EverQuesting: Let EverQuest Next live on in Landmark

    
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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.

Rally around the survivor

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.

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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voidsama
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voidsama

Landmark is a fun idea to hold over the fans waiting for eqn but beyond that only the people who really got into the building aspect will care about landmark.  the RPG fans who played while waiting eqn will move on to something else now.  the only thing that daybreak could do to save interest would be to announce a new everquest in development and give us some idea on what they are going for.  without that, the majority just wont care.

libertylion7
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libertylion7

No it won’t.  Landmark will be released and then abandoned after they get as much recoup money as they can in the early days.

Ironwu
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Ironwu

“Community didn’t just take a hit; it was rammed repeatedly.”

Fixed it for you.

Jacra
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Jacra

Anatidae 
Unfortunately I believe they had pretty much only what they had in Landmark and then yes … it wasn’t fun.
I’ve been wondering what the point of the whole voxel engine is if you are not allowed to build really or destroy much (bit an issue with more complex quest design and all). And then you have Landmark which is all about building and destroying and decorating not really connected to EQN. And then there is no flowing water STILL. And the financial constraints with now being without the Sony backing and the people who had been let go …
What was the point of a game so utterly quest based in its concept to be voxel based and turn into a micro-voxel obsession for building generation … without optimization for performance for a few voxel-cracks? The majority of people will never share the drive or time to get into micro-voxel manipulation after all. So they would not contribute anyway to EQN. And the refusal of tools for simple things like columns etc was hurting the mainstream builders – and drive people away from Landmark. So we had one game I wasn’t sure why voxel really added benefit. And one game where it wasn’t about voxel and usability anymore early on but the obsession of how far you can go BEYOND VOXEL and how often you can play to not have your builds removed (and not fit into the world again because of none-cube voxels). And no we don’t give you tools for convenience. And they we didn’t add really to make it a game of its own – I mean I spent some hours in the caves and it was utterly boring. I didn’t even try the combat anymore because I’m not really into twitch combat and it was simplistic (I liked Wildstar though) and meh. Missing an overarching concept in my opinion.
Somehow I hope that now with EQN gone maybe Landmark can become a product and actual game on its own and something EQN-ish maybe even (but does it HAVE to??). The whole concept of having to look at other people’s unrestrained ruins and construction isn’t exactly appealing to me though. I’d prefer something like Skysaga or a system where people can choose to connect their own “floating island chunks” together (gaps to make it a whole landmass automatically filled out by engine) on a whim to form guild villages and towns – or stay on their own. There is so much possible with voxel engines and some creativity without alienating the majority of builders and forcing people to log in to retain space and not having continents deserted people are forced to play in or travel through … clever combinations of porter and spaces without being constrained by previous EQN concepts might help a lot to make Landmark a potentially great game.

SkyyDragonn
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SkyyDragonn

ilikain That essentially where I’m at. I purchased H1Z1 from SOE with the confidence that it would be a reasonably solid MP survival game. Instead its been split into 2 “games” onw will be cash shopped to death (battle royal) The other will largely be ignored.
I bought landmark as a more advanced/mature Minecraft with the expectation of a fully fleshed out survival scenario a la Minecraft. Instead we’re getting an unfinished shell of a crafting/survival game which is essentially just a fancy set of building tools.

Anatidae
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Anatidae

I don’t buy into “it wasn’t fun to play” either. 

I think that if they had media footage to show of any gameplay, they would be showing it off like mad for years. The fact that nothing was on display probably points to the fact that they didn’t do anything.

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

ilikain That server you are describing sounds awesome! I’d love to do that =D

Denice J Cook
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Denice J Cook

amoranth 
I genuinely feel badly for you, because, as Landmark is going to launch in a few weeks, nothing more is going to be added to it beyond what you can already see from beta right now.  It is also launching for $9.99, which is obviously all they think anyone will pay for it.  Furthermore, it isn’t going to be part of All Access or require a sub, clearly because no further work is going to be done on it.
I have played EQ2 since launch day.  My heart is as broken as anyone’s.  Moreover, SOE tried to rescue some troubled games, launched others that were considered quite groundbreaking for their time (of course EQ1 and SWG), and usually only fumbled royally when dealing with The Bean Counters (NGE, Sony, Japan’s selloff of SOE, etc.).

Then again, The Bean Counters have their side of the story, too.  All the progressive ideas in the world (Storybricks Emergent AI for EQNext) crumble if the dream can’t be realistically made into a reality where the initial developments costs will ever be recouped, let alone any profit on the product ever seen afterward.

Daybreak is a tragedy, but it’s one that was many years in the making, and its problems began long ago with SOE.

In short, enjoy Landmark for what it is right now because that’s all it’s ever going to be, and I suspect that the only forward motion we will see concerning the EQ franchise will, sadly, be its sale at the hands of Columbus Nova to some third-rate publisher.  CN wants their investment money back, pronto; we can see this with their shoving Landmark out the door half-baked at $9.99 for Pete’s sake.

ilikain
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ilikain

I bought into Landmark, because it sent money towards the company making EQN. The same goes for H1Z1, and a season pass for PS2. I convinced others to do the same. These other games were stop gaps, road stops, along the way to playing something we truly wanted. Long term I have no desire to play any of those games, no matter what features they add to them. I am an old school EQ player. I played back when they had a $40 a month sub for a special server that got us multiple GMs who interacted with us on a daily basis. The world felt alive when the GMs could show up and spawn mobs, one even mad it snow in the Burning Woods on Kunark! I wanted that living world that the AI promises. That was truly the only feature I needed to have at release.

At this point, there is nothing that Daybreak can do; short of releasing a game called Everquest Next with advanced AI, open class design, destructible terrain, and modern movement, that would get me to spend more money, or energy, on their company. Which is to say, I will not be supporting Daybreak in any way going forward.

analogfantasies
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analogfantasies

I know what wasn’t fun about EQ Next. What wasn’t fun was working on a game where a large percentage of your coworkers were let go. What wasn’t fun was taking months to get up to speed on what everyone was doing, and then trying to build from there. What wasn’t fun was having grand dreams for the game and not be able to realize them because you had no real leadership.

Smokejumper took a lot of crap while he was head of the EQ franchise. There were some problems and bad decisions under his leadership, but there was never any doubt that he was passionate about the franchise. He wanted to see it pushed forward. He wanted to see it thrive. Instead he got to see Smedley shift company resources to Yet Another Zombie Game. He got to see Smedley completely ignore the Everquest franchise. And then he got to see Smedley boot him out the door with many talented developers and staff that were the soul of the company. I was hoping there’d be a bounce back when Smedley left, but unfortunately the damage has been done. We’re just going to see the Everquest franchise completely vanish the moment it doesn’t make enough money to keep its staff employed and the servers online.