Well, then. When it rains, it pours.
After a lengthy drought of EverQuest Next and Landmark news, we finally got some. And not just a few drops, but a bit of a deluge. Except that it wasn’t all a dancing-in-the-rain kind of shower. No, some more closely resembled a knock-you-on-your-keister-and-try-to-drown-you storm. I tell you, this week has been quite the roller coaster ride of hopeful highs and devastated dreams, and I am pretty wrung out.
It all started with finally got news of a Landmark update. Yay! I wasn’t completely thrilled with the news itself (it raised some questions), but I was tickled pink that there was actual news. That led to a bit more hope for EQ Next news. Well, be careful what you wish for because boy, oh boy, did we get some news; it just wasn’t any news anyone wanted to hear. The ambitious game that had so many promising features is canceled. Gone. There is not enough boo in the world to adequately express this! Oh, and while you are trying to process that, let’s slip in that there will be character wipes in Landmark, despite earlier assurances that there wouldn’t. On the bright side, Landmark is actually getting the storytelling system. Yay!
And did I mention that EverQuest Next is no more? That’s going to take some getting used to.
Laugh if you want about it being just a game, but I am still going through a semblance of the stages of grief while I come to terms with this change. I’ve followed this game for such a long time; I even had a fan site for it. I’ve already seen a couple stages: Shock and disbelief preceded a bout of frustrated ire. I already said a few words during my stream while reeling from the disappointment, and I don’t really want to spit fire and rant here. That doesn’t mean I am over that disappointment, however. I am nowhere near that — not by a long shot. Yet, even as I mourn the loss of EQN, I am still hoping for the success of Landmark. Now, maybe more than ever, so that a part of EQN lives on.
I want to see the body
I don’t know that Daybreak can possibly save face here, but I know it has to try its hardest to do just that. Community confidence didn’t just take a hit; it was rammed repeatedly with a wrecking ball. People feel lied to and cheated on top of feeling a loss. That’s difficult to come back from, but not impossible. I think there are some ways that will help mitigate the damage a bit (though certainly not fully mend it).
There may be others who feel this way, but for me personally, to try and bring some understanding and closure, I’d really like to see the body of the deceased. There is a reason we have funerals after all, and it has nothing to do with the dearly departed. I want to see exactly how far EverQuest Next got. I can’t quite swallow the “It wasn’t fun” reasoning; I want to see for myself. I want to see and play whatever was played during the internal playtest that happened last September. What made it unfun? Was it the combat? I could actually believe that, if combat was like Landmark’s. However, the system was supposed to be different, with the various classes and such. So, what wasn’t fun? Along those same lines, was it not fun way back in September? Was there a mad scramble to fix things up at that point that lasted until now, or was the project summarily dismissed back then and the news kept from everyone?
These are the kinds of questions that actually need answers if Daybreak has any hope of earning any trust back. Forthright, honest answers, no matter how much it might show the studio in a dismal light.
During this kind of time, it’s easy to look with hate upon the surviving sibling, Landmark. For those who never liked the building game in the first place, I can fully understand the disappointment that this one is still around while the one you wanted is gone. Don’t forget, as much as I enjoyed Landmark, I wanted EverQuest Next more, too. I couldn’t wait to play. I still want to play some of those systems… and I think there is a chance we can play a portion of them in a fashion. For this, we need Landmark. And Landmark needs our support. Now, we just need Daybreak to make that support worthwhile.
I am very pleased that the storytelling system is finally making it into Landmark. That feature has been in the works and talked about since basically the beginning. It is definitely a step in the right direction. I just think Daybreak needs to take quite a few more lengthy strides that way. I believe putting as much of EQN as possible into Landmark is pretty much a necessity.
For one, give Landmark all the races. We know they exist because we have seen them. One thing that was supposed to differentiate the games was that Landmark only had the one race and the adventuring class while EQN had the variety. So let’s see that variety in Landmark now. I want to see Kerran, Teir’Dal, and Feir’Dal in the game. I want the Ogres to go with the awesome Ogre builds; the same goes for Dwarves. There’s no reason whatsoever to keep the races out of Landmark now that they won’t exist in EQN. I am sure it would take some development work, but at this point, I think that is a real need for devs as opposed to a fluffy want. Seen in that light, a character wipe would be a good thing so players had the chance to remake as a different race if they desired. Kill two negatives — the character wipe and loss of races — with one swipe.
Similarly, I’d like to see much more in the way of classes in Landmark. How much of EQN’s ideas of combat could port over? Could we have classes with skills on top of the weapons? And how about a lot more weapon choices? And for the love of everything, can we please have designated Norrathian islands so those of us who want to live in a little slice of Norrath can do so without having spaceships as neighbors!
As much as I didn’t want to see EverQuest Next go, I don’t want to see Landmark go, either. And for Landmark to have some staying power, it needs more. It may be slightly too late for those who were burned, but giving it more aspects of EQN will help in the long run. Start adding those in as well as the ability to make large city/guild builds, and we might have enough of something to cling to while we try and get over the loss of a dream.