EverQuesting: Learning about Landmark’s dungeons

    
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I thought I saw a dev dungeon reference. I did! I did see a dev dungeon reference! And it’s about time.

I have to admit that as much as I have been looking forward to Landmark’s future features, dungeons totally slipped my mind. I’d like to think it was because the anticipation of utilizing gamemaster tools to control AI on my claims overshadowed them, but the truth is that devs let this feature fade into obscurity. It’s been a really long time since the original vision for the game was announced, and basically nothing has been said on the dungeon subject outside of claims since, which is a shame: Of all the various incoming features, dungeons are one that might finally be able to lay that lingering “It’s only a building game” misconception to rest once and for all.

So yes, dungeons are a thing! At least they will be. And they will be both player-made on claims and out in the wilds. If only it would all come sooner rather than later.

The dungeon lowdown

Although this morsel of dungeon info did not come as a big flashy announcement (it was simply a comment in a forum thread), that does not diminish its value or juiciness. No news is not good news in game development when fans are practically starving for updates. So what’s the scoop? The developer Deletionist did more than just bring up the subject of dungeons to remind players they will exist in Landmark; he also gave a few interesting details.

For one, adventures will be encouraged to find, explore, and defeat challenges in dungeons with more than just fun gameplay — there will be loot! And it won’t be just combat lovers who want what’s there; there will be value for all playstyles, including builders. Deletionist explained, “We will likely create or move something that builders want into dungeons so that adventurers can get value out of dungeons beyond the value of fun gameplay.” What if your builder-self doesn’t want to venture into caves? Looks like another reason for trade to me!

The next bit of info gleaned from this comment is actually the most exciting to me. Deletionist said,

“Ideally the dungeons created via dungeon mastering will populate our underground in the same way that player made ruins currently do, meaning explorers would have to find them for players to potentially get real loot from them. Player made dungeons on claims should also be a thing, but those may not feature actual rewards.”

Basically, impressive player-made dungeons have a chance — most likely though a contest like the ruins — to be placed permanently in the world for others to stumble upon and enjoy. How exciting is that? As someone who wants practically nothing more than to make an adventure on my claim for players to experience, this idea makes me all giddy! That I can have a long-lasting contribution, that my passion could be a permanent part of the game, is so dang awesome. Finally, one of my strengths (story creation) will be valuable in the world-building arena. I haven’t entered any construction contests, but I sure as Hades will be entering this.

I don’t know about you, but in my mind I always had the notion that the devs would be designing the dungeons. Looking back at the introduction of the ruins contest (instead of just building contests for EverQuest Next racial cities), I can see how much it makes sense, but I sure didn’t anticipate it way back when. This also gives me reason to think that excellent submissions might also have a possibiliy of inhabiting EQN in some way just as specific buildings might. I never thought I’d have any chance to contribute, and now I might.

On a slightly unrelated side note: That same post also gave those who are eager for combat upgrades assurance that the feature is still getting worked on. The phrases of “outside of better combat” and “invest more development time on combat features” should give hope to the combat-oriented.

But there’s more!

As Deletionist discovered, no matter how tasty the morsel is, one just isn’t enough. With so little talk on the matter, you can’t blame players for diving hungrily at the scrap! Players tried to extrapolate on the dev’s words, but weren’t always hitting the mark, so he came back to offer some clarification to the conversation. He emphasized that the term dungeon, as it is used here, does not necessarily mean a space inhabited by mobs and bosses to defeat and loot as most MMOs focus on. Although this is possible, the game master tools will allow so much more, including puzzles and other various non-combat oriented activities. He gave the example of a “sprawling future city within which a terrible crime must be solved by players with no access to weaponry of any kind!” He then clarified that his initial post should have said combat was generally expected in dungeons but not necessary.

For those who became worried that all these dungeons would introduce a massive amount of instancing, Deletionist then suggested an example of finding and old teleport spire that whisks you away to the adventure. Teleporters are already in use on claims and in the world, so why would it be out of place to use one deep in a hidden cavern? Of course, the dev team still supports limited instancing in Landmark, so occasional use of instancing is not an indication of its taking over the known world.

