[Landmark] Losing your Claim and how to Avoid it

So it finally happened to me this last weekend: after patching Landmark for half an hour, I logged into the game to be met by a gaping void where I had grown accustomed to seeing a tall tree reach for the blue sky and the Inn of the Last home, my little Dragonlance homage I’ve spent a lot of time on since closed beta launch, had disappeared entirely. I had been under the impression that there was still 1 more day left on my upkeep but not so – my claim was gone including the landscaping work around the tall mountain I had made my own. Beta or not, backup copies or not, this made for a suprisingly distressing experience that gave me some pause.

inn02
Where did it all go?

I’m with Tobold in that SoE will need to work out a decent and forgiving upkeep system for Landmark come official launch. I’m hoping they will look into a payment plan that doesn’t just consider “European holiday schedules” but acknowledges real-life commitments and obstacles in general. My stomach turns when thinking back to Ultima Online where players had to log into the game so frequently to maintain claims that it required them to organize for a substitute if they were ever away for a few weeks. When my brother went off to obligatory military service, I had the honor of “refreshing his towers” in Britannia.

I don’t expect a free-to-play title like Landmark to guard player claims forever but monthly upkeep payments from the very beginning should be a given in a game that inspires building effort and home base commitment to such degree. Once SoE have figured out their chat functions and other notifications, it would also be useful to install an alert-system outside of the game, sending an email to your account before claims expire.

It isn’t always disinterest that keeps players from an MMO and coming back to an empty claim is a sad affair, even if the spot is still free for the re-claiming (which it might not be if you’re very unlucky so there goes your neighbourhood too). That much I can confirm after this weekend: it’s remarkable how quickly we grow attached to our personalized spot in a game which is of course an open MMO design secret. Player housing in games, any and all forms of personalization and customization are the real longterm pulls of our vitual worlds. So here’s some friendly advice in case you’re new to Landmark and have recently managed to stake a claim:

  • Press that ‘U’-key frequently and make sure to pay your claim upkeep to the maximum (copper is cheap and all over Tier 1 biomes)!
  • If you’re uncertain of your weekly workload or RL commitments, have your phone or calendar remind you when your claims expire.
  • Stay away from attached claims. Your upkeep costs will double and triple if you expand, so unless you have lots of time to farm copper, sticking to a single claim is the way to go for a while.
  • Make a blueprint frequently. While there’s an automatic backup feature when you lose your claim, you never know and better safe than sorry.
  • In case you lost your claim: give the new claim a different name than before. Re-naming to the same as the backup copy might result in an overwrite should you ever fail to pay upkeep again in the future.

Oh and Liore has posted this simple guide on how to make your first claim if you happen to still be at that step. As for the Inn of the Last Home, it is of course back in the game thanks to backup copies. However, since re-shaping the mountain to fit the scene was too frustrating a second time around, I moved server and set up camp on Satisfaction EU / Kettle this time, where ”my” tree can be found just north of the spire. That is for now, anyway.

inn
Back among the living.

14 comments

  1. Jeromai

    That is an amazingly LOVELY Inn of the Last Home though!

    One workaround that I’ve been abusing is sticking an attached claim flag onto the claim, paying enough upkeep for the two, and then deleting that attached claim. Which gives a far more sensible 10 days or so to forget about logging in. Stretch that to 15 days with two attached claim flags.

    A week to a fortnight is a far more reasonable lower limit on time to hold on to a claim, imo, and they really ought to give leeway to stretch to a month or more for the upper limit of upkeep maintenance.

    • Syl

      Oh nice, I wasn’t aware of this workaround. Do you think it’s reliable for long though?

      And you definitely need to visit again sometime, now that I have drinks and everything! ;)

  2. rowan

    I am sorry to hear that you lost your spot. Scooter had the same problem due to a busy week and has yet to attempt to reclaim it. Honestly, at this stage I am not sure it’s worth it for us. Given our busy spring and recent issues with my computer.

  3. bhagpuss

    As I believe commented on Tobold’s original post, the dev team confirmed right at the beginning of beta that the 5 day limit is deliberately “aggressive” (their word) and just for Closed Beta. One reason is obviously the huge number of one-week keys that they are sending out.

    There’s no suggestion that anything so draconian will be in place when the game goes into Open Beta and if they don’t take the opportunity to let people a) pay upkeep with real money and b) pay upkeep from a mobile app then they’ll be failing to serve the market I’m guessing they wish to attract.

    How easy was it to put the claim back up? It’s always seemed to me that having a whole-claim Template is going to create more problems than it solves for anyone who hasn’t built on a completely flat plain. Even placing it back on the same claim-spot would be hard enough, assuming that remained available, but placing it on different one would seem to be almost impossible.

    • Syl

      I don’t doubt that they’ll change this – I just wonder how exactly. given that I’m no fan of dead neighbourhoods, I’m not sure I even want a real money upkeep option or anything that will make it unlimited?

      And it was indeed too annoying to reconstruct the original place on my mountain. The whole claim height and handling is dodgy anyway and the camera doesn’t help. that’s partly why I left for a flatter plain…would be nice if claim copies were actually full copies.

      • Pete Smith

        “I don’t doubt that they’ll change this – I just wonder how exactly.”

        They’ve talked about their plans [subject to change of course] for this. Several systems have been mentioned:
        1) The longer you own a claim, the longer you’ll be able to pre-pay. So when you first place a claim you’ll have to ‘feed it’ once every 5 days but that time will naturally extend as you keep the claim going.
        2) There will be achievements you can earn that will extend the amount of time you can pre-pay for
        3) There will be a ‘tip’ system on claims, and tips go into the ‘upkeep’ bank. So if you do have to leave the game for 2 months you can ask friends to pay your upkeep. Also if you make something the community truly loves and you quit, in theory the community can keep your claim alive in your absence.

        I think they’ve said the cap is for a 1 month pre-pay.

      • Syl

        Interesting, thanks! I can’t say I particularly like any option that doesn’t allow at least 1 month pre-paid right off the bat; what if I join before a summer vacation or am simply getting sick the first few weeks into the game? 5 days is very harsh (and not everyone has friends to pay upkeep for them).

  4. Aywren

    So sorry to hear you lost your claim — how lovely it is! I’ve been scared of the same happening to me. In fact, I need to log in and mine some copper soon…

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