Breaking: SOE Lays Off 70+ Employees — DCUO, EQ2, Community, Other Teams Affected

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2

From Linda “Brasse” Carlson on the EQ2 Forums:

Today we announced a reduction in our workforce at SOE. As a company, our goal is to focus on our core expertise of MMO games and as part of these efforts, we had to make the difficult decision to eliminate positions to help reduce costs, streamline our employee base and strategically align resources towards our current portfolio of games and upcoming slate of MMOs, including EverQuest Next Landmark and EverQuest Next. We deeply value our employees and are grateful for all they’ve contributed to our company and games. They will be missed by colleagues and friends, and we wish them well in the future.

Out of respect for our employees, we request that you do not discuss personnel matters on our forums. Thank you for your understanding.

UPDATE

Carlos “Gninja” Mora confirmed on his Facebook page that he is no longer employed at SOE.

Thank you everyone for the kind words. Everyone who knows me knows how much I loved EQ2 as a game and as a passion. I wish everyone there good luck and I hope it keeps going for many many years to come. Love you guys!

UPDATE from John Smedley


UPDATE

UPDATE

From GamesRadar.com:

SOE confirmed to Gamasutra that positions in both its San Diego and Austin offices were eliminated. Smedley later tweeted that the development of PlanetSide 2 won’t be affected. That means SOE’s slate of older titles–such as Everquest 2 and Free Realms–may be left to feel the cuts.

Numbers

We now have 3 separate sources confirming that the total number of SOE employess affected by today’s layoffs is at least 70 and could top out at 90.

UPDATE from Brasse

Late last night, Linda “Brasse” Carlson added this to her Facebook:

Players are our extended family. This means today’s layoffs have hit a LOT of people hard.

While I cannot answer all your questions, John Smedley has posted a fair bit to reddit on the topic today and he CAN give more info than I. Who better to make comments than the man we follow? He is one of the most honest execs in gaming and that is one of the reasons why I wanted to join SOE in the first place. Go ahead, give his comments a read.

http://www.reddit.com/user/j_smedley

Let us give our departed colleagues some space, and the long weekend to reflect and look ahead. Believe me, we are ALL doing everything we can to help them, from the top down.
Thank you for all the employment links you’ve forwarded today. New beginnings are scary as hell, but often lead to amazing futures. We live in a very fortunate country.

Trackback from your site.

Comments (148)

  • Jim

    |

    Too bad it won’t be Smokejumper! He has driven away most of the EQ2 customers, monetized everything and yet is now laying off people because they can’t make any money. I was in the EQ1 tutorial on FV last week on a week night. There were more than 30 people in the zone! There hasn’t been 30 people in any zone in EQ2 in years.

    Reply

    • Atan

      |

      Not true, there are 30-50 people in my guild hall every night…

      Reply

      • Jim

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        Sounds exciting. Do any of them actually play the game anymore?

        Reply

        • Atan

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          Yeah, we run 11 raids a week with over 100 active players.

          Reply

    • Hoot

      |

      Get rid of Smedley and SmokeJumper. Place some competent people in charge of this company. Smedley has time and time again shown he’s not suited for the role as a president and it’s quite the wonder how SoE is still staying afloat for the past decade.

      Reply

  • quaim

    |

    This is not even newsworthy…

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      This is not even newsworthy…

      You’re welcome to start your own EQ2 news site. Then you can decide what is valid and what is not.

      Many of us have gotten to know Carlos.

      Reply

  • Makya

    |

    As a fellow developer, I hope the EQ2 developers were protected as much as possible. Good luck to those looking for new opportunities.

    Reply

    • Alex

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      Why only the devs? Are the support teams to the games that devs are making not worth trying to protect?

      Reply

      • Feldon

        |

        I would imagine that “Developer” here is used as a general term. I’ve heard that all teams were hit, and that would include Community, Support, etc. Of course Marketing won’t be affected.

        Reply

        • Alex

          |

          I’ve been talking to some of the people that I know from when I worked there and the support team (not in game though) was taken to the ground almost from the sounds of it. Take it easy on them for the next couple weeks? They have to train new hires now.

          Reply

          • Makya

            |

            If they did layoffs to save costs are you sure they’d be rehiring now? Maybe they are outsourcing or going to no-benefits contract workers but most times layoff positions are not replaced very quickly and everyone left behind is asked to pick up the slack for the same amount of pay.

            Reply

          • Anne

            |

            Most of the “no-benefit contract workers” were let go as well.

            Reply

        • Makya

          |

          No, I specifically meant developers and I meant it in relation to the momentum of EQ2 going forward. I do feel for anyone that lost their job and as I said wish them well finding new opportunities. However, while all departments tend to have stuff that you have to know specific to a company, they don’t come close to the volume of proprietary knowledge needed for the developers to become effective.

          Reply

        • Anaogi

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          Wait, they have Marketing? 😕

          Reply

        • Wurm

          |

          What Marketing?

          Reply

        • Hoot

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          That implies that SoE has a “Marketing” team.

          Reply

  • Twyxx

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    So much for the EQ2 hype at SOE Live. Guess they’re expecting EQN to cannibalize the rest of the franchise and intending to start transition after this coming xpac.

