Smokejumper Introduces Holly “Windstalker” Longdale, New EverQuest II Producer

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

From the EverQuest2.com:

A Letter from Smokejumper

Hi there, Norrathians!

As many of you know, I’m the Executive Producer in charge of the entire EverQuest franchise, including EQ, EQII, and the upcoming (and very different) “EverQuest Next.” For the last two years, I’ve also been the Producer for your EverQuest II world, and it’s been absolutely a blast working with the team, the game, its features, and most of all, its players.

However, our company’s visions for the EQ Franchise are bigger in scope than what I can coordinate alone on EQII while also overseeing the rest of the franchise.

Therefore, we’ve brought Holly Longdale back to SOE to take over the Producer position for EQII. In fact, she’s been working with the EQII team since last December. (We delayed announcing her presence so she got a chance to come up to speed for a few weeks before needing to answer a thousand questions.) ;) But, the honeymoon is over and it’s time for her to “take the con.”

Holly and I are still working closely together. There is no loss of knowledge in this transition because we still meet and discuss the game’s directions and tactics on a daily basis. Holly will be getting a huge amount of support from the team, myself, and the rest of the company. You still have an excited and motivated dev team, a quality Producer, and a great game.

So please, take a moment and welcome your new Producer to the fold. You’ll still see Smokejumper posts occasionally, but you’ll see a lot more Windstalker posts as well.

~ Dave “Smokejumper” Georgeson

From Holly “Windstalker” Longdale:

A Letter from Windstalker

Greetings Norrathians,

I feel like I’ve come home!

Since starting on the team, I’ve been watching, absorbing, and reading everything I can before officially taking the reins. The opportunity to be a producer on this team is surreal and certainly perfect. And honestly, I am one of you. I’ve been playing EQ2 on the xxxxx server since launch on my main and have several beloved alts. (Editor’s Note: Sanitized for her protection!) EverQuest as a franchise has had a place in my life for well over a decade now. It’s rooted in my history and a source of deep and seeded pride.

A bit about me – I played EQ at launch and had the blessing to change careers to become a Designer on EQ at the time EQ2 was in development. SOE as a whole was as passionate and as close a family then as now. And the players, now as much as ever, are part of that family and great passion. Believe me when I say we hear you. And as gamers, we understand. And as creators, we want to be the best. And we are.

The content and quality of this game is always growing. The advances and features since launch are really staggering. The most recent expansion is really something to be proud of – not just as a team here, but as players. The time and effort put into Dungeon Maker by a lot of careful decorators and designers is beyond impressive. There’s a wealth of creativity and ingenuity being expressed that is second to none in this genre. And we will continue to look ahead to more avenues for your virtual self-expression that makes you real contributors to this fantasy world your avatar, and you, live in. It’s the best MMO around soup to nuts. And I’m here to continue and build on its success.

Under SmokeJumper’s (Dave Georgeson’s) leadership and vision – which I strongly believe in – this team is hard at work creating even more amazing game content for the upcoming Game Update. We have big plans for this game and your experience in it, I promise you. And at the same time, to support the game, we are looking for new and better ways to build fun.

I can’t tell you what a joy it is to be back at SOE. And as much as it feels like home, I’m still absorbing the details, but you will hear from me again soon.

~ Holly “Windstalker” Longdale

Massively first broke the story.

Trackback from your site.

Comments (56)

  • Necromancer

    |

    EQ2 actually has hope without smokejumper in charge.

    Reply

  • Kwikdeath

    |

    Glad to see they finally fired….err, promoted SJ (isn’t it really synonymous anyhow). Hopefully Holly has a more positive impact on EQ2 than SJ had, it can’t get much worse. Give the playerbase good reasoning and/or facts behind your decisions and most of us will be appeased (especially since there was a distinct absence of that under SJs direct control).

    Feeling more optimistic than yesterday at this point…

    Reply

  • Dragonstomper

    |

    Maybe now the focus will be on improving Quest content and not on SC market now that we have seen SJ disappear in smoke. mind you im not holding my breath :(

    Reply

  • badcat

    |

    Wow, you all did not really read that. let me bold this for you!!

    “Under SmokeJumper’s (Dave Georgeson’s) leadership and vision – which I strongly believe in – this team is hard at work creating even more amazing game content for the upcoming Game Update. We have big plans for this game and your experience in it, I promise you”

    Does that under his leadership and vision not bother anybody. Still sounds like he is in charge with just a layer of leadership in between.

