Everquest Next Round Table: Building Styles in Landmark (A Pherephassa Rant!)

Posted by on November 14, 2013 - 1 Comment »

I actually hadn’t been intending on writing about this newest Round Table question: For EQN Landmark, which of the following styles will you be building in? Fantasy, SciFi/Futuristic, Real World, Historical Genres, Pop Culture/Fan Fiction. It seemed too cut and dried for discussion. Which style do you like? It’s not like a systems discussion, which is what I’m generally the most interested in writing about.

But then I took a look at what people are posting on the boards, and I couldn’t resist throwing up an Op Ed piece. Perhaps I should have titled this Pherephassa’s Acerbia, for what I have to say about some of the posts I’m seeing is definitely acerbic. This is definitely a bit of a rant. I’ll summarize what I’m responding to as “Go Fantasy or Go Home.” There’s commentary about how anything but fantasy somehow doesn’t belong. That sci fi will limit people’s enjoyment of the game, or even worse, will [insert horrified gasp here] ruin the game. There seems to be a desire for enforced server themes, and one person outright said that anyone who wants to build something other than things that fit within their definition of fantasy need to visit Wikipedia and look up a fantasy primer. (Actually, I believe he said a Pathfinder primer, but Pathfinder is just so horrifying I’ve paraphrased to fantasy.)

Do people not realize that a part of the appeal of Everquest Next: Landmark is in its very open nature? The entire point of Landmark seems – to me – to be giving people the ability to freely express their creativity. I personally don’t care for sci fi, and never have. I’ve never liked giant robots or space themes. My Tech Commander’s Gear? I’m never going to wear it. I’m not going to build myself a space station or an air craft carrier – I’m already sketching out plans for buildings based on ancient temples and ruins. But I am not going to tell people that their creative impulses will ruin the game, and they should leave if they build something that’s not to my tastes. I may not linger in someone’s Death Star, but having it there certainly won’t affect my ability to enjoy the overall game.

There will be a continent with an enforced Norrathian theme. That’s been stated. It’s definitive. It’s real. It will be there – if you want to be surrounded entirely by fantasy or Norrath, then you already have a place to go. From the looks of things thus far, it will be very crowded, so I hope it’s a large continent! But the game Everquest Next: Landmark itself is not Everquest. Expecting it to be solely filled with fantasy castles is as crazy as walking out into the streets of Chicago and telling people who own buildings that haven’t been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that their building needs to be torn down. It’s as though people have been listening to all the dev commentary about how you can build a space station or a castle, and have only heard – you can build castles.

They give two sets of clothing with the Founders Packs for a reason.

I hate it when I mention a video, but can’t remember which one it is, but I do recall seeing one of the dev interviews wherein it was stated that you could pack up your stakes and move if someone builds a giant robot next to your fantasy castle and you hate it. That they are expecting mini-communities to form as people with like interests find each other and interact. There’s your solution, guys. Want to be around fantasy and nothing but fantasy? Build on the fantasy continent, or move near other people who want fantasy too. But Landmark is about the freedom to express creativity, not the freedom to express fantasy creativity, so expecting that all you’re going to get is Norrathian fantasy is, well, a fantasy. I can understand it if people building actually offensive things impinges upon someone’s enjoyment of the game, but if you’re in a social, open themed MMO and your enjoyment is ruined because someone somewhere builds something you don’t like, then I have to suggest you broaden your perspective or limit yourself to single player games, because we’re all going to be there to express ourselves, and we’ve all got our own tastes and preferences.

Thankfully, this does not seem to be the prevailing sentiment. The world is a wide, wonderful place, in large part because there are so very many different people and ideas out in it. I don’t agree with everyone on what is interesting and fun, and I think it would be pretty boring if I did! It would be a shame to so horribly limit what looks like it will be such an amazing place for creativity. I know many people who are planning on playing with their children entirely because of this possibility for creativity, and I personally can’t wait to see all of the interesting things that they make.

Everquest Next: Landmark is a game about creativity and imagination. Dave Georgeson said in the Landmark livestream that a good tagline might be fame and fortune. Fame and fortune is not gained by limiting those around you – it is earned through inspiration. If you want fantasy, make the people around you see the magic in fantasy. Show them what there is to love in your world. Build something so grand it awes those who see it, something so marvelous it evokes wonder and amazement, something so monumental it inspires people to follow your vision.

Make your mark.