Dave “Smokejumper” Georgeson posted a sneak peak at Landmark’s Business Model yesterday evening. If you’re going to play Landmark you really should give it a read. The plan follows a typical F2P convenience model: You can essentially buy shortcuts and cosmetics. There’s really only one item on there causing a ruckus: Resources will be sold on the cash shop.
I left my spiel in the thread, but it has already been buried where it will never be seen again. Thankfully I have a more visible outlet.
My reaction to hearing about resource purchasing was initially (might still be) negative, but fine, I get it. Resources aren’t supposed to be progression. Great. Then what is? This entire discussion relies on having more information, and we simply haven’t been told enough.
Let me start by pointing out the obvious:
- If resources are in the cash shop then they can’t be the only thing used to craft items. Otherwise crafting is worthless and the items themselves should have been sold in the cash shop.
- The in-game economy, if there is to be one, will not be based around resources. There will be some other form of currency of meaningful use. Hint: There are no NPCs.
- Players (like me) who enjoy going out and gathering rare things (like resources) to sell or make things with will still need a means of pursuing that style of play or we get screwed.
I’m crossing my fingers and rolling the dice that SOE thought of those things.
There’s this whole “you define how you “win” a sandbox game like Landmark” trend among some circles of players. That’s fine. I agree to an extent. If building a tower is all you care about then buy resources. Yay, you win. But that’s a little narrow-minded. I don’t believe in victory scenarios for MMOs. I believe the entire experience, especially in a sandbox, to be defined by how and why I interact with others (or don’t) to accomplish goals. That’s deep, right?
Let’s look to a previous SOE title as an example: Star Wars Galaxies. In SWG resources were used to craft everything. Resources had scarcity and quality factors. Those resources were used to make items which were then in turn used by players — everything from blasters to skimpy dancing outfits.
The quality of the material determined the quality of the item. The quality of the item determined what the end-user would could do with the item as it pertained to their particular play-style of choice. Better blaster= slay harder monster = get better resource components = in turn get better weapon by going back to the crafter for an upgrade. If resources were removed from the question, the link would be severed. That’s circle of life stuff, folks. I want to hear how SOE plans to address the gap they’ve created in the circle, or if they plan to skip the entire player interaction game.
Some of my questions:
Are ALL resources available for purchase or will some be withheld to make gathering meaningful?
Will players (like me) who enjoy going out and gathering rare things (like resources) to sell or use have other mediums for pursuing that style of play?
What activities (other than building) rely on resources?
Is crafting meant to make items used by other players with other play-styles?
Given the impending excess supply of resources, does the act of crafting even make sense? Why not just sell every item instead?
What plan is in place to avoid making the gathering part of the game feel completely worthless? Personally, I hope it’s not “Mine 5,000 Marble to unlock X.”
What forms of progression will exist that will not be touched by or influenced by players who buy resources?
Bottom line, if Landmark is to stand a snowball’s chance in a very hot hell then SOE already has answers and something planned. It’s not until then that anyone can give real feedback on the game. All we can do now is watch the knee-jerk reactions (positive and negative) to a business model without context. When you give me context, I can do more than ask questions.