Landmark, which as of a couple months ago was "EverQuest Next Landmark," is now on Steam Early Access. The voxel building MMO was pitched as both a standalone creative game and a testbed for the RPG features and environments of the new EverQuest, and that remains the case despite the new title. As of right now, though, Landmark is all about exploring, mining, crafting, and crazy projects like the manor above (see more like that in Tim's gallery of the best creations).
As reported earlier this year, SOE are today launching their revised All Access Pass. It's a unified service that, for $15 per month, gives subscribers "top-tier" membership across all SOE games. As part of the transfer, individual subscriptions are being dropped; meaning Planetside 1 is now free-to-play. Or will be, at least, once they finish their maintenance period.
SOE's Player Studio program allows players to earn money submitting new EverQuest or Planetside items for consideration by each game's developers. It comes from the same set of ideas as Valve's Steam Workshop - the notion that any body of players has enough talent within it to substantially expand a game if given the chance, and that this expansion can be tied to economic incentives that benefit everybody.
EverQuest Next Landmark has finally gathered enough materials to craft a claim flag for the verdant closed beta countryside—right on schedule—taking a continent-sized destruction tool to the alpha period's constructions to prepare for the next phase of Sony Online's sandbox MMO. It's also taking on a new name for its travels: just call it Landmark now.
The EverQuest Next Landmark alpha—which I've been playing a ton of—introduces the MMO's voxel building tools with patient restraint. By pacing players with a crafting game (advanced resources and building tools must be earned, and not quickly), it encourages a lot of observing and dirt block prototyping, giving its architects time to establish a sense of scale and plan out their first project. When Cory and I visited SOE in San Diego a few months ago, we didn't have that benefit, as you can see in this timelapse video of an apparently drunk construction crew building a pub.
The EverQuest Next Landmark alpha packages—$60 and $100 Founder's Packs—don't buy a complete game, and Landmark hasn't been a very functional incomplete game until the most recent patch. But despite four days of server outages, crashes, bugs, and wiped data in the voxel building MMO, EverQuest Director of Development David Georgeson is optimistic about Landmark's first public play test, and even wishes it had started earlier.
Very few of us who are not named Cory Banks or Tyler Wilde have been lucky enough to try out EverQuest Next Landmark hands-on yet. As much as we wish we could give everyone reading this that chance, here's the next best thing: an hour long livestream showing some of the first ever in-game footage of the construction tools players will have access to. Some of the details presented may be old news if you've been gobbling up every tidbit of information on the game, but the real time demonstration is the first we've seen of its kind.