Sadly, this whole conversation was not an indication of the gamemaster tools coming in the near future. “And lastly,” he said, “I want to clarify that all this talk of dungeons on my part is not a precursor to more news on DM Tools. That system is still a long ways off.” Bummer. Even so, I am grateful that the conversation was sparked because silence on the subject is not helpful. Maybe Daybreak can’t give us oodles of specifics, but having developers join in the dialogue is still very much appreciated.

Show me the… anything!

Landmark has been in open development for quite some time now — a year and a half. Most folks aren’t used to having access to a game at such an early stage of its development cycle, and a lack of frequent reminders causes two problems. One is very natural: Out of sight is out of mind. Only so much information can be at the forefront of the mind, so if there is no news on the game, that space is getting filled up by other things. Two, without consistent dialogue on the plan, people can’t help but see the product as it is, not what it’s working toward being.

It is therefore imperative to bring and keep the game at the forefront of fans’ minds through progress updates and even small conversations. These information bites don’t have to be huge, flashy announcements bursting with fanfare. Take this recent dev mention of dungeons: It didn’t come as a major announcement; it was simply a comment in a forum thread, yet it still renewed the fervor in players’ hearts. It offered a bit more information than was had before, giving players something to chew on while they wait. And it was the first real acknowledgement of the open world dungeons aspect of the game in a long while. That stuff is seriously appreciated! Just little things like this to help keep things fresh in the mind will do nicely.

Daybreak, if I could give you one bit of advice, it would be this: Take a moment or two and give players tiny morsels to nibble on occasionally so they remember the taste of their excitement for the game and stay invested in the wait. This is not just for Landmark but for EQN as well. Do not leave us hanging too long in between courses else you’ll find folks will get up from the table. I just can’t stress it enough: Show fans a little something to help keep hope alive. Not a lot, and not all the time — just don’t let us starve.

The EverQuest franchise is a vast realm, and sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores all the nooks and crannies from Antonica to Zek. Running biweekly on Thursdays, EverQuesting is your resource for all things EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Daybreak. And keep an eye out for MJ’s OPTV adventures!
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WandaClamshuckr
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WandaClamshuckr

squidgod2000 Tandor Shadewalker agemyth This isn’t their first rodeo.  These guys helped pioneer the MMORPG industry.  Even if you wanted to ignore their history and experience with EQ (and other games), Ragefire isn’t their first Progression Server.

There is a whole lot of inexcusable clusterfudging going on with this premium server.  It smacks of amateur hour, and it should be the polar opposite of that.  

If they aren’t going to spend the time to support it properly, then don’t do it.  All they are doing is cash-grabbing with the nostalgia folk, and giving a half-assed effort at implementation.

Yes, I played on an earlier Progression Server, Fippy, and yes they had these issues before.  It’s like freaking Groundhog Day over there sometimes.  And no, I will not be supporting them financially for this newest server.  Bare bones support when people are paying to play doesn’t cut it with me.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

Everybody used to love to hate SOE.  
But the station pass was a great deal, and the EQ franchises had directors we knew and liked, and they built the communities with their goodwill and leadership.   And they had a great library of games.   Sure, we had issues.   When there are millions of ants, sometimes one gets their feelers crushed, and it’s a really big deal to that one, but a million other ants happily went on.    We used to like to rant about those few bad things, those few missteps, etc.
Now? I miss ’em (SOE).

squidgod2000
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squidgod2000

Tandor Shadewalker squidgod2000
Given that this is not F2P we’re talking about, but a sub-only server, I think my comments are fair and certainly reflect the experiences and criticisms of those on the official forum. 

