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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.