Let’s circle back to that EQNext:Landmark thing, shall we, because I think there is some interesting stuff going on between SOE and the way they have approach this.
The $100 “get in beta, possibly get ‘power’ if location is a thing that matters in EQNL” sale. Initially my reaction was similar to most of these offers; if a company can get people drop pay $100 for beta or even the game more power to them.
This to me is a little different however, for a few reasons. When companies do this stuff with Kickstarter, it’s usually done by a new developer that doesn’t have much/any value in its name, so if the end-product is a dud and everyone who bought it rages (and we all know people will rage), the PR hit to the company is a non-factor.
SOE is not such a company. While I gleefully bash them constantly, the SOE name is still worth something, and if EQNL doesn’t end up being ‘worth’ that $100 price, the rage will actually impact SOE beyond just this one failed product. If nothing else, SOE asking for that much cash this early is an interesting gamble worth watching.
(Side note: I wonder if 38 Studios could have saved itself with this strategy. I can easily see plenty of people dropping $100+ for early access to that game, and while all of the aftermath suggests the game was meh at best, maybe it could have actually launched and Shill could have kept his robe? (If you get that joke we are officially friends.))
As for EQNL itself, I’m still not seeing this as anything more than an EQ skin for Minecraft, and while Minecraft was brilliantly new when it came out, for most it wasn’t something you played with long-term. After you have built a castle or ten, there really wasn’t much ‘game’ to it. For Minecraft that was perfectly fine, but if SOE intends this to be MMO-ish? I’m not convinced.
At the same time, and perhaps somewhat contradictory (a first for this blog), would it surprise anyone if EQNL was a bigger hit than EQN? Sure, some of that is based on what we have seen of EQN (zzzz), but it also feels that SOE has spent a lot more energy and attention around Landmark since the two products were announced.
If nothing else, hats off to SOE for bringing something worth talking about to the table, and I’m genuinely curious to see it all plays out. Also congrats on the art; after the utter monstrosity that is EQ2, and the utter meh that is PS2, I fully expected EQN to also look terrible, and it doesn’t. Guessing copying Blizzard is the right move after all.