EverQuest Next Abandons Traditional Character Progression
EverQuest Next is trying to set new standard on MMORPG. In an interview, Lead Designer Darrin McPherson told PC Gamer the game will focus is on horizontal gameplay, and there's no player level or skill level. How good your characters are is based on your accomplishments, not how much epic gear you have or how frequent you use your sword or mace.
(EQ Next: Character and environment)
Gear won't give you any stat bonus, in other words, you cannot find attributions on gear. So one piece of gear may be useless but a full set of gear, say tier 3, will allow you to advance to tier 4 of your current class. In addition to have a complete set of gear, "you have to have spent enough points in that class. You have to have accomplished a certain amount of things in the game in order to have advanced." This is one aspect of the horizontal progression system in EverQuest Next.
There are character attributes, but they work differently in EverQuest Next. Generally speaking, attributes isn't "merely a matter of increasing DPS." Strength may allow you to jump higher, which you can't say it's useless to Wizard, and Intelligence may let you swing wider with your weapons, which could benefit Warrior class. Attributes aren't just a measure of how much damage your characters can create, they affect your overall gameplay.
There are 40 classes out there, and you are not leveling your current class to certain point to unlock a new one. Instead, it's more dynamic and it tries to make the progress really make sense. For example, "it could be that you need to go and help a hermit, who happens to be a high level wizard. He has issues, you need to help him, and he may have a storyline we have created for him." And for the case of Paladin, "if you haven't been making the good choices and being an upright and justice influenced person, you can't be a paladin. They won't let you, because the game knows what you're doing."
Another aspect of the horizontal gameplay is the way you improve your crafting skill. One thing for sure is that you won't be making the same thing over and over and over again to advance your skill. "That's not how it will work," McPherson said, "It's not a skill-based system, it's very much like the system of advancing your classes. We have multiple tiers. You begin digging, you explore and you find, and those things give you progression and advancement that can be spent on your crafter."
I'm already thrilled by these cool ideas. The interview also discussed some other features and you can check out the full article at PC Gamer.