A reminder that there’s a Twitch livestream today about EverQuest II’s future. From the EQ2 Forums:
The team will be hosting a Twitch stream on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 3PM PST*. This stream will be hosted on www.twitch.tv/everquest2.
As mentioned in Windstalker’s letter to the EQ2 community here, we’ll be using this stream as a time to talk directly with YOU the players. As we prepare for this stream, please feel free to share any questions and topics you’d like to hear discussed as replies to this thread. We’ll get to as many of these as possible during the stream.
We’ll also have a replay of this stream available on the EverQuest 2 YouTube channel.
We look forward to chatting with everyone who is available to join us for this EverQuest 2 stream!
From EQ2/EQ2 Community Manager Ry “Roshen” Schueller on the EQ2 Forums:
The Unrest server will be brought offline on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 4:00AM Pacific* for server maintenance. This server is estimated to be unavailable for approximately four hours.
Keep an eye on the EverQuest II forums and social media for status updates and for news if additional downtime is needed.
Conjurors and Necromancers have yearned for a rewrite to their Pet AI for several years, and it looks like we’re about to get our wish. On Test, we’re now able to see what Xelgad had been working on with his complete rewrite of the Fighter, Scout, Mage, and Priest summoner pets. Once the changes have been thoroughly tested by players, they’ll be promoted to the live servers.
From the EQ2 Test Notes:
ABILITIES / ALTERNATE ADVANCEMENT
- Summoners can now right-click their pet and use the “Change Appearance” functionality. The summoner and their pet must be out of combat. The appearance list is generated based upon the caster’s knowledge book.
- Possession is now Flash Cast. For a short duration, the summoner’s next primary pet spell will have no cast time, reuse time or recovery time. The second pet summoned will have a reduced cast time. Flash Cast itself has no cast time or recovery time and has a 120 second reuse. It terminates after two pets are summoned.
- Summoner Pets now use a new AI system and cast their spells more reliably.
- All Summoner Pets now gain the effects of Doublecast.
- Summoner Scout pets now are immune to AE Auto Attack.
- Summoner Fighter pets now hold aggro more reliably off of the summoner. They are also focused exclusively on encounter damage and effects.
- Summoner Mage pets now focus exclusively on encounter damage.
- Summoner Alternate Advancement priest pets are now single target pets that function similarly to scout pets. They have longer range, reduced damage and heal the group.
- Necromancer Undead Knights no longer can ride horses due to systematic changes to how pet appearances work.
There are also a number of helpful changes to Quests, Tradeskills, and one to an Altar of Malice raid zone. Continue reading…
SOE is not the only company in the MMO ecosystem world that has undergone a radical transformation over the last two weeks. Massively, the AOL/Joystiq-owned news site that covered all manner of MMORPG news and commentary was unceremoniously shut down despite being highly profitable and having an enthusiastic audience.
Through hard work, planning, and a lot of behind-the-scenes discussion, the Massively folks have performed a phoenix-like rebirth of the site on Kickstarter as newly independent Massively Overpowered. In just 48 hours, they met their $50,000 goal and that amount is still climbing. For independent, non-sponsored, well-written analysis of games in the MMOspace without a bazillion popup ads, there’s really no other site that comes close. Thankfully, a quick look at their roster of writers reveals that they were able to bring over virtually all the staff from the old site.
Amusingly, AOL had so little interest in Massively that they didn’t bother to change the Twitter accounts, making it possible to point the site’s existing readers in the direction of the resurrected site, rather than potentially losing a large chunk of the audience.
After the jump, MJ Guthrie brings back her Tattered Notebook column under a new name and gives her first impressions of the devastating news from Daybreak Games…
A handful of bored teenagers decided their celebrity status on Twitter is more important than us being able to play on DBG servers or participate in the forums this morning. I guess the job title of selling car insurance was already filled, so these reptiles are just wasting everyone’s time instead.
UPDATE — Noonish PST
DBG servers, games, and forums seem to be accepting connections reliably again, so we’re going to mark this one resolved!
I called it.. on Feb 11th.. the Gnoll Shit hit the Fan, and many.. MANY.. of our good friends got laid off. Our initial reaction was shock.. then the community took the next logical step to anger. One of the calm voices out there, among the mobs carrying pitchforks and torches.. was Linda “Brasse” Carlson. Now, former, director of global community relations.. and really, the face of SOE for the last 6 years. Perhaps her years dealing with the public giving her that calm in her voice, she assured me, personally, that yes.. this is a devastating blow to some, but those effected are strong and she has no doubt that they’ll all bounce back. If not in the gaming industry again.. then elsewhere.
