Daybreak just announced cancellation of EverQuest: Landmark. This is part 2 of the death of EverQuest Next.
The idea was that EQ:N would have a voxel-based world (like Minecraft) where the buildings and terrain were destructible. I figure this requires such a radical change in the art pipeline that they built the engine early, and it just naturally lent itself to a sort of EQ:Minecraft which they went on to reveal as EverQuest:Landmark. The PR behind this was that the community would have chance to experience it and to provide feedback to the tools, and to contribute designs and buildings that would eventually become part of EQ:Next.
It always struck me as a bit insanely ambitious for an MMO; flash backs to the landmines EQ1 discovered that most modern MMO players don’t know about. Griefing factor 11 much?
Landmark was cute. I can’t speak to how the game has shaped up because we stopped playing it a long time ago. You probably have to have some passion for 3D art to enjoy it – not even Meg’s decorating/housing stuff was enough to get past dealing with the controls.
When they announced the cancellation of EQ:N, I couldn’t see a long future for EQ:L. You really have to be good and/or lucky to release your game more than once, including beta and alpha. There are many more dead fish in the MMO/online game sea than there are successful, thriving ones, and running your game in beta/open-beta can be a real risk. Plenty of potentially good MMOs disappeared into obscurity because of unsuccessful beta runs, with a team slaving away under the impression that “it’s just beta”.
The days when the internet was populated by geeks who actually gut-understood “beta” are long gone. Today’s players treat a “beta” the same way that restaurant goers understand a “Grand Opening”… Launch accordingly.