Andy Schwarz

Yes, THE Andy Schwarz (please hold your applause)

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thoughts of a non-PVP Landmarker

I’m not a PVPer and I’m really not a builder.  Maybe Landmark isn’t the game for me and I should just see my time in the game as tiding me over until EQ Next come out and I can quest and craft and fight against mobs with friends.  Which, if it is true, will be fine.  And I also know that PvE is coming, as is Crafting 2.0, as, I am sure, are player-made quests, etc.  This is not to say those things aren’t coming, just perhaps to suggest ways to make that stuff work for me, as a single representative of the community of people for whom the existing Landmark is fun but not THE GAME I MUST PLAY DAILY.

 To the extent you want to have folks like me interested in the finished product, these are some thoughts.

Probably I am weird, but even though I have no interest in doing PVP, I could see myself VERY interested in being the armorer and weaponsmith to a PVP guild.  Or an independent peddler traveling around the world with gear for sale.  And I can also imagine being a PVPer who, by virtue of having made game choices that make me better at PVP, I’ve given up the ability to craft the very finest wears, and so when the peddler rolled into town with his cart of gear, it’d be like the Ice Cream Man driving into the cul-de-sac on a hot summer evening.

Just typing this makes me think of a rich MMO world where player interaction matters a great deal.

How to get there?  You need diversity and scarcity.  It sounds like ultimately, there will be lots of diversity.  It sounds like one day I can be a bowman and the next a swordsman, and then next I can probably put on crafting gear to make high quality stuff.  The nature of combat creates scarcity – maybe I can swap my sword for my bow, but I can’t do both at the same time.  But with the out-of-combat stuff, if I can swap my fighting gear for some crafting robes, and the maxed-out master swordsman can also be a maxed-out master craftsman, then there is no real scarcity.  Anyone who wants to be great at both can be.

Specifically, even if we can swap our gear and thus change our roles, if there isn’t some limit on the “best” gear, then a single person can play ever role, and the need for player interaction drops a ton.  Obvious, some people just don’t have an interest in, say, crafting.  I know in EQ my guild valued me more for being obsessive about maxing out every tradeskill skill, than for my mediocre raiding skill.  But the truly hardcore players of a game will max everything they can out.

Forcing some scarcity, somehow, will be important.   Some games do this with skill points – If the points are limited and the choices exceed the points, choosing to max out swordplay will limit my crafting.  But if it’s just gear, then that mechanism is gone.  The way to bring it back, perhaps, is to ensure that every player can have good gear for every role, but no player can have GREAT gear for ALL roles.  In my mind,t his means that if you have in inventory an item flagged as “limited”(swordsplay) then that means you can only have other limited() items in that category.  Or maybe in 2 or 3 categories, but not in all categories.  Two seems cool – I can be a Fighter/Mage (based on the best gear) or I can be a Fighter/Armorer, or I can be a Armorer/Druid, etc.  And of course I can be good at my bow at the same time.  But by making it so I can’t be great at them all, you create my need for fellow party members, and for fellow economic trade partners.  If I need a potions and such, maybe I have the best non-limited gear for that, but for the really rare stuff, I have to travel to a place where a guy with limited (potionmaking) gear has set up a cantina, or make sure my guild has someone who likes doing that, or just wait for Andy the peddler to roll into town.

Once you make this cort of specialization needed through scarcity, all sorts of richness opens up.  I saw the discussion on Livestream saying that hardcore PVPers might still want a builder to make them a cool house.  Yes, maybe.  But unless the house helps them PVP, maybe not.  By making it so that in order to be best at PVP, I can’t be best at armor, then a PVPer is really going to need an Armorer, way more than an Architect.

You can take this further, of course. Different worlds can have different resources and you can make it so people from that homeworld can mine them, as well as Mining specialists, but not offworlders w/o that speciality.   Now the peddler doesn’t just roam from town to town, he might roam from world to world.

The other piece, of course, is to make currency valuable for everyone.  If a PVP delves deep, and finds something a non-PVPer really will want to buy, the PVPer also needs something money will help with.  I’m not sure what that’d be (I leave it to the game designers) but making currency valuable for everyone will also increase the richness of a trade economy.  Barter rocks, but if you want lots of economic activity, currency is cool too.

Anyway, that’s my thought.



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Short Story: Fantasies of a Little Boy

So I’m driving home on 280 (it was Friday and 101 is especially migraine-inducing on Fridays) and all of a sudden, there’s Nicholas Cage in the Toyota to my left. So I get real excited and start waving and honking to get his attention. When he finally acknowledges me (it took a while, I’ll tell you), he smiles and then floors it, expecting to leave me in his Corolla Dust. I’m sure!

Norm, my ‘85 Olds Cutlass Cruiser, is up for the challenge. I jam on the gas and soon Cage’s crappy little Asian job is sputtering up one of 280’s rolling hills. Norm is cruising at 75 without even a hiccup thanks to the high octane I had recently humored him with. So as I approach, I notice Cage has a bumper sticker on his car which says, “Serramonte Bowling League - It’s Fantastic,” and I’m thinking to myself, maybe this really isn’t Nicholas Cage — after all would some big movie star be bowling at the Serramonte Mall on a regular basis? - but when I finally pulled even with him I knew it was him.

Now Cage is kind of worried, because I have a face that looks a little bit psycho sometimes,and all the while I’m still honking and yelling, ‘cause it’s Nicholas Cage in the Toyota to my left. Once I catch him, I slow to his pace (Though Norm balks at the idea and I almost lose him, getting a second chance to check out Cage’s bowling sticker) and I start gesturing that I want his autograph. He thinks I’m nuts and starts gesturing to indicate this. I already know I’m nuts, so I gesture to him by swerving my car in and out
of his lane, just nicking his car and sending him into the shoulder on the far left. Now he KNOWS I’m nuts and tries to floor it as we crest the hill.

Norm is a big boy as cars go and going really fast downhill comes easy for him. Cage is clearly upset, and I see that he’s reaching for a cellular phone or something. Like, why is this big star with a car phone driving a Corolla? But no time for speculation because within a couple of minutes there’s a cop and I slow down because I’m driving uninsured, and Cage hits the gas. I saw his stupid bowling sticker for another thirty seconds and then he was gone.