EQ2Wire Interviews the EQ2 Team About Game Update 100: The Siege of Zek

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, DBG Wants Feedback, EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, Raiding


On April 28th, EverQuest II launched its level 100 content release “The Siege of Zek“. The update takes us back to Zek, the Orcish Wastes and a lot has changed in 12 years. While the original level 35-appropriate zone can still be accessed, players may now choose to travel to the new level 100 Scourge Wastes. The update contains updated versions of classic Zek zones in Advanced Solo, Heroic, Event Heroic, and Heroic Contested versions as well as a Raid zone. Rather than a simple up-tiering of existing zones, the Designers and Art Team have put a lot into this All Access-only update with totally redone Orc models and many other touches that make this content feel fresh.

As it had been a couple of weeks since the release of the Siege of Zek, we had an opportunity to peruse the official EQ2 forums for player questions and concerns. The EQ2 team are already working flat out on EverQuest II’s thirteenth expansion slated for later this year, so our interview focuses on the few questions that I submitted about itemization and some of the new systems in the update including Heartbound, which is an in-game celebration of the real-life bonds that players have developed, and the new progression-tied Resolve stat.

After the jump, our interview!

EverQuest Worlds Closing Thursday, March 31, 2016

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

As you have by now heard, EverQuest Next has been cancelled, and the great purge is underway to remove all trace of the product from Daybreak’s official channels and websites. EverQuestNext.com and the EQNext YouTube channel have been cleared out. Next up is the EQ Worlds App for iOS and Android.


The EQ Worlds app is not something I ever featured or talked about here on EQ2Wire, and perhaps that was an error on my part. I objected to the glitchiness that players reported when they first used the app at SOE Live 2013, and I was less than enthusiastic about an app that requires you to Share things on Facebook to access content. However in exchange for Facebook sharing, players of EverQuest and EverQuest II received in-game rewards, as well as bits of the EverQuest Next story. Maybe it wasn’t a bad deal at all for those who got the app to work.

From Laylaih, Communications Coordinator at Daybreak Games* on the EQ2 Forums:

We will be closing the EverQuest Worlds mobile app at the end of this month.

If you would like to play any of the current mini-games, finish up quest lines, and/or retrieve codes for rewards, you will need to do so on or before midnight (11:59PM PDT) on Thursday, March 31, 2016.

The app will remain available in the App Store (iOS) and via Google Play (Android) until its sunset on March 31, 2016.

We hope you enjoyed this app while it was available, and continue to use and enjoy the rewards you’ve redeemed in EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Landmark.

*a name I have not heard before.

EQ2Wire Asks: Replace or Upgrade?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2, Itemization, Raiding


The purpose of New Content in any MMORPG is to provide additional length to the “treadmill” so that players who revisit heroic dungeons or raids always have new things to do. New zones provide new rewards that raise the bar and keep that loot chase going. It is totally expected that when a new content update or expansion is released that previous items will be trumped by new ones. However we’ve seen something new and unexpected since the release of the Terrors of Thalumbra expansion.

In an update on January 20th, existing Weapons and Jewelry items were removed from the loot tables of current enemies in raid zones and then newly upgraded Weapons and Jewelry items were added. These new weapons and jewelry had new names.

In an update on February 17th, existing Armor pieces had their Crit Bonus and Potency slightly upgraded, then removed from loot tables while newly upgraded Armor items were added with hugely upgraded Crit Bonus and Potency. This new armor had the same names as previous items.

There is no doubt that the Terrors of Thalumbra raid gear at launch was hardly worth getting out of bed for. Clearly something had to be done to itemization and we’ve been assured that this was the best way to do it with the time available. However there are several concerns with this approach of replacing rather than upgrading items inline.

RadarX: Conquering Community Toxicity like Genghis Khan

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


Daybreak Games Senior Community Relations Manager Tony “RadarX” Jones seems to view community management as a war between players and developers. At this year’s Game Developer’s Conference in March, RadarX will be hosting a panel to teach other game companies how they should run their Communities. Here’s the course description:

Toxic behavior in a community can drive player sentiment in the wrong direction, distract from desired discussion points, and cripple positive engagement. Examining principles used by military genius Genghis Khan, attendees will learn how to identify and defeat this behavior.


