Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Heroic Fantasies : EQ2, EQNext, EQLandmark

I really wasn't planning on posting anything again today, but then I saw this Dave Georgeson interview linked over at Massively. Some choice quotes:

We’ve always intended to have combat in Landmark.  We weren’t announcing it because we weren’t certain whether we could get it in right away…"

“Landmark will have a wide range of combat experiences, and it’s going to use the same emergent AI system found in EverQuest Next – but possibly not in the exact same way. As far as actual combat AI goes, it will be the same model.”

“As far as you actually play in the game in combat, we want to embrace a bunch of different gameplay styles. If you want to be able to be ranged, you’ll be able to. Spells and melee, you’ll be able to..."

 “People that want to be able to build without monsters will be able to do that, and people that do want risk will be able to play with risk and get greater associated rewards.”

“This is just the beginning.  Imagine what will happen when we add PvP to EverQuest Next Landmark.

 He does have a way with words, that Smokejumper, doesn't he though? Anyway, so, let me see if I have this straight. We currently have two combat-oriented, high-fantasy MMOs  running under the Everquest franchise. We've known for a while that we were getting a third sometime in the next year or two. Then out of the blue at SOE Live we learned that we'd also be getting something called EQLandmark, which looked to be a trimmed-down version of the toolset currently in use to build EQNext, more an amuse-bouche before the banquet than a meal in itself.

Who the hell are you and what did you do with my master?

That toolset has now mutated into something that looks less like Second Life : Norrath or  Minecraft: The Everquest Edition and more like yet another combat-oriented, high-fantasy MMO with all the trimmings and then some. Which will give us, in not so very long from now, four full-feature MMOs running simultaneously under the Everquest franchise.

Is this wise? Is it, in fact, even sane?

Maybe it is. I was going to get Landmark anyway and I can't say this has made me any less interested. If anything, more. Maybe they do know what they're... no, I can't even finish that sentence with a straight face.

In other Everquest news, Heroic Characters are here and we got 'em. As Wilhelm can attest, the marketing and PR departments haven't had their finest hour with this one but Mrs Bhagpuss and I made our HCs and they work. We also pre-ordered the upcoming Tears of Veeshan expansion, a real bargain since it comes bundled with the previous expansion, Chains of Eternity, which we hadn't yet bought, what with playing GW2 all year.

SOE are also being unusually generous with a 33% off deal on ToV for All Access customers, meaning that buying the package for our two AA accounts and our two main Silver accounts came out at less than $20 per expansion, or less in total than we'll be spending for a couple of nights in a cheap hotel on our upcoming holiday. For something that will provide hundreds of hours of entertainment, that's a pretty good deal.

And if that's not enough, by pre-ordering we get access to the earlier expansion right away. Just don't ask what happens if we play all the way through it by November and then cancel the pre-order...

Now I'm off to try and make sense of all those new AAs.


  1. It almost sounds like Landmark is the test server. I has many of the same mechanics and systems but its a place for them to test the bounds of the game and functionality as well as a place that allows players more control

  2. Yes, from the interview it sounds like he makes the distinction that EQNext will feature "character progression", which seems to imply that Landmark will not.

    Here's what I think will happen. Landmark will be a free to play mashup of Minecraft and EQNext, where you create an Adventurer character that doesn't level up, but can get/create items through crafting and limited combat. There will be several continents to create content on, with different rulesets: the strictest will be the "Norrathian" continent, where dick-statues will be deleted, and the architecture must look "official", then several continents where anything goes, with various levels of NPC/AI threat (from hardcore down to none). Content created on the Landmark Norrathian continent can be submitted for approval to be purchased by other players and used by them in both Landmark and in EQNext.

    EQNext will then be a full-up MMO with "character progression" and player-built structures, where the structures allowed to be placed/built are restricted to approved models from Landmark's Norrathian continent. There will probably be a paid-account option for EQNext, whereas Landmark will probably always be free. So in the end, yes there are 2 MMOs, but one is more like the test server where the players are free to do whatever, SOE can experiment with whatever, and the players help create a ton of content for the "real" MMO, thus relieving SOE of much of that particular burden. It's actually quite ingenious, and I can't wait to get started on it.

  3. Interesting that you both made the "Test Server" comparison. That hadn't occurred to me but it does kind of make sense. SOE have always made considerable use of Test and Beta servers but the problem has always been how to persuade enough people to play on them, and play normally, so that not only do bugs get found but gameplay and design decisions can be tweaked too. By putting out Landmark as a separate MMO long before EQNext launches and making it use most of the same systems they do indeed get to run a massive, ongoing live test for EQN, and they even make money on it.

    Very clever. Some people are going to call it exploitative. Me, I played five years on EQ2 Test and a good deal on EQ Test. I like playing in a testbed environment. Makes things interesting.


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