EverQuest Next Landmark More than Just a Toolbox
So far weve seen and heard a lot about the world building aspects of EverQuest Next Landmark, but during PAX Prime we met with SOEs Dave Georgeson to discuss the core MMO aspects of the game.
Persistent worlds. Social tools and mechanics. Customizable characters. These are just a few of the building blocks of what constitutes a proper MMO. Perhaps one of the biggest things that EverQuest Next Landmark will add to that list is the idea that Creation can be equally as important to the growth of the industry as the forces of Destruction (i.e. combat systems) have been over the past 14 or 15 years. Thats not to say creation hasnt been a part of the equation thus far, but proper crafting systems and especially the players ability to add new things to the world have largely been downplayed in most games in favor of destructive combat systems.
While there werent too many new details revealed for EQNext Landmark during PAX Prime, a major takeaway is the notion that Landmark is indeed a full-on MMO, rather than just a fancy toolbox and next gen world building simulation game.
Before we dive into some of the details on exactly what that means, think about it this way. If you combine the easy to understand and interactive world building aspects of Minecraft, the robust social systems and tools from EverQuest and EverQuest II, the rich player-driven economy of EVE Online, and the ability to package up and trade your creations with other players above and beyond the scale of The Sims franchise, and pack all of that into a single title, youre coming close to understanding just how impactful the overall Landmark experience will be on the future of the MMO industry.
That in mind, lets take a look at some of the more specific aspects of Landmark that help make it a fully-featured, and altogether unique MMO experience based on some of the things we discussed with SOE's Dave Georgeson during PAX Prime.
The Adventurer Class
One of the most interesting things Dave Georgeson talked about when we met up with him this past weekend is the fact that your characters in Landmark will actually have a class association. At the start of the game youll automatically unlock the Adventurer class which will no doubt be most directly associated with your resource gathering and world building efforts, thought could also potentially provide one or more movement skill options.
If you followed the discussion on classes during SOE Live during the Classes panel (you can view the panel in its entirety here), youll remember that each class in EverQuest Next will have a number of different skill types associated with it. One of these types is focused on movement, and given the nature of travel and core gameplay in Landmark, it wont be too surprising if the Adventurer class comes bundled with a skill or skills of that type. While this wasnt expressly stated by Georgeson, it does seem a logical fit given how players will be able to traverse the entirety of each server or world in Landmark.
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that anyone who plays Landmark will automatically have the Adventurer class unlocked for their characters to use in EverQuest Next when that game launches. So right from day one youll have the ability to take advantage of, and get a feel for how the multi-classing system works since youll not only have your core starting class, but then the Adventurer class to work with as well.
As noted above, you will definitely have the ability to create and customize your specific character in Landmark. Youll start out with some basic gear, but over time will be able to give your character a more specific or personalized look and feel.
In our latest video interview with Dave over on EQHammer, he explains how youll also be able to augment your tools in a similar way to how altering or upgrading weapons will work in EQNext. While he didnt go into too many of the details on how that aspect of Landmark will work, it does lend itself well to the notion of meaningful character progression even in a game that isnt narrowly focused on combat experience for advancement as most MMOs tend to be.
A final quick note on characters is that we were also given a brief look at what the Dark Elves currently look like in-game. While we were only shown static character renders, the males shown certainly looked badass. In particular, the horns had a very unique look and feel too them that defies the stock goat horns you typically see in video games. (You can check out the renders in all their glory below to see what Im talking about)
Movement Between Worlds
Usually in an MMO if you want to switch between game servers it involves either a lengthy waiting period or, in many cases, possibly even a cash payment. Certain games such as Guild Wars 2 have guesting features that allow you to temporarily play on other home worlds, but these commonly come with certain limitations.
To the best of my knowledge, Landmark will be the first MMO to provide the ability to freely move between worlds using in-game mechanics. The wizard spires prominently featured in much of the early in-game footage for EQNext will serve as gateways between worlds, and as such is also where players will be able to buy and sell items on the market. For original EQ players this will be somewhat similar to taking the spire to Nexus and from there zoning into the Bazaar.
As a side note, I couldnt help but ask Georgeson if the wizard spires could take players to Luclin. With one of his trademark raised-eyebrow replies, he noted that players wont be able to travel to Luclin within Landmark, but theres always the potential for players to build it on one of the available worlds if they really wanted to. Anyone up for tackling a moon-sized project in Landmark?
The Tip of the Landmark Iceberg
We have a lot more to talk about when it comes to Landmark, and like many gamers, we cant wait to get our hands on the game. While we continue to ponder the multitude of possibilities, be sure to visit our EQ franchise site, EQHammer.com, and join the community in the ongoing discussions about EQNext and Landmark.