    Reply

  • Llogwey

    |

    I wonder why she changed her nickname from “Vahlar” (one of the well-known lore-dev from EQ1) to “Windstalker” (indeed there is the character of Holly Windwtalker but…) Anyway, considering she brought quite some good stuff to EQ1 (she developped Crescent Reach for example) and had a hand in the main lore of the whole EQ franchise, I suppose it means AT LEAST that we can expect some good stuff (at last!) about timeline, lore and intrigue…

    Reply

  • Kruzzen

    |

    It is a new job for her. She has to play nice to start. Will take time to see what her vision is and how it molds the game.

    Reply

  • Anaogi

    |

    Glad to see they finally fired….err, promoted SJ (isn’t it really synonymous anyhow).

    The phrase you’re looking for is ‘percussive sublimation’. ;)

    Reply

  • skippydippy

    |

    I’m of the view it cant,surely get any worse under her control in fact i suspect it could get a bit better

    Reply

  • Kwill

    |

    Holly is great! I am a fan. I interviewed her many years ago for an article about her design efforts in EQ1, and she is smart and has great ideas.

    She was working at Disney Studios for while, I am sure she learned some good things from them.

    She has a good eye for design and artwork, I can’t wait to see what she will do for the game.

    Also FINALLY we have a female producer for a million dollar title. Glad to see that too.

    Reply

  • stwsr

    |

    I suspect this is just a ploy as Badcat pointed out ^^^.

    Reply

  • Steve

    |

    Brenlo still working at Disney Land?

    Sure miss him.

    Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    Badcat has a point, but I still do think she will do a better job then SJ, even though he still has his hands in the cookie jar.

    Reply

  • Shepherd

    |

    I hope this change will prompt some alterations to the current broken classes.
    Beastlords being severely overpowered and berserkers (for one) being severely underpowered (for harder content).

    Reply

  • thait

    |

    Badcat did you expect her, or anyone there, to say “Yeah and she’s going to be taking over completly so that person you don’t like has nothing to do with anything.”

    You don’t trash talk the people you replace, especially when they’re still around. Not to mention that i can’t think they would bring her in if SJ was going to stick around for to much longer as it would mean they have an assistant producer, a producer and an executive producer. Not very cost effective unless they are getting close to EQ3′s release which i still think is going to happen late next year.

    Essentially she’s the producer, and one who’s worked on EQ in the past. While DoV part 2 will be SJ’s baby what comes after will be hers. Though she also will probably have ideas that will change some of what goes on in the next parts of DoV as well.

    I’m starting to wonder if that’s why DoV part 2 has been pushed back. We suddenly lose crit mit, the next content release is shoved back a couple months all when we get a new producer that we’re told has been on since december. Seems a bit to much to be a coincidence.

    I didn’t really have a problem with SJ, but a change brings new ideas which is always fun.

    Reply

  • badcat

    |

    NO I dont expect her to trash talk SJ, but I want her to be her own producer, and her own ideas.

    The way that article was carefully worded was she is his yes man/lady.

    I hope that we see some good changes I really do, sj has done so much to destroy the game, I hope we see a reversal of some of that.

    Reply

  • Claviarm

    |

    Don’t attack (or get attacked by) any wolves while she’s watching. That’s all I have to say.

    Reply

  • milliebii

    |

    ROFLMAO, if anyone needed a clearer indication that the changes of the last couple of years had approval and commitment all the way to the top this is it.

    Stop bagging SJ he was doing the job he was hired to do and implementing SOE policy. The policy remains in place and if Windstalker does not maintain the momentum and direction she will be fired, so do not expect any changes.

    Reply

  • skippydippy

    |

    Oh i dont think there’ll be any major changes but it may be run a bit better perhaps

    Reply

  • Kwill

    |

    At least we know now where he was doing all those weeks in January — sure, he was on vacation, but he was also training his replacement.

    A couple of people called it on here, he stays for two years and moves on. I guess he’s moving up, since it seems that he did the job he was hired to do, which was make EQ2 and EQ FTP. I think the “vision” Holly’s been told to follow is make the game pay with station cash.

    However, she’s a great designer and I have high hopes the game will get better under her watch. She’s got a lot on the ball.

