Some of you may remember back in early Alpha when Daybreak's Landmark was called "EverQuest Next: Landmark". Over at EQHammer it went hotly debated for a little while. There were a lot of us criticizing the title when, at that time, there was very little about Landmark that left any hint of EverQuest at all.
Aside from the center hub spires, there really wasn't anything about Landmark that communicated to me that it had anything to do with EverQuest. Fast-forward to today, after the name correction and I'd almost have to argue that the majority of the most active and prolific builders playing Landmark right now are actually working on EverQuest related content. To me, it's much more about EverQuest Next than it was initially (before we had the workshop show and all that).
But what if they hadn't changed the name?
What if EverQuest Next: Landmark was still real?
Even more intriguing, what if they never had felt any pressure to market Landmark as its own stand-alone title and it existed simply as a step-stool to reaching EverQuest Next? I wonder if it might have more active players, or if it would have any of the thin amount of success (from a monetization standpoint) that it currently does. It's hard to guess.
I would wager that the game would hold up better against the inevitable criticism that was bound to come about either way.
I mean, it is in early access (and you all know how I feel about those programs), so some amount of incompleteness should be expected; but from the way it got hyped at the end of 2013, you would have thought that SOE was sitting on something epic. Landmark is good, but not yet great; and it's a far cry from epic right now.
If anything about that game is epic - it would be the creations getting pumped out almost weekly by some of the game's most dedicated voxelmancers. The technology is pretty awesome, and the quality of the assets is also very good - but the game still lacks its own purpose and identity. The only purpose the game currently has is making EverQuest Next a reality.
Which begs the question if as to whether they should have changed the name at all.
I feel a bit of regret for being so harsh on the team about "EverQuest" being in the title back in Alpha - as they clearly had a vision that I feel like I am just now beginning to appreciate. Unfortunately, I feel like most people on the outside looking in are confused. They're trying to view Landmark as a stand-alone title and I can't fairly say it contains any features or attributes that would qualify it as its own game just yet.
In fact, I feel like it has a long way to go before it ever really sheds it's EverQuest Next skin. I would imagine we won't be seeing Daybreak talk about a potential release of EverQuest Next until deep into 2017 (you have no idea how painful that was to write for me). So it's hard for me to believe that Landmark will get any significant individual attention prior to EverQuest Next setting sail as its own separate ship.
At a bare minimum I think Landmark needs a good year of EQNext-free development to really round it out as a fully engaging, unique title of its own. When you do the math that puts somewhere around late 2018 for having a Landmark that doesn't feel like an EverQuest Next construction zone. Again, this is all speculation, but I feel like I'm being pretty fair here with the estimations.
Any developer on either of those projects that happens to have made it this far, you're probably cringing and secretly hating me in some way (hate is too strong of a word, but I can't think of something more fitting at the moment). Essentially I'm admitting to unfairly criticizing them earlier about the games conjoined title; yet now I'm basically trying to say they shouldn't have changed the name (and were probably better off just leaving it that way for a while).
Ultimately, we're all elbow deep in this thing (players and developers included), so nuances of the title are probably irrelevant at this point.
In fact, the only reason I really felt such an urge to bring up this topic was to spark some discussion about Landmark's identity. I'm honestly curious what the majority of people think about it. Does anyone care what the game is called? Does anyone care what function this game/tool currently serves? More importantly, what is it about Landmark that draws you and keeps you contributing? Is it Landmark's currently gameplay, or just the hope that you're somehow aiding or speeding up the development of EverQuest Next?
Seriously, I want to know what the public's mindset is.
I have a special admiration and attachment to the Landmark/EverQuest Next community and due to everything that's happened the last few months - I don't feel like there is much discussion happening about these two works in progress. Outside of the official forums (and still even there), I feel like it's gone a bit quiet.
Where did everyone go; and if you're still active in Landmark - what is keeping you around. I've popped back in after the wipe and been cruising through achievements and finding my own individual goals to pursue and enjoying my own ride... but I want to know if and how everyone else is.
What is Landmark to you, and why are you still paying attention? (A fair question to ask if you've read this deep into the article.) Do me a solid and comment below with your thoughts, opinions, and your own personal take in general. I'm extremely curious to see where everyone is sitting now a full year (or more) into this Early Access experience.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Landmark Game Page.