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EverQuest Next

The Daily Grind: Does an MMO need lore to foster roleplaying?

Fantasy, Lore, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, EverQuest Next, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Landmark
Commenters in MJ Guthrie's recent Landmark vs. EverQuest Next article brought up an interesting question about lore and roleplay in the two games. EverQuest Next, of course, will be drenched in EverQuestian lore and backstory and high-fantasy building rules, but the player-driven Landmark will have no hardcoded lore at all save what the players create, meaning you're as likely to see a geodesic dome spaceship as an Arabian Nights palace. (In fact, I would like to see both of these, please!)

But strict roleplayers going into Landmark might have a harder time immersing themselves in an unpredictable world where literally anything goes, at least in comparison to EQ Next's more formal storyline and concomitant expectations about the way the world works and how the characters got there. What do you think: Does an MMO need dev-guided lore and a common backstory for all characters to make it truly roleplay-friendly? How will you roleplay a serious character in a world like Landmark's?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Norrathian Notebook: The key differences between EverQuest Next and Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Guides, EverQuest Next, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

What's the difference between EverQuest Next and Landmark?

If we've heard that question once, we've heard it a thousand times, which is understandable, considering EQ Next has been totally scrapped and re-imagined more than once and Landmark came literally out of nowhere. Until recently, the two even shared a name; EverQuest Next was dropped from Landmark's moniker when closed beta started at the end of March of this year.

We certainly haven't heard the last of the question, either. With new folks finding out about the games and getting interested in them, it's likely to come up a few more times. Those who haven't been following the development of the games from the beginning have a lot of material to plow through to find answers to their questions. For that reason, Norrathian Notebook is going to address the differences and similarities between the upcoming titles in one fell swoop. Hopefully, with a concise reference we can call on again and again, the confusion will dissipate.

So what is the difference between EQN and Landmark?

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Today's EverQuest Next roundtable video covers SOE Live's EQN plans

Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Landmark

SOE
During this week's EverQuest Next roundtable video, Senior Brand Manager Omeed Dariani is joined by Senior Producer Terry Michaels to discuss SOE Live, set to take place in Las Vegas this coming August 14th to 17th. The pair explain that players have voted resoundingly that SOE focus on previewing panels, specifically EverQuest Next panels, in the lead up to the convention. And yes, SOE is planning on illuminating EverQuest Next, not just Landmark and the studio's current stable of games, in Vegas.

"Remember that Landmark is really the basis for how we're going to make EverQuest Next," Michaels reminds viewers. "So it may be a topic that is primarily Landmark-related, but there's going to be information in there for people who want to know how things are going to work in EverQuest Next."

Enjoy the brief video below!

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EverQuest Next's designers discuss rebooting a classic franchise via lore

Fantasy, Video, Lore, News Items, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Dev Diaries, MMORPG

EQN
In the studio's most recent dev diary, SOE's Omeed Dariani helms a video panel of EverQuest Next designers to discuss not game mechanics or advancement but the story and lore in EQN and Landmark.

Lead Content Designer Steve Danuser, Creative Director Jeff Butler, and Senior Game Designer Bill Trost debate how to reboot a classic franchise, how to select the best material to incorporate into the new games, and how to insert the lore in an organic way rather than infodump on the players.

If lore is your thing, you'll enjoy the video embedded after the break.

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SOE updates Landmark, pushes back international Player Studio rollout

Betas, Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Contests, Economy, Patches, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Landmark

Landmark
It was the best of times for SOE and it was the worst of times. It was the season of glorious patches and of disappointing delays. It was also May 1st, in case you haven't checked your calendar.

SOE delivered an update to Landmark's beta today, including claim feedback, chat improvements, new props, and the ability to teleport to other claims from the gallery view. The studio also launched its first competition, this one to create visually stunning landmarks for the game's environment. The competition will conclude on May 7th.

Unfortunately, international players of SOE's library looking to partake in Player Studio goodness will have to wait a while longer: "Initially, we hoped to expand Player Studio to Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom on or before May 1st, but given the intricacy of the program and our recent launch of the new All Access Membership plan, we have decided to roll out international support for Player Studio at the end of May."

SOE's revamped All-Access membership plan is finally live

Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Subscription, Landmark, H1Z1

SOE
After a brief delay this month, SOE's Mark Tuttle announced today that the refreshed All Access membership plan is now live across all of the studio's core games (and some of its future titles), including EverQuest, EverQuest II, DC Universe Online, Landmark, PlanetSide 2, and eventually, EverQuest Next and H1Z1.
For $14.99 per month (or less if you purchase multiple months at a time), players can now have top tier access to all participating SOE games. This means if you want to take a break from sneaking around Auraxis in your Stalker Cloak and test your mettle against the dragon, Nagafen, or The Joker in DCUO, you can do so with all member benefits. And since your Station Cash wallet is good in all SOE games, you can drop some coin on a snazzy new outfit in EQII to announce, "Yes, I have arrived!" To continue the awesome, as a member players get 10% off the Marketplace price of that item! Go ahead, splurge for the spikey hat and the bunny mount!
Tuttle reminds players that station cash must be manually redeemed via the claim button within a game's marketplace and that a discounted package deal (12 months for $99.99) is also available.

Addendum: Tipster Joshua points out that PlanetSide 1 will also be partly supported by the new plan. SOE explained, "We will offer PlanetSide 1 as free to play game for everyone when the new program rolls out, on or about April 29th, 2014 (or sooner!). Please note that PS1 has no Marketplace and will not see further game development. We know that a large number of people have played it in the past, and we hope you'll enjoy it again, on us."