Attendees will learn to identify forms of toxic behavior regularly seen in online game communities, and practical techniques employed to combat it using real world examples in the industry.

You can read player reaction to this announcement on Reddit, but please note, at least two players experienced bans from the official Daybreak Forums in response to their comments on Reddit and/or Twitter.

Vendor Price Glitch Abuse Yields Bans, Inflates Krono Prices

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2


If you notice a few guildmates, recently flush with in-game currency, suddenly absent from EQ2 over the next few days/weeks, now you know why. It seems that there was an item which could be purchased for 1 copper from one vendor that could then be sold back to another vendor for upwards of 10 platinum pieces each.

Some players prudently ceased once they discovered the issue. However others systematically abused this glitch, upsetting the in-game economy in the process. Krono prices jumped 200% on some servers. Time will tell if these players are stripped of their ill-gotten plat and/or allowed back into the game.

If you need a dose of forum rage this morning, you can find it here:

John Smedley & Patrick Rothfuss Announce New Kickstarter Game — Hero’s Song

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

NOTE: No EverQuest II content inside.

If you’ve been following Sony Online Entertainment co-founder John Smedley‘s Twitter teases and wondering what he would be doing next, now we know…


Kickstarter video on Youtube:

Polygon: Touring the living remains of an 11-year-old MMO

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2


What started as an odd Twitter exchange which felt like a pre-planned stunt turns into a three page backhanded compliment for EverQuest II. From Polygon.com:

Touring the living remains of an 11-year-old MMO
EverQuest 2 has been around over a decade, but there’s still some incredible sights to see in this odd game

My name is Phil Kollar, and I had a weird weekend.

Let’s start our story just over 11 years ago, on Nov. 9, 2004. That was the date that Sony Online Entertainment released EverQuest 2. I had spent a couple years in high school noodling around in the original EverQuest, a period that, despite my inability to make much progress in the game, helped me fall in love with the genre of massively multiplayer online role-playing games.

So I must have been excited for EverQuest 2, right?

EverQuest 2 is not a bad game, and I’m happy that it’s still up and running.

Commentary: Why EQ2′s Decorating Leads to Hoarding and Why Landmark’s Doesn’t

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Commentary, EQ2


EverQuest II has one of the most advanced decorating systems of any MMORPG. It likely has more house items than any other game, as evidenced by the frequently updated, screen-busting fansite EQ2Furniture which allows players to see a spinning preview of all 16,325 house items in Norrath. However this paradise of customization has become a huge data storage problem for the EQ2 team and players alike.

Although the Dungeon Maker feature never lived up to its hype or even the lowest expectations due to the anemic customization and storytelling options it offered, it provided mass storage and an almost unbelievable scale for house decorators. All told, each EQ2 character can own 25 houses and 20 dungeons. With an average limit of 1,000 items (plus 1,000 books, plus 1,000 building blocks), that’s an eye-watering 135000 house items per character.

EQ2Talk Episode #80: Tots and Tiaras

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

After a six multi-month absence, Dellmon and Osgz are back with another installment of EQ2′s best only podcast EQ2Talk to review the Terrors of Thalumbra expansion. Is there anything in the expansion that Dellmon likes? You’ll have to tune in to find out!

From EQ2Talk.com:

In this episode Dellmon and Osgz judge the newest expansion for Everquest II, Terrors of Thalumbra. While both hosts struggle in the swimsuit portion, they soar in the talent competition as they both discuss some of the high flying points of the new content and zones. Feathers did get a bit ruffled over just how much each wants their hand held while working through the quest lines. Listen in to see who is crowned the victor in this podcast and which dwarf just has to eat crow.

Click here to listen to Episode 80

MassivelyOP Asks — What Makes a Really Great MMO Community Manager?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2


In my time covering EverQuest II, we’ve had three really great Community Managers — Christine “Kiara” Renzetti, Margaret “Luperza” Krohn, and Racheal “Afista” McKenny.

Yesterday as part of their Daily Grind column, MassivelyOP asked “What Makes a Really Great MMO Community Manager?

