The EverQuest Next Landmark team is asking for feedback on improving the new user experience via a Roundtable poll. Â I voted, then gasped at the results. Â Notice a trend? Â Yeah, I tend to differ from most people. Â Sometime it’s because I believe niche mechanics are more fun. Â Sometimes it’s because I want a game to be more like another. Â This time I am positive that my answer is all about improving the new user experience and the experience for all players: Refine the Building Tools!
Character customization is an obvious throwaway. Â Add more faces, etc. Â Done. Â To me that falls into the ‘delighting your customers’ category. Â We can get to that when the rest of the game ‘works’ properly.
Clear, established goals are a slippery slope. Â I don’t necessarily want ‘goals’ to complete. Â In fact, the most fun I’ve had in Landmark was in the first 5 minutes when I logged in, ran 20 feet away from the spawn point, and starting breaking the earth beneath my feet. Â Then I chopped a tree and watched it fall explode and realized I was in a shared world manipulating the terrain and resources Â Those are lightbulb moments I wouldn’t take away from anyone. Â It’s in those moments when people realize all of the opportunities and potential of Landmark and the upcoming EverQuest Next. Â Sullying that with goals would be sad.
Easier to identify resources and improvements to crafting – No to the resources Â All of the resources are intuitively colored and literally all on the surface. Â That alone is already ridiculous (it’s Alpha, it’ll change) so I can’t really fathom making it easier to identify the massive blob of red rubies you can see on the map from any distance. Â Improvements to crafting I think will simply come over time and aren’t a ‘new user’ experience.
Better controls sure. Â I think the camera while building and gathering — especially digging downward — are not friendly to a new or existing player at all. Â We need the ability to pivot the camera while building or to be able to control the angle. Â Building in first person is really awkward at times. Â I think the entire camera and controls experience could use polish. Â Heck, I didn’t even know holding shift let me sprint.
Okay, now the one I feel is really most important and I can’t believe it received the least amount of votes so far.
Refinement of Building Tools
First, they are definitely awesome. Â They are powerful tools giving me the freedom to build unlike ever before. Â That said, they need work. Â The line tool is so glitchy. Â Single voxel lines do not work. Â Making lines will sometimes make jagged lines for no reason. There are tons of shortcut commands affecting how the tools work. Â Using the add tool (+) you can press G to snap to a grid or not, hit Shift+tab to influence where the placement happens, etc.
The smoothing tool acts more like a melting tool. Â Having to coordinate the select tool and/or utilize overly jagged edges to avoid your voxels you want to smooth from melting into puddles isn’t natural. Â The melting tool in square form still confuses me.
Those who can master and manipulate the current tools can take the same things I make and create masterpieces. Â That’s something I feel new and even proficient users like myself can benefit from moving forward.