That’s a good point.
I cut EQ1 and its team a lot of slack since it is a very old game and one that I spent many happy years playing, but if Daybreak is going to charge for access–unlike their regular servers–then they really should be held to a higher standard. In the end, however, it’s only been a few days. EQ1 is a slow-roll game, especially in the first few expansions, and it doesn’t bother me one bit to give things a week or two to settle.
Now, if two weeks from now I’m still queued for hours every night or chat channels still don’t work or whatever, then I’ll be bothered by it.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

Jay780 i have the same devil’s canyon processor and a GTX680 and it runs great.  You’ve got something else going on.  RAM maybe?  I’m running it on my HDD not my SSD.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

Lack of players is why i am (ironically) not spending any time there, yes.   It’s a ghost town.

Tandor Shadewalker
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Tandor Shadewalker

squidgod2000 Tandor Shadewalker Thanks for your replies, but I don’t think I’m ranting. Given that this is not F2P we’re talking about, but a sub-only server, I think my comments are fair and certainly reflect the experiences and criticisms of those on the official forum. 

Things will settle down, of course, but meanwhile my experience is similar to your own in that I was able to log in quickly before the queuing system was launched but now can’t get in within a reasonable time in peak hours. I’d have preferred a second server at launch with a clear indication that the two servers would be merged as soon as appropriate. There is always a high attrition rate on progression servers but the key is to attract as many players as possible at the outset for which you need to have a fully working support system in place especially if you are deliberately launching the server 3 days before one of the busiest gaming weekends of the year.

squidgod2000
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squidgod2000

Tandor Shadewalker agemyth
I’m well aware that queues happen in MMOs, but they usually tell you where you are in the queue and estimate a login time, neither of which happens here. A queuing system is also usually based around the principle that you log in by order of joining the queue, but that isn’t happening here either – it’s a complete lottery.

The queue was developed by one of the coders–apparently on their own time–because they wanted to log in and play but were having difficulty. Roshen never said it couldn’t be done, he just implied that it wouldn’t be worth the development time, as the queue would likely never be used again after a week or two. What we got was a pleasant surprise, even if it was just a quick and dirty solution. Be glad they implemented it at all.

squidgod2000
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squidgod2000

Tandor Shadewalker
You’re just ranting.
Daybreak and the EQ1 devs are right to keep the population cap where it is and not open a second server. The server launched on a holiday weekend, dripping with nostalgia and awash in box armies–of course it’s going to be full. Things will continue to slow down as players from the other servers drift back to their mains and as boxes hit 50 and are only pulled out when needed. The inconvenience at launch is worth not having the population split between two servers.
Personally, however, I’m not sure the queue is working as intended. Pre-queue it’d take me about ten minutes of clicking to get in, but post-queue that becomes two hours of sitting at server select. Irritating, but only if you try to log in during prime time.
The instancing was a nice addition that works quite well, though it is leading to some glut, as there are some instanced zones which have high-end loot (such as Qeynos Hills with the Glowing Black Stone and Fishbone Earring) or desirable camps (frost giants), but those will work themselves out in time.
Just keep making your banded armor and give things a chance to settle.

agemyth
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agemyth

Tandor Shadewalker agemyth https://forums.station.sony.com/eq/index.php?recent-activity/
Plenty developer communication has happened in the short time since the server opened up. They implemented a bare-bones queue system to get the basics in place and will have a counter/estimated time display if it is possible and when it is possible. Is the queue not working completely as intended? Well, that would be a bug they are probably aware of and working on too.
Developers are wizards, but they have their limits. These problems will be gone soon enough when the tourists lose interest and the hardcore people hit their caps and can relax a bit.

Tandor Shadewalker
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Tandor Shadewalker

agemyth Tandor Shadewalker I’m well aware that queues happen in MMOs, but they usually tell you where you are in the queue and estimate a login time, neither of which happens here. A queuing system is also usually based around the principle that you login by order of joining the queue, but that isn’t happening here either – it’s a complete lottery. 

Moreover, there has been no communication beyond an initial statement that a queuing system couldn’t be developed, followed by the introduction of a queuing system. Very poor customer relations for a server that requires all returning players to buy a month’s subscription to gain access to the server only for most to find they can’t actually get on it.

How can you “work with and deal with other players”if you can’t log in? That point has me baffled.