    Reply

  • Dragonhearted

    |

    The good news is that SJ will be to busy messing up other SOE projects (please keep him away from EQNext) to be directly involved with EQ2. Holly should help at least get this game back on track. I may need to resub soon.

    Reply

  • Ardur

    |

    Smokejumper looks like willow. 4real.

    Reply

  • Feldon

    |

    The good news is that SJ will be to busy messing up other SOE projects (please keep him away from EQNext) to be directly involved with EQ2.

    Guess you didn’t get the memo. Now that he got EQ1 moved to Free-to-Play, I’m guessing SJ will be knee-deep in EQNext for the foreseeable future.

    Reply

  • Tomoch

    |

    Can I vote for Feldon to be the new Producer? I am kinda looking forward to the new lady. I want to see her ideas on the game and where she would like to lead it. I know she wont have much say in the matter. @Feldon I have some screenshots of the new adorns off testcopy

    Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    @Feldon
    Seems like every SOE game is now F2P except Vanguard, which I don’t believe will be around for much longer, considering the fate of both The Matrix Online and Star Wars Galaxies. With how things are, I don’t think I need a all access subscription anymore. The only reason I keep it is because it’s only 5 dollars more then a gold EQ2 sub, last time I checked. I just don’t play EQ2 enough to warrant it, but I don’t like the restrictions of Silver, becasue ass soon as I log in I know my raid toon will be buck naked because all the fabled gear has to be unlocked lol.

    Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    PS: You probably don’t want to see a naked Ratonga. :)

    Reply

  • Snowdarc

    |

    This almost gives me hope,still waiting to see what they do with the European players though.

    Reply

  • melpheos

    |

    Let’s hope SJ will have too much work with other project so he can’t mess up EQ2 even more

    Reply

  • skippydippy

    |

    I must admit i do fear greatly for EQnext god only knows how thats going to pan out with SJ in charge

    Reply

  • Balboa

    |

    Smokejumper was secretly in bed with Blizzard methinks. It seems they intentionally tried to push veterans away from EQ2. There is a motivation for all the bad decisions but for the life of me, I have no idea what they are. I’m just glad he’s gone. They should have just fired him in my opinion. I still won’t be coming back to EQ2 though (cancelled the day this expansion was announced). Thousand(s) spent on my accounts and I/we never deserved to be treated like that. No more! See you guys in EQ Next unless Smokejumper is on the team.

    Reply

  • Kwill

    |

    I wrote the article linked above in 2007, for those who would like a time reference. Even EQ was having some growing pains then (thus the redesign of Crescent Reach to improve the lower level experience).

    I think we are all getting a pretty good idea of what EQNext is going to be like. I doubt highly that it will be anything like the MMORPEGs that the vets started out playing.

    Holly at least does bring old school design and production experience into EQ2, which may bring back some of the things us vets are missing lately.

    Reply

  • Grimmond

    |

    Holly has to play nice with SJ … he is now her new boss. Though I suspect he has left the day to day running’s of the EQ2 team to more closely oversee the startup operations of the full time development team for EQN. They are probably at the point of needing a producer of their own, and he can be the overall producer of two running games and one in development, at least until it launches and then needs its own guy.

    Maybe the delay of the next update was her “take charge moment” due to her seeing that they were about to release another bug ridden piece of crap, and she did not want to be saddled by that right out of the gate. What a way to dash a new reputation. It’s also possible that the dropping of Crit Mit was her first real decision after looking at the mechanics of the game and knowing what is coming. I suspect that SJ’s disappearance was not only a vacation but the re-structuring of the outgoing Producer and the incoming new producer. Obviously they could not tell us at that moment … well maybe not so obvious … everything being such a secret at the Skunkwurks.

    Vahlar – Holly – I do wish you well. Your past co-workers in this job have failed miserably (or done well depending on your perspective). The fans are a fickle bunch, they are never happy unless they are given “exactly what THEY want” but they never really seem to know WHAT they want … because there are so many differing camps of it is impossible to placate them all.

    In the end I think SJ did what he was brought here to do. He brought in SC in a major way and doing a decent job of it, dumbed down the game some in advance of F2P, took the game through to F2P, and over saw a few content updates and a couple expansions. I do not call him on what a lot of people think is lying to the fans, that I believe is just following the company line and doing the job that was laid out for him. On that note, here is fair warning … Holly is going to have to toe the same line that SJ did … cut her some slack, but know that she is a Skunkwurks employee as well and has to toe the same corporate line. Obviously Smed did not allow SJ to tell us that projects were going to be late as the staff had been reduced, hours had been reduced or assets were reallocated (all guesses on my part). The things he said and did were just the company line so I do not fault him for doing his job. I however DO hang on his head a failure to hire and direct competent developers and their miserable failure to implement and release clean and bug free code, intriguing, engrossing, consistent, and addictive content.

