Saturday, March 29, 2014

Journeys and Tourneys : Landmark, GW2

Landmark Closed Beta arrived this week, whipping up a flurry of blog posts as it blew in.

StarShadow's finding it fun, Syl's already planning her own private Kelethin and Ald seems to be having the same problem I did on day one of Alpha (use shift-scroll to zoom, Ald!)

Tobold senses disrespect for the Great European Vacation Tradition to which I say if you think that's disrespectful you ain't seen nothing yet! I refer you to the Alpha Screenshot Competition (NA Only - Rest of the World not invited), Player Studio (ditto but "we're working on it") and the whole PSS1 debacle. Rowan also has reservations about the upkeep system, all of which will, I believe, be satisfactorily resolved in due time. This is Alpha Beta, after all.

Liore queries the crafting and questions whether front-loading gathering is such a good idea. The entire crafting system is going to change, so the Blueprint (formerly known as The Roadmap - SOE on a name-change roll, evidently) tells us. It's a good point all the same. SOE are determined Landmark's going to be a full-on MMO, not just a building set but how that's going to play out remains unclear. Will the hordes of casually interested free-to-players want to spend the first week or two gathering to make the tools they need before they can build anything? Is that how Minecraft and all these other build-your-own-castle games work? I don't know - I never played any of them.

Be glad you don't have to log in every day. I could name a couple of games...

Jaedia got a free key from Bhelgast, who likes Landmark so much he bought a new video card to play it on Ultra. Oddly, the game seems to default to ultra, or it did for me, so I've had it that way since Alpha and it mostly runs okay even though my PC isn't much over minimum spec for the game. At least, it does when I'm out in the wilds or on my own claim. Around people, not so much...

While we're on the subject of free Landmark beta keys I still have one left (two if Corpserun doesn't get in touch soon). There seem to be so many floating around that I imagine most anyone who really wanted one is fixed up already, but if not, first to ask in the comments gets one - just be sure and leave some means of contact so I can send it to you!.

Last but definitely not least, Jeromai's first thoughts on Landmark turn out to be as detailed and considered as some people's full reviews.

That's just a quick round-up of some of the posts that popped up in my Feedly and Blogroll. There must be many, many more. As for me, I haven't had much time to play or post so far. There's really no rush. Two things occurred to me as I was feverishly searching for Agate to (which it turned out I didn't need anyway) and getting all stressed about not finding any.

Can we craft safety goggles yet? These woodchips really fly.

The first is that Landmark is not a casual game. It really isn't. It does not benefit from a quick hour here and there, which means it may also not be the best game to play in the evenings after work, even if the actual "gameplay" can be so relaxing it becomes almost mesmeric. To get anything done requires big blocks of time and some serious commitment. If you're going to power down at the end of a session with a feeling of satisfaction you need to realize that everything you do in Landmark is going to take you a long time and progress will be slow and incremental. In that regard it really is an Everquest game, even if it's no longer officially part of the franchise.

Maybe that will change when achievements, combat and loot are all in but for now I'm saving my energy for one of those long European holidays that Tobold mentioned, something of which I always get plenty around this time of year since I have to use-or-lose all my unspent vacation days by the end of April.

The second is that, while SOE may call this a "Closed Beta", it might as well be launch. Yes, there is one guaranteed wipe coming, when caves and water are added and the world finds the form it will take from then onwards, but it's a wipe for the world, not for the players. When the servers come back up you will log back in as the exact same character with all the items you had, all the progress you have made, all your materials and props, everything.

All your claims will have been auto-templated and the one thing left for you to do will be to reclaim and one-click rebuild. If any other wipes are needed we are promised the same service. If my character and all his possessions are persistent from here on, how is that any different from the game being Live? All MMOs are in constant flux - this one will just fluxate more than most for a while.

That's me, dead in the middle, in every meaning of the expression.

