A great many of us cut our MMO teeth on two MMOs (and likely simultaneously) – Ultima Online and Everquest.   I can still fondly recall doing corpse runs while taking on Crushbone Orcs.  Well, the team at Sony Online Entertainment are ready to snare us once again.   Today they’ve launched the Alpha for Everquest Next.   This Landmark alpha will let players explore the vast landscape and use tools to build within the world.  If you wanted a chance to shape the destiny of a game, this is clearly exactly that.   Let’s dig into the specifics:

This morning, at a community event hosted at its San Diego campus, Sony Online Entertainment announced Alpha for the highly-anticipated EverQuest Next Landmark will begin this evening. As players and developers come together to celebrate major milestones across the entire EverQuest game franchise, teams are hard at work completing the final tasks in the hours before Alpha is officially underway.

In EverQuest Next Landmark, players are invited into a vast online world to explore unique continents, to use powerful building tools to bring their dreams to life, and to adventure with close friends and allies into undiscovered territory.

“Later today, we will begin the Alpha for EverQuest Next Landmark and open up the game to our most committed and passionate players,” said Dave Georgeson, Director of Development for the EverQuest franchise. “This is the earliest point in the development process that we’ve ever let players into a game. We are empowering these players to do much more than test the game for bugs. For the first time, our players can join alongside us as part of the development team. They will have a significant voice in how the final game takes shape.”

In EverQuest Next Landmark’s Alpha phase, only the most dedicated players, those who have purchased a Founder’s Pack at the Explorer or Trailblazer level, will be granted access to the game. The comments, suggestions, and feedback of this dedicated group will have a significant influence on all elements of the game’s development, from system design and building progression to character abilities and itemization.

The ability to shape and reshape the world is fairly unprecedented at this scale, so it’ll be interesting to see how the world takes shape.

Everquest Next is a Free-to-Play MMO scheduled to launch some time in 2014 for PC and PlayStation 4.