Missing the (Land) Mark
Like my dear Landmarkian friend ( Landmarker? Other guy who plays?) Bhagpuss, I went back to Landmark now that it is a “real” game, completed and everything. For a quick recap on how I felt about Landmark: it was an awesome time killer. I was an early tester of Minecraft and Landmark could be the next big thing! Although I hate action combat, there was enough in Landmark to get me excited about Everquest Next. It was a fun tool slash simulator to run around and play in. I even built an
awesome serviceable home. (That link is important later).
Sure, there was no game there, so to speak, but there was a grind and building and exploration and a grind. It was a visual update to Minecraft without being able to change much of the world permanently – just your own little plot. Beautiful graphics, great movement animations, great scenery. The future was bright.
I stopped playing. Really, I got back involved in EQ (Progression servers) and my serial game play nature doesn’t let me delve into more than one title effectively. Besides, there was a lot of work to be done from it’s Alpha state and since I was a founding member, I could come back anytime and check out the changes. I just didn’t bother. Part of that was the fear of the time I would lose “playing” a “game” that had a long way to go before being done and the other was that I was engrossed in other games. It remained there as something I couldn’t wait to see shape and grow and then get back into when the time was right.
The time never was right. EQ:N was cancelled and there was even more doubt about what Landmark would be. I kept playing other games. Bhagpuss started posting about it again and I became interested and updated the game, and loaded it back up for fun. I made it to the selection screen, made a character, and had to log off for some reason or another. It sat another week. I forgot about it. I found it again. Loaded it up, to find I made a character in a space suit, whose first tutorial job was to build a castle. Good, fitting, scenario.
While it should have been a futuristic colony I did appreciate how easy it was to click “castle parts” and build a castle. No more messing around with various shaping tools. I also got a dream plot of land – waterfront! Without any effort. No clue how it got there and what went into that random choice.
The server population was low, and a quick glance around was a sea of other barely started tutorial land plots. Not what you would call a vibrant, inviting neighborhood.
The landscape was dotted with half built castles as far as the eye could see. What WAS interesting, mind you, was the first row of the building tool in the screenshots – the game had saved my Claims from alpha, including my home sweet home ‘Isey’s Mountain top retreat’ (which I don’t recall naming as such, but was accurate as I remember it.). Sadly, I couldn’t build that due to a lack of resources and props. I suppose there will be some work to do in Landmark after all. What I could build though was my dragon mouth (the link far above, that I said was important, is for this reason). I did have the resources for that so stuck it on the side of my vanilla pre-fab castle just to see if it would work.
Fully satisfied in my initial building experience I continued down the road of the tutorial, stopping right after I bought the Dungeon pack where it seems I can build my own mini dungeon with NPCs and the toolset. While I didn’t get far two things became crystal clear to me. The first being that I couldn’t set up shop there. Too empty, too many people started there an didn’t finish, there was literally not a single building completed as far as I could see. Just a couple tutorial pieces. I am tempted to keep the waterfront but more curious to go explore and see where (if) the community is.
The second moment of clarity was that if I didn’t log off immediately I would be sucked in and lose a few hours of my afternoon, which I could ill afford to sacrifice today.
It’s a dangerous title and one I am not sure what I will do with. What i am certain of is that if it was indeed the next minecraft, I would pay a lot of money. If I could host my own server where my guests could shape and build the world, and not just a small plot of land, that would be worth a lot of my investment. As the way it stands now, not so much. I will play it for sure at some point. I often struggle when I want to give money to a company if they would only do one thing I want that they don’t do. It feels selfish of me. Still, I will hold out hope that they sort out a hosting business model so they get their money, and I get my updated Minecraft-esque world to build, shape, and populate with imagination.