On Friday Sony Online Entertainment surprised its fans by announcing the early launch of the alpha test for EverQuest Next Landmark, the all-mining, all-crafting aspect of the next-generation fantasy MMO. I entered that alpha test, and I tore a hole in the world.

Landmark is where EverQuest Next players get to explore, gather materials and create. It's been likened to Minecraft on many occasions, but that's only because this is pretty much Minecraft with pretty graphics and personal plots. Players stake their claim and then set upon the world of Norrath with pick and axe, gathering materials needed to craft whatever it is their heart desires.

The alpha test was announced on Friday. The announcement was followed by a live stream, during which EverQuest director of development Dave Georgeson wore this hat.


The live stream ended without the alpha launch, so fans waited and read Twitter for several hours. Finally the servers went live, and players scrambled to claim prime plots. By the time I got in, 8AM the next morning, most of the prime spots seemed gone, but some rapid mouse clicking scored me a lovely desert mountaintop to play with.


And then the game went down for most of the day. On Sunday it returned with massive queues (a new server should open up tonight), and I didn't get back online until this morning.

Here is my tale of travel and building, of ripping a hole in the ground with my bare hands and clawing out the fruit of the earth. Of getting lost. Of standing dramatically. This is ten minutes in EverQuest Next Landmark.

So far, so good. For my next trick, I'm going to try building some things. Wish me luck!