EverQuest was the first MMORPG of its technological and social scale, eventually growing to a volume of millions of players and landing on the “traditional news” cycles to spotlight the outliers. It was a period of firsts: people getting married in-game eventually became real-world spouses, in some cases; we recall a 2005 story of a newborn being named after Fioriona Vie, in another. But for the more casual players – those who did treat EverQuest as more of a game and less of a social hub – its MMORPG mechanics and 3D landscape offered a sense of wonder and exploration, blinding us to the underlying grind.

The original, pre-PoP game wouldn't hold up today. Were EverQuest to release now, even with updated graphics, it wouldn't make quite the splash; too much has changed, and gamers experienced with MMOs are no longer able to see past the grindy nature of many of today's MMORPGs.

Brad McQuaid, the man who brought us the vision of EverQuest and Vanguard, is now working on Visionary Realms' Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The MMO hopes to blend classic RPG elements that have faded – common areas of meeting, more co-operative PvE that builds friendships, and fascinating landscapes – with new gameplay mechanics, culling some of the old-school grind in between.

After our interview with Dave Georgeson of the EverQuest franchise (including Landmark) and follow-up on the beta's availability, we've started the process of playing Landmark for content purposes.

The first bit of related content, as is usually the case for us, is a mid-range gaming PC build that's spec'd for EverQuest Next: Landmark at near-max (high) settings. You could certainly build a cheaper AMD system (keep eyes open for that), but this one will get you running EQNL at high (or thereabouts) settings and still provide room for high graphics output with more demanding titles. If you're interested in Titanfall, you'll be happy to hear that this machine will also easily run Titanfall on max settings, as we benchmarked over here.

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This budget gaming PC isn't meant to be overclocked. The parts were selected specifically to reduce initial cost and get users playing games quickly with minimal tweaking; if you're more enthusiastic in your hardware endeavors and would like overclocking as an option, check out our overclocking primer and other PC builds. Jumping to the DIY PC parts list after EverQuest Next: Landmark's system requirements!

 

For those who followed our EverQuest Next: Landmark and EverQuest Next coverage two days ago, we mentioned the topic of another article pending publication for today. While at GDC 2014, Director of Development Dave Georgeson answered several community questions for us (re-embedded the video below for your convenience) and told us about upcoming events. The biggest – Landmark’s closed beta initiates on March 26th, next week.

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Georgeson explained that a complete server wipe is in store for beta, but was quick to note that creations won’t be lost. By templating and saving your creations, you’ll be able to pop them back down in beta after collecting the appropriate materials. We were told that the very last day of alpha will be March 23rd, so you’ve still got some time to back up data.

After the typically groggy-Monday start, San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference enjoyed its most bustling day on Tuesday, March 18th. We met with Paradox, Obsidian, and Sony Online Entertainment for the day, with SOE stealing the show on the topic of their impending EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next: Landmark titles.

eq1-concept-artThe original EverQuest from 99 had impressive concept art. It is also home to my favorite game soundtrack of all time.

I previously posted a quick EQNL specifications and requirements article, but aside from that, our coverage of Landmark has been pretty thin. This post should very quickly get you up to speed on the basics and provide some interesting developer commentary for existing fans. In taking with Dave Georgeson, Director of Development for the EQ Franchise at SOE, we covered several fan-requested topics within EverQuest Next: Landmark (EQNL) and the far-future EverQuest Next (EQN) launch.

A couple key discussion points addressed in the video interview below include client-server I/O optimization, modding support, water and accompanying static vs. dynamic physics, griefing countermeasures, the future of EQNL, NPCs, and a bit more.

You should also check back on Thursday for another EQNL article from us.

EverQuest was my first real MMO, so I see hope for the industry whenever a new EQ is in development. EQ2 wasn't particularly thrilling and WoW was just getting going around its launch, so we've been waiting many years for the franchise's successor. After several scrapped initial attempts, SOE eventually decided to drive the game toward player-created content and player-fueled micro-transactions. This is similar to what Valve has done with TF2 and DOTA2, and given its success there, has some merit.

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SOE's impending EverQuest Next: Landmark utility just had its minimum & recommended system requirements detailed, along with potential to support VR tech like Oculus Rift. Here's what we know:

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