Some pretty amazing reveal yesterday about EverQuest Next. I've been waiting a pretty long time for a polished sandbox MMO to show up again.
It'll basically be a mixture between Minecraft and WoW (without 'leveling' or instanced dungeons) and villain faction AI comparable to that of Civ5.1. Character progression
There are no "player levels" in the game, but there will be storylines and questchains hidden around the world, which upon completion let you train new classes or new skills for that class. They were also talking about a crafting system very similar to Minecraft. So far they announced the game will have 48 different classes, but they allow you to multi-class, combine different classes together for your character.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh_0neHhR0k&feature=player_embedded2. Procedurally generated environments
I'm not quite sure yet how they'll put it in action, but apparently the environments, caverns, castles and dungeons will be procedurally generated, meaning that if people haven't been to a certain area for a period of time that the game will redesign the place.3. Voxel engine. Build and Destroy environments
This is the really big one. The game allows you to build things very much like Minecraft. The terrain, trees, structures all are destructable too. They were talking about siege engines to strategically take out city defenses and all that and even showed a video of a giant stomping a castle to the ground.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVBAreJ6zuY&feature=player_embedded4. Dynamic Enemy faction AI
They described how they were going to give every enemy faction in the game it's own prefences. Such as Orcs preferring to settle in quiet locations with the occassional person passing by they could rob and attack. The game will keep track of certain characteristics of environments (how busy they are, how often players, NPC traders or NPC guards pass through, etc.) and then will make specific factions settle in suitable areas or move away from there. This way the player actions have a permanent lasting effect on the world, if the Orcs get harassed too much they'll simply move away to go live in a quieter area, or if the circumstances require it and an enemy faction gathered enough resources they might try fortify their encampment instead or have the Orc King send over extra tough armies to wage war in the area.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgPuEl5Nuk&feature=player_embedded5. Longterm Quest-goals
The game also focusses on spreading out multiple "Rallying Calls" around the world as they called it. These are public quests that many people together can work on and can take up to a few months to complete. They gave as example a quest to go build a new city somewhere. Players would have to help gather materials, explore the surroundings, and based on their interactions with the rest of the environment (NPC factions in the area) the overall progress of the quest would change. For example once the village is built it would need to be protected from goblin raids, or from cave monsters, or even an enemy human faction laying siege upon the city and all that.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEPDV6wrgRs
In December they're releasing "EverQuest Next: Landmark" which will allow people to play around with the building features of the next-gen MMO already.
To me simply all the things they announced that the game will have completely blows the entire MMO genre out of the water. Completely reinventing the genre and raising the bar.