Everquest: Next wasn’t the only voxel-based MMO Sony had to show at this year’s SOE Live. The revitalized franchise saw two titles bearing the EQ name announced.
While it may be difficult to tell at first glance, Everquest: Next – Landmark is actually a completely separate title. One focused mainly on creative exploration. It’s in the same vein as a game like Minecraft, but with more surgical precision, courtesy of voxels.
Instead of building everything out of same-sized blocks, players can manipulate each voxel to create very organic shapes. This means edges can be rounded, block sizes can be reduced and players can even create spherical objects.
The tools to do this are all available in-game. During the presentation the developers explained that everything being created in Everquest: Next was done with the same tools players have access to in Landmark. The tools themselves are said to be designed for ease of use, freeing players from the burden of learning complicated 3D modeling software, while still providing them ways to create intricate designs.
Everquest: Next – Landmark is still an MMO though, and players will begin by creating an avatar and laying claim to an area in the open world. Once they’ve staked their claim they will need to venture out into the procedurally generated continent in order to collect resources. Just like in Everquest: Next, Landmark also features multiple planes to explore and find resources. These resources must be transported back to your plot of land where you can then use to build whatever you can imagine, within legal reason of course.
During one of the follow up panels for Everquest: Next – Landmark, the developers touched how Landmark is meant to be a collaborative effort. The implementation of social features will allow players to group with their friends, or fellow guildmates and collectively contribute towards a build. Since players have to go out and find certain resources, it ends up being more efficient for certain players to collect certain resources, distributing the load.
Anything made in Landmark can be submitted to SOE for approval and, if approved, will be added to the Player Studio store, where players can pay cash to download the object’s template. The buyer will still need to collect the resources necessary to build the object though as the template only acts as a blueprint.
Like other player content programs, the original creator of the template will receive a portion of the sale. What’s most interesting though, is the fact that anyone who contributed towards the final product will receive a portion of the funds proportionate to their voxel contribution. The more someone contributed the more they will receive, indefinitely.
Landmark is scheduled to come out this winter, and SOE intends to continue supporting the MMO well after Next is released. The plan is to grow both MMOs and share features between the two. SOE will be keeping a close eye on Landmark during the development of Next and will be looking for opportunities to port over player creations which they deem thematically appropriate. That’s not to say you can’t build something like a spaceship, it just means you won’t be seeing it in Next.
By Michael Dunaway