EverQuest Landmark Alpha Out Today, What To Expect

By Nathan Grayson on January 31st, 2014 at 6:30 pm.

We’ve played EverQuest Next Landmark and spoken with SOE about their mad (yet not entirely impossible) ambitions for the game/world creation Photoshop thing as it grows and evolves, but now it’s your turn. Well, maybe. If you’re willing to pay and also not talk about it for a while (hip-hip-hurrNDA, etc). EQNL’s roughly 60 percent complete paid alpha will launch later today, but it won’t be without its bumps in the road. We spoke with SOE about how it’ll handle progression, character wipes, and other growing pains typically associated with bouncing baby entire universes. Tunnel to the chewy, nougaty center of this post for everything you’ll need to know.

First up, here are the key bits: EQNL will ultimately be F2P, but for now you can only access it by way of purchasable founder’s packs, which will cost you a handful of your prettiest pennies. The lowest tier that offers alpha access is $59.99, so think carefully before shelling out, lest you slip on a puddle of your own regret tears, fall down a flight of stairs, and miraculously emerge with only minor bruising.

The initial alpha launch will contain building and crafting progressions – which are advanced by way of achievements instead of traditional level-ups – but not combat. That’ll come in a later update. For now, though, you’ll begin with only three tools (add, delete, and the option to restore a surface to its server-fresh state), and you’ll have to craft the rest over time. Crafting all of your tools and building abilities should take around nine hours, which isn’t terrible in the grand scheme of MMOs, but I do worry that it’ll be a bit grindy – especially for people who just want to jump in and build.

But what about the ever-looming alpha specter that is character wipes? Well, the bad news is that SOE does plan to call down a few from the e-heavens, but it has a clever way of circumventing a lot of the heartbreak that’s typically involved. Also, the majority of wipes will affect the game world, not your characters, and you’ll be able to save your built objects and redeploy them once the world is done vomiting new parts of itself into existence.

“We’ll use character wipes very, very rarely,” SOE told RPS. “Only when absolutely necessary. We know, for instance, an example is that we’ll have two biomes when we first enter alpha, but we’ll have two more coming online soon. When those two biomes come in, we’re gonna want to recreate the continents so people have a more representative play experience. That will be a time when we likely do a continent wipe.”

“But in terms of wiping your characters and their templates [for constructed items], there’s only one time I can think of where we plan to do that, and that’s at the end of alpha. Just before closed beta. And before continent wipes, we’ll give you a warning so you can template [everything in your claimed land area]. That’ll only happen once during alpha.”

Templates are bound to accounts too, so even in the event of character wipes, they’ll likely persist.

As for when alpha will roll over into beta, expect SOE to pull the gigantic Lever Of Increasingly Arbitrary Game State Designations in “not many months.” The current plan is to begin beta no later than March 31st, but you never know with these things. SOE’s going extra big on player feedback for this one too (there’s an in-game “Devtalk” feature, among other things), so it could rearrange the puzzle pieces quite a bit before primetime.

Alpha’s the first step, though, and it’ll begin later today. There’s no specific time yet because SOE is still crunching on a few last-second issues, which is, um… game development! Are you considering getting in on Landmark’s ground floor even though it might cave in on you, or do you think you’ll wait a little while longer before trying it out?

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40 Comments »

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  1. kael13 says:

    I want to, but I also don’t want to pay for it. Apparently, there is also going to be an NDA for alpha players, just so they can ruin our fun even further.

    • kris713 says:

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  2. Premium User Badge

    Keymonk says:

    Alpha and beta aren’t arbitrary terms – it’s just that they’re (erroneously) used interchangeably.

    Alpha generally means before feature complete, and beta means after it’s feature complete. Generally features still added in alpha, where beta is solely for the last testing and tuning. That’s the general rule, at least.

    • The Random One says:

      If enough people use them erroneously they become arbitrary.

      • Wendelius says:

        Not really. Because when developers use them, they know exactly what they mean and what internal milestones must be met to advance from one to the next.

        The tipping point might not be clear to the outside world, but that does not make it an arbitrary game state designation.

    • SaintShion says:

      I think the distinction here is that alpha and beta are generally not as consistently applied to tests. Features and development cycles called Alpha and Beta are typically a lot more regimented than the tests, which can be a bit arbitrary in their terminology.

  3. GeminiathXL says:

    Woops. Time to buy it….like….now. Yup.

    • Carlos Danger says:

      Won’t get your e-mail till tomorrow unfortunately. But look forward to seeing you in game.

    • Luciferous says:

      Same here! I would have happily paid the price for the game anyways (even being F2P) So i have no problem jumping on board early to help iron out any problems.

  4. Rad says:

    About that cover image, I know this game isn’t Skyrim, but that “building(?)” looks like it’s made of cheese…

    …CHEESE FOR EVERYONE!

    • phelix says:

      Wait, scratch that. Cheese for no-one. Won’t be much of a party if you don’t like cheese, now will it?

      (It’s also from Shivering Isles and not sodding Skyrim, grumble grumble mumble kids these days harumph.)

  5. worrytron says:

    I’m still not exactly clear on what Landmark’s purpose is once EQN is released. Are they separate games using the same engine and assets?

    • TormDK says:

      Yes, in an essence, people that craft alot of high quality assets will be able to have them included in EQN.

