Landmark Closed Beta Blasts Off!

Geek Culture
Players have said their goodbyes to Alpha, as the Closed Beta opens.
Players have said their goodbyes to Alpha, as the Closed Beta opens. Image: Sony Media

Players have said their farewells to Landmark‘s alpha phase, and are welcoming Sony‘s release of the closed beta. Testers all over the world are riding the beta bus, as they explore the world of Landmark!

If you aren’t already in the know, Landmark is Sony’s response to Minecraft, the world’s beloved terraforming game. In it, players can use design tools to make outrageous creations come to life. Some of the classics are still around, such as mining picks, axes, crafting tables, and more. Want to show off your work? Good, because it’s in an MMO world! This also gives players a chance to create content that may be used in EverQuest Next. Sony has announced (via the FAQ) that some of the user-generated content in Landmark will be featured in the “next” incarnation of the game.

Don’t worry about griefers; you can control who can build/destroy in your area by “claiming” it. When a player places their claim flag, they choose the location and height of their claim, and then they may build inside of that claim. Multiple claims may be built edge-to-edge, but only if the same player owns them. If another player claims an area close by, there is a buffer-zone, preventing players from trapping in other players’ claims. Claim flags are the signature mechanic of Landmark, and players can only effect permanent change inside their own claims, or those they have been given permission to build in.

The building basics are similar to those of Minecraft, with some great new options for design. Blocks are much smaller than those in Minecraft and are called “voxels.” Instead of placing a single block at a time, players can place thousands of blocks with a single click. The building tools include Add, Remove, Heal, and Line. Design tools include Select, Smooth, and Paint. Many of these behave the way you might expect them to, but innovation makes the improbable entirely possible.

Building is as simple or complex as you might desire. Add and Remove, for example, do just that. However, you can control the size and shape of your addition and removals. The Heal tool lets you restore an area to its natural shape. The Line tool doesn’t work the way you might expect, however, so it takes a bit more work. I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

The design tools each grant many different options for their capabilities. Select does just that–you can select large or small areas with a three dimensional tool, allowing you to use the add/remove tools to alter much larger and smaller selections, without affecting areas outside the selection. Paint replaces the outer material with a new material/texture. You want grass to grow on your vertical wall? Use one of the grass textures from the dirt menu, and paint that grass on! The smooth tool is the last one currently available, and it is both amazing and crap at the same time. It can smooth huge areas, but is a bit temperamental, and may sometimes break your creations.

On that note, you may even use keyboard shortcuts while building. You can use Ctrl+Z/X/C/V to undo, cut, copy, and paste. If you break your creation, simply undo and salvage your work. If you want to save at particular stages, you may use the selection tool to save a permanent copy of your creation as a template that you can use later.

If you want to see the game in action, many Twitch users, such as Oakstaff, stream their play regularly. Watching these players as they create their masterpieces is a quick way to hone your skills. Check out the slideshow below to see some of the amazing work different players have put out, and think about the big question: What will you build?

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