This is a transcript of the audio from the video "Devs Talk a Life of Consequence in EverQuest Next [FULL VERSION]". It was published on Youtube by Sony Online Entertainment on September 30th, 2014. You can find the video here:  Since posts concerning the design and mechanics of the game are currently not allowed on the official forums, this information will be stored here for everyone to see.
SD: Steve Danuser- Lead Content Designer for Everquest Next at SOE
SB: Stéphane Bura- Lead Designer at Storybricks
Part V - The Fourth Scenario - The Bloody Kithicor Rallying Call Edit
SD: So let's look at our fourth scenario. And this is an example of what happens when players have played through procedural content in an area and it opens up something much larger. So we've talked about Rallying Calls, and how they are this big server-wide event that brings players together from all over the world to participate in something that is going to have a lasting impact on the world itself.
And by players choosing sides in it, let's say that the Dark Elves have won out in this scenario and they have pushed the Dryads back and now shadow covers the land, what that's done is, it has woken up these ancient dark spirits that the Dryads were keeping in check.
And now this has triggered something called the “Bloody Kithicor Rallying Call”.This graph illustrates the flow of the Bloody Kithicor Rallying Call. So it starts with the fact that these dark spirits were awakened when the Dark Elves pushed the Dryads' influence back to less than fifty percent, let's say. And this in turn caused these dark spirits to awaken and that ancient malevolent evil to come back into the land.
SB: And what they(the dark spirits) do, is use exactly the same system that we've shown before with the kobolds. It's exactly the same system, except that it is at a much larger scale and it triggers long-lasting events. In that case, the awakened spirits will now try to consume the nature energy that is around and if they succeed in consuming it, they will be able to summon a shadow elemental.
SD: Right, and then those shadow elementals, in turn, go out through the world and bring that influence of evil and darkness with them. So this is a way of that essence traveling the world into new territory, where it wasn't before.
SB: Also to bring some destruction.
SD: Yeah, there is a fair amount of destruction when you have evil shadow elementals rampaging the land.
SB: I've heard about it! So let's have a look. You see that these states are expressed in drives, just like for the Dark Elves in our previous example. And let's run the simulation. So, the spirits start encroaching on the Dryads' territory, but the big difference is that they just simply consume the nature energy, which means that when this Rallying Call is going on, they change the world permanently.
SD: Right, because that influence of nature is just gone from the areas where the dark spirits have ravaged, so you are going to see permanent changes to the environment as a result of that.
SB: And in the meantime, the players get new content from the Dryads and the Elves to stop the spirits.
SD: Right, because now, even though they were opposed before, they are kind of on the same side, because they are facing a much larger menace. And that is something that you will see play out in the game as well, because organizations will react to that bigger threat that has come upon them.
SB: So, I will run the simulation but I don't know the outcome, because each time it is different. So let's have a look at what it does. We can see that, well okay, the spirits have wiped out the Dryads in that simulation. But the elves were able to use their scrying magic and find the stronghold of the spirits and destroy it. We've seen in the graph that this means that the spirits are back into their slumber state.
And that is good for a while, but there is no more nature essence in the area, so they may wake up again if you don't do something about it.
SD: That's right! So you can see how a Rallying Call can unlock future content; even future Rallying Calls in this same area. And it's interesting that you pointed out that you didn't know how this was going to play out. This time the Dark Elves won and they beat back the evil spirits, but we could rerun this scenario a number of times and it would play out differently, which is the same thing that is going to happen in the game itself.
Because on different servers, players will battle these creatures differently, and so there will be different results that happen. So on one server the Dark Elves win, and on another the Spirits stay and they keep this haunted forest for all time. On another server, Dryads still have a much larger influence.
SB: Exactly, and even the outcome of this Rallying Call, we can see, for instance in this territory, that there are still some Dryads left. So maybe they will try to rebuild what was here. So the way you play the Rallying Call will impact the way of how the next stages will be created.
SD: So, remember what we said about players having a choice? On a specific server, they may have decided to pick the side of the Dryads and push back against the Dark Elves. And so the Dark Elves never awoke the dark spirits and the Bloody Kithicor Rallying Call was never triggered.
SB: Totally. It is a systemic way of creating new content, so we don't control if it is created. And also,the circumstances for this kind of Rallying Call could happen somewhere else. Probably not “Bloody Kithicor”, because it's (specific to) Kithicor, but we may have a Rallying Call about the rise of a god. And it may happen in places where it fits.
SD: Yeah, multiple places at once, even. Or different places, depending on how different servers have played previous content. So some rallying calls might only be offered once, others might have a chance to be triggered again later. So if you took the side of the Dryads this time, and stopped the Dark Elves from triggering Bloody Kithicor, maybe a few months down the road, conditions are such that there is another opportunity for the Rallying Call to play out.
SB: Also, because the system knows how close we are, we might give you hints about why you need to protect the Dryads, or why preserving the nature essence is a good thing. Or how much you can help the Elves toward their goals.
SD: That's right, and Rohsong is going to remember the choices you made before. So if those conditions arise again, it is going to guide you to this area and say: “The dark spirits are stirring again. You have to go in there and make a choice.” So it is really the player actions that trigger these Rallying Calls and move them through, and then the lasting impact based on those player decisions.
SB: Yeah, because you actually change the world each time and we use this information to generate new content.
SD: So, we have spent a lot of time talking about one particular scenario that is playing out in the world. But Norrath is a world that is brimming with stories, so there is things going on all over the place. So while the Dark Elves were engaged in this battle in Kithicor, Lizardmen have discovered a temple to a faceless god in the Feerrott, the Gnolls of Blackburrow are amassing for a war against Halas, a shrine brimming with the energy of the Nori is being threatened in Jagged Pine, Troll clans are causing havoc in the swamps of Gucta, and there are tons of other mysteries opening up all over the world for players to explore.
SB: And we have only shown you five types of resources, dramatic resources, that the NPC groups can care about, but there are many more and just imagine (the possibilities). We have talked a little bit about religion and there is a resource that is related to this, and there are many more, with many more stories that we can tell.
SD: So, Norrath is a world that is full of stories and it is going to be your characters who determine how these stories unfold, and that is the content of Everquest Next!
Thanks a lot for watching!
SB: Thank you!
Other Parts of this TranscriptEdit
Life of Consequence Video - Full audio transcript pt.5