    Reply

  • Electri

    |

    A year too late perhaps, but I’m glad to see that, perhaps, someone was finally held accountable for the cluster “F” EQ2 has become. From lack of meaningful content and long-time known broken mechanics to a shrinking player base, the game (I can only hope) gives our the Prodcuer no where to go but up.

    I wish the new producer all the luck and a speedy recovery for the EQ2.

    Reply

  • Grimmond

    |

    Note that under Holly I do expect to see some consistent thought and some dilegance in the code releases. We can have a good game with RMT and F2P. It takes good leadership (which I believe we now have), clear and consistant vision (depending on who’s vision and where they are taking the game this is a toss up), and a good design team committed to their job (that one is also 50/50 as there are still decent dev on the staff but they need a serious shake up). I am hopeful, so I will wait and see.

    Reply

  • Grimmond

    |

    Electri, I don’t think SJ was “held accountable” for anything. He did what he was hired to do. The fan base shrunk as the game was declining which is why he was brought in. The game needed to be brought to F2P (at least in the eyes of the Skunkwurks) and that is what he did. I am sure he earned a gold watch and a beer party for his efforts. Others in his position could have really made a mess of things during this transition. We should be glad that the game is not a smoking ruins … we could be much worse off.

    Reply

  • dennis

    |

    welcome holly im glad that we are getting a good person from another great game over here. now let’s see what you can do.

    Reply

  • dennis

    |

    welcome holly im glad that we are getting a good person from another great game over here.

    Reply

  • Kwill

    |

    Louey, the producer does have a lot to do with the team’s performance, the overall direction of the game, and how the team responds to challenges in the game, and ultimately, the impression from the player base. It’s pretty significant when a change of leadership occurs.

    Reply

  • thait

    |

    I agree with you on the idea that she might have had a hand in the push back of the release Grimmond.

    It’s simply to big a coincidence that crit mit vanishes, and the next big content update is shoved back a couple months just as we get a new producer. And one who we’re now told has been on the job since december. While some of that was very likely training she is already an old hand at development so she wouldn’t need a huge catchup session.

    It’s possible she looked over everything and decided that DoV part 2 was simply not ready for release and needed a couple months more of work on it.

    Still though that release will still be SJ’s release. We’ll have to wait probably till the end of this year to really see what she can come up with. Though we should at least get some idea of how things will play out by the middle of this year.

    I also agree that he likely is shifting more towards being the head of EQ3, though i think that will likely only be till launch. He probably won’t stick around much after it’s put out and given it’s own producer.

    Reply

  • Grimmond

    |

    Thait, you are probably right. As soon as EQN (3) gets going or nearer it’s launch SJ will probably find a producer for that team and move on to looking over the whole stable. I also think that you are right (of course) the next expansion is SJ’s baby, if it blows it’s his fault, but if it releases with fewer bugs proper itimazation and launches smoothly it is probably more Holly’s credit than his. content developed under her sole direction won’t happen till the last quarter of this year as everything to that part is under development right now even if just in cartoon form.

    Reply

  • Steve

    |

    Louey – the fact that anyone would resort to name calling like you just did is rather eye-rolling. Way to be a gentleman. Stay classy!

    Reply

  • Feldon

    |

    I’ve moderated a few posts. We don’t do personal attacks.

    Reply

  • Stabs

    |

    Maybe stuff will be released when they say it will… one can hope.

    Reply

  • thait

    |

    A two month delay really isnt a big deal. DoV part 1 itself hasn’t even been out for a full year yet though it’s close. And we had drunder and eow added in during the year. We got more content in the last year than normal anyway and most people arn’t even through the content that’s out right now.

    I don’t mind a wait, especially if they are doing some work to try and fix problems in the new content before it is released.

    Reply

  • Louey

    |

    I apologize if I offended anyone but man the negativity that comes out of something they don’t even need to worry about. Let them do their jobs and enjoy the game. It flusters me when people make it sound like SJ and the devs are out to ruin the game for us. They deal the cards and even stack the deck but you can still fold.

