EverQuest Next Landmark Initial Impressions


The NDA for EverQuest Next Landmark was officially lifted this evening via tweets by the dev team.  Let me just get right to it and say what I’ve been feeling for the last 24 hours: Landmark is AWESOME!  Within the first 20 minutes it was easy for all of us playing to agree that Landmark is a winner with unimaginable potential.  Well, that’s a lie;  I can imagine the potential!

eqn-new-artMy coverage of Landmark, like all MMOs, will be ongoing.  I can’t possibly tell you everything in one post that I’m writing while the servers are down for maintenance, but I want to run through a few of my first impressions and key details that I feel you as a reader of this blog will want to know.

SOE wasn’t kidding when they said this was a real alpha and the game wasn’t optimized.  I haven’t ‘tested’ something this rough in a while, and that’s so incredibly refreshing (minus the lag).  Landmark is less polished than I thought it would be, but 10x more impressive in scope.  There are dozens and dozens of bugs, lots of imperfections in the UI, and an obvious lack of features waiting to be turned on.  What does work, however, excites me beyond words.

Building is… hard.  I guess I thought I would have the talent of the SOE artists who build during those streams.  I am clearly more akin to a finger-painting toddler.  One of my friends told me, “That’s nice Keen but you made a hole in the ground.”  I told her I would fix it, after which she replied, “Keen, you just made the hole bigger.”  There are many subtle nuances to how you can manipulate the building tools by pressing tab, shift+tab, and using the mouse wheel.  Every single little detail, angle, and embellishment can be tweaked.  I’m out of my league, but I’ll get there.

Effort will be rewarded.  I built an Iron Pickaxe but it took over an hour of farming trees to get the rare wood I need to craft one.  Just building a tiny little piece of a wall took me 18,000+ stone.  I feel like this is close to UO’s gathering where it’s not difficult to find the resources, such as mining in a cave, but it takes a long time to gather a lot of them.  I like this.  I like knowing I am going to see a reward not by something random happening, but through my dedication.


My biggest complaints so far:

  1. My graphics look white-washed like the gamma is too high.  I had this EXACT 100% same issue with Planetside 2.  I’ll give serious props to whoever figures out how I can make it look crisp and the colors pure.  Seriously, it’s why I quit PS2.
  2. The world is too small right now.  I can see how it will be easy to expand and procedurally generate more room, but right now the playable area is tiny compared to the number of people playing.
  3. Claim buffers are too big and there’s nowhere left to claim.  I don’t need that much space between me and my neighbors.  Maybe this will be fixed by increasing the size of the playable areas, but the space is really, really big.
  4. I want to log in where I logged out.  Currently you are placed in a random zone at a wizard spire and have to teleport back to the zone (island/continent/whatever) you were on then find your way back to the exact spot.
  5. Input delay while playing is weird and off for me.  I click and 2-5 seconds later I swing my pick.  This gives me and almost motion sickness feeling.

Landmark is as fun as you want it to be.  You are going to have to make your own fun at times.  If you like digging holes, chopping trees, and using your imagination to bring things to life then Landmark is the right game for you.  If you’re patient and can look forward to eventually having combat, underground biomes, commerce, and even more reason to explore then that’s just icing on this already delicious cake.

That last sentence is really key.  Landmark right now is lots of fun, but seeing what it is now lets me know that what’s coming is going to make it so much better.

Well done SOE.  Polish it up, add the rest of the features, and you’ve made a masterpiece.

More to come!

  • I’m still kind of skeptical and will hold off for now, but I hope it turns out. Early adopter hype and excitement has turned into apathy once the dust settles many times before.

    I think a lot will depend on other features besides building. Minecraft modded already provides a much richer toolset and the ability to have custom servers, etc. On the chance that it does take off I think it could eclipse EQN proper. Building games a fairly big right now.

  • So it’s essentially Minecraft set in an EQ themed world? That is the gist I am getting. If I find Minecraft boring, will I find this boring?

  • 18000+ of a resource? yuck. Talk about brain dead mindless waste of time gaming.
    Clicking for hours on nodes and xml pop ups sounds like forced time sink to me. I will pass.

  • I agree on the washed-out gamma thing. It’s my biggest complaint – I know this is a colorful world, I’d rather it look RICH in color, not washed-out. I do think it varies somewhat from monitor to monitor – my husbands game looks much crisper, and the only difference between our machines is the monitor. Still, it looks washed out on streams as well, so I think they need to address it.

