When we get to those game mastering systems [after the start of the year] that means we are working on EQN full time. Because those are the systems we need for EQN, and that's what we're building when we're building those game mastering tools. So we're so close to transitioning the team almost entirely to EQN, and then we'll take the elements that we build for EQN and port them over into Landmark, but our focus will shift almost entirely to EQN after the new year.
Dave "Smokejumper" Georgeson as reported on Massively
That quote seems to have garnered surprisingly little attention in this corner of the blogosphere. Maybe it's because no-one is paying any attention to Landmark any more. Even this week's huge patch that brought with it the long (long!) awaited addition of PvE comabt didn't provoke much interest. The only blogger on my radar, who even bothered to log in and take a look was Stargrace, for whom things didn't go so well.
So, in the interests of... well, nosiness mainly, I patched up Landmark and braved the lag to see if I could last a little longer and discover a little more. Here's my fully-illustrated report:
After a 3GB patch (it may have been a while since I last logged in) I appeared where I'd last logged out, down by the ocean at the edge of the desert. First step - find a mob. As well as bringing PvE combat to the unnamed world of Landmark, this update also added something approaching the full, tiered cave system and that's where most of the monsters are but I'd heard they also roam the surface in smaller numbers so I set off to look for some above ground.
I was a step ahead of Stargrace in that I'd already made a set of weapons back when PvP was introduced and I had them on me. I only had the bow hot-keyed so I went with that for my first try.
It turned out to be a good choice. The Abomination didn't seem to have worked out how to deal with ranged attacks. It just sat there, rippling a bit, and losing hit points as I filled it full of flaming arrows of which I had an infinite supply. No need to craft or buy ammunition in Landmark. Yet.
The fight seemed to take an awfully long time but eventually the Abomination keeled over and spat out some loot. I put my bow away and strolled over to see what it was. The "box" turned out to be a visual effect only not an item you can pick up. As I got close it did that disconcerting thing logs and ore do in Landmark: it flipped up and whizzed about behind my head, then vanished.
After reading my chat log to find out what had dropped ("Ether Shards") and looking in my main inventory to find nothing, I thought to check the crafting tab. There they were, safely stashed away. What they are for I have no idea. I'm sure they're vitally important for something.
Encouraged by my success I turned for the Wisp but it was nowhere to be seen. I strode onwards and heard a strange sound I can only describe as a "chomping". Aha! A clue! Surely that had to be the infamous Chomper? Well it might have been but although I could hear it I couldn't work out where the sound was coming from. As I tried to triangulate, though, I spotted another Wisp.
Or possibly it was the first one. Do they wander about? Insufficient data. Whatever, it had no better plan for dealing with an attacker from distance than the Abomination. It also seemed to have a lot less hit points and took about a quarter as long to kill.
Still, tactile or not, there's nothing like a good drop to put a hunter in the mood for more killing. And hark! There's that chomping sound again only this time I can see whose making it. Now, I don't know a lot about Landmarkian fauna and flora, but I do know these things are supposed to be nasty. There's that infamous video plus the anecdotal evidence from Stargrace for a start. It seemed like a bad idea to get in close so once again I stuck with the trusty bow and once again my prey had no answer.
Chomper down! Three-nil to me. It was at this point that I became overconfident. I decided that, in the interests of science, I'd try meleeing the next mob I came across - which turned out to be another chomper. Mob density overground is considerably thicker than I was expecting, by the way, and I never had to travel more than a few yards between kills.
Out with my really rather ridiculous sword and in for the kill! He'll never know what hit him!
And the inevitable result ^^^. Hubris thy name is...well never mind what your name is. To be fair I wasn't one-shotted; you can see a sliver chipped off that devil-tree's health bar. It was pretty darn quick all the same. Still, gave me a chance to test the Death mechanic. Yes, that's what I was meaning to do all along; that's my story, let's go with that...
The Slaug intrigued me. He was tearing around at a fair old pace unlike all the above-ground mobs. He hadn't come into agro range so far but he looked as though he might at any moment so I decided on a pre-emptive strike. I readied my trusty bow and put a flaming arrow in his pasty hide. He didn't like it much and he had a better idea what to do about it than the others, too. First he ran around a lot which made him hard to hit, especially when he went behind cover. I had to move away from the graveyard to keep him targeted and after a little more cat and mouse he decided to rush me.
I didn't attempt to swap to my sword. I just kept shooting fiery arrows from point blank range. He knocked me about a bit but he'd left it too late and I finished him off without too much trouble. He dropped something nice for me too.
All in all I rather enjoyed my little outing but mostly because I was able to stand still and kill the mobs at no personal risk, either of dying in-game or throwing up in real life. As soon as I had to fight in any way "properly" the inherent issues with the entire process became all too apparent. It's something I already spotted from the PvP patch but that's now impossible to ignore - I won't be able to engage with this kind of combat because of the way the camera swings about. Five minutes of this and I'll need to lie down in a darkened room for half an hour until my stomach settles. And I don't even suffer badly from motion sickness.
If they can get that fixed, though, then it has possibilities. Get working on that for EQNext please, Smokejumper.