Progress on the EverQuest Next Landmark alpha marches on, the Roadmap is turning into real metaphorical roads, and all the while we are showered with news and updates.
Life is good for the Landmark enthusiast, but what of those people who are here for the promise of a return to Norrath? News from the new world has been thin and far between, by design, but we did have a Roundtable response that gave some insight into the newest incarnation of the world.
So here we are, discussing EverQuest Next. Though I would strongly urge those people who have dismissed Landmark to take a look at the longer term goals of the game, I'll be needing gladiators for my arena when the time comes.
The question was deceptively simple: Should there be multiple starting areas? It's a good question to spark discussion as the conversation will naturally branch into ideas of factions, starting areas, new player experience and so on, but the question itself turned out to be a bit of a trap.
The forum population, and those who vote on the Roundable polls, is heavily seeded by those who are already invested in a new EverQuest experience, so when a question comes up, you can bet the top response will be whatever EverQuest did. There are people asking for a reskinned EverQuest, so it's no surprise.
What we didn't know was that the designers of the game had decided to go against what the vast majority of the players that voted, as is absolutely their right, and wanted to explain why. To be fair to SOE, the designers were interested in the discussion of what a starting area could be and how it could fit into the world, hinting that they might be going in a new direction could have derailed the discussion before it started.
The long and the short is that making starting experiences is not easy as they need to be finely tuned. The first few minutes in a free game is absolutely vital, especially these days. Back in my day we had to walk 15 miles in the snow for a quest to kill some rats, and we were glad to have it, not like kids these days.
Speaking of kids these days...