During E3, much of the action is confined to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Because Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and about a hundred other publishers and developers take up a significant portion of the facility, it is not uncommon for screenings and other previews to be held off-site. Sony Online Entertainment opted for the plush and comfortable top floor suite of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel to show off the latest builds for three major properties. Big changes have come to Landmark since I last wrote about the early access game. The latest version of the game presented the newly incorporated water and cave systems. This may not sound particularly exciting in writing but within the context of the game they give Landmark considerably more creative potential. Caves provide a new level of depth, both figuratively and literally, as they give the player new places to explore and makes for a larger sense of verticality. Procedurally generated, these underground tunnel systems can be stumbled upon while mining the landscape for resources or by locating entrances in seemingly innocuous places. During the presentation, we found a crevasse in the middle of a desert that led to a series of branching tunnels. To incentivize cave exploration, players will find richer ore veins, new loot and materials that can only be found below the surface.
Water may not be as complex or interesting as the cave system but it lends itself to new building ideas. Water means brand new beach front property, allowing you to carve out a small (or large) piece of paradise. Or, if you are so inclined, create all sorts of water-based structures (sunken pirate ships anyone?). I wonder how long it will be until someone tries to recreate Rapture? Be it land or sea, SOE is committed to supporting it community through feedback, new systems and tools, and hosting online events designed to foster creativity. For example, SOE has been running an on-going competition to search for Landmark's best of the best. Designs that earn the highest community recognition will have the honor of their creations turned into Landmarks - permanent installations that will find a home in Everquest Next.
New things will always come to Landmark as the developers and community work together to shape its world. Future plans include quests, PvP, monsters, and survival elements. One feature the developers have looked into is an achievement system that awards players with upkeep time. Unique to Landmark is its claim system, where players must physically claim a piece of land as their own before building. Any and all claims require an upkeep fee designed to encourage players to remain active in the game. If they lapse on payment, their claim - and everything in it - will be removed to free up that piece of property for someone else. Currently, upkeep collection is set every seven days but SOE is toying with the idea of offering additional time as a reward for players that perform exemplary feats.
New materials, creative tools, and places to explore, Landmark continues to be a fascinating piece of software. SOE is steadfast in its promise to expand and reiterate their game based on their own ideas and community feedback. With so much potential and possibility, one can only imagine what the game will look like after a few more months of development.
Teen Services Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.