    Reply

    • mizgamer62

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      Agreed. Every one I know isn’t going to buy the next eq2 expansion and are just waiting for EQN Landmark. It is sad but I have seen this coming for a while now.

      Reply

      • Feldon

        |

        Agreed. Every one I know isn’t going to buy the next eq2 expansion and are just waiting for EQN Landmark. It is sad but I have seen this coming for a while now.

        I wonder if your friends are prepared for the fact that EQN Landmark is a completely different game. Basically an open world shared Minecraft with nicer tools but very little actual “game” underneath. There are no dungeons, no swords and sorcery. It’s a toolbox. Not sure how someone “replaces” EQ2 with that type of game. Maybe as a separate thing, but not a replacement. You sure as heck won’t have scheduled raids.

        Reply

        • mizgamer62

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          They are aware of every thing you just stated and are saddened to see the steady decline of EQ2. I think every one understands that SOE is giving all of their love to EQN. I think that has been felt by the EQ2 community for quite a while now. I/we will always love EQ2, but sometimes you just have to learn to let go. 😥

          Reply

        • Nicolos

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          Except they have said several times that it is not just a building tool but will be a game in itself. They still have only announced a small bit of what is to come and we already know there will be gear, mounts, exploration , at least 1 class and harvesting. There very well may be more they announce in the months till launch. Yes, building Norrath may be the over arching objective but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty to do otherwise.

          Reply

          • Atan

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            Landmark is just a modern engine applied to the minecraft style gameplay.

            They have already told you all you need to know, EQN will not be a sword and sorcery / D&D based role playing game. It wont have dedicated class roles in the combat system. Its basically an action based game with a fantasy lore behind it. It isn’t the type of game most EQ or EQ2 players are looking to play.

            It is a game that someone who likes Minecraft and console based fantasy games will love playing.

            Reply

          • Nicolos

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            It will be a game most raiders don’t want to play; that’s different than saying most EQ2 players won’t want it. Plus you are just repeating what I already addressed above. YOU don’t know what all will be in the game any more than I do. We will just have to see what else they announce over the next months.

            Reply

          • Dethdlr

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            Are you sure you’re not combining in your head Landmark and EQ Next? You realize they are two different things, right with two different release dates?

            Reply

          • Nicolos

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            I’m well aware of the differences. im not debating that Landmark, at its core is about building but it has been stated CLEARLY that it will be a full fledged MMO. Though many think an MMO has to include raiding, that’s their own issue. Landmark has been pitched as a community driven world with, yes, building but other game features will also be there.

            Take a look around, if you can see beyond your own playstyle. EQ2 has never been only about raiding. As a matter of fact, quite a bit of EQ2s dwindling population couldn’t care less about raiding and are obsessive about crafting, decorating (building) and exploration. All of which Landmark will appeal to. But for the third time, they have not revealed all of Landmarks features yet. They have said they will announce more and even still we see many mmo like features already announced. If they announce some killing (of animals perhaps for materials) then that is yet another step closer. Adding in the fact we know there will be obtaining gear, mounts, and grouping (for crafting tables that can not be done solo) we are getting closer to a “true” mmo.

            Check the FAQ on the official EQN:Landmark tab.

            “The rarest resources, objects, gear, character customizations and secrets are scattered across the worlds of Landmark! Can you find everything?”

            Reply

          • Upside

            |

            “Gear” could mean anything. Minecraft has “gear” chief, pickaxes and craftable armor. You ready for a raid in your diamond armor? You’re construing one word into an argument. Feldon and Dethdlr are going off the facts, and what was presented at SOE Live. You’re going off a website’s FAQ.

            Also, to blow another hole in your theory,

            EQ2 has never been only about raiding.

            LOL. Unless you’re talking about PvP too, LOL.

            quite a bit of EQ2s dwindling population couldn’t care less about raiding and are obsessive about crafting, decorating (building) and exploration.

            I would love to see something to back this rediculous statement up. Have you actually checked EQ2U? You really think the end game is about crafting? Decorating the same guild hall with…? Exploring?

            Reply

          • Nicolos

            |

            You blew my theory about raiding not being what EQ2 is about how exactly? Because you said so? Lol. Fact is, chief, EQ2 has always been about choice of which raiding is only one. So many can not see outside of their own box to even realize there are many players doing all sorts of things that don’t involve 23 other people. Yes, people do raid and Landmark will not be for them; got it. I’m actually very grateful for that fact.

            And btw, I was at SOE Live too. I saw the same facts as everyone else did. I have also watched the videos since then from gamescon and everything posted above have come from those. They have said over and over Landmark is a MMO. I know it won’t have groups and raids, but an MMO doesn’t have to have those things. Massively multiplayer – not massively raider.

            Reply

      • Loch

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        EQN Landmark is not so much a game as it is a program with a toolset for designers and creators. Might be a fun distraction if you’re the creative type and to see what EQN might look like, but other than that, there’s no game to be found there.

