Starting August 27th, your new goal in Landmark is going to be quite simple: Not dying. As SOE launches what they're calling Phase 2 of the game's development, we're going to see the things that got a roar from the crowd at the SOE Live keynote Thursday evening: combat. There be dragons! Well, maybe not dragons, but players will have to keep an eye out for white and red wisps, necrozoas, fiery fungi, a chomper, and a scorpion bush. And, oh yeah, your fellow players! Each player will suddenly have three new stats added to their character sheet: Armor, Health, and Energy. Characters can die from being killed by monsters in the world, in PVP, or simply by forgetting that falling damage exists. And you can drown.
Characters will be able to equip the game's first weapons. To start off, there will be three main options a player can choose from: a Conjurer's Staff, a Soldier's Blade, and a Marksman's Bow. However, there won't be formal classes for any of these items and players can swap them out with no more difficulty than swapping which gathering tool one is using. Each weapon has a basic attack and a secondary attack, and by default, those are bound to the left and right click buttons respectively. However, with Landmark's ability to redo keybindings, those players who are not hardcore WASD typists can easily shift them to their preferred bindings instead.
The weapons' attacks break down as follows:
- Conjurer's Staff: Energy Burst (left-click) / Gravity Shock (right-click)
- Soldier's Blade: Slash that can destroy terrain (left-click) / Charge (right-click)
- Marksman's Bow: Single arrow (left-click) / Sniper's Mark w/ knockback & 2x damage (right-click)
Players will start off crafting these weapons, with epic versions eventually going to be added to the loot tables of the chests found in caves. Each weapon will have different abilities within the basic two skills, and once Salvaging goes into the game, players can destroy these weapons, salvage the leftovers, and then craft a new weapon with potentially better stats. Armor will also be craftable by players, and there will be an imbuing system later this year that will allow players to customize the armor to their liking. Armor will add defense to a character, but also gives them special bonuses like an increase to their ranged attack distance, more defense, or allow their attacks to deliver more damage right where it's needed.
Going back to the notion of PVP, before anyone starts going 'OMG, open-world PVP!', that's not the current plan. Players certain can PVP in the open world if they choose, but it's not the enforced ruleset outside of claims. Inside a player's claim, they can put down a game table and turn it into their own personal PVP arena. Another item coming to the game will be most helpful when it comes to in-claim PVP: landmines. They can be crafted and they'll be found in treasure chests. Many things will quickly be exploding in Landmark. Other new goodies will go into the mix when teleporters get added, and flingers (limited catapults), and moving platforms. While the possibilities are intriguing for a regular claim, just imagine the chaos they could create on a PVP claim, either in attacking other players, escaping them, or being flung into one due to an attack. When Dave Georgeson talked about them, he pointed out that the moving platforms would be easy to create. A player would select the beginning and end points in any direction, and the platform would path on a straight line between those two points. Diagonals would be just as easy to set up as a simple up/down or left/right motion.
In all, Landmark's still the place where SOE is testing the concepts and systems that will eventually go into EverQuest Next, and now that Phase 2 is just around the corner, things are about to get a lot more interesting.