Landmark – Another Quick Peek Week

Sony dropped me an email Firday letting me know that they had activated my Landmark account for another seven days.  They seem to be trying to drum up interest by handing these seven day invites out.  I am not sure that this is the opportune time for such handouts.  The game… or what game there is… is still very raw right now and pretty much focused solely on resource gathering and building.  My daughter looked over my should at one point and said, “Oh, is that adult Minecraft?

Landmark_450px

Even the current logo just shows mining and building… though I haven’t seen anything as sophisticated as that water wheel as yet… though there is water of a sort in Landmark now.

Since I was able to amuse myself some the last time around, I decided to give the game another look in its closed beta (for specific definitions of “beta”) state.

Unfortunately, back when I first looked into things, there was a meager five day limit on how far out you could pay up the rent on your claim, so I knew my previous location and everything I had done would be gone.  SOE even sent me an in-game message telling me what happened to my claim.

Helpful yet unavailable mail message

Helpful yet unavailable mail message

And that message would have been very useful, had the game not crashed as I was trying to access it.

Something changed… not sure if it was on my side or on SOE’s… but I was getting a lot of video card related crash to desktop events in the first couple of hours I was back this past weekend, despite a couple reboots.  The joy of being in a pre-alpha closed beta I suppose.

Anyway, that left me running around on Saturday unaware that I hadn’t lost all of my stuff, it was just stored away some place I couldn’t access.  The game, however, was keen to let me know I had a template of my old structure, so I tried to figure out what to do with that.

I attempted to just lay it out, but it told me I needed a claim.  I ran off and created a new claim flag, my old one being stored away with everything else, and started looking around for a place to plant it.  I was able to find something not too far from the spires, at the junction of a couple of buffer zones.

A little spot of my own

A little spot of my own

I grabbed the spot and started fiddling with the template again, trying to use it on my new location.  This time it started telling me I was grossly short of materials to recreate such a structure.  I thought that you got refunded all of your building material when you lost your claim (which was true, and which I would have known had I been able to open up that mail and attachment mentioned above), so I was a bit annoyed to find myself short on mats.  I tried fiddling with the template, deleting it just in case the raw materials were somehow locked up as part of it.  No luck.

That might have put me in a sour mood for a while.

And that will be... December?

And that will be… December?

I tinkered with the remove tool on my claim, then went off to do something else.

The next day I returned for a bit and was actually able to access the mail message above and access the attachment, so was suddenly flush with resources again.  I took all of that and built a sacrificial altar dedicated to Zuul up in the sky above my claim.  I was originally thinking about some sort of swimming pool in the sky, until I found that water was a thing, but not yet a thing you could do anything with… plus the ocean was miles away… so a sacrificial altar in the sky became the choice.

Behold Zuul's Sky Altar

Behold Zuul’s Sky Altar

There is a platform extending behind the altar that allows one to dispose of the bodies by dropping them into the deepest pit the game will allow.  Seriously, I got out the removal tool, dialed it up to maximum size, and then started digging until it would let me dig no further.  You eventually hit a hard stop rather than, say, falling through the world.  Falling through the world doesn’t require any digging at all.  I managed to do that by just stepping off the ramp to the altar at an odd angle.

Lower than the deepest pit...

Lower than the deepest pit…

After digging my pit, I decided that I had better leave a way out, so I jumped into it and carved out a series of ascending caves leading back up to the surface.  The removal tool is my current favorite, as you can make a large impact on your claim with a relatively small effort.  Other potential building plans I had for my claim petered out when I started running low on materials again.  That served to remind me that any effort I expended in gathering would be for naught once the big pre-open beta wipe came.  Losing the results of all of ones efforts looms large over Landmark for me.

So I remain interested in where Landmark might end up… and, of course, what it might presage for the distant promise of EverQuest Next… but I am reluctant to expend a lot of effort on something that is going to be taken away.

So, yes, call me for open beta.  I’ll be ready to invest then.

10 responses to “Landmark – Another Quick Peek Week

  1. The crashing isn’t just you. Last week’s patch had me crashing all over the place. Good thing I’m busy in ArcheAge atm… as are a lot of other Landmarkians. There’s only so much enthusiasm you can maintain while waiting for the major systems to come in.

  2. @Ysharros – Well, always glad when some technical problem isn’t “just me.”

