Landmark’s Combat Update

Is something I know very little about.

I re-downloaded the game and eagerly logged in. Combat was here! Finally something to do besides dig up ore! My claim was long since gone, which was fine because it had nothing on it except some crafting tables. I ran to the crystal hub thingy in the middle of the map–an object that I still don’t know what to call–and found the right table to craft a weapon. I made a sword. I equipped it.

Then I stood there. I clicked the left mouse button. I swung the sword. It swished impressively in the air. I clicked the right button, and I charged forward to deal a thrust of doom. I looked for something to attack. There was nothing. There were no monsters roaming around. I walked up to someone standing there by the hub AFK and swished my sword at him threateningly. Nothing happened. There was no thunking sound and no numbers flying in the air. My sword went right through the guy.

Swish swish! It's combat! Uh, sort of. I guess.
Swish swish! It’s combat! Uh, sort of. I guess.

I logged out after a few minutes because, as is typical of all “major” Landmark updates, it was a total dud that barely changed anything about the game. (Don’t yell at me: I have no doubt that internally it’s a huge change.) I don’t know about anyone else, but when I heard “combat” I kind of expected to find some monster hordes roaming around the countryside jealously guarding the ore.

After reading around a little bit, I discovered that SOE pulled a clever bit of marketing bait-and-switch. Because “Combat” really means “PvP.” Why obfuscate the PvP? Well, clearly there’s nothing that social sandbox builders want more than PvP, right? I mean, SOE definitely nailed the pulse of their target audience with that one. I’m sure that players who have spent many hours building houses are falling all over themselves lining up to test PvP.

Assuming they can even figure out how to do it. My initial sword-swishing at a fellow player produced very unimpressive PvP action. Later, I logged in again, and suppressed my enormous disappointment with the new update for long enough to figure out (I think) that you have to find a claim on the map that has been flagged to allow PvP. Presumably if you run to that PvP claim, you’ll find someone else there ready to do battle.

My “home” zone only had one claim with PvP flagged. I didn’t feel the slightest desire to go there and fight somebody, so I logged off again.

So there we go. SOE started out saying that they were 60% finished with Landmark at the beginning of alpha. I think now they might have reached 65%. Maybe. Regardless, it’s still not a playable game.

I can’t help but wonder if there will be a dropoff in population when (if) the game is actually finished, if it’s nothing like what people have been playing for the last six months.

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