When Funcom hired new community managers a few weeks ago, some readers questioned why we’d cover it. Big whoop, community managers are glorified retweeters, right? Yeah, not so much. A talented community manager can work a playerbase and keep everyone happy even in dark times. “Sinking, panicking games dump their CMs overboard first, not realizing their CMs are the best at bailing,” I argued at the time. “Hiring good CMs is a good sign in a lot of ways.”

Comments can sometimes be painful to read, but I found some interesting answers to the question posed…

Good communication and consistency. Don’t lie to players and expect them to respect you after. Things change, we get that and though we might not like it we can accept it.

Keep your game community up to date with what’s going on with the game and the company. Post replies to threads on the forums giving whatever bits of info you can (or even saying you have no info). Post threads of your own with important updates.

Leveling 101+ Guilds Won’t Be a Treat

Written by Cyliena on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2, Expansion News

A recent beta forum discussion revealed that crafting and adventure writ status will not contribute to progress starting at guild level 101. EQ2 Senior Designer Gninja explained the reasoning behind the change:

Repeatable quests such as writs do not add to guild exp once you hit guild level 101. We are adding a lot more ways to get status from normal gameplay though. It was just way too easy to sit and do writs over and over to level the guild making having a leveled up guild a little less meaningful.

He came back to clarify the position a bit better:

The plan is to make status gains come from a lot of different places. Having lots of things you can do is a good thing. Having one thing you can do over and over without any sort of limiting factor is different. These things are still being adjusted so hang in there.

Candy CornCommentary

From Cyliena:

I’m sure Feldon will have choicer words about all of this, but as a member of an extremely small guild, this change will make guild leveling quite difficult. Whatever method is provided will end up being grinded out, so I’m unsure how this change will make leveling a guild more “meaningful”. -Cy

From Feldon:

The EQ2 team has twice tried to stomp out old “grindy” ways of playing EQ2 and encourage playing of newer content:

  • Removing Plat from older zones like Protectors Realm
  • Removing adventure XP from out leveled dungeons

The first was successful. The second was strongly derided and silently reverted this summer. I wonder which route this “new improved” guild leveling avenue will take.

Beta Copy Backlog Followup

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2


Last week we wrote about how Terrors of Thalumbra Beta Copies have been running extremely slowly (well over 24 hours). Some players noted that beta copies taken from inside instances such as Houses and Guild Halls were failing and that players should copy from a public zone such as Antonica.

Now EQ2 developer Jamiss has posted an update explaining some of the issues:

The beta copy process has changed a little bit for this expansion due to some underlying technology changes. Unfortunately, this has caused the process to be a bit slower than in the past.

It was, however, up to date with everything that it had found as of about 4AM this morning, and has begun working through the log again. If you /beta’d anytime before 4AM this morning, please try to /beta again and the copier will get you soon. Sorry for any frustration this may be causing you.

As a quick sidenote: This should not overwrite any previously copied characters. Any characters copied again will have Xs appended to their name.

Commentary: Marketing Pushes Back EQ2 Expansion Reveal

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

NOTE: This is a commentary piece by Morgan Feldon and is not intended to reflect the opinion of anyone else.


In recent years, it seems like there is a special day for just about everything.  Grandparents Day, Office Assistant day, Take Your Ferret to Work Day (ok maybe I made that one up), you get the point.  In that spirit, we’d like to declare September 15th as Justify Your Marketing Department Day.

The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet despite a decade of numerous debacles which we have thoroughly chronicled on EQ2Wire, the SOE/Daybreak Marketing Dept seems to have once again shoehorned their way into the decision-making process for EverQuest II’s next expansion and diminished any chance for pre-expansion hype, interviews, previews, commentary, etc.

Instead of an already overdue full reveal of the expansion as we were expecting today, it seems clear after reading today’s EQ2 Producer’s Letter that the EQ2 team have been asked to post a watered down teaser. The timetable seems to have been revised so that EverQuest II’s twelfth expansion will be revealed and go on sale (pre-order) all on October 1st. As we’ve seen over the years, SOE/DGC Marketing’s modus operandi is to punt until the last possible second and then hope Press sites will carry the flag and do all the promotion, never mind that this approach is less effective for established games like EverQuest II.

