguard a shot.
3. Seamless Open World – One of very few games, including some PC MMOs, to have a seamless open sandbox environment to play in. Even EQ2 requires load screens when you enter large cities. There is not a single place on the main continent in EQOA that you can’t run to without ever seeing a loading screen. This is an amazing achievement for its time to have a PS2 game that loads the environment as you come to it. The only other games I am aware of for PS2 that can share the same boast are the GTA series and Spider-Man 2, and even GTA did have load screens between islands and each island was smaller than the world of Norrath.
4. Character Development – I really enjoyed the ability to build my characters as I saw fit; earning training points and choosing where I wanted to place them to make my character what I want it to be. Want to dump tons of Dexterity and Strength on a Warrior and run around in chainmail pretending to be a rogue? Go right ahead! The possibilities are endless. The addition of Class Masteries took this to the next level allowing you to further delve into the creation of a personalized character. This is a trait I find lacking in a lot of games these days. A lot of games tell you the ways you have been leveled up based on your activity with a game. Killed something with a broadsword? You gain +3 to swords. Used a bow? Plus-2 to bows. More recently a ot of games have removed character development all together, focusing more on upgrading weapons than on building characters.
As for things that I would like to see in a sequel to EQOA, here goes:
1. Built in voice chat – services like this are pretty standard in
today’s gaming world, not just MMORPG’s but in every online game
genre. I would also still keep the ability to use keyboards for
2. Offline game functionality – I always wished I had a way to play
around in the world of Norrath without having to log on. Being able
to upgrade and build your character without an internet connection and then upload the new information the next time you logged on would be amazing. Which leads me to…
3. Handheld/mobile peripherals – The use of the PSP or a mobile phone to have access to your characters, upgrade your crafting ability, tweek your stats, change your armor, surf auctions, etc. This would require downloading an app/game or buying a PSP companion game, which is extra out of pocket, but I think the payoff would be huge. I constantly think about the next thing I want to do with my characters. I could turn on my PSP and download the latest info on my character from the servers, then play around with his stats and armor, save it and finally upload it back to the server, all while on break at work and have it ready for me when I get home and log on.
4. Crafting – Everquest has crafting, but not good crafting. It’s a
tedious and often pointless series of button mashes that wastes
valuable game time. Vanguard took crafting to a different realm by
making it into a minigame that required skill and timing and problem
solving. It wasn’t perfect but it was definitely a step in the right
direction and someone needs to pick up where Vanguard left off. Also,
there needs to be an expansion of crafting types and a furthering of
the Mastercraft system. The inclusion of epic crafted items, the
ability to combine multiple gems into one item to create an item more
finely tuned to player preferences. Need more stamina and charisma on your bard? Add a rhodizite AND an idocrase to your greaves. There are really and endless number of ways to make crafting better.
5. Enhanced Character Storylines – There are a few fun quests that
make up a small story based questline. Some that tie together, but
nothing major. There needs to be an overarching story to keep the player interested in their characters outside of leveling up and getting new gear. Each class should have a story to be told and a series of quests that follows them from level 1 until they are maxed out. These stories can intertwine with each other classes and create an elaborate plotline for the entire game. This can also be intertwined with possible racial questline stories that help develop the world from level 1 to end game.
6. Armor/weapon graphics variety – In EQOA everything looks the same. The major difference in items tends to be color variations. This is primarily a function of disc space and lack of a harddrive for PS2. This is an easily rectified situation on current gen consoles.”