Let's just say this: If you love achievements and the feeling that you are accomplishing something in the games you play, then EverQuest Next: Landmark is for you. Everything in the game progresses players from one achievement to the next. It is integral, we were told, in how you progress and interact with the game.
Achievements are directly tied to player progression. As an example, players who gather every type of wood on the continent will earn an achievement. Or perhaps a multi-step achievement might be to gain 100 life, collect "x" amount of bronze and craft fifty items. The latter example would gain the player a new "tier", essentially a level, with new gathering abilities, crafting recipes and more.
Georgeson did tell us that staying in one's tier is vital. Moving ahead is essentially useless as a player's tools and ability are not sufficient to gather at higher levels.
Players can gain achievements for rating other players' buildings or Player Studio creations. Players can even gain achievements for reporting content not fitting in with the spirit of EverQuest Next: Landmark by being a reliable, not hysterical, reporter.
We were able to spend a decent amount of time experimenting with the alpha build of EQN:L. We were given a short tutorial and sent out into the world to stake our claims.
The tools are robust and simple to use, even for those without any knowledge of content creation or even an artistic eye for building. The best way to learn how is by doing and players will undoubtedly spend a lot of time during the alpha building and deleting creations as they go through the learning process. In our group, there were towers to the sky, platforms the size of several football fields, snow in the desert, giant spheres with tunnels thoughout, a rather Borg looking cube floating in the air, and even a giant ice cream cone on a hillside. There was graffiti on the mountainsides and holes that went through the core of the earth to...well, we weren't entirely sure. The bottom line is that building is fun and interesting and the potential for amazing creations is there.
SOE has every intention of giving creators a chance to make a money on the amazing things they are likely to create. The Player Studio is, as Dave Georgeson said, where they will make their money as will the builders themselves. Content made in the game, decorations, structures, etc., can be saved as a template and the template can be sold on the Player Studio. The builder and Sony split the profits (though we were not given a percentage) and everyone wins.
Players purchasing templates are basically given a blueprint for what they bought. The required materials will still need to be gathered before it can be made. No prefabs here.
For a game in alpha, EQN:L looks pretty darned good. The character movement is fluid. We did not get a chance to check out character creation but understand that it too will be pretty decent in scope.
Over time as the alpha progresses into both closed and open beta, more systems will be added. Once combat enters the game, for instance, it will be a whole different experience. Risk vs reward will be a huge part of the game. One example given was digging deep into a mountain to mine ore might lead to a cavern filled with amazing ore or gems...and with monsters. Hence the risk vs reward.
Q&A with Terry Michaels
Terry Michaels sat down to answer a few questions that cropped up during our time testing the game.
Can you envision a time when players will be able to create entire scenarios in which to invite other players (essentially a dungeon master event)?
Yes we can and do see such a thing happening. We have tools coming later that will allow players to create their own quests and dialog, perhaps even effects and more, that would allow for that.
Since everything else progresses, what about character age?
Characters will not age since the game is not following a progression of time through the game. Of course, it's something we can look into if players are interested.
What about finding friends, social features, etc.?
The world will be traversed by lines and points that will be unlocked as players travel. If a player is on one continent and a friend is on another, one of them can quickly move to the other's continent but then may be required to run to where their friend is, but unlocking travel points along the way.
Will there be telports home to one's claim?
We are looking into something that will allow players to create a portal spot on their claim and one to carry with them to make traveling home faster.
EverQuest Next: Landmark is looking like something very special in today's MMO space. If what SOE has planned for the game with the ability for players to truly participate in a sandbox environment, and by allowing players a nearly unprecedented voice in the game's development, EQN:L could very well facilitate a paradigm shift in MMO development.
There is so much to like about EverQuest Next: Landmark and there is truly something for every type of MMO player out there. Even those who may never have set foot in an MMO before will likely and easily find something amazing to do in the game.
What about you? Are you looking forward to trying out EverQuest Next: Landmark? What has you most excited? Let us know in the comments.
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com