EQN's open development
Combat, however, is one of the systems that is tweaked a bit, specifically because EQN uses classes and weapons both to determine abilities instead of just the items like in Landmark.
Three new classes
Unlike the earlier games in the franchise, the classes in EverQuest Next are not a one-time choice that players are stuck with for the remainder of that character's life. Instead, players can swap out the classes and use the skills and weaponry of that class in different situations. With over 40 plus classes promised to be available at launch, that's a lot of flexibility. And now we know of three more that will be playable.
The Cleric is the first of the support classes. But this isn't your typical support that many MMO players are useed to. McPherson emphasized that the devs are building the support classes to be actively engaged in the battle, not just standing back staring at health bars. The Cleric, in fact, is actually a battlefield leader, using his skills to direct allies to the fight. The skill Heavens Vengeance is actually a huge beacon that alerts nearby allies to where the action is; on top of that, all enemies in that beacon's area take damage while allies get a boost. Clerics also have damage attacks that provide heals and benefits to allies, such as the broad projectile Blessed Hammer and the rescue skill Intercession that charges to your allies and restores their armor.
The Elementalist is the next new class. A magic user like the Wizard, the Elementalist flings spells at enemies and prefers to stay at range. This class, which focuses on ice and fire spells, excells at controlling the area around. For instance, the skill Flash Freeze puts a circle of ice on the ground and enemies within that area can be frozen in place if the caster follows up using his Elemental Blast skill. The elementalist also uses Ice Shards, three bolts that fire out and cause more damage the closer the enemy is. Lest you think Elementalists are all about cold, Fire Pillar causes massive fire damage.
Of course, like any of the classes, one is not really better than or the antithesis of another. It all depneds on how players want to play. Georgeson emphasized that a Cleric can stand toe-to-to with a Warrior. What matters is the skill of the player and how s/he uses the abilities and heroic movements in combat.
So what about combat itself? It's definitely not your old-time tab targetting system! EQ Next's combat, like Landmark's is very active and involves skill, relying on body positioning. If you want to attack you need to be facing the target. Heroic Movement is also a huge part of combat. Players can chain movements with their combat abilities to create desired results in battle. Because of these mechanics, players will have to time attacks to take into account the movement speed and direction of their target. As Georgeston emphasized, skill is definitely rewarded.
What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, at least where SOE Live is concerned! Massively sent intrepid reporter MJ Guthrie to this year's SOE Live, from which she'll be transmitting all the best fan news on EverQuest Next, Landmark, H1Z1, and the other MMOs on SOE's roster.