This past weekend EverQuest Next Landmark launched its Alpha version into the playable universe. Players who picked up the Founder’s program on SOE were able to log in and begin the process of crafting their own buildings and structures in a wave of creativity with the game’s friendly to use tools. In another surprising move, SOE has dropped the NDA on Landmark to allow developers to talk with fans right away and communicate their plans. We had the chance to chat with SOE’s Dave Georgeson last night about Landmark and some of the plans the team has for the future.
Dave started by explaining why the NDA came down so quickly. They initially wanted to make sure the game was running smoothly and players were getting into the experience quickly. Once the game was stable, Dave said that the team began talking and communicating to players right away. He said they even had some issues with the graphics cards that they had to fix over the weekend. However, fans were understanding and the team was able to talk about the hurdles they faced in the opening few days. Dave felt that it was a great step forward with the community and now both players and developers are in full communication about the game.
Next we tackled the topic of space, see staking your claim in Landmark is now at an extreme premium and Dave said the team is now adjusting to opening more areas. They plan on launching another world very soon (today?) and are just getting things in place to do so. This way, players will still be able to stake their claims when the new world comes out. He laughed that some players ended up in the southern desert regions just to get a spot and they want to have a better experience for people coming into Landmark for the first time.
We asked about the plan for Landmark in the coming weeks and Dave was happy to explain their roadmap. Right now the team is still in early all-hands on deck mode with the Alpha just launching a few days ago. However, SOE plans to post updates on a very regular basis. Dave and his team have been posting on the forums and Twitter to let players know what is going on almost right after it happens. Once the team gets out of emergency support mode they will begin implementing new features. They just want to make sure the game is running well for the first few days before they move forward. However, the team is moving at a turbo pace in terms of updates and design. The fan reactions were so positive the team now wants to make sure everyone has a great experience in Landmark.
We asked Dave what the top priorities were from players and he was quick to share the list. Water was number one so the team is working on adding water regions into the game. I guess everyone wants a lakeside view. The next big feature they want to add is combat. Right now players start with a lot of crafting tools and have some solid options to begin their projects, but it will be very interesting to see combat and monsters enter into the game. Might be a bit harder to track down those ideal copper veins with a monster blocking your way. The other priorty the team wants to add desperately is enhanced crafting which will give players loads of more options to build and design their areas.
We talked a lot about adding travel to the game. Dave said that right now there is the main portal in the middle of each island, however the team wants to stay away from portals and teleportation all over the place. Part of the fun in Landmark is exploring around and seeing what everyone has created. Dave said the team is more inclined to include travel such as gliders and different types of mounts. He said the grappling hook has been extremely popular among players and they are swinging around like Spider-Man checking out all the areas. The grappling hook also allows players to mine on the sides of mountains and swing around while using their pick-axe. The team wants to have some really fun options for travel as they continue to build onto the world, so expect more on that soon.
EverQuest Next Landmark really is breaking new ground (sorry for the pun). Just like the players who are pioneering the land and starting to build, the game has created a fascinating new sandbox to play in. SOE is serious about keeping open communication with players and building a strong community. Dave said to look for his team on the forums as updates will continue at a much faster pace. For now, get ready for a new world to come out so you can stake your claim!
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