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EverQuest Next Landmark Alpha Begins, NDA Lifted Already
Sony Online Entertainment has launched the alpha test for their MMO sandbox game EverQuest Next Landmark. Select players are now able to jump into the game and start building.
Landmark isn't the same thing as EverQuest Next. It's closer to Minecraft than an MMORPG. Players gather materials and use them to construct buildings and items. Sony Online plans to use some of the best creations for the official game world of EverQuest Next when it launches. Builders can also buy and sell items for real-world money in the Player Studio.
In order to get access to Landmark's alpha test, you have to buy either a $99.99 Trailblazer Pack or a $59.99 Explorer Pack. Both of these also packs come with exclusive clothing, rings and other items for your characters. Trailblazers will even get their name in the credits. Before you make any purchase, be sure to check out the system requirements.
If you don't want to pay $60+ for an in-development game, the alpha still has something to offer. The test had a non-disclosure agreement at first but within a day SOE reversed that decision. All alpha testers are free to share gameplay videos and screenshots of the game so you can do more research before buying.
I'm really glad that SOE has decided to let testers freely talk about the alpha. They've billed Landmark as this collaborative process between players and developers. It only makes sense to invite as much public feedback as possible.
As you may have noticed from my articles on Titanfall and Elder Scrolls Online, I have a general bias against NDAs. It's not just because I want more information to write about. I just think it's foolish to invite players into your game and then muzzle them. Sure, an NDA prevents embarrassing leaks or negative early impressions but it also prevents the true fans from spreading the word. You have to have confidence in your game and believe that the positive opinions will outnumber the negative ones.
The closed beta for Landmark is currently slated to launch on March 28th. You can get unlimited access by purchasing the $19.99 Settler Pack, which also includes bonus equipment and titles. SOE plans to give away beta keys through giveaways. However, these keys will only let you play the beta for a week.
Eventually the game will transition into open beta so that anyone with an Internet connection and a strong enough rig can download the game. Sony hasn't provided a specific date, though. It's going to depend on how smoothly the other phases of the test go.
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