"I’ve become kind of discouraged. Early on I was building stuff that I actually felt a little proud of, but every day we see a dozen incredibly awesome projects that make mine look like crap."
In the recent SOE Livestream there's a segment where they show a number of interesting player-made buildings and objects culminating in this, which is intimidating in more ways than one :
|SOE Devs Not To Scale|
At the moment there isn't an awful lot to do in Landmark other than build or prepare for building. You can work on your Claim, work on your tools or go out and gather materials so you can come back and work on your Claim and your tools some more. You can practice building, you can build or you can go and look at what other people have built.
Consequently the idea that people might, at some time in the future, want to play Landmark and not spend all their time building seems a bit hard to grasp right now. For some forum warriors, impossible. The uncomfortable fact, though, is that for all the Livestreams and Roadmaps we still don't really have anything like a clear picture of what Landmark will be when it throws open its doors to the non-paying public. With nothing else to give perspective at this stage, skill and imagination in building are fast becoming the defining orthodoxy of success against which some, possibly most, players feel they must benchmark.
|Always pray for rain|
If SOE are to be believed it won't always be like this. The forum motto "It's alpha" cuts both ways. Yes, "it's alpha" so don't be surprised if nothing works as it should (especially after last night's patch) but also, "it's alpha" so you can't draw any firm conclusions or make any definitive statements on how things are meant to be: much of the game simply isn't visible yet and anything that's there now might change at any time.
I think we have to take it on trust that the Landmark we get at launch will have a lot more to it than building for the sake of building. When that happens perhaps those highly-skilled builders will come to look more like a handy resource than a threat.
One thing we can be fairly certain is that creating, selling and buying templates of structures, objects and fully-developed Claims will be a big part of Landmark's gameplay. Pete describes the stable he was working on before he got disheartened. From his screenshots he seems to be underplaying his talents somewhat - it looks like a pretty nice horse house. I'd guess that when Landmark is live there will be plenty of buyers for off-the-shelf stock items like that - stables, smithys, shrines, statues - even some stuff that doesn't start with an S.
|Sun, sea, sand. Well, two out of three ain't bad...|
Let's not forget, too, that this is supposedly a sandbox MMO and where there's sand there's emergent behavior. When the crowds arrive, if the crowds arrive, gameplay could spin in unexpected directions. There's a short but interesting thread on the forums that raises the left-field idea of players renting out space in their huge mansions to other players, which drew some respondents to imagine renting space to NPCs and made me think of null-sec renting in EVE (something I only vaguely know about from reading TAGN and others and wouldn't claim to begin to understand).
Is it too far-fetched to imagine something similar happening in Landmark, at least on open PvP servers, should they happen to come to exist? Do we really have any idea how important territory and ownership thereof is going to be? Or how permanent? Or how safe? Smed is a longtime, dedicated EVE player, after all...
In the end we'll all just have to wait and see how it turns out. Things may have slowed down a little after the frenzied excitement of the launch but the servers have only been running for three weeks and - It's alpha! The good thing about being in Alpha is we get to play now. The bad thing is - we get to play now.