  • I couldn’t afford a founder’s pack, but it’s been on my watch list. I was in the alpha for Minecraft and I’m glad to hear this is also getting a positive reception.

  • There is no joke about this being Alpha. I don’t think that can be stressed enough. But, even that being said you understand the scope, and the end results should be amazing. I kept saying “stop saying it’s minecraft HD, or minecraft but just an MMO”, but someone pointed out that it’s a comparison that makes sense(But I think only to those who have played it). It is vastly different because they have taken the concept and added their own spin to it. If you are on the fence you might wait till beta(closed or open) to take a look. Good point on your final thoughts about this game being “You make the fun”. It takes the things I’ve realized I like the most which is exploration, gathering, and building to a new level.

  • It looks great and I love the concept. I just really can’t justify $60 for an alpha with my current budget. =/ Looking forward to beta though as I should be able to get a key from a friend which would be nice.

  • “Effort will be rewarded”

    Or RMT will be rewarding…My problem about effort is that is crucial for me to know that others will put the same effort as I do to achieve the same things. At least in an MMO…in single player games I don’t have problem if some use /GodMode. And because this will be an MMO and I will be in a world among other players trying to show my achievements and trying to see others achievements, it will not work for me. I am not gonna mine 18.000 stones knowing that someone may just buy them, or buy a special tool to gather them faster, or whatever…

    I gladly did that in FFXIV…I was among the first on my server that had mining and botanist level 50 and eventually in the first month had all crafting classes to 50, but there were very few that did that and everyone who did I know exactly the effort they put into. If there was a sub game, I would be in now building my castle 🙂

  • It doesn’t look washed-out on my screen, not at all, as I think the screenshots I posted demonstrate.

    I’m not getting the “it really is an alpha” thing at all. It seems about as buggy as a mid-beta to me. EQ2 was considerably less playable than this even just a few weeks before launch (although it was the one MMO I ever tested that really did have a “miracle patch” right before launch that fixed most of the issues). Horizons would have loved to have been as finished as Landmark even at launch.

    What it clearly is is far from finished. Dave Georgeson estimates the current build contains about 60% of the game but the missing 40% contains almost all the stuff that I’m interested in. I love housing in games because I like my characters to have homes and I like decorating them but I’m not really interested in building things from scratch. I also don’t really see the point of exploring a world that has no context.

    The potential is huge but I don’t anticipate spending an awful lot of time there until more of that potential is realized. “Beta” is where the fun will begin, I think.

  • We have beta keys a plenty.

    And if you find minecraft boring because of what it is, a sandbox exploration/builder. Then yea you would find this boring.

    I cant stand minecraft, but its mainly the voxel building/look of it that gets to me. If you have ever wanted a game that allowed you to recreate/build something there is no better games.

    If you love crafting/gathering/progression this is a great game.

    Basically put, If you love the housing/crafting/gathering/market side of MMOs, then this is your dream game. If you play MMOs for pvp/raiding then obviously this is not for you.

  • I am curious to read more about everquest landfall down the line.
    Will you also be writing about the regular everquest next?

    And eh… 18000+ stone sounds excessive.

  • 18000+ resources sounds awesome…it screams “dedicated crafters” and the potential for actually being able to take some pride in your work…it might indicate that crafting is a long term endeavor and what you make may actually be valuable. Gathering 18000 stone can be boring but it depends on what else you find while gathering…a cool underground cave…being able to find some other super rare and valuable materials…etc….so much potential!

  • To clarify for people a bit about the 18000 stone. You do not gather 1 at a time… you gather in bulk. The servers are down at the moment so I can not double check but I was chopping down a tree and was collecting 20 wood, 20 wood, 20 emerald wood, 20 wood. I think they were all in batches of 20 but I can not be 100% sure… but you do not collect 1 piece per swing that was for sure since I had a few thousand after just chopping a half a dozen trees.

  • @18000 stone people. I currently have 80,000+ and this is with the semi bad pick axes. As you progress down the crafting line. Your pickaxes increase by a good bit.

    As people get better gear you can craft rare/legendary pick axes with crazy stats, these stats are Size (the size of the whole you make) (this is the key one) Power (basically how many swings to deplete a mineral) and Speed (how fast you swing). Stone is EVERYWHERE and as you have better pickaxes, if you focused on stone (which at this point not many do, I got 80000+ from my mining for ores/gems) you will get huge amounts.

