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Voxel-based EverQuest Next Details

The embargo on details about EverQuest Next seems to have just expired, as Massively has gone all blabby about what they know about the MMORPG revamp, which is a lot, since they've gotten some face time with the game and its developers over the past few weeks. They go into detail about gameplay, discussing quests, combat, and the consequences of player choices. They say the game will be very much a sandbox, and while everything is based on the original EverQuest, EQ Next will be new and different in so many ways that newbies will not be at a disadvantage compared with EQ vets. Probably most significant is that the game engine will now be voxel-based:

First, everything in EverQuest Next is made of voxels -- the ground, the plants, buildings, everything. What's a voxel? Think Minecraft cubes, only you can actually form and shape each bit in a very organic way. Just look at the image embedded in this article -- do they seem blocky to you? Nope.

So why is having a world made of voxels important to you? Because it means everything in the world can be destroyed! If you wanted a way to affect the world, just envision actually blowing up a bridge to keep mobs from getting to you or collapsing a tunnel so no one else can find the cavern and quests underneath. And these changes are permanent. Isn't true permanency in games something many a sandbox fan has just been longing for? Well, this is only the beginning; permanence is a theme throughout the entire game. Of course, just because everything can be destroyed doesn't mean the devs will let you! As Georgeson explained to me, if some areas weren't restricted, Qeynos would become a parking lot in no time thanks to all you pyromaniacs. Keep in mind, though, such restrictions are only on players, not mobs.

The second compositional aspect is the fact that the world of EQ Next is not restricted to its surface. I am not talking about a few scattered underground caverns scattered; I am talking about a completely designed world from crust to core. Since you can start digging pretty much anywhere, you will actually find content as you go deeper and deeper and deeper still. This layered content isn't necessarily static, either. Lower levels are procedurally generated and can be closed off by dev-induced earthquakes or crop up elsewhere.

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