The EverQuest Next Landmark team is asking for feedback on improving the new user experience via a Roundtable poll. I voted, then gasped at the results. Notice a trend? Yeah, I tend to differ from most people. Sometime it’s because I believe niche mechanics are more fun. Sometimes it’s because I want a game to be more like another. 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. Add more faces, etc. Done. To me that falls into the ‘delighting your customers’ category. We can get to that when the rest of the game ‘works’ properly.
Clear, established goals are a slippery slope. I don’t necessarily want ‘goals’ to complete. 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. Then I chopped a tree and watched it fall explode and realized I was in a shared world manipulating the terrain and resources Those are lightbulb moments I wouldn’t take away from anyone. It’s in those moments when people realize all of the opportunities and potential of Landmark and the upcoming EverQuest Next. Sullying that with goals would be sad.
Easier to identify resources and improvements to crafting – No to the resources All of the resources are intuitively colored and literally all on the surface. 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. Improvements to crafting I think will simply come over time and aren’t a ‘new user’ experience.
Better controls sure. I think the camera while building and gathering — especially digging downward — are not friendly to a new or existing player at all. We need the ability to pivot the camera while building or to be able to control the angle. Building in first person is really awkward at times. I think the entire camera and controls experience could use polish. 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. They are powerful tools giving me the freedom to build unlike ever before. That said, they need work. The line tool is so glitchy. Single voxel lines do not work. Making lines will sometimes make jagged lines for no reason. There are tons of shortcut commands affecting how the tools work. 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. 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. 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. That’s something I feel new and even proficient users like myself can benefit from moving forward.