I am absolutely enthralled in this little alpha at the moment. Each night after doing the usual chores and such as well as filling my belly I quickly jump on and begin doing one of two tasks: digging or building. EQN Landmark is incredibly simple in its aims and goals right now, there will be far more coming in later but at its core it is a game just about gathering and building and I’m increasingly thinking that this is all you really need.
It’s A project that is very incomplete and buggy right now, as can be expected. I think everyone has tales of input lag, rubber banding, and all manor of other animation, crafting and creation bugs. It isn’t very well optimised and my computer is struggling a little and there are frequent world wipes. Alpha is Alpha so don’t expect some sort of fully formed game if you are playing.. relax and enjoy what they do have. Or get a refund and jump in later.
They described the world as islands right now and I guess that is partially true, but it’s more just a collection of instanced zones. They are large enough in size to take a bit to traverse but they are surrounded by the invisible walls with the only connection to others being the portal in the middle. It isn’t a world at all and doesn’t feel very immersive but as a testing ground for mechanics and the server I guess it does what you want. I do feel very disconnected from the world as a whole because of this, and with the limited scope of the terrain it really isn’t very interesting.
Many vital features aren’t in place yet such as friends lists, guilds, group claim mechanics, combat, classes and well.. everything they talked about except limited gathering and creating. Many parts are still limited as well; a lot of the materials still aren’t in place just yet; gathering is just ore and trees but it feels and looks very organic. You literally dig chunks out of the world with each swing of the pick, each piece taken makes your hole wider and deeper in a way that makes it all feel very natural… more real.
The veins of ore are also a great idea as you slowly follow them underground just below the surface where the often change into something more valuable just at the end. At the moment these veins are easy to spot, from a distance the various colours stand out among the scenery which makes gathering a bit easier and even in map you can spot the various types. This will change eventually with the veins being placed underground as well as having and interconnected cave network. Very excited to see that.
The creation still only has a minimal amount of things to work towards but what you can do is growing very quickly. each time I log on there are new housing components, new resources and tools to work towards. Just having the basics is enough though and it is amazing the possibilities you have with what you can build and how you are able to craft your surroundings. I tend to lean towards quaint little mountain cottages but I’ve seen a lot of castles, other cabins and many weird and wonderful creations.
This is what I expected and I’m having a great time. It might be that I’m just conditioned to such activities; I spent countless hours building a boat in Terraria after all and this is very much an upgraded version of that. I’m following ore veins and seeking out the materials I want for hours on end and then spending another couple of hours putting together the frame for my wonderful little mountain home that wraps around a tree. I have so many ideas going through my mind about what to do and what to build next, it’s these possibilities that make the game so amazing.
There have been problems with this. I had my first Build project wiped after that first day and all my placed materials disappear. I’ve had crafting tables disappear, tools not working and constant relogs needed to fix certain aspects. All this is getting better and really, while frustrating is expected. To be honest it doesn’t bother me as much as I keep thinking about the possibilities and how this is a lot of what I wanted right now.
My biggest complaint is the functioning of claims right now. Firstly the world has filled up surprisingly quickly and the server, client or code doesn’t seem to be able to support it. It also seems completely illogical at times, claims have a border round them which I assumed was a no build or claim zone for other players but I see that happen constantly which creates a lot of overlapping space. It looks very messy, and I can understand a little of this happening but not to the extent it has.
Secondly is that it is also restricting extra claims being built within your own space. I am unable to overlap claims at the moment in order to get more space to build and I can’t combine with a friend either. When testing this out I deleted my first claim to try and then had a lot of trouble getting it back. My old spot was no longer viable yet just random clicking around there yielded another spot for me to build even though it shouldn’t have.
The progression is a contested feature at the moment as well. When you start off it seems to require a vast sum of specific resources in order to craft the stations you want to craft further and the tools needed to dig out faster and the better resources. That first tier is steep but from then out it goes a lot faster. I honestly think this is a good idea, you don’t want to hand away everything and it’s more of a learning phase. Some say it’s too long but it can easily be done in a few hours. It seems to follow the same idea as other sandbox orientated games in making it slower at the start with it natural getting faster with better tools.
It is an upgraded Minecraft in terms of the scope right now. It doesn’t have the depth of crafting or ingredients Minecraft does but the level of creativity is very much supported. It is a Minecraft clone in that it shares the same ideals of letting the player create and manage their own goals. Later when it ends up getting more crafting, gear and combat against monsters, the stroybricks AI and many other features then I believe it will be more comparable to games like Terraria, Cube World and Trove in that it’s giving you more options for progression and then supporting this with the building aspects. I think that would be just perfect.
Many people are like me in a way, hmm or maybe a little different in that they require more guides to their play in order to first get engaged. The boundless freedom and “go do stuff” attitude is a wonderful thing but in this generation I think having those guiding elements helps to ease a lot of players into this mindset, a way of easing them into and then fostering this creative growth and expression of personal interests
I’m really looking forward towards what’s to come