      As I understood it, they are basically having the community help build the gameworld for EQN. But we’re looking at a 2015 release date for EQN anyhow, and Landmark will be aimed towards the minecraft crowd that likes Building mostly.

      • worrytron says:

        Okay, thanks, this is pretty much what i expected. My fear was that (like Second Life) EQN was going to be plagued with horrible-looking homemade assets or just covered in wangs. As long as that’s not the case, I am on board all around. Surely they must be planning some kind of open marketplace, though, because f2p.

        • goettel says:

          Landmark is the (complete) toolset which SOE will use to make Next. Selected player creations from Landmark will be part of Next. Landmark is also an MMO-lite which will remain running once Next releases, next year. So, Landmark is Minecraft survival mode + Second Life social crafting. Next is the theme-park MMO based on the same voxel engine.

    • Wendelius says:

      This video is your one stop summary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjvYIV4B5jg

  6. araczynski says:

    not interested in minecraft, or anyone else’s take on it. I’m assuming this is just a ‘crafting’ thing for the actual game?

    • goettel says:

      Landmark is ‘just a crafting thing’ as much as Battlefield 4 is just a cowboys-and-indians simulator.

      In other words: your simultaneously spot-on and way-off.

  7. lordbain says:

    Can’t you just be born rich

  8. Geewhizbatman says:

    Ugh, I dunno about it. This pseudo-game gives me so much anxiety. It’s something that I’m thrilled about the idea of. Loved EQ 1 and 2 and having even the pipe dream of seeing a hint of personal control on the world is highly tempting. But then I keep hearing about how it’s also about resource gathering and grinding and crafting my own map editor? It feels like having to complete the whole Neverwinter 2 campaign before being given the editor as an achievement. Claw my own eyes out.

    Maybe the combat will change it and make it feel more fraught than simply a spiffy graphic weed pulling simulator. But then I get in that game nerd death-roll. Why can’t they just release the map editor with the game? Then I could submit to them my dream map and they’d love it and thus golden praise would shower me from the heavens! But what’s the struggle in that? Wasn’t Ayn Rand right? Won’t my hard earned hut, ripped from the virtual earth’s bosom be so much more fulfilling? Won’t the process of carefully managing real world time into a super not real-world beneficial project generate more creativity? How will I know I crushed the noobs if I don’t chop down all their trees for my wooden death dong (see; “fertility totem”) that the swamp goblins would obviously erect?

    Then I start questioning why my brain takes these things so seriously and I have to forget Landmark is a thing to keep myself sane :(

  9. goettel says:

    The mission is in the name: be the Next step, or GTFO.

    I’m gambling heavily on a win. See you there.

  10. Rauha says:

    I was really excited for the first 50 secs or so. Then the “‘5 tiers of resources” came up and I remembered that I’m way too old for this stuff.

    Not trolling. I’m sure it’s all good for the people who didn’t feel that way (maybe even glorius instead of good). I’m sort of undecided whetever I should be happy or sad about where I’m at.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Happy.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      I know exactly what you mean. Past me would’ve heard that and gotten excited. Present me hears it and thinks “nobody got time for that!”

      I do think it’ll make fantastic Lets Play material. LPs are by far my favorite kind of white noise while working. And these sorts of no-win-condition games are great LP fodder

  11. racccoon says:

    “EverQuest Landmark Alpha Out Today, What To Expect” mental buildings everywhere.

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  13. Jupiah says:

    Remember back when game developers used to actually pay people to test their alpha and beta state games? I really don’t understand this new fad of developers selling buggy and unfinished games for full retail prices. It boggles my mind that so many people are willing to pay them to be beta-testers. Are there not enough games already out there to play until these new games are actually finished?

  14. BurningPet says:

    Pre-ordering or Alpha purchasing a free to play game has got to be the saddest joke of the year.

    Welcome 2014 – you can now pay for free products.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      I agree with your general sentiment – just one thing “Free to Play” should never be considered free.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      I think it’s not the worst — if everyone knows it will be free to play, then there’s not really any goading or strongarming into paying more or early. This isn’t like “pre-order to get exclusive dlc!” where they’re trying to manipulate players into giving them money before they know what they’re getting. This is just saying “if you want to pay to play now vs wait, please do.”

      I mean, obviously it sort of baits those who want to get into the new thing early, but so long as people value that it seems a fair way to create price differentiation.

  15. jonahcutter says:

    So if I’ve got this right, you pay a minimum of $60 to not just alpha test, but actually develop and produce art assets for their game?

    • Geewhizbatman says:

      Ya…isn’t that how you run your business? It’s basic 101 stuff. Like, when I opened up my trouser business (A Leg Up: Premium Trouser and Trouser Accessories, Inc.) it was standard practice to make people pay me $40 for the chance to wear my trousers and give me feedback about them. Then, I’d let them weave their own fabrics and construct a pair of their own. The lucky one’s I’d sell. People really valued getting to walk down the street and see their trousers passing by and say, “That’s me…I made that.” That feeling is priceless! I mean, for me. For them it’s about $40..

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  17. Yosharian says:

    I’m not sure about this, don’t really see the point. I already play Minecraft modded with the latest version of Tekkit, so it seems like playing this would be like going from Lego Technic to Duplo bricks…

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