Sunday, 9 March 2014

Why I'm Not Playing Landmark

I'm trying to avoid playing Landmark. Couple of reasons. If you look at the purchase information for the Founder's Pack it still leads with "You will receive these items on or before March 31 2014" and the first item on the list of those you'll receive is "Unlimited Closed Beta Access". Therefore I take it that closed beta begins in no more than three weeks and we know there will be a minimum of one full wipe at the end of Alpha and very probably another before then, when they add new biomes.

At least that was what we were warned, although SOE managed to add new biomes this week without a wipe, Tundra and Old Growth Forest on a dozen fresh islands. We also got two extra claim flags to make claims that adjoin our main claim and the ability to craft all the shrubs, flowers and trees currently in the world, pending the addition of the collection system, which I'm guessing we'll eventually use to play Combat Botanist.

So, that's one reason I'm trying to avoid playing, even though the new biomes look spiffy and I suddenly have three times the available space. I was thinking of starting my own ski-slope cum arboretum, only it would take me dozens and dozens of hours to build and I'd never get it done in time. And even if I did it would be gone come April.

There's a long thread on the forums full of replies to the question of why so few people are playing. Most of the answers are some form of "I'm waiting until we reach the stage that interests me, or there's new stuff to see/do and/or until what I do will have some permanence". Even the relatively minor new content in the recent patch was sufficient incentive to send all worlds from Low to Medium so I'd anticipate a huge surge when beta rolls around, which brings me to the second reason I'm trying not to play Landmark.

I'm a little nervous about beta. When it arrives, pretty much everything starts to count. Almost all progress carries over to Open Beta and thence to Live. That means I could start building in earnest and building in Landmark is a dangerously addictive activity. I can all too easily lose an entire evening just fiddling around with some railings. I am genuinely apprehensive about how much time I might end up devoting to piling up voxels.

Creativity is a fearsome thing and one of the attractions of playing MMOs for me has always been that they act as a very effective surrogate for a creative urge that, in the past, I have sometimes found difficult to manage. This feels a little too much like the real thing rather than a surrogate and I'm wary of waking the sleeping beast. Moreover, if I'm going to start putting MMO-scale hours into a genuine creative project, well there are probably things I could do that would better use that time than building eccentric and poorly-finished imaginary buildings.

I have a strong feeling I'll feel a lot more comfortable with Landmark when it turns into a proper MMO where I can just go out and kill monsters and collect flowers. By then I should be able to face it with equanimity. Right now I hardly dare log in.

5 comments:

  1. I too am quite excited for beta.. I shouldn't have gone in for the alpha founders that's definitely not what I wanted but the slow updates have been adding a lot of great stuff. Once it's a more complete product I'll be spending a lot of time there.

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  2. damn you and your shiny screenshots :P
    I am also waiting until end of March. I got myself the founder's pack and well...I have exams until April 2nd so I hope I won't miss too much of the run. =/ I would love to have a claim in a snowy area.

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  3. I'm no longer at that level of enthusiasm. And there wasn't anything I disliked about LM. However, I think I have only one more start to finish build in me, perhaps followed by sporadic tweaks until EQN comes along. So I'm bailing until it releases.

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  4. @j3w3l - I probably would have held off until beta and saved myself $40 but the Trailblazer Pack made a great present for Mrs Bhagpuss and I thought I might as well join her. I could probably have blogged about it just piggybacking on her account but as it turned out I found the building a lot more enjoyable than I was expecting so it's been money well spent, I think.

    @ Syl - Landmark really does brush up nicely for a photograph, doesn't it? I think it might actually look better in screenshots than in-game.

    @Saylah - I'm by no means sure I'll ever build anything planned, certainly no grand projects, but I've been very surprised by just how easy it is to go from placing a few voxels to spending many hours fiddling around trying to get things how I'd like them. A lot of that comes from learning as I go, though. I think that if I had facility with the tools then the entertainment value might start to depend more on what I was going to do with them than the simple pleasure of getting them to work at all.

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  5. I'm barely in there but LOVING the extra claim spaces. Changes the whole game.

    But yeah - not going to spend the hours I already have. I'll mess around but already logged enough time that I found bugs, lost stuff, made stuff, helped and HAD FUN! Unfortunately, any more fun and I'll feel like I'm losing something something when they wipe.

    Every time they patch I'll spend an hour or two, but little time dedication now =)

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