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Norrathian Notebook

Norrathian Notebook: I tasted Landmark's combat and I like it!

Betas, PvP, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook

Better late than never, right? At long last, after months of only mining and voxel magic (and then an overnight delay), I have finally partaken of the Landmark combat fruit. And oh, how sweet it is! Of course the system was just barely implemented and is in only its first iteration, but that doesn't stop me from sharing the experience I had upon first logging in to check things out. So in I jumped just as soon as servers went live... and there I lost the rest of my day.

Even with the inevitable bugs, I was not disappointed by my first few hours of this update. There are flingers and teleporters, weapons and proximity mines -- plenty of things to keep a slightly wacky mind occupied. And who can leave out the new joys of fall damage? Here are my unadulterated first impressions of that much-anticipated system.

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SOE Live 2014: The revolutionary intelligence of Storybricks' AI in EQ Next and Landmark

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

SOE Live 2014 The revolutionary intelligence of Storybricks' AI in EQ Next and Landmark
The most exciting part of EverQuest Next and Landmark for me is the living, intelligent AI brought to the games courtesy of Storybricks. Thanks to a tech demonstration at SOE Live, we got to see that AI in action, and can I tell you I am even more excited having seen it! This technology really will revolutionize the game, creating a living, breathing world in EQ Next that players help shape as it develops as well as give players the power to make their world come alive in Landmark. And to add icing to the cake, the panel also delved into the background of the new Norrath a bit, revealing the world map complete with familiar areas (like Kithicor).

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SOE Live 2014: Details on EverQuest Next combat, classes, and races

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next, Norrathian Notebook

We heard you: You want more EverQuest Next info. We do too! And here at SOE Live we've been getting all of that for you! Between the keynote address and our chats with Creative Director Dave Georgeson, Senior Producer Terry Michaels, Lead System Designer Michael Mann, andLead Designer Darrin McPherson we've discovered the next race to be announced, learned about the three newest classes, and watched a demonstration of those classes in combat. Get your first glmpser of EQN's Teir'DAal race and check out the Cleric, the Elementalist, and the Termpest.

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Norrathian Notebook: How to improve your Landmark building skills

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Guides, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

What goes through your mind when you come across show-stopping Landmark builds? Do you just admire them, or do they also pierce your confidence and remind you of your own less-than-phenomenal skills? Some folks see another player's masterpiece and are inspired. while others get discouraged. Don't let it discourage you! Previously, I offered a few hints on how to avoid discouragement; remember, it's perfectly natural and OK to not have uber building skills. Besides that, you don't even have to build because when all is said and done (and released), there will be game enough for everyone, regardless of construction prowess.

But what if you really want to improve your skills? In that case, the first thing you need to do to restore hope in your skills is to stop comparing your abilities to others. Trust me, there will always be someone who can create circles (literally) around you in Landmark. Instead, focus on what you can do and on improving from there. If you really desire to make some specific awesome creation that you can see in your mind's eye but can't it make work in voxels, take the time to hone your skills. You may never join the upper echelons of the truly constructionally gifted, but that doesn't mean you can't make something great that you can be proud of! This guide will help point you in the direction of polishing and practicing those voxel manipulation skills.

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Norrathian Notebook: The ups and downs of Landmark's open development

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Open development: It definitely has its ups and downs. And Landmark players are getting plenty of first-hand experience with this fact.

Back in the early stone ages of MMOdom (think baby Ultima Online and EverQuest first crawling on the scene), massively multiplayer online games were more like boxed single-player games: You waited and pined for it until it shipped out (in yes, an actual box!) and then you ran to the local games shop to nab your copy on the launch date. If you even knew about the existence of the game before, you still had to wait until that box was in your physical possession and the game loaded on your PC to find out what it was actually like. Before that moment, only the devs and reviewers at gaming magazines really knew.

Boy, have things changed!

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Norrathian Notebook: Building EverQuest Next in Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Contests, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Norrathian Notebook: Building EverQuest Next in Landmark
From the first surprise announcement of Landmark at SOE Live last year, fans have been interested to know how exactly that sandbox would tie into the much anticipated EverQuest Next. In big bold letters on the main site, the devs declare, "EverQuest Next is still in development... and you can help us build it!" So how exactly is that going to come to pass? Through Landmark.

Landmark might be a separate game in and of itself, but players can actually build structures there that might one day be gracing the landscape of EQN. At first, we knew only that those structures would be judged and picked through contests. However, with May's racial Round Table vote and the recent implementation of The Workshop, the actual process has begun. And you can get in on it right now!

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Norrathian Notebook: SOE says bye-bye ProSiebenSat.1, hello Landmark Player Studio

Fantasy, EverQuest II, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Double the pleasure, double the fun! SOE made two big announcements Wednesday that brought smiles to the faces of many fans. One said goodbye; the other said hello. But both were good news indeed, especially for Norrathians.

Sometimes parting is just sweet, without the sorrow. Such is the case with the first bit of news: the departure of ProSiebenSat.1 from SOE. That's right, my European compadres, rejoice because SOE is bringing you back into the fold! The deal that quickly went sour for fans squished between the US company and the European partner is over, and SOE's titles are returning fully to its portfolio while region locks are being lifted. I can hear you all singing hallelujahs and dancing in the street!

