Sony Online Entertainment is going big with EverQuest Next. So big that it plans to make it the most substantial sandbox MMO to date.
The President of SOE, John Smedley, hyped up EverQuest Next while speaking at this year's SOE Live event. He emphasized how important a large, immersive fantasy world is for successful games in the genre and made a big statement regarding how large SOE plans its next MMO to be:
It will be the largest sandbox style MMO ever designed with the same exciting content delivered in a new way. Something you’ve never seen before and the MMO world has never seen before.
We didn’t want more kill 10 rats quests. We didn’t want more of the same. If you look at the MMOs out there, they’re delivering the same content over and over again. So are we. We need to change that. When we released EverQuest, we changed the world. We want to do that again with a different type of game.
It's difficult to tell if he's referring to how large the landmass will be or the quantity of content, and in both cases it seems far-fetched for it to compete with games that have received years of patches such as World of Warcraft and EVE Online. Although that's still questionable, knowing that SOE values a non-redundant questing system is huge for veteran MMO fans. Part of what made Guild Wars 2 such a big breath of fresh air was its leveling experience which got groups of players working together and for the most part did a good job of varying quest goals and iterations.
A couple of uninteresting screenshots have been shown for EverQuest Next so far, but given the franchise's history it's hard not to be excited. SOE plans to debut a playable demo next year, and its estimated release date is anyone's guess.