Everyone at SOE (Now Daybreak) has been nothing but nice and helpful to me over the last 14 years. From my humble days as a newbie, navigating the Misty Thicket.. all the way to my multiple trips to the vegas Fan Faire and SOELive events.. and the big handshake I got from John Smedley after winning the “Player got Talent” competition this year. I love you all, and if there is anything I can do for any of you.. you have only to ask.
It’s in this spirit, that I present my new song. Inspired by the 2015 layoffs at Daybreak.
Let them go
-Sung to “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen”
From Holly “Windstalker” Longdale on the EQ2 Forums:
As you’ve likely heard by now, there’s been some changes around here in staff. I want to assure you though that this team is still in full-time dev and operation mode, and we continue to have awesome plans for EQ2. We’re shuffling a few things about, but our goals in delivering fun stuff won’t change. For example, in a couple of weeks we’ll be releasing rare bosses for the AoM dungeons and more. We’re tinkering a bit so I apologize for the silence and certainly any concerns or worry it may have caused you.
We’ll have more news as we rip along here doing what we do and what we love – which is keeping our world busy and alive for our incredible community of players. Above all, we are grateful for your continued support and love of the game.
I would really like to hear from everyone and chat with you about all of this which is why we’ll be hosting a Twitch livestream on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 3pm at twitch.tv/everquest2. The team looks forward to having you tune in so we can address any questions you may have.
Thanks and see you in game!
Executive Producer, EverQuest & EverQuest II
Oakmiser has shared his latest Norrathian Chronicles epidoe, this one a guide on the nerve-wracking but infinitely useful tradeskill ability of Experimenting. Check it out!
What started out as a thread by players wondering why an interesting feature (Map Fogging) had been removed got a clear explanation from Gninja and Caith as the team tries to solve the crashing issues certain players have been reporting.
Gninja started with:
This was actually a quick change and the reason it was done was because the amount of data that had to be stored on each character was contributing negatively to individual performance.
This change directly reduces character data that is sent to the client when zoning, by a significant amount in many cases. Character data size is one of the primary reasons, when combined with slow internet connections, of zoning timeouts. Or as it is more commonly known, crashing to character select while zoning.
In another thread, Jamiss has asked players to send him details of exactly when and where they are crashing so that he can further debug the issues. He had this report today:
An issue was resolved in today(2/12/2015)’s patch that may have taken care of some of these issues. For the rest of them, I’m working on digging and gathering more information. Thank you for the PMs!
More than a few players have looked at my EQ2 character‘s vacant adornment slots with incredulity. Why have I been so slack on adorning? The answer has multiple parts:
- I never knew when I will replace a piece of gear and thus be out the cost of the adornments or worse unable to carry those adornments forward.
- War Runes have been by-and-large out of reach of my casual heroic gameplay style.
- The purple adornments I really want have been drops behind an unfavorable RNG.
- Green adornments for the most part have lacked significant growth, or just haven’t been worth the trouble to acquire.
- White adornments haven’t kept pace with player power and barely increase stats with the exception of a few slots.
With Tears of Veeshan, Altar of Malice, and recent patches, nearly ALL of these issues have been resolved.
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.
@EQ2Wire Feldon I'll make it simple – your article was so offbase I actually laughed. so much of it is just factually incorrect.
— John Smedley (@j_smedley) February 12, 2015
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.
Have you ever wondered just how many status points it takes to level a guild? Fortunately EQ2 player Xanadin has done the math and made a table of guild XP levels that has the necessary numbers. Here’s the direct link to the site and the link where it’s mentioned on the EQ2 Forums. We meant to post this before all the news broke yesterday.
Bumping this article up as we’ve learned of
two three more layoffs — Xelgad, Jeffrey Bard, and Fyreflyte.
From EQ and EQ2 Creative Director and awesome fire dancer Akil “Lyndro” Hooper‘s facebook (a public post):
Sitting in a room, getting laid off with some of the brightest and most talented developers I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
No idea what comes next, but if history holds true I’m sure that it will be fun.
From @Douglastweets (Endymion) who worked on EQ2 as a programmer and added a ton of stuff including Gear Sets to EQ2, helping EQ2U and Dragon’s Armory on Census stuff, and the planned Public Quests which were supposed to be released this summer with Game Update 71. on Twitter:
It was fun everyone. Time to update my Twitter profile… again.
this was probably my one stint in the games industry. I don’t want to go back to Seattle either.
