One of the things that I was delighted to discover upon my return to the land of computers was combat in Landmark. Now I can build stuff and fight monsters! I spent many hours with my husband traveling the lands, exploring, harvesting and killing as we went. We had a lot of fun, and are looking forward to the continued development of Landmark and Everquest: Next.
That said, I find myself logging in to play Everquest 2 instead of Landmark more often than not. If you asked me which game I enjoy more, I will tell you Landmark. Which games looks the best? – Landmark. Which one is more engaging? – Landmark. I spend more time talking about Landmark, thinking about Landmark, and enjoying Landmark. I plot out my Landmark houses, show them off, and spend vast amounts of time looking through architectural and history books for design ideas.
And yet … I play Everquest 2, and other games, far more. Before I go into why, here’s a quick cover of the awesome:
Caves are an amazing addition to the game. Suddenly … there is more than a single dimension to my exploration! I can’t tell you how many times I have died, or nearly died, due to not paying attention to where I’m going and falling to my (near) death as I step over a cliff. Lost? Nowhere to go? Look up! Maybe there is a tunnel above you! It is a very common occurrence for me to find myself precariously clinging to a wall with my grappling hook and rappelling down or up to further reaches of exploration, hoping I don’t miss the telltale sounds of monsters. And for the truly devoted explorer, the cave system has tunnels that can only be reached via digging. Luckily for my sanity and my clicky finger there is a tool that allows for rapid scale tunneling, although it won’t harvest anything.
Combat is item, rather than class based. Equipping an item grants 3 abilities, attached to left and right mouse buttons and E. This is great for the altoholics like me – just keep multiple weapons in your inventory and you can swap at will rather than making new characters to try out new ways of fighting! Granted there is a cooldown, so you can’t switch willy nilly in combat, but you can switch in combat if you’re willing to put up with the delay. This allows for the tactical players to have a ball as well, as certain monsters are weaker against different weapon types. I’ve found the slaugh is a nightmare when I’m wielding the ice staff so when confronted with them I swap to the obsidian daggers, but the abomination is a piece of cake. What I particularly love is the environmental element of combat. When I miss with my ice blasts – I actually do blow frost-coated holes in the ground! And cover is important; I always head for a corner to hide behind when those chompers start spitting.
It really is a blast, and as the combat is tweaked it’s only becoming more so. So why, then, do I play other games? The answer lies with the community.
Every time I log in to the game, the first thing I see is a discussion about how to exploit the systems. No hyperbole here, every time I log in, there is a discussion going on about the current favorite exploit and how to do it. Lately it’s been about the so called ‘loot caves’ – caves with lots of chests that instantly respawn upon being opened – and instructions on how to get to them by removing yourself from the environment and flying freely through the empty ether. The really depressing part for me is that the players who do this often respond hostilely to players who don’t care for such exploiting. It’s the devs’ faults for leaving these things in the game, or it’s not really exploiting because things need to be tested so by cheating the system they are really just helping out by making sure that everything is tested, and anyone who doesn’t agree or join in the ‘fun’ is ruining it for everyone else.
Perhaps it’s just my bad luck, but every time I log in and see ‘loot cave’ within the first line or two, I sigh, click to a new tab and wish I could set it so that the chat tab of my chat box isn’t the default setting.
I know that there are great players around, somewhere. I see posts in the forums from people who are just trying to help other people out with helpful guides on building and harvesting, giving away templates, and offering general advice. Unfortunately, once I get into the game, they are drowned out. The result is a very lonely, desolate feeling, as I wander a world that seems devoid of other people. There is currently very little reason to actually interact with anyone else, and indeed I am disincentized from even visiting other players’ claims because the game does not exist on them. There are no monsters to fight, I cannot harvest, and I cannot build. I am certain this will change – I recall Smokejumper stating that the eventual goal is to give Landmark players every tool that the devs have so we can populate our builds with monsters, have NPC merchants and the like. But for the moment at least, there is nothing for me in other peoples’ buildings, and no reason to interact with them.
But that said, I am very much looking forward to the further additions to Landmark, and with each new stage I am even more eager for Everquest Next. At some point maybe I will finish my glorious marble temple! I have yet to even begin working on the interior design, I’m still working out the placement of exterior walls and columns. But I have been getting very good at creating colonnades and crenelations. Soon I shall begin working on mosaic tiled floors and walls! I just have to place a few more columns…