Those of you that read one of my previous posts would know that I was getting pretty interested in the new game Everquest Next Landmark. It was a voxel based building game, much like minecraft, but the graphics were meant to be smoother, better and more interesting. There were also meant to be far more features and interest for those of us who actually like looking at things that are a bit more refined than 16bit.
I had been interested enough in this to sign up and pay for a founders pack to get into the alpha testing, knowing that at this stage in development players who help test can actually help shape the game somewhat. This was important to me, personally, because although I adored Rift’s building in the game, it was so poorly integrated that it made it mostly redundant, so giving some feedback at such an early stage in a game development on a topic that I know quite a lot about I felt would be useful.
Although the game is still in alpha stages, where things are getting tested and changed all the time, it soon became obvious to me that there was a massive flaw in the way this game was going to run, and it was not something that could be fixed without pretty much scrapping the whole game and starting in a completely different format.
I had never played a voxel based game before, and so I had no real knowledge about just how much processing it was likely to take, but this soon became evident, not only by playing the game in this very early stage where there really was very little to process by comparison to the end product, but also by the released system requirements on the website. I was pretty darn shocked, let me tell you. My current computer setup is pretty much a mid-range gaming pc, and can run games like guild wars 2, elder scrolls online and rift on medium to high settings without any real problem. On Landmark, my settings had to be at the very minimum, and even then I was getting lagg, and enough of it to make playing an annoyance and a headache. I really can’t say the graphics were great on minimum settings either. and while they may well be improved or something by the release, right now, they are.. well.. pretty horrible.
You can see the minimum system requirements below.
|Landmark||Elder Scrolls Online||Guild Wars 2||Rift||World of Warcraft|
|link here||link here||link here||link here||link here|
|OS||Windows 7 64 bit||Windows XP 32-bit||Windows® XP Service Pack 2 or better||Windows® XP, Windows Vista®, or Windows® 7||Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7/Windows® 8|
|Processor||Intel i5 Quad Core or higher / AMD Phenom II X4 or higher||Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent processor||Intel® Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz, Core i3 OR AMD Athlon 64 X2, or better||Dual Core 2.0 GHz or better||Intel® Pentium® D or AMD Athlon™ 64 X2|
|Memory||4GB RAM||2GB System RAM||2 GB RAM||2 GB RAM||2 GB RAM (1 GB Windows® XP)|
|Hard Drive||20GB Free||60GB free||25 GB||15.0 GB||25 GB|
|Video Memory||1,024 MB RAM||512MB of RAM||256 MB of video RAM and shader model 3.0 or better||256 MB|
|Video Card||nVidia GeForce GTX 275 series or higher / AMD HD 4890 or higher||DirectX 9.0 compliant video card (NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 / ATI Radeon™ 2600 or better)||NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800, ATI X1800, Intel HD 3000, or better||Nvidia® GeForce® FX 5900, ATI Radeon® X300, or Intel® GMA X4500||NVIDIA® GeForce® 6800 or ATI™ Radeon™ X1600 Pro (256 MB)|
|Sound Card||DirectX compatible||DirectX compatible sound card||DirectX® 8.1 compliant card|
|Internet||Broadband (3Mbit/sec or higher)||You will also need a persistent internet connection in order to play||Broadband Internet connection||Broadband Internet connection (DSL, cable modem, or other high-speed connection)||Broadband internet connection|
As you can see, the current minimum system requirements are so hefty as to be very prohibitive to players, especially when graphically it will likely end up looking much like world of warcraft in style, but far more laggy. I don’t see how the majority of players, especially casual players (who are likely the target of this game) are going to be able to run it adequately.
The issue is (as far as I am aware) that every time someone builds or edits their building in game, mines for ore, or chops down a tree the entire map changes. It isn’t specific spots that are being changed, but a small percentage of the whole map. This is what is causing so much lagg and demands such a constant flow of upload/download data and processing.
Even with a mid-range gaming pc like I have, the graphics leave a lot to be desired. I cannot really comment on what the graphics will end up being like in the higher range, but I can’t think that the minimum graphics will change so very much. You can see a screenshot below of Landmark, Guild Wars 2 and Rift all at minimum graphics for comparison.
Now, let me put here, that I do think that the game itself has a lot of promise. There is a lot of discussion and information on the forums that is interesting, but in terms of being able to run the game well without a super fast internet connection and a supped up gaming pc, I have my doubts. It was for this reason that I applied (and got) a refund for my founders pack. Even Sony know when it’s better to bow gracefully when they have made a big mistake it seems, as there was a no-quibble refund offered because of the system requirements for players that would struggle to play.