First thoughts on Landmark MMO Closed Beta

Well I was searching for articles on Landmark MMO closed Beta that I could read at work. It turns out that most I found were on wordpress so I figured why dont I start documenting what I am doing. Now I dont know much about the game yet but as I learn more I will try and post some pictures and such. Who knows maybe even a few how too articles once I know “how too.”

First a little background I started my MMO career with Gemstone III MUD and then transitioned into Everquest 2. From there I have played all of Sony’s games (even Matrix) and have enjoyed them immensely. As life has gone on I have played fewer and fewer games but I have always kept my toe in the water as it were. For the past two years I have eagerly awaited EQNext and like many of you I have been disappointed since it has not arrived. So I went to other games such as World of Tanks, LOTRO and my trusty CiV games. Then I saw the Steam deal.

Steam decided to offer us 60% off of Landmark. Now I never really considered playing Landmark I thought the idea of paying to play in a Beta slightly ridiculous. But the price was just too low and I wanted to know what was going on. I have to admit So far I have been very pleased with my decision.

For those of you who do not know Landmark is the latest instalment of Everquest esq games. This game is based on the sandbox concept with an emphasis on building things. You can think of it as minecraft but with much better graphics. From what I understand eventually the things you create in this game could be used in the development of EQnext. A concept that is both cool and sneaky on Sonys part. The cool thing is you can really build almost anything you want. I have seen cottages, mazes, castles, and even a full service gas station (I kid you not). You go out searching for the raw materials that you use to create these things. At the same time you are gathering so that you can create ever more powerful tools that can be used to make your life easier. The sneaky part is that Sony can use these things for its other games AND we pay for the privilege of doing their work for them.

So the bad and ugly of this game. First is that this is a closed beta it is not even close to being a finished product. You are there to test the limits of what they have and experiment with what they give you. The game crashes and has weird visual effects that just make the game hard to play. Second the tutorial is weak and very limited. It shows you how to start your first claim (that is the place you build on) and walks you through making your first few items. But that is just scratching the service and that service is DEEP. The tools for building are not intuitive. Here is a hint Sony if you have to go online just to figure out how to rotate a block your system is flawed in a building game. Third the biomes (islands you can build on) hint at diversity but really it is all very much the same a inner biome of one type like desert of tundra and an outer ring of another biome. If they really want exploration to be a part of the game it should be a mystery whats over the next horizon. Four there is no danger because they have not introduced monsters yet but it is coming. Fifth and finally there is not market place or economy. If this game is going to be about crafting and such I think the game will need a robust economy. As such I feel they should have been working on that from the very beginning. The thing I like the most about EQ2 was the crafting and selling things on the broker. I hope these things are added soon.

Now I am sure you all have been waiting for the good and there is a lot there. The number one thing is you can build almost anything you can imagine. The only thing stopping you is your imagination and the ability to manipulate voxels (unit of measurement or building block). This takes a fine hand and a lot of research but I have seen some amazing things. Next finding the nodes (resources) can be an adventure in itself. You are always looking out for that next rich vein of gold or marble that you need to create something. Spelunking is another fun past time. They have introduced cave systems and withing are the best nodes and hidden treasure chests. I have spent hours lost in caves digging up cool resources and searching for chest. The community is also helpful, at this time it is small since it is closed beta but I feel the type of person this game attracts lends itself to helpful people.

The future is bright for this game I think. They are adding monsters and have already added some limited PVP. As the danger increases they game will become more interesting. Even as I speak the developers are finetuning the building tools and my hope it that they will become easier and easier. My hope is when open beta arrives we will have a marketplace where we can start trading our goods and templates (saved building and items we created). All in all I am happy that I am helping with this game development and at the paltry price of twenty bucks I have gained hours of enjoyment.