    TLDR: Better pickaxes make everything faster (watch this video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2-e47yrZwc&list=PLbCPvdjOe6W08Nan-ml2i140o6sFWm1Hs#t=563

    As you can see, the second Pickaxe makes a cave in the mountain with only about 3 swings.
    Also worth mentioning, people will sell there stone, as it is a common material people will have loads of it and sell it to fund there prop/higher material needs.

  • One aspect I struggle with is the lack of a reason to build things. SWG let you make your own place for vendors, crafting tables etc. Is there a reason to build a castle, other than just to do it?

  • @Werit: I do not know if there will be vendors, but there has been talk of one day making your own quests. I’d love to see merchants selling resources one day. Right now it’s more like EQ2 housing without vendors. Why make your house pretty? It’s fun.

    @Zyler: As others have pointed out, resources are gathered in clumps. SO far my clumps have been 6-18 at a time/swing. still, needing 7 burled wood planks requires 700 burled logs which equates to quite a bit of tree chopping.

    @Bhagpuss: Seems some people have it (washed out graphics) and others don’t. I do believe it’s a hardware compatibility thing. Yesterday my group encountered dozens of bugs — some game stopping. Alpha typically means all of the features are in, so we agree it’s very much alpha.

    @Eva: Will do! I’ll probably strike out and go kill monsters and explore caverns at that time.

  • Here’s an example of what I mean by washed out. Take a look at the character select screen. See how the character just appears… off? Click for full size then zoom in.

  • The game crashed and for a split second the gamma looked perfect and the colors were rich. There’s got to be a setting somewhere.

  • I have it installed, but haven’t had much gaming time. Everytime I try to play I can’t. Either a long queue or servers being down.

  • “18000+ of a resource? yuck. Talk about brain dead mindless waste of time gaming.
    Clicking for hours on nodes and xml pop ups sounds like forced time sink to me. I will pass.”

    Buy a resource gathering booster in the sony shop! This is the future, woo!

  • I’d be playing this if it didn’t cost anything, or if the game actually cost $60. But I’m not going to spend $60 to play a game that will be free for everyone else shortly.

  • Keen.. have you been a victim of the vanishing claim yet? I just lost my 2nd claim to this. Since all of my crafting tables show back up in my inventory that is not very frustrating… but having to find another spot of land is annoying!

  • Yep, I just posted this on the forums. I’m not so lucky… I’ve lost my T2 crafting stations 🙁 Twice today in fact.

  • For any of you complaining about the 18,000 number, get over it. I just spent 20 mins screwing around carving a mineshaft into a hill (like we have all done in Minecraft 500 times and will probably do again) and walked away with 16,000 stone. The drop rate is not like Minecraft.

  • Anyone have issues with placing any building blocks other than square ones? I tried for like 30 minutes to place a slope block (and I definitely had enough stone) and I could change between changing orientation and scale but could never place it.

  • @Table thanks for the detailed answer to the bulk stone comment I made. So its not to bad after all.

    @Keen In that picture the character indeed looks washed out. Like the gloves hes wearing… blurry.

  • @Drathmar: I can definitely place other shapes, but I can’t place them well. I’m still getting used to the camera and the FOV.

  • @Keen Have you encountered any noteworthy buildings yet? I was on Liberation – Alas Tier 1 and there was a pretty nice structure someone had built already almost right next to the portal. One level but very high stone foundation with ramps and just about every crafting station I think they have in the game so far. Pretty impressive since I keep getting only about 25% of the way into the stilt house I am trying to build and keep losing it!

    Really enjoying it none the less though and this morning I was able to get a solid hour in with not a single glitch.

  • Nothing mind-blowing yet, but that’s because most of the nice looking materials are higher tier.

    I lost all of my crafting stations to a glitch so that’ll set me behind about a full day of harvesting or more.

  • Sounds like a great game will be born out of this which is great, the mmorpg space needs some fresh ideas.

    The paying for unfinished product trend in gaming…that’s a strange trend that seems to be growing and working for people…it reminds me of when f2p hit big…curious to see where this model ends up.

  • @Jim:

    It is interesting what a company can get away with and what people will accept as they become desensitized by degree over time to what would have been considered ludicrous if proposed even a few years ago.