Marketing’s all-hands-on-deck call for Press sites to talk about this spring’s Rum Cellar Campaign yielded the usual suspects — Massively, MMORPG, and ZAM. These are sites that would write about EQ2 whether they got invited by SOE/DGC’s finicky Marketing/PR departments or not. However this summer, with absolutely no involvement from Marketing, the introduction of a Drunder “prison server” to EQ2 attracted the attention of no less than 21 media and press sites.

Former SOE/DGC CEO John Smedley to Start New Company

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


In 1998, John Smedley co-founded Verant Interactive with current Daybreak Games CEO Russell Shanks. Riding on the overwhelming success of EverQuest, the company was purchased by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2000, which saw the company renamed to Sony Online Entertainment. Fast forward 15 years to February of this year: Sony Online Entertainment was sold to investment group Columbus Nova after a two month year search for a suitable buyer. In the American corporate world, it is standard practice that a CEO will typically remain with the company for a six month transition period after a buyout, upon which they depart with a healthy golden parachute. However a group of ne’er-do-wells based in Scandinavia Northern Europe had other plans.

One year ago, a group of “hackers” took SOE’s games offline for several days. They then proceeded to call in a bomb threat on a commercial airliner on which Smedley was a passenger, attempt murder-by-cop by SWATting his family, and otherwise invade his life by sharing personal and financial information about him and his family on the internet. After one of the responsible teenagers received a slap on the wrist by a Finland-based court with the equivalent of deferred adjudication probation, Smedley went on the attack, engaging in a very public spat with this individual (and the group) on Twitter, Facebook, and in the gaming and mainstream Press. This escalated into a media circus which led the group to once again attack Daybreak Games, bringing their games and web services offline for nearly 72 hours.

Last month, John Smedley stepped down from his position as CEO of Daybreak Games. We can only assume that this very public debate between Smedley and this group accelerated our purported six month transition timetable, leading CN to request an early departure. While the official press release released by Daybreak promised that he was “transitioning to a different role” within the company, his Facebook commentary on the departure posted on the same day, which I am not permitted to repost here due to Facebook etiquette preventing the publication of Friends-only posts, made it unambiguously clear that he was leaving the company for good.

John Smedley is clearly restless as, less than a month into his unexpected vacation, he has updated his Facebook profile teasing the formation of a new company:


Few CEOs are universally loved, and John Smedley has certainly instilled powerful emotions in his customers. It will be interesting to see what the next phase will be.


The Future of ZAM Network

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


Defying predictions of an inevitable crunch, Gaming and Technology have continued to grow at an exponential rate over the last two decades. Profits from desktop, console, and mobile gaming have eclipsed Hollywood Film and Television revenue. Long-gestating VR/hologram technology has finally matured to a point where consumer hardware is just around the corner which will bring an entirely new paradigm for gaming in the next 5 to 10 years.

Since Ultima Online and EverQuest stormed onto the scene, subsequent Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs have in many ways evolved and in many others closely echoed the winning formula of big fish World of Warcraft. All have grown their content and systems to a level of complexity that has outstripped the ability of game publishers to maintain their own informational websites — the feature-light official EQ2Players site vs. our own EQ2U being but one example. Whether they like it or not, game publishers are dependent upon the Gaming Press sites, Fan Sites, and increasingly, Database-driven player resource sites to support their customers with news, writeups, guides, and more.

So it is with shock and disbelief that I must report that ZAM Network, LLC, purchased by China-based mobile gaming juggernaut Tencent Holdings in 2012, has chosen to institute substantial layoffs and eliminate the remote positions which have been the lifeblood of the company for over 10 years.

Daybreak Games Reintroduces Itself to the World

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


It’s now been three months since the very public acquisition of Sony Online Entertainment by investment firm Columbus Nova. In the aftermath, John Smedley, President of the renamed Daybreak Games, has spoken to gaming press about the benefits of the changeover and the freedom now afforded to developing on platforms other than PC and Sony’s Playstation consoles.

Earlier this month, Daybreak President John Smedley and Laura Naviaux, senior VP of global sales and marketing, decided it was time to get their message out about the future of the new company. They spoke to a number of sites including PC Gamer, Venture Beat, Gama Sutra, Zam, and the San Diego Union-Tribune which featured its article in the Business section. We include some relevant quotes:

Smedley: “We are able to be the company we always knew we were capable of being. Now we can make games for all different platforms. We can do mobile games. We can do iPad games. We can do Xbox games.”