So, if this week marks the first step on a journey that may last many years, there's really no need to set off at a dead run. Which is just as well because I have something else distracting me.

The Tourney aka WvW Season 2 began last night at 1 am UK time. I said I wasn't going to stay up for reset but of course I did and it was three in the morning and a couple more brandies than I was planning before I finally called it a night. I plumped for homeland defense and the battles to hold Hills as Borliss Pass and Sanctum of Rall pounded us with catapults and wave after wave of footsoldiers were some of the best I've had in WvW.

I love keep defense and this was real horatio-at-the-bridge stuff, with a handful of Yaks wedged in the corridor to the Lord's Room, holding off much greater forces outside. It did look as though BP and SoR were co-ordinating strategy, although from what I saw when I was lying dead on the bridge and a flying wedge of SoR hit BP square in the back as they were pressuring us, the message may not have gotten down as far as the troops on the ground.

Hey, I have the longest range - it makes sense for me to be all the way back here...

As Yaks learned in Season One, it's hard to set up a cross-server Alliance but much, much harder to keep one up and running effectively for a prolonged period. The tripartite structure of WvW invites double-teaming but it hardly ever happens, or not in any organized or prolonged fashion. It makes the whole enterprise so much more exciting and vital when servers can pull off a coup by combining their efforts, though, so I hope we'll see some such strategies brought to tactical fruition somewhere in the Leagues over the coming nine weeks. Looking at the score this morning, though, there's no hint of an alliance working out for BP and SoR just yet...

The structure of The Tourney means that if we storm the first week (the way we stormed last week versus the same opponents) we'll be matched next week against other high points-scorers. Chances are that would mean Fort Aspenwood and Henge of Denravi, strongest and most-improved servers in Silver League respectively, which would mean a very tough week for Yaks Bend and one in which we could well come a distant third. After that, who knows?

It's going to be a very interesting nine weeks and that's not even mentioning the Feature Pack and all the chaos that's going to bring. How much time all that will leave for building imaginary houses I wouldn't like to say.


  1. Hi Bhagpuss, longtime happy lurker/reader and first time commenter. I would love a beta key and the way to reach me is my email at

    1. And you're very welcome! Thanks for reading. Key sent!

  2. The Inn of the last Home is coming along ever so slowly :) I have spent all weekend in Landmark and oh dear, I already love the world - the colors, the sounds, the atmosphere, the light <3
    I have also started to visit a few bloggers on their claim so here's the question: what's your ingame name? I think I sent Bhagpuss a friend invite but not sure that's even your name in Landmark, so :)

    1. It's not, so if you get a reply from that invite it's not me :P. I never use Bhagpuss for anything in any MMO and in fact I generally make up a new name for every character every time although I do have a couple of stand-bys for checking out new games, one of which I'm using in Landmark. Other than that, I have a problem with re-using the same name because the character isn't me and neither are they the same character so using the same name is confusing for me, although probably not as confusing as using dozens of different ones is for every body else.

      I've just sent you an invite in-game, assuming you're Syl. I also just noticed that I'd spelt Ravious wrong when I added him so I've been friends with someone called Ravous instead ! He exists, too, 'cos he accepted.

    2. Ah but am not Syl :P hehe I'm usually always Sylvara :)

    3. Lol! I'll invite you as that next time I log in then. I wonder if there's a Syl? Unlike Ravous if there is he or she doesn't accept drive-by friendings!

  3. Hi Bhagpuss

    If you've got another beta key, i would love to receive it :-) i'm seraching about it so looonnnggg ^^

  4. Oh my mail is

    1. HI Gorky. I haven't heard anything more from Corpserun so I've sent you the key I was going to give to him. Sorry, Corpse - I'm sure someone else will be able to sort you out if you're still interested.

      And that concludes the Great Landmark Beta Giveaway, such as it was! Thanks to Mrs Bhagpuss for donating the keys.

    2. Thanks a lot, you make me happy ;-))
      I love you, lol ^^


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