For years now, MMO fans have been waiting for the next big thing. Many developers have tried to deliver (The Old Republic, DCUO, Guild Wars 2) but few have been able to capture even half the magic that WoW still delivers to millions of players.
EverQuest Next is the…er…next likely successor to the World of Warcraft throne, or at least developer Sony Online Entertainment hopes it will be. So much so, that they've started small, with a fan-focused building experience called Landmark.
As we've detailed before, the sandbox experience of Landmark is slowly starting to grow, and in the next two weeks it will get some of its biggest features yet. Death is coming to the world of Landmark, and with it some more common MMO tropes like armor, health, and weapons will arrive.
SOE detailed the arrival of death (sounds ominous) at their event in Las Vegas this past weekend, and although they are starting small they are still building a solid base. And that base will hit Landmark players on August 27th.
For starters, Landmark will no longer give players free reign to adventure and build as they like. After August 27th, players will need to focus on armor and health stats so as to not fall off their mortal coil. That includes fall damage as well as health damage, the latter of which only impacts PvP play.
Speaking of, PvP will enter Landmark as part of the update but will be completely consensual. No player can randomly attack another, only pre-established PvP battles will be allowed.
The update will also include new game tables for Landmark that let groups of players establish parameters for their PvP play. As of right now that will only include deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture and hold, but SOE promises to flesh out the options as they go.
Along with the potential for dealing and taking damage, Landmark is bringing armor and weapons into the fold. SOE is only introducing three of each option to start, but even those have the potential to drastically impact play. Each of the three weapon options — sword, staff, and bow — carries a different attack style and set of bonuses, for example. And for armor, the options include a range-focused robe, a barbarian set for faster movement, and a tech-y set that offers melee bonuses like regen.
All in all, it sounds like the August 27th update will bring Landmark that much closer to becoming a fully formed MMO. Eventually, the feedback SOE receives from PvP will inform how they approach combat as a whole, which in turn will impact quests, AI, and enemy types. It all feeds back into itself in that way.
However, if, as SOE Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing hopes, EverQuest Next is to flip the MMO genre upside down then it will need to do much more than hit those similar touchstones. Incorporating fan feedback is smart and letting fans help build the world is even smarter, but that will only get the game so far. With so many options out there, we're still wondering how EverQuest Next will be able to set itself apart. Perhaps we'll get closer to understanding that vision after August 27th.
Are you excited for the Landmark update? What features do you think should be on SOE's to-do list?