Sony Online Entertainment, publishers of EverQuest: one of the biggest MMORPG’s ever to hit PCs, have decided to broaden their horizons and take advantage of the PlayStation 2's online capabilities with their newest game, EverQuest Online Adventures. EverQuest Online Adventures is not a port but a completely new adventure featuring all the same character development capabilities of the original. SOE hopes to foster the same level of player communication and sense of community that was integral to EverQuest.Their latest online world will contain 360 square miles to explore with nine diverse cities across eight terrains.
EverQuest Online Adventures takes place 500 years before the PC version in the Age of Adventure, when elves still lingered in the forests of Norrath, where the bustling city of Freeport was nothing more than a small alliance of merchants. In the western kingdom of Qeynos, Antonius Bayle II has recently been crowned king, and to the east, the grand Eldarr Forest continues to wither away into naught but the sands of a mighty desert. To the far north, the nomadic barbarian tribes have come to an armistice, banding together for survival on the frigid plains of Everfrost. The barbarian city of Halas would become a shining new hope for opening communication and trade with other races. For the first time in barbarian history, ethnic acceptance was fostered and supported by even the dwarves in their mining city of Moradhim, nestled in the northern mountains. But in the south of Norrath, in the swampland home of the trolls of Grobb, such diplomacy is wasted.
EverQuest Online Adventures exploits the PS2's 3-D graphic capability with a world rendered in real-time polygons. The screenshots and video thus far show decent character models with average animation. The world of Norrath features diverse architecture and occasionally attractive landscapes, featuring day and night cycles with realistic weather effects comparable to the PC version. No information on the composer or soundtrack details has been disclosed at this time.
EverQuest Online Adventures uses an active battle system played in the 3rd person perspective. Players can use a variety of different melee weapons, archery, and magic. The user interface appears simplistic with options to set five shortcut commands to use quickly while hunting. EverQuest Online Adventures will also sport staggering character customization. According to Rod Humble, the series' Executive producer, the game will feature 13 classes from the original game, but each will play differently to reflect the ancient Norrath of the Age of Adventure. Each class has been redesigned with new abilities and roles. The warriors, rangers, paladins, shamans, wizards, clerics, rogues, monks, etc. of EverQuest Online Adventures will belong to multiple races imbued with spells, skills and over 1400 unique character abilities. Unfortunately, PC EverQuest players will not be able to transfer their characters to the PS2 game.
EverQuest Online Adventures uses a standard experienced-based level system for character growth and traditional monetary system for purchases via shop-keepers. Players can gain valuable items through trading with other players or from their vanquished corpses. SOE has decided to remove the static remains of slain creatures in an effort to speed up gameplay. The game will include hundreds of quests similar to EverQuest on the PC. SOE promises that the quality of treasures will be reflective of the difficulty or length of the particular quest. In an effort to facilitate player communication, SOE is planning on including pre-made sentences and greetings as controller shortcuts similar to Phantasy Star Online. EverQuest Online Adventures will also support a USB keyboard for chat.
EverQuest Online Adventures will require a monthly fee, but the price has yet to be determined, though the cost will most likely be between the $10 USD of Final Fantasy XI and the $12.95 USD of EverQuest. The game will require the PS2 Network Adaptor but won't require the HDD unit as the data will be stored on Sony's dedicated servers.
Personally, I think this game will succeed on the PS2 for one main reason: EverQuest Online Adventures is not a PC-to-console port, but an entirely new adventure built specifically for the PlayStation 2. The game promises to bring hardcore EverQuest fans to the PS2 as well as allowing console gamers to experience the EverQuest madness that they might not have had the hardware to enjoy.
EverQuest Online Adventures is due to for American release by Sony Online Entertainment in the Spring of 2003 with a scheduled European release in Fall of 2003.