Explaining It All
If there’s one thing that made Founder’s Packs a tough sell for Everquest Next Landmark, it was probably the lack of a fully-formed way of explaining what this game is versus Everquest Next. Sure, Sony Online Entertainment calls it a social building game and an open version of their “professionally developed alternative,” EQNext, but how would you show the strengths of the game to people?
Over the past week, SOE came out with two videos that attempted to do just that. Not only did they use a quick video to promote the “learn quickly” approach of epic building in the game, they also had a livestreaming event that showcased what you could do in the game and, to some extent, what you would have to work for to attain.
Making a Mark
The first video, which is embedded below, shows Dave Georgeson explaining some of the features of the game. The promo explains the premise and the promise of the game: Not only can users build a world of their imaginings and share created successes with others, they can also explore the world, seeking new sights, enemies, and materials for your enjoyment.
Perhaps the most impressive bit shown here is the speed with which a skilled builder can complete the basics of a creation for later refinement. You can build the base foundations for a home, sans roof, in 42 seconds. With a lot of materials, some skill and some time, you can also “terraform” the land turning a jungle into a snowy paradise with the right stuff in tow.
One thing that’s still slightly unclear, based on the wording on the video alone, is how these worlds tie in together. Whereas EQNext is meant to be Everquest lore-friendly, Landmark is more agnostic, focusing on creating a freeform world that you can bend to your will, while allowing people to explore the realm you’ve made for yourself.
While a nice teaser, this one video can leave lingering questions as a result, which I’m hoping will eventually be explained by SOE in future videos or forum posts.
In a separate livestream, Colette "Dexella" Murphy, Terry Michaels, and Emily "Domino" Taylor team up to discuss somehow some aspects of the game work. For those who don’t want to slog through the livestream, there are detailed notes on this EQNext subreddit thread.
One noticeable difference between the two videos is that the game isn’t as quick as you’d expect if you were using the promo as a basis for comparison. Crafting materials come in tiers, so players have to craft higher-tiered tools to get to better crafting materials, which should slow progression to some degree.
These tools also have particular statistics that get randomized upon creation, meaning it becomes advantageous to make multiple tools to get a wider range of bonuses to choose from depending on the situation.
One thing also noted is that the land has a healing mechanic where resources do not spawn in the exact same place, meaning you have to work to get new materials. The game also ensures that it will not heal the place where a player is standing. It can heal around your character, however, meaning underground excursions are subject to you needing to dig yourself out if you get stuck. The livestream also noted that claim flags, which are used to stake a claim in the game world, will be purchasable.
The Bottom Line
With more information on hand for people to determine whether or not to invest in Landmark, I figure some folks may find themselves shying away from wanting the game because of a seeming lack of direction. At the same time, I can imagine a larger group of interested parties looking forward to Landmark as their go-to social game.
Here’s to hoping both the structured experience seekers and freeform construction lovers find something worth playing in EQNext and Landmark.
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate column, as well as the ArcheAge and Everquest Next columns 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.