From Aaron “Gnobrin” Bisnett’s facebook, who had been producing every piece of armor and weapons for the last several years, and is just a fantastic guy.
Well. That was a good run in game development. Thank you for the last 12 years, SOE.
Michael “Xelgad” Ganz has updated his Linkedin with the following info.
Systems Designer with over 6 years of experience
Previously on EverQuest II at Sony Online Entertainment.
Currently looking for new opportunities. Feel free to contact me for any location and opportunity.
Jeffrey Bard updated his Facebook last night.
I’m gonna miss you SOE. What a great group of people I got to work with! Let’s do it again sometime…
Jason “Fyreflyte” Woerner updated his Facebook employment status.
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.
From former Planetside 2 producer David Carey on Planetside 2′s Reddit:
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
There is a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt swirling around Daybreak Games and EverQuest II in particular today, for obvious reasons. We’re working on a more detailed reaction to today’s news which will be posted tomorrow morning. However EQ2 senior animator Tom Tobey took a moment today to do what he does best (other than animations of course!) and injected some humor into the day with this tweet:
Alright, let's make this happen! pic.twitter.com/1gfujcUpzZ
— Tom Tobey (@giganticrobot) February 11, 2015
and by resurrecting Errrorr’s “Official Duck Mount Request Thread“:
The Official Duck Mount Request thread.
Why does Norrath need duck mounts?
Ducks are majestic creatures, they look awesome, and they have all sorts of variety.
How would a duck mount work?
- Well the ground animation would be similar to that of the terrorbirds already in place, and as such wouldn’t require a total redesign.
- The wings would work very similar to the pegasus like mounts, in the fact that they flap, and as such wouldn’t require a total redesign.
- There are many colours of ducks available, like the standard plain white, all the way up to the truly magnificent Mongolian duck.
But why would I want a duck mount?
Why wouldnt you! They can be cute and fluffy, or they can be ferocious beasts! (Never seen an angry duck?). They’d look awesome just chilling round your guild hall, or battling Kerafyrm.
From the EQ2 Forums:
- Map Fog has been removed.
ABILITIES / ALTERNATE ADVANCEMENT
- Expert Spells of a higher tier will now do more damage than the same spell Master previous tier. For example: Level 91 Faith Strike (Expert) will now do more damage than level 81 Faith Strike (Master).
- Bound transmutation stones purchased from the loyalty merchant may now be transmuted correctly.
- Corrected an issue where some pvp adornment added red gem armor lost its ability mod.
- Altar of Malice and Tears of Veeshan Weekly Missions are now classified as Weekly Missions in the Quest Journal.
- Altar of Malice Weekly Solo Dungeon, Weekly Heroic Dungeon and Weekly Raid missions will now award Malice Gemstones.
Kander elaborated on that last note with these comments:
Armor Gems will be on the weekly quests starting tomorrow. You will be able to earn any heroic gems and red raid gems once a week.
He also indicated that the ability to convert Green gems to Red gems was coming, and that those few Red gem armor pieces that aren’t upgrading correctly will be fixed soon.
Join us in the chatroom as we discuss today’s layoffs at SOE/Daybreak.
Enter a nickname and fill in the captcha above, then click CONNECT!
There’s always someone in the chatroom during US or EU-friendly times.
Chat through your web browser
If you prefer to chat in a separate window rather than the iframe above, visit the FreeNode website, enter a nickname and type #eq2wire as the channel. Fill in the captcha and then click connect!
Chat through mIRC
If you are familiar with mIRC or another IRC client, install it and then connect to irc.freenode.net port 6667 and join the #eq2wire channel.
Daybreak, the game studio behind EverQuest and H1Z1, is laying off a number of staff including David Georgeson, the man who has served as the face of EverQuest for many years,Kotaku has learned.
We don’t know just how many people Daybreak is letting go, as staff are being informed right now whether or not they will remain employed with the company.
The newly-titled Daybreak, which was called Sony Online Entertainment for close to two decades, went independent and changed its name last week after Sony sold it to a New York-based management firm. Although the company was all smiles about the deal in public, staff were immediately told that the company would be laying people off in order to become “profitable,” according to a person close to the studio.
“Most of management keeps trying to get people pumped up about the new direction, but no one knows for sure they’ll be a part of it yet,” said that person, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with press about the layoffs.
Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson, Director of Development / Franchise Director for Everquest, EverQuest II, and EverQuest Next / Landmark has been laid off by Daybreak Games. Georgeson took over as Producer of a then-troubled EverQuest II team and made strides to support the game both inside and outside SOE, add Free-to-Play support, etc. He then moved on to work on EverQuest Next/Landmark and has been focused on those games for the last year and a half. Georgeson updated his Twitter profile a few minutes ago with this message:
Just this guy, y’know?
San Diego, CA (for now)
We now have this tweet from Georgeson which makes it clear:
Yeah, I’m sorry folks but it’s true. LM, eqn, eq and eqii are no longer guided by moi. Other dreamers will steer now.
— David Georgeson (@DaveGeorgeson) February 11, 2015
From Dexella on the DBG Forums:
Dear Players, Partners & Friends,
Last week we announced that we were acquired and are now operating independently as
Daybreak Game Company. To better position our newly independent studio for future growth
opportunities and to deliver on our legacy of making top online games, we have had to make
some tough choices including realignment of resources.
Unfortunately, this realignment means adjusting staffing as well. We announced today that we
will eliminate positions in our San Diego and Austin studios. We deeply value our employees
and never take these decisions lightly so we’ve done our best to do what’s right for the people
affected. Although extremely difficult, these are necessary actions that will ultimately drive
improved results and help strengthen our company’s foundation for success. Many of us are
saying goodbye to close friends and colleagues who we’ve worked with over the years, and we
are grateful for the memories and all that they’ve contributed. They will be greatly missed, and
we wish them nothing but the best for the future.
These reductions will not affect the operation of our current games and as mentioned above, will
help better position our company for future success. As we move forward, we are committed to
delivering the best online games and working side-by-side with our players to drive the future of
our online games.
Thank you for your continued support,
The Daybreak Games Team
This week’s Daybreak Games layoffs have begun with a shocker. Linda “Brasse” Carlson, long the public face of Sony Online Entertainment as its Global Community Relations lead, and emcee of the annual SOE Live convention for the last five years, she first caught the attention of SOE through her popular TheBrasse.com fansite for EQ2 and her work in the player community. She has also spoken at conventions on behalf of SOE and also moderated panels on the subject of Community Management such as the popular Game Developer’s Conference. With the friendships she’s built in the gaming community, we expect she’ll land on her feet at another firm very soon.
From Linda Carlson‘s Facebook:
Good morning, my friends. Almost exactly six years ago today, I had just lost my job, I posted then, “So, if anyone needs a proper Dwarf…” and my adventure with SOE began.
Today I post again… so, if anyone needs a proper Dwarf…
I have been released from the best and most challenging job I have ever had. I thank you all for being part of that incredible experience. Too many people to thank personally, but know that I am extraordinarily grateful and very curious where life takes me now.
From the EQ2 Forums:
US EverQuest II Live Servers will be brought offline on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at approximately 4:00AM PST for an update. Estimated downtime is 1 hour.
The Nagafen server will be undergoing additional maintenance during this time. Estimated downtime for Nagafen is 4 hours.
EU EverQuest II Live Servers will be brought offline on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at approximately 9:00PM PST for an update. (Approx. 5:00AM London Time on February 11, 2015) Estimated downtime is 1 hour.
Alle deutschsprachigen Server werden um 6:00 CET am 11.02.2015 zwecks einer Serveraktualisierung heruntergefahren. Die vorgesehene Stillstandszeit wird etwa 1 Stunde(n) betragen.
Le serveur de langue française sera arrêté à 6:00 CET le 11-02-2015 pour une mise à jour du serveur. Le temps d’arrêt sera d’environ 1 heure.
and from the EQ2 Forums:
POPULATION / ZONE PROGRESSION
Ossuary: Choir of T’Vyl [Event Heroic]
- Legionnaire Spirits should be less punishing.
- One player in the group should be able to see Ubis the Dagger when he shrouds himself.
ABILITIES / ALTERNATE ADVANCEMENT
- Destructive Rage (Ancient) will now also boosts strikethrough for raid members.
- Cyan adornments will drop in Altar of Malice contested zones more frequently.
- Transmutation Stones have been added to the drop tables in Altar of Malice contested zones and Loyalty Merchant. These stones have the chance to transmute into up to 5 Polished Mana.
- Tier 1 Raid armor (red gem) has been increased in power in almost all cases.
In response to questions about the future of EverQuest II, Afista posted this official response:
Daybreak and Columbus Nova management teams are working together closely to evaluate the situation and will make adjustments if needed
This post lends credence to the trickle of rumors I’ve been hearing.