I knew there was a reason SOE purchased Vanguard, I just never would have anticipated this. It was revealed today that the worlds of EverQuest II and Vanguard will be merged into one, creating the largest Massively Multiplayer Online game on the market. A press release announcing the merge was prematurely released by SOE’s director of product development, Loof Lirpa, and has since been taken off the web. The press release stated that this merging of worlds was the primary reason behind Sony’s purchase of the Vanguard assets from Sigil. Only now, after extensive performance improvements, has it become feasible to remake all of the EverQuest II zones in Vanguard’s engine; work which has been underway for several months now. The screenshot above shows a Barbarian Berzerker standing in the remade Enchanted Lands.
All of Vanguard’s character models are being scrapped in favour of the EQII ones, while the world geometry will be handled by the Vanguard engine. While light on details, the press release did state that some of the mechanics will obviously have to change in order to meld the two games together, most notably a consolidation of classes. However, the majority of the content will remain untouched, aside from the engine changes.
The press release stated that no additional purchase will be required by current subscribers to EQII or Vanguard, and the content will be pushed down through multiple, smaller patches as the “go-live” date approaches. The release date wasn’t specified, although it was said an in-game world event will commence sometime in the fall of 2008. It’s assumed the world event will help explain how the worlds of Norrath and Telon will become one.
Obviously I wish I could tell you more, but there really was not a lot of detail in the press release. To say I’m excited for this change would be an understatement. I was always really impressed with the world in Vanguard and often wondered to myself what it would be like to see a seamless EverQuest II world. The logistics of this announcement are mind-boggling, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s the hard working people at SOE. I can’t wait, but until then, enjoy April 1st.