    The auto-correct in my brain… the iPhone has helped me classify the faults of my own brain… keeps wanting to replace “Landmarkians” with “Lamarckians” and then I want to write about giraffes in Landmark. But there is no wildlife in Landmark… not yet.

  3. The FAQ used to confirm that closed beta players would retain ALL resources and crafted items after any wipe, even down to carrying them through into Open Beta. This has now been changed and the FAQ has been re-written to state that only specific items, mainly the bonus items that come with the various Founders Packs, items purchased with real money via the SC store and any promotional giveaways or competition prizes, will carry over.

    As a result there is a long and bitter thread on the forums (40 pages when I last looked) and the servers, already very quiet, are reportedly ghost-towns. I wouldn’t know because I gave up logging in a long time back. It seems that many people who were happy to put in a lot of time gathering in beta on the understanding that they’d get all those resources back after any and every wipe have a completely different idea on the value of such time spent if it has to be repeated, possibly several times.

    I’m therefore not surprised they’re reviving existing one-week keys. It’s quite possible they now have significantly fewer active testers than they would like.

  4. Just to save the FAQ statement for posterity, it currently says:

    End of Closed Beta Wipe

    Timing: Occurs at the end of Closed Beta testing (date TBA).

    You retain everything purchased from SOE during Alpha and Closed Beta (Founder’s Pack and Showcase items), plus any giveaway items (Lunar Anklets, Feathers in Bottles and potential future giveaways) and templates you created during Alpha and Closed Beta.
    Everything else will be reset during the wipe.

  5. Yeah, resources bought at the store don’t count. I’m not even sure whether outfits do.

    Similarly, if you delete a character with a giveaway item you won’t get that back, but since those (and store clothing, iirc) are tradeable that isn’t necessarily the end of the world provided you have someone to hold on to them for you while you make a new char.

  6. I seem to make a habit of hanging out in places that other people call ghost towns. Landmark is an example of this trend. I’m having fun learning how to build interesting-looking stuff, but what really helps is that I’ve got a few old friends doing it with me. So we log on to voice, chat and gather resources, or build ships or whatever.

    I’m not really all that upset about the wipe policy, myself, and I signed in for Alpha. It seems to me like it’s a mindset of frustrated Achievers. Landmark isn’t a Achiever game, it was never meant to be one.

  7. @Toldain – Hrmm, I wouldn’t go so far as to say Landmark isn’t an achiever game, unless you’re going to define achievers in a very narrow fashion, like saying they only like shiny pop-ups in WoW or some such.

    Building grand things… or even just silly things… tickles the achievement itch I dare say, as does having something stuck permanently to the landscape for all to see. But having the threat looming over you of having all your blocks taken away… that seems non-achiever friendly for sure. But it also might have something to do with my not finding resource harvesting much fun. Good for a few minutes, but after that…

    And if you can say you *know* what Landmark was meant to be, I think that puts your insight well ahead of most players and devs at this point, if the forums are any sign.

    Besides, didn’t you come here to be pod killed p-wiped in any case?

  8. Haha. Didn’t mean to come off as all “I know what you want”. Sorry about that.

    I guess I just came into it with different expectations, that’s all. I mean, all my resources, and all my tools were wiped from Alpha to Closed Beta. So that’s once already, one more is just not gonna be a thing for me.

    Sure I like making pretty, grand things. And here’s the weird thing. I don’t like chopping on trees, it’s kind of boring, for sure. But I find mining kind of engaging. Just where is that vein going…And where’s the next one?

    I also do a lot of it with friends, and that, I’m sure, helps a lot. I cannot overstate the value of harvesting with a friend while chatting on voice chat. The harvesting bonus for grouping is very, very big. You get a copy of everything your groupmates get, provided they don’t get farther than 200m away from you. Sometimes we get 3 or 4 in the group and then we really FLY!

  9. @Toldain – Yeah, I agree with you that mining can be interesting for a bit… something of the boy in me just likes digging big holes in the ground or some such… but I will only chop wood if I really, really need it as a resource to make things.

    The group harvesting is a nice idea. Once we get a few members of our regular group together… which will probably be for open beta… that could help things along. Unless they nerf that along the way somehow.

  10. Oh, the other thing that’s good about teaming up is that in the current system, advanced tools can be made directly, provided you have the materials for them. And they can be handed off to other people, too.

    So it’s very easy to team up and accelerate your progression through the various picks and axes, and to use one persons crafting stations to do it. We did this with our friends during closed beta – got everyone up to the best picks and axes in just a few days.

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