Online game developers have a tendency to throw ‘innovation’ around like no tomorrow when promoting their MMOs, but Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) might actually have something good going on with EverQuest Next (EQN).

This video released on EQN’s YouTube channel discusses how NPCs directly shape the in-game world around them and how players can help or hinder these NPCs.

The developers explain that NPCs in EQN are not mere entities that dole out quests and stand about uselessly.

The various NPC factions in the game will fight, build and interact with each other independently, like AI players in a strategy game.

Players will then make choices that will help or hinder the various factions in the game; pushing their development in one direction or another.

The developers cited one example where Kobolds aggressively expand their territories, forcing players to deal with fortified outposts and ambushes whenever they stray into Kobold territory.

Dark Elves, threatened by the Kobold expansion, then move out of their borders to flush the Kobold infestation out.

Roving bands of Dark Elves will then seek player assistance in wiping Kobolds out – not only setting a quest for players but actively fighting beside them as well.

Later on, the Dark Elves will fight against the Dryads for their ‘nature essence.’

Individual players can then opt to fight for (or against) the Dark Elves, and their actions will determine which faction will be more supportive of them over the course of the game.

Player actions will then lead to world-changing raid events, which will permanently alter the geo-political landscape of the game.

As these world-changing events wrap up, their consequences will effectively alter the state of the game on each server.

In short, EverQuest Next has the potential to allow players to shape the future of the servers they play on.

EverQuest Next itself is still in development, but interested parties can keep track by visiting the game’s homepage.

Like what you see? Think it’s just another run-of-the-mill gimmick?

Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!