Two months after the buyout announcement, Daybreak unveiled its new logo, branding, and revised websites.

“The rebranding was a complete fresh start, knowing that gaming was in our blood and the DNA is in our player base. We wanted to do something that is a nod to video game culture” said Laura Naviaux. “Employees wanted a name that was indicative of a fresh start”

EverQuest (not EQ2) Launches Ragefire Progression Server

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


Today marked the launch of EverQuest’s newest time-locked Progression server, Ragefire. This server adopts many if not all of the designs and rules of the game as it existed at launch in 1999. According to reports on twitter, things have not all gone according to plan as players quickly reached high levels and other glitches. Regardless, the idea of progression servers reinforces the idea that nostalgia doesn’t fade away when brought into the light. In celebration of the Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night kickstarter, I re-played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night through to 200.6% completion for the third time in my life. Keep in mind that Castlevania: SotN was released in 1995!

We’ve been told on several occasions that a Progression server would be neigh impossible in the world of EverQuest II as so many code changes have been made in the last 11 years and not all of that older code has been retained. Still, players are quick to wax nostalgic for the “old days”. Many players who were there from the very beginning have been quick to include Desert of Flames in their top expansions of all time. Players who lived through Live Update 13 saw a near rewrite of class balance, tradeskills, and combat. I personally didn’t start playing EQ2 until January 1st, 2007, so obviously I’ve missed some of the more sweeping changes to the game. The Isle of Refuge had already been stripped of its introductory battle on a boat and archetype and class selection. Not long after I started, overland zones such as Antonica were stripped of all challenge with the removal of heroic mobs. As far as crafting, subcombines and the interdependency they brought had already fallen by the wayside.

If you could go back and play EverQuest II at any point in the past, what would it be? This could simply be a time, or an expansion, or a specific update. What was your favorite time in EQ2 history? There’s no need to bash past or current content.

An “Open Dialogue” Regarding Forum Moderation

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

As visitors to the #EQ2Wire chatroom or the EQ2 Subreddit know – which I have to admit is growing on me — I was “permanently suspended” from the EQ2 Forums two nights ago. To date, the exact reason why I was banned has not been forthcoming. After two days of mayhem, a “Free Feldon” campaign (thanks guys!), and additional suspensions, SOE Community Manager Tony “RadarX” Jones has posted a thread today encouraging players to sidestep the “thou shalt not discuss moderation” rule and confess their sins.

Besides a brief statement, at this point I’m choosing to opt out of the discussion and would remind anyone considering responding that you always take a risk of losing not just your access to the forums, but also your access to EverQuest II and you beloved characters. Is it really worth such a high cost? Here is my response to the thread:

It seems my “permanent suspension” has been miraculously undone. To date, the specific criteria with which I was judged to be in breach of the forum rules has not been elucidated to me. I’m not sure it matters anymore. If I want to talk to the developers, I know how to reach them, and if players want to talk to me, they know how to reach me. I’d rather not further distract from the forum discussions which really should be focused on Kander’s new article on the Rum Cellar update and a glimpse at what’s coming later this year.

As for this “open dialogue” thread, I’m going to give the same advice I would give anyone entering a casino:

  • Never bet anything you can’t afford to lose (your access to play EQ2)
  • Never forget that the House always wins.
  • If you’re not a gambler, then heed the advice of Admiral Akbar.

Storybricks Shuts Down After 5 Years

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

NOTE: No news specific to EverQuest II in this article…


After trying to launch their own RPG on Kickstarter, Storybricks evolved into a middleware/tools developer for game studios such as Sony Online Entertainment. Chief among those tools was a powerful user-generated content system that would allow players to build dungeons, populate enemies, and then give those enemies behaviors, desires, and drives that would make a completely dynamic simulation that would be different every time.

