Aside from an update to the Everquest Next: Landmark alpha requirements, one of the other notable discussion topics this week was the weekly Roundtable, where Omeed Dariani and Jeff Butler discuss how grouping and individual contributions might work within Everquest Next. The Round Table discussion was enlightening for all the right reasons, as it managed to hit upon some of the differing philosophies about how content is experienced by soloists, pick-up group users, and dedicated friend-specific groups.
Alpha Requirements Changed
There’s some good news and some bad news involved with the Landmark Alpha’s technical requirements. The good news is that you can play the game on a connection that’s significantly slower than previously brought up. The bad news, however, is that older computers may need to upgrade their processors if they want to be a part of Alpha.
What happened? As of January 29, the game’s minimum system requirements got altered a bit, likely due to some optimization changes. Alpha players can now play the game with a minimum 3Mbps connection, but will need a new minimum processor type: either an Intel i5 Quad Core or higher or an AMD Phenom II X4 or higher.
Personally, it’s a nice change for me. I don’t need to upgrade my computer, and the minimum connectivity requirements now fall below the current global standard of 3.6 Mbps. I currently am running on an 8Mbps connection, so I was afraid I’d have to ask for a refund come time to test.
That said, as someone living in a country where the national standard is currently stuck at 1.8Mbps and is expensive relative to the amount of connectivity we get, I’m still hoping further optimizations can push down the minimum required speed to play reliably, though that’s likely a pipe dream.
Moving onto the Round Table video, Dariani and Butler discuss grouping in Everquest Next. According to the poll for the video, most people want options, whether it’s the ability to party up with people you know or create a pick-up group by queueing for it through a group-making system.
Butler managed to phrase it succinctly by saying that “it is really options that give us the most long-term potential success.” He continues by pointing out the idea behind creating groups: we allow ourselves the opportunity to meet new people and hopefully forge strong relationships with them that keep us in a game.
Dariani provided the important complementary point for gamers with jobs: the only way you can sometimes keep playing the game and having fun with new content is if there’s a system in place that enables relatively painless grouping.
Other People as Neutral
Dariani moves on to another point about the game’s philosophy: that collaboration is more advantageous than competition. Dariani said, “we want to create an environment where people don’t feel that, when they see another player in the world, it’s a negative to them.”
The idea behind it is that seeing someone else shouldn’t be a stressful experience because you’re worried they’ll take the thing you’ve been fighting to get to while you’re preoccupied.
I think that’s a great point to espouse. Seeing as the foundations of the game will likely come in the form of building as much as killing, not having to worry about losing out is a great reminder that EQNext and Landmark are meant as friendly games rather than hardcore competitions.
Butler and Dariani went on to discuss how easily getting a group may diminish an achievement, to which Butler mentioned that the running idea is to build a system where not everything can be queued up for. To quote Butler, “it’s my expectation that you will not see an auto-matching service for every kind of content in the game, large and small.”
My take: keeping some content friendlier towards groups of playerswho know each other well isn’t a bad thing, though I do hope they have a chat system in place that makes it easy to informally find parties for the content that isn’t part of a matchmaking system.
All that said, the Landmark alpha is getting closer, and while I won’t take an active part in it, I do hope no one breaks NDA. Test well, and be cool about it. Cheers!
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains the Everquest Next column (and formerly the Devil’s Advocate column) for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.
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