Lords of EverQuest
Our first appointment was with Sony Online Entertainment and they were very eager to show off their latest product – Lords of EverQuest. LoEQ takes place 10,000 years before EverQuest, on the land of Tunaria. Here players will take charge of one of 15 Lords, each corresponding to a different class. Lords are not unlike their WarCraft III counterparts, heroes. They have auras, spells and gain levels.
As this is an RTS, there are many supplementary units – over 80 of them. Not all are available for every Lord, of course. Armies tend to stay quite small as the focus is on tactics and combat rather than resource harvesting. To help implement this, there is only one resource – platinum – and AI is designed to make combat micromanagement easier. Units arrange themselves in a logical fashion, with tanks up front and casters in the rear.
It’d be a mistake to call Lords of EverQuest a WarCraft III clone. While it’s certainly inspired by that game, it also adds to the formula in some meaningful ways. Most importantly, the units themselves can gain levels and upon reaching level 6, they may become mini-lords, lieutenants of the main lord. The player also will have the option of transferring some of the units between missions.
The 3 campaigns will have 36 missions and Sony is claiming that the game can take 75 hours to complete. Now unless we misheard the 75 hour claim, that works out to be about 2.1 hours per mission on average. To keep things interesting, players will run into neutrals and may be able to ally with them. In keeping with the spirit of EQ, there will be quests to complete in many of the missions. The units, spells and abilities will of course also draw heavily on the deep EverQuest universe.
On the technical side, SOE has designed its own custom engine. The camera is capable of swinging around 360 degrees and has impressive zoom abilities. Regardless of any stylistic similarities to WarCraft, we’d say it’s a somewhat more impressive game visually. LoEQ takes a more aggressive stance with the special effects.