After An Hour In The Sandbox, We're Sold On The Potential Of EverQuest Next Landmark - EverQuest Next Landmark - PC -
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EverQuest Next Landmark

After An Hour In The Sandbox, We're Sold On The Potential Of EverQuest Next Landmark

I have never met anyone as enthusiastic about what he does as EverQuest Next director of development Dave Georgeson. As we sat down to talk about the progress of EverQuest Next Landmark, an open world sandbox not entirely unlike Minecraft, and he was eager to get through the basics and get me into the game. Georgeson was clearly excited about letting others finally take his team's creation for a test drive, and his enthusiasm for the Landmark demo was infectious. 

I’ve only dabbled in Minecraft, and haven’t spent time with any of the countless clones it has spawned. I warned Georgeson that my first creation was likely to be pretty terrible, but he reassured me that everyone starts off that way.

As I fiddled with the toolset in the pre-alpha build, I quickly got the hang of the different options. Right now, the UI isn’t streamlined, but it was still easy to find the tools for building, deleting, “healing” the world back to default state, selecting, and “painting.” The latter is one of the more powerful options that Landmark offers.

Instead of harvesting resources and using workbenches or other devices to create materials, it’s simple to update your construction as time goes on. You’ll start with rudimentary tools and simple materials, but you can still build the castle of your dreams. As you find new stone, woods, gems, and more, you can “paint” over part or all of your existing structures.

Unlike Minecraft, Sony Online has built Landmark to give players more control over the shape of their creations. Voxel sizes can be scaled up or down. Spheres can be used for creation and even terrain deletion. A powerful smoothing tool can be used to make a construction of cubes into something a bit more natural or just to weather the hard edges of a older structure. A line tool connects two points for dramatic angles that are simple to create. 

When walking around the developer creations, there was little to suggest that what I was looking at was made of small cubes. In this way, Landmark offers a significant deviation from the building ethos that drives Mojang’s immensely successful sandbox.

In addition to all the building tools that I got to play with, Landmark will have systems in place for monsters, combat, guilds, and more. Players will be able to craft their own stories, and hop between the different world iterations to see what different players have built.

Developers have left their mark on the test environment I was playing around in. There was a large castle, a towering battle mech (made of wood and stone), a posh treehouse, and a cavern made of gems that beautifully reflected the light from a lantern as it was moved about.

As we’ve mentioned previously, EverQuest Next Landmark will be a way for developers to recognize some of the best community creations. Some of what’s created will be adopted into EverQuest Next. 

EverQuest Next Landmark will be going into alpha by the end of February 2014, with a beta slated to begin by the end of March. Sony Online is making founders packages available today at three different price points. For the full rundown of what’s included in each you can head over to the game’s website, but here are the highlights.

The $19.99 Settler pack gets you beta access, the $59.99 Explorer pack gets you alpha access, and the $99.99 Trailblazer pack gets you alpha access, head start beta access, and four closed beta keys for friends. There are other in-game bonuses available at each level.

EverQuest Next Landmark is an extremely ambitious project, but I had a lot of fun playing around in the sandbox. As my hour hands-on session wound down, Georgeson had to nudge me off the keyboard. My first creation, a crumbling demonic face built into a hillside was (as promised) pretty terrible, but I’m looking forward to having another crack at it once the game hits beta.

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  • Cheers to my friends at SOE good luck on this venture.

  • Shame you couldn't show us your creation Mike! I would have liked to see what someone new can create before their refine their skills. So I'm still not completely sure what this is. Is this a game in it's own right? Or is this like the TES Construction Set where you just build things and that's it? I always thought this was just building things, but based on the information it sounds like this will be like an RPG maker of sorts?
  • This sounds really impressive and fun. I really wish to get my hands on the game myself now, but I noticed that what you're buying is access to it at different levels and doesn't mention that it's a game on it's own. It's said that creations will go into EverQuest Next, but is this a standalone title as well?
  • I can't wait for this. Looks excellent so far. And promising.

  • Voxels. Exciting.

  • Staff
    I'm all for someone creating a more in-depth sandbox creation experience, and so far this looks great. Now if Sony would just bring it to a certain upcoming next-gen system...
  • I'm sold, though I guess with my history in Everquest I'm an easy sell. I want to get back to that world..question is do I buy the beta or alpha!

  • It's amazing. Never been excited for "minecrafty" game, but this seems awesome. Being able to build so many stuff with friends, and not just with ugly blocks ;p

  • MMOs can't really get me excited unless they have some form of raid or large endgame PVE content and sadly this seems to be another big MMO project that ignores it.
  • This seems like a more realistic and dynamic Minecraft. I think it is a great idea, but I am not willing to spend that much money on a beefed up Minecraft. -RGC
  • @Mike:

    It's Sony. Don't count on it being a success. Period. I feel sorry for the guy (Dave Georgeson) as this is clearly a very expensive and carefully tailored project, but it's Sony, and therefore bound to fail. Sony is not a game changer in this market. Never has been, never will.

    Sony holds the cup when it comes to s**tty support and customer service.
  • When is that release date? I want a day, this seems like something I can get in to.

  • So its coming to PS4 right.

  • I want this to work. I would love to go back to the franchise that established my love for MMORPGs.

  • You have to sign in to view this article? What is that about?

  • screw everquest next, just give me the "landmark" package as its own game and ill be happy

  • If it doesn't have PVE engdgame than I have literally 0 interest in this game
  • Sold