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Norrathian Notebook: Look out Landmark, here I come!

MJ Guthrie

Hello, fellow EverQuest Next Landmark fans! This is likely the last time you will get to see me say boo about Landmark's alpha now that it has been announced and is starting up. Once I get my email, I will be officially and totally gagged.

Many of you know that I was gifted a Trailblazer Founder's Pack for Christmas by someone who knows and loves me (or conversely, just wants to get me out of the way... which says what exactly if I gifted a pack right back?), so this period of time before I receive and open my invite is my last opportunity to speak about the game before the NDA descends upon me. As such, I am taking full advantage of these hours to speculate to my heart's content, squeal in excitement about the upcoming adventures, and ruminate on all I know about and all I hope for in this sandbox! And then by the time you read my thought, I will be [redacted] and possibly [redacted], with a little [redacted] thrown in.

What I know

I already know what the building entails. Although my hands-on experience was some time ago now (and much too short!), it gave me a taste of the basics I can expect. I know what the building tools and interface are like, and I've some familiarity with the commands and process. I do expect that there will be some changes in how things look (a recent video has already introduced some added tools), but I am fairly sure the overall feel of it all will remain the same. In that respect, I definitely feel like I have an advantage going into alpha. After all, I have already experienced the initial what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff shock when I was first planted in the game. Also, I won't have pages of resources to scroll through just to find the one I like because for alpha, I won't even have any yet!

Like all the other new alpha-ites, I will be exploring the world and also looking for resources to start gathering and stockpiling. I anticipate mining happily with visions of my reborn amethyst castle dancing in my head. Thanks to one of the livestream broadcasts, I've got a a handle on how to use my pick-axe and mine for minerals.

I also know that even though I may be restricted to a certain look for my avatar now, different looks will become available later and that I can choose to use one without rerolling my character and losing any progress I have made on my character and claim. I know this because it was a specific question I asked during my gameplay session (you know me and customization!), and Director of Development Dave Georgeson gave me the answer. Now, how exactly I can change it, I can only speculate, but since other games in the franchise can give race potions to change race, it doesn't seem to hard to imagine hair dyes and such.

Thanks to a more recent official livestream, l also know more about the claims, so I have a general idea of how much space I will have access to for my great building plans. From that I'm privy to the information that I will be able to earn flags to stake additional claims connected to my first, giving me an even bigger canvas to construct my creation upon. To get the flags, however, I will have to be doing in-game activities in order to have the wherewithal to buy the flags. So +1 to me for being an explorer at heart! However, chances are I might get so lost in ogling the vistas that I'll forget to to actually collect resources.

And finally, I have a rudimentary idea of how crafting will work thanks to yet another video. I will definitely be on the lookout for altars during my travels. Let's just hope I remember to get some materials harvested and find some recipes before I do so I have a reason to use it!

What I hope

One thing I hope to see in alpha -- if not at the beginning, then soon after -- is the AI system. While the idea of building from the ground up is awesome, I really want to dig into all the aspects that will help me to develop adventures and stories for friends and fellow players, and this system is going to be crucial. Will I be able to populate some ruins with an Orc pack that guards a hidden treasure? And will I be able to determine what type of loot is in said treasure?

Another thought: Can I write scripts of conversation for my NPCs? While it is true that I do want them to react to players organically as expected for EverQuest Next mobs, there is a certain flavor I want my creation to convey.

On a similar note, although combat won't be implemented during alpha, I hope there are some critters shuffling about just to give the world a feeling of vibrancy and life. Not a huge thing, but just a little one. One of the newly released screenshots gives me hope!

I am also hoping that grouping and guild systems are already implemented so that I can find all those friends and fellow fans that will be descending on Norrath. Even from the outset I need the social systems to be up and running. The last thing I want to is scrub the M&M out of MMO.

Speaking of friends, I know that a single player can grab claims that are touching, whereas there will be a forced buffer between claims of other players. So my hope with this is that the various permissions we will have for our claims that will include include allowing a friend or family member to stake adjacent claims to enlarge our buildable area. This would work great for guilds as well.

And lastly, though I know it is certainly a longshot, I hope that SOE lets me livestream some adventures before too terribly long! I am so eager to be able to share those experiences with all of you. However, don't bother wasting your breath asking me about the game as long as the NDA is in place because my lips will be zipped. I won't even utter a single squeal for you.

See you in Norrath!

Well, that's that. This is MJ, signing off from all further Landmark speculation. All you other Trailblazers and Explorers can join me in game and on the alpha forums to continue our discussion of the game. For all the rest, I'll see you when the NDA lifts!

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 every Saturday, the Norrathian Notebook is your resource for all things EverQuest Next and EverQuest II -- and catch MJ every 'EverQuest Two-sday' on Massively TV!

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