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Let me back up. I've just walked into the hotel room, and we're talking about elves, orcs, and hotbars. Georgeson tells me that EQ Next is “not the regular MMO that you’re used to playing,” and I think, a bit cynically, here we go, tell me how you’re totally reinventing the fantasy MMO genre. “For EverQuest Next, we had been building what I consider the cardinal sin of any MMO, which is pretty much building the same game over again,” says Georgeson. That's true, two prototypes have already been scrapped on account of not reinventing the fantasy MMO genre totally enough.


“So we changed the team out—that’s when I got involved in the project—and we got this incredible veteran set of people together that had done like, four or five MMOs each, and had many, many years of experience." That team, says Georgeson, rethought everything—classes, guilds, friends lists—and rebuilt EQ Next as a "fundamentally different" MMO. At the most superficial level, that rebuilding led to a multiclassing system. There will be “five or seven” classes available at the start, with “over 40” classes to be discovered in the world. Each class comes with four skills, which can be mix-and-matched to create wizard-rogues and other combos. Georgeson says these skills are all unique.


"It’s not like this wizard has a damage spell and it's this color, and the thief has a damage spell that’s this color." He feels the same way about weapons. "There should be a difference, in my opinion, between a longsword and a halberd," Georgeson says firmly, as if it's a controversial opinion. “If I have a warrior class and I have a halberd and a longsword, I might use the halberd to do sweeping attacks that clear out areas around me, or a shockwave effect on the floor, whereas if I use the longsword I might be able to do a lot of damage to a single foe, or do some blocks and parries and things.” Likewise, movement has been redesigned with a parkour system. Contextual actions make long-distance traveling a series of vaults, tumbles, and double jumps rather than a monotonous run with a weighted-down ‘W’ key. Special abilities, such as the wizard's "Flash"—think Dishonored's "Blink" ability—add even more variety and platforming skill. This is a nontrivial new feature, but not the big, fundamental change I'm looking for.


And this is when Georgeson starts terraforming a hillside. Everything in EQN Platinum environment is destructible. Every building and every rock can be smashed. Can be, but players won't always have that power. “If we make the first player city destroyable, it’ll be a player parking lot, right?” says Georgeson. “But the monsters might be able to destroy it, so a dragon attack could come in and knock down your city wall.” Not only can matter be blown into its component bits, it can be created. “An earth wizard can raise a stone wall, so now for the monsters to reach you, they either have to break down that wall or go around it," says Georgeson. "That’s cool crowd control." Georgeson has only hypothetical scenarios, sharing the potential without committing to specifics. As part of a public quest, players could work together to build city walls.


In a PvP scenario, one group might be defending a keep, while the other breaks down the castle walls with catapults. In a PvE scenario, players might have to destroy a giant floating island. And there's a jokingly-called "parfait" of procedurally-generated underground areas, for which archaeological lore dating back 10,000 years was written to inform, which we'll explore by digging into the surface of Norrath. Players will be able to permanently build on land they acquire—details on that are a bit sparse—but day-to-day, combat related creation and destruction isn't persistent. The world heals the same way corpses fade out over time, Georgeson tells me. But that doesn't mean your actions will be inconsequential. "If you can destroy stuff, how cool would it be if what you destroy had an effect on the world?" asks Georgeson.

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