    The release of EQNL is layered in such paradox:

    A “free to play” game that SOE is charging their most enthusiastic supporters $60-100,

    …not for a finished product, but for the privilege of alpha playtesting,

    …borrowing from precedent of kickstarting by truly needy independent studios, only coopted by a AAA corporate gaming outlet.

    It makes me wonder if anyone actually stopped to think “Why is it that I am paying a premium for an early preview of a F2P game that will have a free open beta in the near future?”

    The future of corporate panhandling is here today in SOE’s redefinition of “free to play”.


  • @Keen: Ya for some reason I read on the forums a bunch of people are having trouble with the delete/heal tool not working (though I think they only work inside your claim from testing), and with the add and selection tools bugging out and being stuck in places, though again that only seems to happen outside of claims

    I have been having fun just running around trying to find a claim, I did find one in a tier 3 land where about 70% of it is inside a hill which is awesome cause I wanted an underground home and this is as close as I can get now

  • I refused to pay for alpha for any accomplished company. Bad trend the industry is heading toward. Closing of vanguard doesnt help me see SoE in better light. Im glad I can read all about it here. Thanks.

  • You have been able to pay to get into game beta’s for 20 years now. You just bought them through ebay or from pre-ordering etc.

  • I’m glad the effort for collecting will be rewarded, as mentioned above. . .that will depend ENTIRELY on how they combat paid farmers and how or if they utilize a cash shop. Take the crafting system during the first 6 months of UO, add some farmers, a cash shop, and a global auction house and you’ll get a pile of who cares, nothing special, move along.

    Not being in the alpha let me ask a question that not many people are asking. I guess you guys all have an artistic flare but I, literally, cannot draw a circle, I’m the least artistic person that exists. Will non-artists, like me, be able to enjoy the EQ Landmark system? I’ll be able to collect resources with the best Chinese farmers out there (assuming I enjoy EQNext enough to invest the effort), but if my artistic talentlessness* doesn’t allow me to translate the resources into the vision then I’ll be hard presses to invest the effort.

    Are there base building plans?

  • The tools so far are pretty decent. I think they will translate much better than minecraft ever did for people who aren’t super engineers or good at designing and so far imo seems like once you learn the tools themselves will be easier to use for those who don’t have an artists eye. I do think if they stay the same though there will definitely be a decent learning curve to the tools though

  • Also just now saw your last sentence and while there is not (yet) eventually players will be able to make templates which in essence could include those or fully finished building etc for you to use.

  • @iLkRehp You can build on a grid system which is super easy and very much like MInecraft. As Drathmar replied yes there are building plans in the form of templates. People can create a template of their creations and then distribute them… or at least that is the theory. I know the template selection is their in my UI but I honestly have not explored it yet so not sure if it is active. (I would be surprised if it was this early though)

  • “You have been able to pay to get into game beta’s for 20 years now. You just bought them through ebay or from pre-ordering etc.”

    I believe what you are referring to is getting beta access for pre-purchasing the game.

    The difference is that SOE’s MSRP for EQNL at launch is $0 and they are charging $60-100 for alpha access.

    In other words, one isn’t paying for the game and getting a perk of early access, they are specifically buying early access at a premium cost, which invariably is targeting their most dedicated player base; in actuality even beta access is free, they are charging a premium for the earliest form of access.

    As I said in another thread if someone wants to be a F2P whale for EQNL that is their business, and quite literally SOE’s, but I do believe it sets exploitive precedents.

    While some of the monetization tactics they are using seem familiar, it is their reworking of the terms that is rapacious.

    By example, I would find it reasonable if SOE gave players an opportunity for alpha access after pre-purchasing a set amount of in game currency. Instead for $100 they get a virtual flag and some clothing, plus a few closed beta keys; hopefully for everyone’s sake the actual cash shop won’t reflect a comparable degree of inflation.

    It is interesting that even with the general strong F2P criticism expressed on this site, for EQNL it seems many here have eagerly made their first macrotransaction even in its current rough and incomplete state.

  • Lag is the worst of the worst. It takes me 5 minutes just to run across a valley to a forge then it takes another 5 minutes to line my character up to access a forge. Another bad thing that is going to be the downfall of this game is that it takes far to long to gather supplies to make anything. Been playing for 3 hours and still don’t even have enough supplies for a single claim flag. Hate to break it to SoE but more people will get sick of the time consumption than not. Wait an see how this pans out.