For EverQuest Next, Dave Georgeson and John Smedley each talked about how expensive content design for MMORPGs is and how no company, no matter how well-funded, can keep up with the insatiable demand that players have for content. The silver bullet for this was apparently a partnership and licensing agreement with Storybricks. Instead of individually populating and scripting NPCs, giving them walking paths, adding specific quests, etc. Storybricks would allow players and designers alike to take a more high-level approach. A player-designer would establish an area that’s hospitable to Orcs by laying out the terrain, plant life, animals, and other creature, and then Orcs would just show up of their own accord. And as players interacted with the content, they might scare those Orcs away and see them pickup and move to some other place. If there’s one thing SOE seemed hell-bent on with EverQuest Next, it was putting a stake through the heart of static content.

Kotaku: Five Things I Didn’t Get About Making Video Games (Until I Did It)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

NOTE: No EQ2-specific news/commentary in this article.

Kotaku has an interesting article from Anthony Burch who used to write for Destructoid and then at Gearbox Software. He reflects on the perception of game design from the outside vs. the reality of being on the inside and why there is such a gulf between the two. I know as I’ve learned more about game development and the maddening complexity of it, I’ve tried to dial back my own vitriol to something a bit more reasonable.

Before I joined Gearbox Software, I worked at Destructoid as a features editor. I worked there from 2006 to 2010 and specialized in highlighting indie games and spewing vitriol at big-budget games I didn’t like. It turns out there were a shitload of things I didn’t know about games development.

I was an atrocious blogger so I’m probably just speaking more to my personal ignorance during that time than anything else, but jeez is everything about game development more complicated and difficult than I thought.

Continue reading at Kotaku…

Daybreak President John Smedley Responds to Article

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

Not surprisingly, my article “Daybreak Games: It Didn’t Have to Be This Way” received a lukewarm response from its subject, Daybreak President John Smedley.

After exchanging a few candid e-mails with him, I’m able to release this comment:

We absolutely made sure that taking care of our employees was the highest priority and this deal was by far and away the one that took care of people the best.

It is absolutely true that Columbus Nova honored severance packages for those who were laid off and so salaried employees have time to find a new job, most with several months not including unemployment. CN could have reduced or eliminated this program as part of the deal but they did not. Mostly, Smedley feels that whoever I spoke to about the quantity and suitability of the buyout deals mentioned, specifically why Columbus Nova was chosen, doesn’t have all the facts.

Also since the publication of the article, I’ve heard from several players of PWE games that were skeptical about the rosy optimism. Specifically unlock boxes and cash shops and how their Customer Service is structured. PWE supports its developers, but was it a good fit for Daybreak’s games? We’ll never know.

Opinion on Daybreak Games: It Didn’t Have To Be This Way

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2


UPDATE: SOE President John Smedley has responded to this post.

The day has arrived that I’ve been dreading since I heard the first rumors. Layoffs have befallen Daybreak Games, affecting H1Z1, Planetside 2, EQNext/Landmark, EverQuest, and EverQuest II. The Community Relations team was one of the hardest hit, with Brasse, Amnerys, Ashlanne, Hats, and Afista all let go. We haven’t confirmed any other layoffs in any other department such as QA, CS, Platform, Web, etc.

I have to hand it to the EQ2 team who has pulled together as a family over the last week in the face of such terrible questions as “What content could you do with 10 people?” The EQ2 team isn’t as large as in the Kunark days, yet it continues to release Game Updates throughout the year plus an annual Expansion. The team puts in crazy hours to try to deliver what players want and I can only dream of what they could do with more staff. When they heard the news, and in the face of crippling uncertainty, the team started collecting notes on what they’d been working on so that the people left wouldn’t be totally screwed. They did this without prompting and it’s a sign of how strong the team is.

Former Planetside 2 Producer David Carey Shares Thoughts on ColumbusNova

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

From former Planetside 2 producer David Carey on Planetside 2′s Reddit:

Hey guys,

I came on to say goodbye to you guys (at least in my current role, prepare for lurking), but after scanning the front page I wanted to change the flavor of the post a bit.

Columbus Nova deserves no hate in all this. They are more like white knights than negative forces here. SOE needed a shake up/new direction, and CN provided that. They have done nothing but been gracious in their new ownership, and they went out of their way to make sure that Devs and support teams that got laid off were taken care of. Right now things seem shitty, and of course for the folks that were let go, today was rough, but CN and DB were both very open about the need for restructuring. This wasn’t a surprise to folks in the company.