Landmark's devs on crafting and item upgrading

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Landmark
SOE Senior Brand Manager Omeed Dariani and Lead Systems Designer Michael Mann present this week's Landmark roundtable video, this time focusing on one of the more detailed components of the sandbox's crafting system: item upgrading, which beat out reinforcing, imbuing, and refining among roundtable voters as the system most worthy of prioritization. Mann explains that item upgrading is intended to reduce the demoralizing effects of RNG; eventually, all crafted items will be created as green-quality items that are upgrade-able depending on player skill and statted according to player direction via relics.

Dariani and Mann also hint that Landmark and EverQuest Next will share the same crafting-related back-end systems and that Landmark's crafting will ultimately "flavor" the crafting system in EQN. The full roundtable video is below.

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Norrathian Notebook: Landmark update highlights the power of players

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

As a long-time gamer, I have to admit: I never expected I'd really see the day. What day is that? The one where a studio says one thing... and does it!

True to SOE's word, the development process for Landmark has been quite open. Between social media, livestreams, and posts, the devs have been very forthcoming about where they are and where they are going, giving players a pretty clear picture of what's going on. But that's only the half of it. What impresses me most about this whole situation is that player input is actually recognized as a valuable commodity, not a nuisance to be brushed aside and ignored. I'm not just referring to the opinions offered during the various Round Table polls either, even though those are a welcome component to the the mix. I'm talking about the fact that players are a driving force behind the direction of Landmark's development. And yesterday's update really brought that fact home.

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The new player experience in EverQuest Next and Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Landmark

EQN
In this week's EverQuest Next roundtable video, Senior Brand Manager Omeed Dariani and Lead Designer Darrin McPherson tackle the new user experience in Landmark and EQN. The pair say they recognize that developers don't always see the game the same way players do and that players need to be caught early by the game, especially a free-to-play game, or they'll leave.

"In both games, we won't have a lock-step approach to a tutorial... we definitely want to have something more free," McPherson explained. Learning the game will be a set of achievements. For example, when you equip an axe, the game will tell you you can chop wood with it, and when you chop wood, the game will tell you how to craft, granting achievements along the way without forcing players to complete any one element of gameplay to proceed.

Enjoy the full dev video after the break.

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Smed confirms one Player Studio user earned $100,000

EverQuest, EverQuest II, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Player-Generated Content, Landmark, H1Z1

SOE Player Studio
Talking to the hosts of Game Talk Live last night, Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley confirmed that a player has reached the $100,000 milestone for income earned on SOE's Player Studio.

Player Studio allows users to create unique in-game items to sell on the SOE marketplace. When items sell in the marketplace, the user earns 40% of the sale price. Right now the toolset is only available in EverQuest, EverQuest II, and PlanetSide 2, but may release in future SOE games, including EverQuest Next and Landmark.

The Stream Team: Jumping on the (literal) Landmark rollercoaster

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Livestream, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

When Landmark devs say you can build anything (appropriate, that is), they aren't kidding! Massively's MJ has come across a wide variety of creative endeavors. In fact, recent adventures have uncovered a number of cool and interesting builds, not the least of which is an actual rollercoaster. Don't miss out on her latest tour; join us live at 5:00 p.m. EDT and see the latest and greatest creations to crop up.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
Time: 5:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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SOE All Access changes go into place on April 23rd

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide, Business Models, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Dragon's Prophet

All Access
After a couple of delays in rolling out the revamped All Access plan, SOE has targeted "on or about" April 23rd as the go date for the changes.

According to the revised FAQ, the new membership plan will include "top-tier" access to SOE's entire library, a monthly stipend of 500 Station Cash, a 10% discount on marketplace purchases, and other promotions. The cost will be $14.99 a month with discounts for multi-month packages. SOE said that all current memberships will be automatically transitioned into the new All Access plan and that details concerning Dragon's Prophet benefits are forthcoming.

One Shots: Up close and very personal

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous

GW2
I am pleased as punch today because several of you took me up on the screenshot challenge to get an "up close and personal" picture of an enemy. Without stealth or a sniper scope, this is a very tricky proposition, but even so, three of you came out with the photographic proof.

First up is reader Wolfger, who escaped by the skin of his teeth in Guild Wars 2. "Here's a shot of Brewer Foster getting up in the face of one of the game's favorite loot piñatas, the champion boar in Queensdale. It catches the beast reeling from a blast as our hero is facing it down with a... slingshot?"

Mmm... anyone want a ham dinner? Either way, scoot closer to your monitor and prepare to have your eyeballs blown from the awesome images to come in this week's edition of One Shots!

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SOE Live 2014 begins registration, offers early bird deals

EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide, Events (Real-World), DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Dragon's Prophet

SOE Live
The registration for this summer's SOE Live is now open for business! The convention, which will take place from August 14th through 17th in Las Vegas, will feature panels, parties, contests, and more.

If you register before May 12th, you'll be eligible for the early bird deal of $129 for the premium pass. Evening passes are $99, day passes are $49, and kids under 12 may attend the convention for free. There are also options to pay more for a Sunday brunch with the developers and reserve an entire table for a group.

SOE will mail badges to folks who register by May 12th and has made a deal with Planet Hollywood Hotel to offer discounted room rates.

Norrathian Notebook: Grading Landmark's first beta week

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Closed beta is now in session! After a couple of days of downtime to prepare for the transition, EQN Landmark moved out of the alpha phase. And now, the first week of this long-awaited beta has concluded. Like most initial weeks, it's been an eventful one; from opening itself to a slew of new players to ditching part of its name to announcing the launch of Player Studio, the voxel-based sandbox has changed and evolved from its previous state. But how exactly is this beta different from alpha? What is new, what has improved, and what still needs improvement? How did Landmark fare during its first week? Norrathian Notebook is here to bring you the game's one-week report card!

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