Ask the Druid - Timmy Doesn’t Like Landmark
Ask the Druid - Timmy Doesn’t Like Landmark
By Karen "shayalyn" Hertzberg on Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 4:11 PM
Although there are hordes of people eager to break ground in EverQuest Next Landmark, there are others who just can’t seem to get on board and would rather wait for EverQuest Next. Is there hope for the Landmark-avoidant?
Dear Wise Druid,
My friend - I’ll call him Timmy, although his name is a lot dorkier (sad but true) - is an old EQ player who’s been hanging out with me since 1999. My high elf cleric fought bravely beside his dwarf paladin for many years before we moved on to other games. Now, I’m super excited about EverQuest Next, and so is Timmy. But I’m also stoked about Landmark. Timmy...not so much.
Timmy sees Landmark as nothing more than “EQ Minecraft,” and he has no interest in Minecraft. I’ve never played building games, either, but I think Landmark looks like a lot of fun, and I can see it providing hours and hours of entertainment while I wait for EQNext. I would love it if my good friend would join me, but he’s being a stubborn dwarf. Is there anything you can say to encourage him to give Landmark a try?
My Dearest Lonely Cleric,
First, I think you need to accept that it’s okay for Timmy to not like Landmark. For some of us, it’s not going to be the type of game we want to play, and that’s fine. Perhaps your friend isn’t being stubborn so much as expressing a preference, and that preference is to wait until EverQuest Next launches.
That said, I was once a Timmy. When I first heard about Landmark (even before it was announced, because we press are lucky like that sometimes), I sort of shrugged my shoulders and said, “Meh. Okay. Whatever.” I figured I’d take a peek at it, of course, so that I could stay informed and maybe even kill a little time before EverQuest Next neared launch, but I wasn’t sold. Then I started reporting on the game for EQHammer and my opinion did a 180-degree change. I went from “Whatever” to “Wow! This could be fun.” So, perhaps there’s hope for Timmy if only we can get him better informed.
Here are some of the things that sold me:
- A ginormous landscape to explore. SOE is handing us a huge world and saying, “Go nuts!” We’ll have five biomes in which to adventure, and they all take their inspiration from EverQuest. There will be a hot, volcanic area like Lavastorm, a cool forest like Qeynos Hills, an arid desert like the Desert of Ro, a colorful deciduous forest like Faydark, and a snowy Everfrost region. Even if I was interested in nothing else in Landmark, exploring these regions would be enough fun to last me a while.
- Procedurally generated content. When content is procedurally generated, it means that the developers create sets of art assets - like trees, rocks, grasses and vegetation - and feed them into a procedural system in which the developers have defined various rules and relationships between the items. This allows SOE, at the virtual press of a button, to let the game itself create terrain instead of the developers having to form it all by hand. Not only does this system allow SOE to create huge worlds, but it means that the world will look different depending on what server you’re on, or even on how it has healed after being harvested. Speaking of which...
- You can move between servers. Maybe you’re looking for some nice property beside a lake and there’s none to be had on your starting server. No problem! Players will be able to hop between worlds, and the landscape will render itself differently from server to server. That’s a lot of terrain to explore.
- Parkour! Okay, it’s called Heroic Movement in Landmark, but...your character can flip, vault, sail, roll, and slide in this game (as well as EQNext), and it looks like fun. I used to envy the way dwarves could do flips in EQ. Now everyone can do them! (On second thought, you might not want to tell Timmy the dwarf that we’re stealing his thunder.)
- Fun with harvesting. I’ve always been strangely addicted to harvesting in EQ2, but I (Ooo! A harvesting node. Hang on a sec...) hadn’t really given the addictive nature much thought when it came to Landmark. Then I realized - Duh! This game is all about harvesting stuff, and then building stuff with what you’ve harvested. And harvesting does look fun. Tell Timmy to check out some early harvesting video footage from the latest Landmark live stream.
- Not just crafting, building! If Timmy liked crafting at all in other games (I enjoyed it in EQ2, but I’ve never been a hardcore crafter), he’s going to want to look into Landmark, because once you’ve collected materials, you can terraform the landscape, build structures, craft props to fill those structures, and so on. Here’s a whole slew of Landmark timelapse builds for him to check out.
- It’s a social game. There will be guild structures in Landmark, and they may share a lot of similarities with the robust guild system in EverQuest II. There’s potential for co-op builds such as guild halls or even guild-created towns. Doesn’t Timmy want to be a part of that?
- You can sell stuff for cash. Player Studio will allow players to sell virtual items to other players for real world cash. Get good enough, and you could make some kaching, or at least earn a little pocket money for beer and itos (Doritos, Tostitos, Fritos....) One 16-year-old kid earned $8000 contributing content to PlanetSide 2 through Player Studio recently. That’s a lot of beer money. (We’ll expect Timmy the dwarf to throw an epic kegger.)
- A robust toolset. That $8000 kid was using his own 3D modeling program. With Landmark, SOE is giving players the very tools that they themselves use to build the game. And, from what we’ve seen, they’re easy and intuitive. Look at this tools demo to get an idea. Timmy can also check out our tools preview.
- It’s free. Timmy doesn’t have to become a founder if he’s uncertain about Landmark. When it enters open beta, he’ll be able to hop in for free and play to his heart’s content without paying a dime. SOE wants to earn our monetary contributions to their game, not just demand them up front.
I’ll freely admit that I didn’t know whether I would enjoy Landmark when it was first announced, but now I find myself looking forward to it more and more for the reasons I’ve listed above. The biggest reason, though, is something less tangible - it’s the feeling of adventure Landmark stirs in me. SOE will be handing us a great big sandbox when alpha begins, hopefully in the second half of January but no later than February 28th.
If this doesn’t work on Timmy, then leave the poor dwarf alone to pine for EverQuest Next in peace. There’s only so much you can do. Meanwhile, see you in the worlds of Landmark soon!
Yours very truly,