The second bit of news worthy of celebration was the launch of Player Studio in Landmark. Although it arrived later than anticipated thanks to the international tax registration processes, the wait was worthwhile because players from not only the U.S but also Canada, Sweden, France, the UK (yes, including Ireland), Germany, Norway, and Denmark can now submit items for sale to other players. That means that aspiring money-makers and non-builders who want to buy their cool items can finally find one another and do business. And that just paves the way for the system to work in EverQuest Next.

As great as the announcements are, neither is without a few downs mixed in with the ups. Norrathian Notebook explores both bits of news to get you the necessary details.

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E3 2014: Underground and underwater with Landmark's Terry Michaels

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

You didn't need to be at E3 2014 to partake in Landmark's latest (literally) groundbbreaking patch. In fact, if you were at the con as I was, chances are you haven't been able to log in and experience it for yourself yet! Luckily, Senior Producer Terry Michaels was on hand to offer me a peek at the new features before I broke down in heap of deprivation-induced agony from my Landmark withdrawals.

What was the big deal with this latest update? It included the first iteration of caves and the second phase of water. Players can now go spelunking deep in the earth to find large veins of minerals, explore uncharted biomes with new plants, and even find treasure chests filled with special items. On top of that, they can swim through the bright blue oceans that surround each island. As Michaels helped me get my Landmark fix, we talked about everything from the newest content to heroic movement to my pet topics: player books and theme-enforced islands. Oh, and did I mention that combat is planned to appear by SOE Live in August?

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Norrathian Notebook: So you aren't Landmark's greatest builder

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

The walls are lumpy. The stairs are crooked. You couldn't make a statue of a blob if your virtual life depended on it, and everyone comments on your creative Koi pond that's actually a fireplace. So you aren't Landmark's greatest builder. Join the club! Despite how it may appear at times (especially when you see majestic jaw-dropping creations plastered all over Twitter and featured in livestream tours), there really are a number of us. So who cares if you can't build a voxel replica of the Taj Mahal with the Bronx Zoo on the side? Well, you do if your perceived lack of skills is keeping you from enjoying the game!

It can be hard when you see such amazing builds springing up around you; it's easy to get discouraged if you are one of the skill-impaired. I already know of players who have lost hope and even some of their interest in the game because they feel their skills are not quite adequate. But I'm here to tell you that you -- yes, you -- are indeed a valuable member of Landmark's community and we need you. So for those without any leet building skills, here are some tips for avoiding creative frustration and ways to more fully enjoy the game.

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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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Norrathian Notebook: Jump in, the water's fine in Landmark!

Betas, Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

The drought has finally ended: Water has come to the parched shores of Landmark. After a day of torturing fans with some not-so-subtle teasing on Twitter involving beach songs, links to life vests, and musings on slow garden hoses, SOE Director of Development Dave Georgeson finally outright admitted that the first phase of water was indeed headed into the game. And as of yesterday's update, the long-anticipated liquid is a permanent part of the landscape. No more shall players stare off over the edge of their islands, eyes skipping over the sand whilst seeking just a hint of moisture. No longer must the faithful beta testers dream of the day the sun's rays would reflect off the rolling waves. Oceans are here! And while there's no need to grab a towel on your way to the beach (you can't actually get in the water), players are still rejoicing. Why? Because it finally feels like beta, baby!

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Norrathian Notebook: Upgrading your tools in Landmark

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

True confessions time! I have been looking forward to showing off my newly minted super pick and sharing with you all how you, too, could get a shiny new upgraded tool in Landmark. Unfortunately, due to the empty chest bug that came with the update, all my resources were lost; ergo, I wasn't able to craft -- let alone upgrade -- any high-level tools. Thankfully, since the new tool upgrade system is not relegated to only the highest of tiers and I can use iron, I can still show you how you can get the spiffy new pick or shiny new ax of your harvesting dreams!

As a bonus, on top of guiding you through the upgrading process, I'll delve into why this is such a important step on the way toward the more robust Landmark game that folks are eager awaiting.

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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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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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Norrathian Notebook Extra: Get the scoop on the opening of EQ Next Landmark's closed beta

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook

EverQuest Next Landmark's alpha is not only over, it's gone. As in gone gone. As in the world has been officially destroyed and nothing remains (except for your templates, Founders Pack goodies, and purchased items, of course!). But that was all a necessary step in the direction of closed beta, which is opening today! Now, even more fans -- from those who bought Settler Packs to those who acquire a beta key from Trailblazers -- can get in on the new experience that is EQN Landmark.

And a new experience it is, even from alpha. Alpha players may have a one-up on folks as far as manipulating the building tools, but this closed beta adds more to the game, so there is plenty of new to go around. Even the very progression has altered. So to give yourself a boost in your new journeys and take a look here at what you can expect when you log in. And don't forget, if you don't have a key yourself, you can watch our livestreams on Massively TV tonight when the servers come up and tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. EDT for a chance to grab one!

[Update: SOE just announced that every attendee of SOE Live 2013 will be sent a Settler Founders Pack via email. Because these packs are not tied to accounts, if players already have another pack, these can be given away.]

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