Diving back into Landmark

I have a few posts in the pipeline. One on Marvel Heroes which just added achievements! Another on the reality of the Swtor 12x boost, one on Age of Ultron when I eventually manage to see the movie (I can’t wait!) but it’s the newest post in the pile that has my attention.

I never really should have signed up for the Landmark Alpha but I was too excited about the game to wait the year or so until release. I wanted to try it out for myself. However, with having to gather all the materials, then losing them in wipes, I never really got into the game. I know it’s beta and that’s the whole point but I am a very bad beta tester, I didn’t want to waste my time gathering only to lose everything.

Well the devs have said that’s the last wipe, that they will only do claim wipes from now on. Given the template system, all people have to do is login and pick their spot and they are in the same position. From this point on, aside from more bugs and missing features, there’s little difference in my opinion between this and the eventual ‘launch’.

Right so what’s different from the last time I played? What are my ‘first impressions’ when logging in this time?

The best change ever
Base materials are now free. I can build all I want without gathering. Landmark has added PvP and PvE, there’s combat but I don’t care about that, all I care about is building. That’s what attracted me to the game in the first place, that’s what I want to spend my time in game doing.

I still need to gather materials for props and for a lot of other things I’m sure. However, the basic building structure I can play around with to my hearts content. Obviously, there’s only very basic looks available from the base materials. If I want something else then I’ll need to gather materials to paint the exterior or otherwise replace the structure.

The big point is though that I can gather mats over time, as and when I need them. I can see what a building design looks like immediately. When I played last time I did gather a lot of dirt, as that’s a base material, as it was the cheapest material to build in. Having dirt be free just skips that boring initial gathering step, it’s fantastic!

The achievement ‘tutorial’
– is a big joke. I had some previous knowledge from playing before, so I knew a little what I was looking for. They have moved things around, a lot has changed. However, I did have some idea of the basic steps. Someone completely new to this type of game, as I was before I picked up Landmark for the first time, would be completely at sea.

I get that it’s beta and therefore there are going to be inconsistencies, I also get that there aren’t going to be the player created resources and guides yet. Google is not helpful, it’s very much a matter of trial and error, guesswork and reasoning.

Being in on the ground floor of a new game, I guess that’s what it is like, as everything is new and confusing. I’ve always denied wanting ‘the hand holding approach’ as I do think that if everything is given to you, then it becomes boring. If it’s boring then you don’t want to play anymore. However, there’s a fine line between making people work for it, and making people so confused they want to give up.

A few helpful facts:
– Tier continents no longer exist.
– The surface and probably Layer One are the new Tier One.
– Subsequent layers two, three, four and five correspond to the old tiers.
– Yes that means you are forced to go into dark caves.
– You need to craft the utility Ore Prospector and Ground Sounder which it doesn’t mention at all in the achievement list. Otherwise you’ll never find any resources underground (or at least I didn’t).
– You take fall damage, and damage from mobs, but I still can’t find the health bar that lets me know how I’m doing. I get a message sometimes saying zero armor but yeah that’s just a mystery.
– The building tools seem different, paint especially, but the sizing and movement of add/delete as well.
– Props and material selection is by the quickbar rather than on the left hand side.
– With the addition of combat and the necessary utilities multiple quickbars for on claim, and exploring the world are essential in my opinion. Thankfully the game offers plenty.
– The flying buff in claim seems to be a bit bugged, I dug down to do an underground bunker section and it didn’t work.
– Gravity still affects you in claims, not just in the world.

It’s all just initial impressions
I seem to recall from last time, when I first started playing, that the maxim ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’ very much applied. I might feel all at sea but I only played for a couple of hours.

Last time I played for longer. I got my fully upgraded picks and axes, made all the crafting stations (they’ve now been consolidated and seem to be provided) and started trying building techniques. I learnt how to make circular walls, I made a rough hewn spiral staircase. I recall I was going to try making some kind of roof next.

There’s some amazing builds in the gallery, people make all kinds of things. There’s buildings sure, but people make other stuff too like statues or spaceships or trains. Before props were introduced people made their own, and I guess still do if the specific prop/look they want isn’t there. It’s inspiring yet intimidating but what’s great is how good stuff looks even when it’s bad.

A friend of mine tried to get me to play Terraria, which is a similar sort of game I suppose, but it’s like a 2D scrolling game with pixels and I didn’t see the point. I’ve also never really understood the appeal of something like Minecraft either because it’s pixels, it doesn’t look polished. I like shiny and Landmark allows me to build something in proper graphics, like it’s something in a game that I play.

So far my only criticism, apart from it being confusing, is that I really hate caves. I’ve never liked dark zones, I like to be able to see, so having to run around underground is not exactly my favorite thing to do. Plus when I logged in this morning, it was still night in game for some reason, and I couldn’t see properly on my claim either. How can I build if I can’t see? Maybe I’ll get used to the cave layers and I really should make an effort to learn about combat, if only because I’ll likely get attacked by a mob in a cave at some point.

I’ll probably (definitely) do another post after I’ve played, and learned, some more. When the game goes into open beta, and anyone can play, I’d definitely still recommend it.