Thursday, May 15, 2014

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EverQuest Next Sandbox MMO Spinoff Landmark Makes it Easier Than Ever to Build Your Dream Claim -- Here's Mine!

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There have been a few changes made to voxel-based sandbox MMO Landmark (formerly EverQuest Next Landmark) this week that have made it easier than ever for just about anyone to pick it up and start building on their Claim.

All three tiers of Landmark paid beta access can now be purchased and installed through Steam. That's big in terms of streamlining the downloading process, but what's even bigger are the changes that have been made this week to the game's building tools. When I finally started playing Landmark late last week, I spent hours gathering the resources needed to craft the Smooth, Select, Paint, and Line tools. Yes, you had to craft the Select tool, not just your picks and axes. Now players have each tool right from the jump, with no need to arduously gather materials to make them. That means you can open the game for the first time and start building a trailer-worthy fortress in almost a matter of minutes.

So after a few days of fumbling with controls and getting the hang of the building tools, I have to say I'm pretty happy with the results of my own foray into Landmark. Just take a look:

Landmark Matisse's Cottage Claim (8)

Well okay, maybe I felt a bit better about my cozy little forest cottage, nestled away in a valley of Serenity server's Ridge region, before I rewatched that trailer with the mind-blowing gingerbread houses and cities... It may be easier than ever to get started in Landmark's closed beta, but even with all those tools in your belt it can still be a challenge. In fact, my very first attempt at building this cottage ended up being scrapped completely (after I painted it all into grass and smoothed it into a big featureless lump for fun). Even so, it helped me learn about what I was doing and more importantly how to do it better.

Landmark Matisse's Cottage Claim (1)

If you're looking for pointers to help build your own dream claim, this guide on creating and using Micro-Voxels effectively is an absolute must-read, as is this article on USGamer about getting a handle on the more technical and control-related aspects of playing since the beta tutorial is still a little rough around the edges.

Landmark Matisse's Cottage Claim (11)

Here's another tip, one that doesn't seem to be going around nearly enough: Landmark is still in beta, and it's not always the most stable piece of software. Every now and then my game crashes, and when I log back in everything will be fine for a couple minutes... And then freeze. Quit and relog and it does the same thing. If you find yourself in this situation, open up your Landmark application folder, pop into the Cache file and delete its contents. In my experience this is an almost surefire way to get the game running smoothly again.

That said, both Landmark's forums and SubReddit are both great sources of information, and great places to visit whether you're having technical troubles or just need tips for making the perfect spiral staircase.

Landmark Matisse's Cottage Claim (3)

For those curious about what other changes are coming to Landmark (hint: glittering, ore-filled caverns!) don't miss this post over on Polygon. And finally, if you build something beautiful or stumble across a Claim you absolutely adore, don't hesitate to share the server name and location into the comments. I'll drop by -- and I may even write about it!

Mixed reality iris 2013Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times, and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.</

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