Recently there was a Daybreak announcement that Landmark would be launching Spring 2016. As a pretty prolific Landmark streamer, this took me by complete surprise. Granted that no streamer -aside from Pentapod- truly has any inside information about Landmark. After analyzing as much information as possible about the game the thought of a launch this soon seemed to be very long odds mostly because of the lack of official communication and the significant lack of focus.
The state of the game right now
Currently Landmark has basic systems in place predominantly focused on building. That’s great if you are a builder within the community but the player that wants to interact with things will be sorely disappointed.
The building tools have made great leaps forward allowing for players to create better and faster than ever before in the game. The line tool delete and the sphere delete methods have opened up so many avenues for creation that it’s hard to even quantify. Gone are the days of having to build block by block like it’s Minecraft, Landmark is truly next generation building in that sense. When the prop palette was added an entire style (propmancy) was born into the game. If I was asked to describe building in Landmark with one word, that word would be ‘fantastic’.
Combat on the other hand I would describe as lacking. There are very limited weapons with fewer viable gear set choices. Quite a few of the accessories and perks for weapon types don’t even work and when they do the results are negligible. Due to bugs with resource regeneration it is possible to become unable to use anything other than the primary abilities. The mobs you encounter are rather uninteresting and very limited for an action combat game. Due to the limited number of mobs and repetition of cave types, adventuring as a whole seems more like a hindrance for gathering rather than an adventuring experience.
PvP suffers from many of the same combat issues except you get a more satisfying and capable enemy in actual players than the mob AI can offer. One advantage I see with PvP claims is that the builder can somewhat control the rule set to allow or disallow certain gear and make the obvious adjustments to scoring. This lends itself to the creativity of the builder and adds a few additional skill based elements when used correctly however there are still only 3 game types.
Crafting has become a bit simplistic which really comes down to a personal preference. I personally liked the older system with a little randomization because it gave me some reason to go into the world and adventure. I completely understand that those who wish to dig in to building without having to spend large amounts of time harvesting may like the more basic crafting aspects. As it stands, there is an undeniable impact on the player economy in that there isn’t one simply because there is no reason for one.
One thing I would like to add to the state of the game isn’t really a developer made asset but none the less has a massive impact on the game. The active player community. The players that have logged in to the game consistently have to be the nicest group of players I’ve ever seen. The individual engagement displayed by everyone is astounding, whether through their creativity or willingness to help others and even to create things for other players to do through player run events.
The future as we know it
It has been a happily active time for new information so far. We have been told about build tool refinements and quality of life improvements, changes to the places we build and upcoming adventure changes by adding Chaos Caves within the world scheduled for the next patch. There is still a lot more to come apparently.
Thoughts leading up to launch
We can only speculate about what may come, what may get poached from the now cancelled EQN and what level of development will continue with Landmark.
As much new information as was put out there is far more that hasn’t come out. For one, the significant bugs that persist within the game have yet to be addressed. What features will be used or created to balance out the builder to non-builder ratio hasn’t been discussed. The extremely critical ‘DM Tools’ has merely been hinted at (and that was in a Twitch stream instead of any official channel).
I stress what hasn’t been said because these are the things that will determine the long term success of Landmark. A launch without anything for non-builders to stay engaged in and/or even a few significant bugs will severely hurt. It isn’t a secret that the player population has taken a massive hit from the original numbers when Daybreak -then known as SOE- pushed Landmark. The most common response I’ve heard and read is that players that don’t want to be mostly builders have very little to do.
Some may say this a negative view and I’d challenge you on that. This is the reality of the gaming industry. The cancellation of EverQuest Next is the gigantic sign that says no project is a guarantee. We have to use our voice as players to point out what is important to us as players, in the hope that our voices may be heard. I don’t want pitchforks and torches. This is exactly the time for the dedicated player base to listen to what updates are coming without rampant speculation and to provide the appropriate feedback before it’s too late to affect any change.
More importantly, it is time for Daybreak to show that they deserve all the time players have given them already.