    Kwill – Thanks for understanding my point and the polite rebuttal. You are totally correct and I agree. I guess I just don’t see why people stress out so much over things they have no control over.

    Steve – Sarcastic pokes are sooo much better then name calling. lol

    Reply

  • badcat

    |

    Things that I hope happens with the new Boss at the wheel

    (1) Itemization fixed, make it a priority
    (2) Content tested good before its released
    (3) Fix to bugs
    (4) Open communication between her and the player base

    Things I don’t want to see repeated
    (1) The player base called trolls for complaining about bad decisions
    (2) Closed of communications, and the player base being ignored
    (3) More stuff copied from other games and added to our game in hopes of getting the other games players to come here.
    (4) Acting exactly like smokejumper.

    We have an opportunity here to get things right that have been wrong for the past couple of years.

    Here is to hoping here leadership can shine though and overcome and make this game great like it once used to be. I am hoping that her leadership will not be hobbled.

    Reply

  • stwsr

    |

    I am just not hopeful.

    Reply

  • Alason

    |

    I have a bad feeling for all the Druids in the game…sounds like we are about to get a slap in the face

    Reply

  • Kosh

    |

    Yay, they’re re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Reply

  • Feldon

    |

    Louey said:

    I apologize if I offended anyone but man the negativity that comes out of something they don’t even need to worry about. Let them do their jobs and enjoy the game. It flusters me when people make it sound like SJ and the devs are out to ruin the game for us. They deal the cards and even stack the deck but you can still fold.

    While I don’t want this to turn into the EQ2Flames level of negativity, there are serious core mechanics problems with EQ2 which have gone unaddressed for months/years. Every complaint is not invalid.

    If something positive happens, I post about it.
    If something negative happens, guess what? I post about it.

    How do you make content more difficult such that players want/need to replace their gear? In an MMO, the choices are:

    • raise the level cap
    • require insanely fast Curing and AoE dodging
    • put in single-point-of-failure conditions
    • introduce a new stat
    • require a DPS check.

    EQ2 devs said they aren’t going to raise the level cap in the foreseeable future. Players pretty much have to use third party programs like ACT to kill encounters these days. They just got rid of Crit Mit. What’s left? Oh yes, DPS checks.

    Reply

  • Gunthore

    |

    I’m torn on this, from the sounds of it she’s just a jockey for SJ, but I hope that isn’t true. I hope she has lots of freedom and SJ keeps his ideas out of the game and as far away from it as possible. I would like this to be a good thing, I really agree with what Badcat had to say about what hopefully her priority list will be.

    Reply

  • Striinger

    |

    Disney pedigree and amazed over DM?
    Hmm, top DM on our server are always ones that reward most tokens. Rarely see anything designed otherwise break the top 10.
    Maybe this change will take us the next evolution of EQ2:
    Everdecorate?
    Decoration-quest?
    EQ2.1 Free Realms and the spooky castle

    It’ll be AWESOME! I wish I had a 10 yo girl so I could let her play it.

    Reply

  • Louey

    |

    I hear ya Feldon. Guess I should have pointed out the negativity I was speaking about. It’s just the “sony is out to get us” people that bug me heh.

    Reply

  • Mingler

    |

    If SJ is allowed to turn EQ3 into a casual game for casual players for the sheer purpose of turning a profit (which flys in the face of EQ1) and put a big grindless, easy button on the game as he eventually did to EQ2. Everquest Next will FAIL.

    Reply

  • Louey

    |

    ^^^For Example^^^

    Reply

  • Feldon

    |

    LOL

    Well you have to admit the idea of him being in charge of EQNext doesn’t bode well for it. He seems to view choice and depth as a vice, instead of something to be celebrated. Anyway, he was brought into SOE for one purpose — migrate EQ2 and EQ1 to free-to-play — and he’s done that.

    There was never any chance that EQNext *wouldn’t* be a F2P/SC game, so who knows what he will do next.

    Reply

Leave a comment

- Name (required)
- Website (optional)
Please post your comments without flaming or insulting other players or personally attacking SOE employees. Comments from bogus e-mail addresses may be deleted. If you wish to have an Avatar picture, feel free to create an account on Gravatar.com. Once you sign up for a Gravatar account, then any Wordpress-powered blog you comment on will automagically show your avatar.

Powered by Warp Theme Framework