The lights are on
The alpha for EverQuest Next Landmark has arrived, and the
NDA shields are down. The Minecrafty MMORPG that serves as a staging ground for
some of the features coming later to EverQuest Next is rough around the edges
at this stage, offering just a handful of a long list of features that will
roll out over time. However, even in this early stage with all the server
issues, broken code strings seeping into item descriptions, crashes, and long
queue times, the potential for this title shines through.
It was only a matter of time before a big
developer/publisher decided to take some of the concepts of titles like
Minecraft, Terraria, and Starbound and move them in a MMO direction. EverQuest
Next Landmark features all the building and crafting that players could want,
allowing them to claim territory and work on it with friends to craft castles, spaceships,
Wild West museums, etc. The game also features item progression in the form of
mining tools, axes, craft tables, and pulverizers that allow you to quickly
burrow down into the earth.
Only a few biomes are available at the moment, but it’s
enough to get a sense of the scope of the project. The game should get more
interesting when the monsters show up. EverQuest Next Landmark plans to have a
variety of enemies to battle that drop resources that the more
fighting-oriented players can trade off to their crafty/buildy friends. The
range of skills and abilities with which to do battle is limited compared to
EverQuest Next, but Sony Online Entertainment is promising a decent assortment
of ranged, magical, and melee attacks.
In about an hour of playtime, I mined several different
types of ore, chopped down some trees, and placed a claim on the far edge of
one of the available Tier 1 areas. I have some low tier crafting tables set up,
and I’m looking forward to digging in more once servers get a bit more stable.
While I think the concept is poised to survive and thrive as
its own game alongside EverQuest Next, there’s much talk about how high-profile
builders and building teams could create massive projects that find their way
into the main MMORPG. Organized teams (guilds?) of builders or a solo savant
with a mission could create massive, sprawling dungeons, epic castles, and
other items that could make it into EverQuest Next itself, as long as they meet
Norrathian design rules.
I’m surprised Sony let this alpha out into the wild in the
current state, but this is probably one of the best ways to get the feedback it
needs to get things rolling toward beta and beyond.
Email the author Daniel Tack, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Not really a fan of SOE and their online MMO ventures. So far they've had some turmoil with a few titles (not all of course). I'm definitely going to keep this on my radar though as this could be an exciting mix!
I'm curious to see how this plays out. As long as there is some form of scarcity in EverQuest Next, I would imagine, with reference to land, there would be a group of have and have-nots (I guess kind of like monopoly). The question I've been trying to solve, and which comes up in the discussion is: how to give players the ability to succeed in their own unique ways and not turn away players who don't end up as fortunate. Everybody can't win, but everyone can still have fun.