Gaming is a tough industry, and not for everyone. I’ve seen lots of people come and go, both good and otherwise. The fact is, there are no (or at least, extremely few) permanent gaming jobs. If you want to have just one job in your career, don’t pick gaming, or even computer software. It’s just the nature of the beast in such a pioneering industry. But the flip side is that there is always a new opportunity awaiting, it just may require a move to a new location or some other sacrifice.

Most of the let go folks will be working in the gaming industry soon. The rest may decide to move on to other, less volatile lines of work. But no one I talked to regrets their time making games for folks to enjoy. It’s a rare job that lets you bring pleasure to so many people’s lives.

Back to the subject – if you guys feel angry or betrayed, it would be misdirected to place that at the feet of the new company. They didn’t bring in new staff to replace us, or say we did a shitty job and treat us poorly – they looked at the bottom line and the numbers just didn’t line up. The new layout lines up now, and the goal is that DB can be successful and move on from this and eventually expand again. Saying “I’m cancelling my sub” or “I’m never buying another thing in PS2″ isn’t the right tactic, as much as the former Devs appreciate the intent of your support. If you want to make a positive impact, then keep doing what you’re doing – if you like the game, play it. Give feedback. Get your friends to play. Buy what you want to, and what you feel gives you value. If you aren’t happy, tell DB through the means you do now, social media and /bug reports. The game will grow or shrink depending on how you guys act, which is how it should be. If you make a statement on principal for the dearly departed devs, you will be hurting the remaining staff who have worked just as hard to make you guys a game you like to play. They may not be all names you know, but trust me, they put their blood, sweat, and tears into this.

TL;DR – CN didn’t do this, it was something that had to be done. CN is providing a chance for the games you love to continue going

-David C, former PS2 Producer

Edit: Ugh seeing the ‘former dev’ post header brought things home; I’ll miss you and your well-meaning pitchforks :-(

SOE Wasting No Time Rebranding as Daybreak Games

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

On one hand, SOE is wasting no time rebranding themselves as Daybreak Games. They’ve already renamed a number of Twitter accounts and their general forums. On the other hand, the company does not yet have a new logo design, as otherwise I’d have shared it with you. That’s not stopping maintenance from taking down an SOE sign that I stood in front of just 6 months ago…


SOE Daybreak Games president John Smedley took to twitter to provide some answers to the most common requests he’s been getting by e-mail:

answering a few questions people have emailed me

1) All our games are still up and will continue to be despite our new name.

2) Yes, we want to bring our games to Xbox One in addition to PS4.

3) Station Cash doesn’t change at all (though we will be rebranding it soon here).

4) We’re still making Everquest Next :) nothing has changed.

Speaking of logos…

Massively Shutdown is Official — End of an Era

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


Massively‘s Editor-in-Chief Brianna Royce has posted an extremely candid response about the closure of Massively after 10 years in operation, and despite 40% growth in readership last year. The number of sites that critically review MMORPGs in an unbiased way could already be counted on one hand and now we’ve lost the biggest and the best. It’s the end of an institution as they say, and once again AOL, the company that shouldn’t even exist anymore, continues to be a cancer on the internet community, destroying everything in its path.

I have sad news for the Massively staff and community today, news most of you already knew was coming.

This week, we learned our AOL overlords have decided that they no longer wish to be in the enthusiast blog business and are shutting all of them down. This mass-sunset includes decade-old gaming journalism icon Joystiq, and therefore, it includes us. February 3rd, 2015, will be the final day of operation for Massively-that-was.

I would like to be able to tell you truthfully that this is an equitable and just decision that makes some sort of logical sense, but the reality is that our overlords’ decisions have always been unfathomable. I know more of what I know about corporate from reading tech and finance news than through my own job. We all suspected this was coming eventually a year ago when a VP whose name I don’t even know and who never read our site chose to reward our staggering, hard-won 40% year-over-year page view growth by… hacking our budget in half. There’s nothing to do in the face of that kind of logic but throw your hands in the air. It’s not about merit or lack thereof, and it’s not about journalism or gaming being dead or anything grand like that, so there’s no point in taking it personally.

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