Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Kindness Of Strangers : Landmark

Dave Georgeson posted a very informative "State of the Alpha" update on the official forums today. Of course, you'll only be able to follow that link to its conclusion if you're registered for alpha, in which case you'll almost certainly already have read it. Don't know why I mentioned it now... Fortunately for any other interested parties he also gave an interview to Massively which covered most of the best bits.

A new server is due either tonight or tomorrow with more to come, which should first alleviate and then resolve by far the most serious problem, namely the extreme lack of Land on which to make your Mark. That should make  Rowan happy. Also Mrs Bhagpuss and thereby me.

I did manage to stake a Claim, albeit out in some god-forsaken, waterless boondock but even that was not to last.

Man, when they build the Mall I'm made!

Under the pitiless desert sun I built something that vaguely resembled the first level of a mock-medieval multistory car park. I built it out of dirt. When I logged back in later both my eyesore and my claim had vanished, the former healed by the land, the latter, presumably, lost to a bug. My attempt to reclaim the same spot was firmly rebuffed and I couldn't find anywhere else so that was that.

In my brief time as a landowner I'd not been able to place the Saw Table I was carrying around with me, although whether due to another bug or my own inability to figure out what I was supposed to do with it, I couldn't say. I needed that table to make some planks to make a bronze pick so I could stop getting the annoying message that pops up when you try to dig up something too sophisticated for your current primitive tool.

That pile of logs burst into flame when I touched it. I was ridiculously impressed.

A quandary, then; how to make planks on a table you are only able to carry around on your back? Well that's where the multiplayer aspect of this whole enterprise kicks in. I found a thread on the forums listing the names and locations of players who had constructed crafting stations on their claims and flagged them for public use. This is why we like alphas and betas!

 It can't be a trap. PvP isn't in yet.

Picking the first off the list, a quick trip via spire along the ley lines (Norrath has ley lines. Who knew? The Combine Empire, apparently...) a short run due north to the foothills of a mountain range and there it was, Canibaal's Claim, all aglow with the welcoming light of the forge. Or possibly the fire under his cook-pot.

You always remember your first
From his saw table I was able to make the planks I needed for my Bronze Pick but that was skipping a crucial step. To make a Bronze Pick first take your Copper Pick. I have no idea why just like I have no idea why it takes one thousand plain wood logs to make a Copper Pick. It just does, alright?

That kept me occupied for a while. Luckily for me, Canibaal built his craft center on the edge a delightful little forest. It's in a  clearing now. Oh, hush! I'm doing him a favor. It's easier for freeloaders visitors to find his place now. Anyway, they'll grow back. Eventually.

What matters is I got my Bronze Pick so now I can mine iron and aquamarines and make an Iron Pick. You'd be surprised just how much I'm looking forward to it.


  1. I'm pretty sure claims do get lost for real, and the self healing land is something they've been battling to find a definitive fix for past day or so, but there is definitely another bug where you log into the server where it says your claim is located, and it sends you to the exact same location on the exact same island, but on the wrong server.

    First time it happened to me I thought I'd lost my claim, but then I noticed all the claims around where I'd put mine, were different too. Logged out, poked around with server selection, somehow ended up on the right server and there was my claim.

    So its worth going to the portal crystal thing and making sure you're on the server you think you are.

    1. That did occur to me but I wasn't sufficiently committed to that spot to go look. I presume I'll find out if I still have an extant claim when I try to clam a new spot on one of the fresh servers. Can't say I really understand the claim process very clearly yet.

  2. I did finally find a claim on the new Serenity server I'm hoping to be able to move it slightly so Scooter can claim a spot nearby.

    1. Grats! Just about to log in now to see if anything's left on Serenity. Probably going to have to wait for the next batch of servers but I don;t really have time to ply until the weekend so that's fine.

  3. My prediction for a genuine go live, no longer beta date for Landmark was October 15, 2014. How does that date feel now that you are poking about in the early alpha?

    1. Well, it may be majorly feature-incomplete and buggy as a swamp in June but actually it's way more playable and polished than I expected and already surprisingly enjoyable to play. Clearly needs a LOT of work yet, though.

      Still, they're being being pretty bullish about the whole thing. First they start the Alpha a full month earlier than the latest start date they floated; then they dropped the NDA after 24 hours when they had previously said it would last all Alpha and possibly some of closed beta. In the first "what's coming" post on the forums just a few days after launch Dave Georgeson is already suggesting some of the things we weren't expecting until beta may make it into late Alpha.

      For whatever reason they seem to be on fast-forward with Landmark so I would say October is quite a bit too far out for a final launch. I know the shovelware F2P houses like to go into Open Beta and sit there for years but I don't think either the American or Japanese corporate mind works that way. They will want the perceived authority of an official launch.

      If you look at the website the Founder's Pack now implies a hard date for Closed Beta of 31 March (they've changed the wording) although the FAQ still says "on or before". My guess is they would like to go to Open Beta no later than the beginning of June. If that goes well I can't see a reason to stay in OB longer than a month at the most.

      So, I'd plump for a July Live date. Whether they can actually have the game "finished" by then is another matter. If they do get Landmark out the door in the Summer I wouldn't be surprised to see EQN go to the same schedule and process, namely a buy-in Alpha starting very early in 2015.

  4. Hey there!

    There is a Rumour of Spring developing on the Serenity Server. Someone has sailed off to get busy digging up gold and treasure in a new world.

    1. Yay! My claim's on Serenity too. No guild structure in yet but when it comes let's organize :P


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