And a new experience it is, even from alpha. Alpha players may have a one-up on folks as far as manipulating the building tools, but this closed beta adds more to the game, so there is plenty of new to go around. Even the very progression has altered. So to give yourself a boost in your new journeys and take a look here at what you can expect when you log in. And don't forget, if you don't have a key yourself, you can watch our livestreams on Massively TV tonight when the servers come up and tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. EDT for a chance to grab one!
[Update: SOE just announced that every attendee of SOE Live 2013 will be sent a Settler Founders Pack via email. Because these packs are not tied to accounts, if players already have another pack, these can be given away.]
We have to give SOE credit: It truly is keeping to its word of open development and keeping folks informed. As players waited for word on the opening of the servers, information kept blasting out via Twitter, giving players an idea of some things to look forward to. Or teasing them, depending on how you look at it!
Some important tidbits have been shared during the down time since alpha closed, much of it straight from Director of Development Dave Georgeson himself. For one, there is absolutely no need to keep the alpha client unless you are aiming for an episode on PC Hoarders. The beta client is completely separate, and instructions for downloading it will come via email to all eligible folks. Georgeson also recommends that players do not install the beta client on an SSD for now if possible as "the cache inflates a lot as you explore the world."
A few more things that Georgeson shared are about new features that players can expect. Players will see new hairstyles (along with new colors) and new faces and even facial hair at character creation. New crafting tables are also incoming. Those who took exception to the fact that clothing was purchasable in the cash shop before it could be acquired in-game will be glad to hear that Outfitters Tables will be available, and yes, they do make outfits! As for variety, players will be able to choose from seven different colors when crafting the two new outfits. In response to a query, Georgeson noted outfits could not be broken into separate clothing pieces for mixing and matching, but that feature will be coming later. Other new crafting station include the workshop, which crafts crafting stations, props, and utility items, and refining stations. The workshop, along with the basic forge, will be available at all the hubs.
Crafting and harvesting have had significant overhauls as well. Because sickles and plant harvesting are in, those resources will no longer drop from trees. Upgrading tools will also start requiring the special resources and come from plants, so players will want to be crafting sickles as well as axes and picks. If you want a complete rundown of all the incoming goodies, check out the recently published closed beta patch notes.
Even those who knew alpha like the backs of their hands will have a new experience. To help everyone start off on the right foot, devs offered a handy guide to getting started in beta, including what steps to take first as you venture out. (Hint: That would be get the mats to make your claim flag, claim your spot, then move on into the rest of the game!). Don't know where you might want to put your claim? There's a very awesome list of every single island and what biomes it supports, which players can consult to see where they might want to explore first.
One thing Georgeson does want people to keep in mind is that there will be wipes in closed beta, but they will be kept to a minimum. There are just features that will necessitate a wipe, but the hopes is to keep them to claims only and not to character progression. For instance, when caves and water are introduced (and the hope is to add them simultaneously to have only one wipe), they "will absolutely require a refactoring of the islands." But that shouldn't deter anyone from diving in and letting his or her imagination run wild. Have at it, sandbox fans; enjoy yourself some EQN Landmark closed beta. See you there!
The EverQuest realm is so big that sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores the franchise's nooks and crannies from the Overrealm to Timorous Deep. Running biweekly on Thursdays, the Norrathian Notebook is your resource for all things EverQuest Next and EverQuest II. And keep an eye out for MJ's Massively TV adventures!