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Public testing for EverQuest Next Landmark is about to enter a new phase. Sony Online Entertainment revealed today that the closed beta is starting in a matter of days.

EQ Next Landmark is a sort of precursor to EverQuest Next, the next-gen MMORPG. Players explore the world and gather up building materials. They then use these materials to create items and structures. Players can buy and sell these creations through the Player Studio for real-world money. The best player-made items, meanwhile, could be used by SOE in EQ Next when it launches.

The alpha test started in early February. In order to get access, players had to buy the $59.99 Explorer Pack or $99.99 Trailblazer Pack. Fortunately, there was no non-disclosure agreement in place so everyone who held off on a purchase can still check out videos and screenshots of the game.

The alpha will wrap up on Sunday, March 23rd. Sony Online says that they're going to wipe a lot of data at that time. You should make some preparations before that day to preserve your work.

"To get ready for the end of Alpha, we *highly recommend* that you template any items on your claims that you want to resurrect during Closed Beta," SOE said on the Landmark forums. "Consider templating things with props, without props, and possibly even re-textured as dirt or something simple so that you can rebuild it easily when you have few resources available."

They had that they'll be templating players' claims at the end of alpha. However, a lot of these claims require a lot of resources before being placed so it's best if you make individual templates.

"What will the data wipe entail? EVERYTHING will be wiped...except your character name, your templates and any items you purchased (Founder's Pack items or marketplace purchases). Yes, that means everything else. When Closed Beta begins, you will need to choose a new appearance, gather new resources, craft new tools and make new claims from scratch again. Everyone starts at the same place."

SOE will then launch the closed beta on Wednesday, March 26th. Unlimited access will be granted to anyone who springs for the Explorer Pack, Trailblazer Pack, or $19.99 Settler Pack. You can also play the beta with keys from registering on the website or winning giveaways. However, those keys only give you a week of play-time. The only way to get unlimited play-time to the beta is by purchasing one of the Founder packs.

Before you spring for one of the Founder packs, check out the system requirements for the game. Gamers who purchased a Founder pack but can't run the game can get a refund from SOE.

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