I just got back from the "Classes of EverQuest Next" panel and I can safely say that it was one of the most impassioned panels I have ever been to. If you missed it you can check it out here:
- Class determines the your armor/weapons/weapon abilities/character abilities.
- Each class can use two different weapon types.
- Each weapon type has a certain pool of abilities associated with them. You may have a maximum of four weapon abilities on your hot bar at once.
- Your class comes with a set of "character abilities", while certain character abilities like "leap" are associated with the warrior they can be used by any class with a movement slot.
- In this regard you can effectively "swap out" the offensive/defensive/movement/utility abilities of your class for any other class you have unlocked **Granted that your class has the appropriate character ability slot. You may have a maximum of four character abilities on your hot bar at once.
- Eight classes should* be available at the start of the game. SPECULATION: Warrior, Wizard, Rogue, Cleric, Druid, Ranger, Shaman, Enchanter.
- The roughly thirty-two other classes are" found" throughout the game (rewards for questing, adventuring, raiding, looting... etc.)
- Classes will be continuously added to the game.
- You can switch at any time (while out of combat). And there won't be a limit to the number of classes one character can collect (barring faction allegiances... etc.) .
- "The Holy Trinity" is gone, there will no longer be traditional tank/healer/DPS roles.
- Everyone is responsible for their own safety.
- You may advance another class without playing it IE: tier up your rogue while gaining experience on your warrior.
After the design team dropped the BOMB that tanks and healers wouldn't be required for raiding all hell broke loosing during the Q&A. And the VAST majority of questions asked were something to the tune of:
"I play a Tank/Healer, how are you going to incentivize support roles if they aren't required?"
"I play a Tank/Healer in Neverwinter/Guild Wars 2 and I am never picked in favor of DPS. Why will I be picked in EQN?"
"Ambiguous class roles destroy team work, how are you going to combat that?"
To which SOE creative director Jeff Butler replied:
Quote from Jeff Butler
“I think one thing that you’ll see from us and we’ll demonstrate this as we get deeper into combat, is that we have a very detailed and intricate plan for moving around and fighting. The NPCs are capable of executing strategy and tactics and you’ll require your own intricate tactics to overcome them. We are saying that no one specific role or pair of roles is required in unlocking the strategy to defeating an encounter. It’s not to say that we are walking away from roles and it’s certainly not to say we are walking away from responsibility, both personal strategic and tactical responsibility….
Effectively we want every single person playing the game to have fun, I refuse to have my guild fall apart because one member doesn’t want to play anymore and he is our primary healer. This is a responsibility that we created as game developer and we are abandoning it, we are not going to put players through that, we have seen the damage it has caused over the past 15 years and we are moving past it with this design.”
It is abundantly clear that EQ Next is attempting to completely redefine the conventional MMO. Welcome changes like destructible environments and emergent AI are met with controversial changes like multi-classing and micro-transactions.
But despite adopting a class system that could potentially see issues with excessive min-maxing and social impositions on what builds are "viable", it's pretty obvious that the development team's head is in the right place when it comes to keeping defensive and utility roles important. A lot of the devs on the panel were long time tanks and defiantly disn't want to punish players for choosing defensively-oriented classes. I am also extremely excited that the "post launch" classes could take the brunt of the micro-transactions away from things like gear and experience boosts. It's apparent that League of Legend's "new champion ever month" model is going to be mimicked to some extent in EverQuest Next.
And thus my faith is restored in the fact that this game could just be crazy enough to work... provided that the progression system isn't hit too hard by micro-transactions and horizontal progression.
Written by James Duggan