It's been a while since we heard much about EverQuest Next and its sandbox spinoff EverQuest Next Landmark, so here's a video direct from the developers.
It all sounds a bit Minecrafty, doesn't it? Picks that you gradually upgrade, and which can, in turn, harvest better materials? Buckets for carrying lava around in? Using base materials to create -- or, rather, craft -- more complex items?
It's not quite the same as Minecraft, of course; while both games feature worlds built out of voxels, EverQuest Next Landmark's are considerably smaller, and consequently the world has a much more organic, natural appearance. The fact that Landmark doesn't restrict itself to using large cubes for building allows for greater flexibility, too; in the video, we see asymmetrical, rounded boulders; rock pillars; metal that has been worked in various ways; different types of stone and items of varying thickness made from them; and numerous other possibilities. Using the game's tools and materials, it looks like it will be possible to construct some impressive-looking structures and landscapes, though there's a lot of very obvious repeating textures.
It's not just for show, either; supposedly, the developers of EverQuest Next will be looking out for the best creations in Landmark and incorporating them into the main game, with rewards on offer for those whose content is featured in this way. You'll also be able to craft items and sell them on Sony's Player Studio service for real money, somewhat like in Linden Lab's largely user-created virtual world Second Life.
The combination of EverQuest Next and Landmark is increasingly sounding like a genuine step forward for massively multiplayer online games, in which players will have as much -- if not more -- opportunity to shape the world and the experience as a whole as the developers will. It will be very interesting indeed to see if the final games live up to the potential suggested in these early previews.
Landmark is scheduled to launch this winter, with EverQuest Next to follow at some indefinite point in the near future. You can sign up to beta test both Landmark and EverQuest Next on the official website.