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E3 2011: EverQuest II's Dave Georgeson in 3-D


If you're going to fly, why not fly with a little style -- and in 3-D? At E3, we were able to grab some facetime with Dave "Smokejumper" Georgeson, EverQuest II's executive producer, as he showed us the next dimension of MMO gameplay while we checked out some of the new aerial races in the game.

"We wanted to do a little more with the flying creatures than to go from Point A to Point B," Georgeson said, referencing EQII's aerial races. "So we put in these flying race courses, which is a good test ground for showing off 3-D."

It's one of those things that has to be seen to be believed. The 3-D effect while flying is, in a word, awesome. The user interface is up close, your character is somewhere in the middle, and the environment is in the background. The effect is very noticeable when you turn, which happens a lot while flying.

Hit the jump to hear more of Georgeson's thoughts on 3-D in EverQuest II as well as a get tantalizing sneak peek at the game's future!

Norrath in 3-D

It turns out that this effect is not even new to EQII; stereoscopic 3-D has been in the game for over a year now, but the hardware to experience it was rather expensive until just recently. To experience 3-D in the game, you need not only special glasses but a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 120 Hz. This is because the monitor is effectively rendering the game twice to create the "blurry" effect that becomes 3-D when you slip on the glasses.

3-D takes a little getting used to, however. Whenever a dialogue or accept box pops up, it appears much closer to the player than the rest of the game's action. Still, it's a fascinating way to experience the game from a whole new perspective.

One small leap for EQII...

For players who are hooked on the flight mechanics at the endgame but are frustrated when they return to their "grounded" alts, Georgeson has some good news. The team is bringing flight mechanics to lowbies with two new types of mounts.

At level 30, players will gain access to "leaper" mounts that run like normal but can jump super-high -- and be repositioned while in the air. Later on at level 60, "gliders" become available. Gliders initially operate like leapers, but they have the added ability to snap out wings at an apex of a jump (or fall) to glide for a significant distance. By the time players hit level 85, they'll have their appetites whetted for full-fledged flight.

Soaring into the future

So what's next for the game? Georgeson laughed when we asked this and said, "We're going to start relying a lot less on expansion packs to create content for the game, and what we're going to do is create lots and lots of content and put it out there on a quarterly basis for free."

This means that the game's next expansion will concentrate more on adding features to the game while the team will deliver the content through free updates. "People need new challenges on a regular basis," he explained. He even speculated on a future model by which expansions are completely done away with, leaving players to purchase features on an individual basis.

For the expansion, the team is trying to revive Freeport and Qeynos by turning those cities into "multi-level questing hubs" as NPCs rebuild them. These include class- and race-specific quests that should add more variety for alts, as well as public quests.

Players frustrated with not being able to find groups will rejoice to hear that the EQII team is hard at work on a solution. "We have an idea of our own that will help people find groups without necessarily sticking to their server," he teased. Georgeson said the devs would also love to do a "real" mentoring system compared to what they have right now.

He even let it slip that SOE will be adding a 25th class this year -- but that was all he'd give us.

"I guarantee that we'll put out more this year than any other year before," Georgeson promised. "I guarantee it." He added that we'll be hearing more about the feature set for the upcoming expansion pack at Fan Faire in a few weeks.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 6-9, bringing you all the best news from E3 2011. Whether you're dying to know more about Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

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