It’s hard to deny that the MMO market has begun to get stagnant over the past few years. Whether it’s a lack of innovation or the complexity of development cycles, the genre has definitely seen better days. EverQuest Next and its user-creation platform, Landmark, are looking as though they could breathe new life into it though and with the announcement that it will be moving into closed beta next week, gamers won’t have long to wait before getting their hands on the title.
With Sony Online Entertainment’s admission that they believe sandbox games are the future of MMOs, it’s not surprising that they are pushing to get EverQuest Next Landmark — the world-creation tool for EverQuest Next — into players’ hands as soon as possible. As such, the current alpha is slated to close today, allowing the developers two days to wipe the existing data and prepare new islands for players, before officially launching the closed beta on March 26.
According to the announcement on the game’s forums, almost everything will be wiped from the servers before moving into closed beta. The exceptions to this include character names, any purchases from the game’s marketplace or the game’s Founder’s Pack, and saved templates. As such, the developers are urging players to back up any content that they have created and would like to have access to in future builds as templates.
For a game that puts such a focus on content creation, gamers who have put an increasingly large amount of time into their in-game claims are surely breathing a sigh of relief. While players will still be forced to start from scratch in terms of progression when the closed beta goes live, the prospect of being able to bring back their favorite creations from the past is great incentive to remain active within the title.
As if to further incentivise the coming release, this will also mark the coming of the Player Studio which will be making its appearance early in the closed beta. Through this service, players will be able to buy and sell the templates that they’ve spent painstaking hours creating for actual money. By putting such a heavy emphasis on players creating the kind of experience that they would want to play, EverQuest Next could very well push the MMO boundaries like SOE intends.
Are you more interested in playing the game or creating content for it? Do you think SOE will manage to impress with their free-to-play model or will it fall into the traditional negative trappings the form is known for?
EverQuest Next Landmark will enter its closed beta on March 26, 2014 for the PC.
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