So it’s been a couple of days since the update, we’ve got the first hotfix out of the way and I think it’s time to go over what we’ve got.
Everything seems pretty straight forward here. Simple to use but pretty limited. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of perspective. Overall the character elements have no bearing on the gameplay experience so to me it’s not that big of a deal.
That said, I would be happy to have more customizable features. For players that wish to create their own adventures having more customization the better. We’ve already seen what the community has done with limited options and I can only imagine what they would do with more.
New User Experience
My opinion on this is a little speculative since I’ve been playing Landmark since the beginning. However like everyone else I am new to the features in this update.
Once I got past creation I was placed on a Build Site and there were immediately some windows open that gave me a welcoming and were meant to set me on my way. I closed both of these quickly because they seemed rather intrusive and didn’t look like they mattered much. Later I was told they were to get players started. This to me is significant because I was actively scanning things to find the tutorial type things. If at a glance it didn’t feel like something to help me, something familiar then it was closed.
I think opening up with a ‘do you want a guide’ pop up on character creation and then load in to the game world is a more solid choice. Perhaps instead of having what we’ve got now it could be tip bubbles popping over the important parts of the interface if the player chose the guide. Landmark is inherently complex and I think only a tour of the features will help.
I’m not sure if it was a bug or not but my Goal Tracker did not update consistently after things were done. For example I completed the Goal and it gave my credit but remained present as completed for what seemed like a long time before the next Goal populated. I think speed of involvement is the best way to retain the newest players so things need to happen quickly to drive them to the next segment, kind of like how mobile games have really quick function tours at the beginning.
I do like the set of information that’s presented, that I saw, it just needs to be quicker. From a business standpoint it serves well to highlight the modular Designs because it will help with Player Studio sales and as a player it helps me because I haven’t gotten good at or may not want to build.
I think past the initial tour of things it would be helpful to have a comprehensive and robust help section. Even if it links to a community made resource such as a wiki in the in game browser. The starting experience should be quick and generalized with the opportunity within the game to focus on whatever the player chooses after that. I think that presenting too much right from the start can be overwhelming, particularly with Landmark.
Play Mode (Adventuring)
Adventuring hasn’t changed much from the previous experience except the switch from basic caves to the Chaos Caverns. To get into a Chaos Cavern you click on the teleport menu and you can start an adventure right from there.
The Chaos Caverns aren’t all that chaotic. Pretty straight forward, port in run through the cave until you find the Lost Crystal and click on it. While you’re in there you can kill some mobs, look for chests and harvest some resources. The loot balance needs some work and the mobs need some more variation. After a few caverns in a row you will start losing some interest. If I didn’t need materials right now I would not have any incentive to even go into a Chaos Cavern.
That leads to a bit of a problem when the primary people that will eventually be going into Chaos Caverns are likely to be those that don’t need resources because they won’t be build focused. I think a way to help with that is add some rare loot drops as an incentive for people to trade and make some of the Chaos Caverns a little more scripted. Maybe have a competition for players to come up with some kind of encounter that will be generated into the Chaos Caverns like the ruins were.
Harvesting hasn’t changed other than having only 2 tiers of resources instead of 5. This is a nice change as it helps keep people together and increases the chance of running across someone since players are only splitting in two instead of five. The veins of resources underground seem to be a little on the small side but this may be a bug.
Continue reading about Build Mode and more in the Landmark Update Review Part 2