Landmark – Listening To Players?

I have to disagree with MJ at Massively when she writes, somewhat defensively, that SOE is doing a good job providing what the players want in Landmark. I like MJ and all but SOE has definitely not listened to any of my feedback.

Like for example when I keep asking for them to turn it into an actual game. If they are listening to anyone, they must only be listening to people who just want to build fancier houses and role-play in them. Because the only things they’ve added to the game since the beginning are more and fancier parts with which to build things.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m ecstatic they added a compass. I can remember thinking in the first couple of days, “Man, this game needs a compass or something. Opening the map every ten seconds to see if you’re still going the right way is kind of janky.” That was, you know, three months ago. It took them three months to add one of the most basic 3D navigation tools you can imagine to their game. (Trove had a N-S-E-W text indicator at the top of the screen on the first day.)

It makes me wonder if they have sub-contracted out the game programming work to somebody else. Say, to one C++ programmer in a basement somewhere who only works every other Friday afternoon. While all the rest of the full-time SOE staff is busily working in 3DMAX and Photoshop creating models of windows and clothes and tables to add into the asset database. So if they need a compass added to the HUD, they have to get this one basement programmer to put it in, and he’s too busy watching Game of Thrones or something all day to even get anything done on Friday afternoons. But, you know, give him a few months or a year and he’ll get those minor things like invert mouse and a compass and maybe some non-Linux-looking placeholder UI components right on in the framework.

I’m sure I’m being totally unfair to their development team, but I’m kind of irritated that I was sort-of duped into buying a Trailblazer pack. At no point did anyone say that they were not planning to add any significant gameplay features during the entire Alpha or Beta. If they had, I might have been a bit less implusive about signing up.

I know, I know, it was my own fault for being optimistic. And hey, there’s still a chance that Landmark could become something more than just a demo of the EQNext game engine. And I’m sure they will give all of us early adopters huge perks after the free-to-play launch, so it’ll be worth it in the long run. (No, the Trailblazer’s Pick is not a good enough perk.)

(Updated to fix link because WordPress consistently fails to do Markdown correctly when posting by email.)

2 thoughts on “Landmark – Listening To Players?”

  1. My own little 7 day foray into Landmark gave me some hope that they were going to do something interesting, but it wasn’t enough for me to run out and buy one of the early access packs. In part that was because of the pwipe that will come before open beat… I don’t want to invest time to have it wiped away… but it was mostly because the whole thing wasn’t really a game yet and doesn’t look like it will be anywhere close to having some of the things the devs are talking about until open beta. So why spend money now?

    There is certainly room for discussing what beta means. Back when I did consumer software, it meant all features in place and you thought you were about ready to ship. Clearly SOE is operating with its own definition. But I recall there being some revenue recognition rules about software development and what you could charge for. They might need to call it beta in order to claim that money you gave them.

  2. Well, lesson learned. No more money for SOE from me. :)

    It’s so frustrating because it has a lot of potential, and they keep releasing what they say are major patches (like, for example, the “beta”), but when you log in, you can’t find anything different. It plays almost exactly the same today as it did on the first day. I just can’t understand what they’re thinking. Nobody with any development experience is driving it, that’s for sure.

    I keep comparing it to Trove, which is probably not fair but they are sort-of kind-of similar games. Trove has undergone major changes over the course of its alpha, yet they’re still rightly calling it alpha.

    Landmark seems to be charging ahead with their pre-determined schedule regardless of the state of the actual game. It wouldn’t surprise me if it went into open beta just like it is now.

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