        Reply

      • Kinya

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        Well everyone who I know is going to buy EQ2 x-pac and there is no hype about EQNext anymore…

        Reply

        • Upside

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          This.
          I think for years we were expecting the next leap to be something we wanted. Granted, we’re a playerbase of maybe 100,000 strong. But, we’re also fiercely loyal. Years of hype for EQNext and I think we all thought it would take the best of EQ and EQ2 into one awesome modern looking D&D MMO. Instead we got post-Cata Blizzard meets TES: Skyrim. Catering to the lowest common denominator.

          It’s been a let down.

          Reply

          • Murfalad

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            Yeah, unfortunately despite trying to keep the optimism up that is what I feel has been delivered. I really was hoping that the cartoony graphics were not going to be there, but the gameplay seems over the top too.

            I guess what I want is a advanced Everquest Next, as this one seems more of a simple D&D style game, although impressive with the features it has I feel its not for a player like myself.

            Reply

        • Winterfell

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          I know I’m sure not excited about EQN and will definitely be buying the next EQ2 xpac. I am very concerned about the laying-off of employees and how EQ2 is being neglected in favor of EQN when EQN looks like it’s going to be a kid’s console game.

          Reply

      • Twyxx

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        They’ve already got most the work done on this coming xpac though I think. Not sure what future holds after that, but this one should be fine.

        Reply

      • Pipsissiwa

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        I’m not waiting for EQN, thanks to the PSS1 requirement. I will be buying the next EQ2 expansion.

        Unless I can play through my SOE account I won’t be playing EQNext, and I know I am not alone among existing euro players.

        Reply

        • Feldon

          |

          Unless I can play through my SOE account I won’t be playing EQNext, and I know I am not alone among existing euro players.

          So I’ve got a dumb question…

          To watch Netflix while I lived in Denmark, we used a VPN, and later a DNS rerouter which seemed to fool Netflix and other US-only sites. I know a VPN would have unacceptable performance in an MMO, but maybe there are other options?

          Reply

          • sompet

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            The existing SOE accounts are already flagged as European. When I made my account 10 years ago, I set my country to Hungary and didn’t think that it will be a problem. Probably my IP address history also makes strong evidence for SOE. The SOE Launcher can easily reject these accounts. I don’t know if SOE knows the country for a credit card, but if they do, then SOE has all my past card info. Unfortunately, DCOU already works like this: European accounts cannot access it through SOE, regardless if you use VPN or not.

            Maybe, if I create a new US account with US IP address through a VPN, and use the launcher first from US then it could work. But then I still would lose the ability to use SOE All Access with my existing EQ2 account and the separate EQN account.

            Unfortunately, SOE already knows too much about us 🙁

            Reply

  • Kruzzen

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    I have watched this cycle at SOE for years now. It is sad but it is how they do business. 🙁

    Reply

  • Brigh.Guk

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    Gninja was awesome. I hate to see him [involuntarily] go. 🙁

    Reply

  • Silzin

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    Thank you Feldon for all you do with this site… What all was Gninja in charge of… i thought he was very high up?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Gninja was a Designer who bounced around and worked on different things as needed. Raids, Achievements, Quests, Itemization, lots of different things. And yes he went out of his way to talk to the players and work with them on testing content.

      Reply

      • Daalilama

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        His tenure as pvp dev for a few years was abysmal but the truth is the truth. Our current pvp is following in his footsteps by ignoring veteran pvp players in lieu of listening to relative newcomers…but whatever.

        Reply

        • B

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          Gninja never worked on PvP, ever.

          Reply

        • Feldon

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          Daalilama,

          Carlos did not work on PvP. You are thinking of Olihin.

          Reply

  • Brienae

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    It is sad to see this. If memory serves correctly Gninja was one of the few that talked to players on the forums… they seem to pick them first. To me that is a bad idea. It may save costs but what do they lose in the process?

    Reply

    • Murfalad

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      Carlos will definitely be missed 🙁

      He was on my table at the Dev brunch, the most impressive work I’ve seen him do (imo) is Tower of Frozen shadow, I loved the imagination in that zone.

      Hopefully he’ll be able to return one day, otherwise he’ll be sorely missed.

      Reply

      • Winterfell

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        O man, I love TOFS! That sucks that he’s gone.

        Reply

  • Vortix

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    So, is the point of this to drive the game into the ground on purpose? I mean, EQ2 is still a great game, and just because EQNext is coming doesn’t mean it is the latest and greatest. There will still be so much of a different play style that people will still like playing EQ2. If they really cared about their customer base, they would update the EQ2 rendering engine to DX11. Why waste all that time you spent creating EQ2 and let it rot? This game could be around for over 30 years and still be popping.

    Reply

  • Seffrid

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    These layoffs buck the recent trend of moving surplus staff from existing games across to EQNext. With that game’s development now ramping up with the imminent launch of EQN:Landmark you’d expect further expansion of the team, but with staff now being laid off rather than transferred across I wonder if SOE have been disappointed by the level of feedback to the initial release of info on EQN which is hardly proving exciting to your average EQ and EQ2 veteran, not least in Europe where it’s pretty clear the game will fail to sell under P7S1.

    Bad luck all those affected by this decision, good luck getting another job.

    Reply

    • Sievert

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      Yea, I think all the hype of EQ2 Next Died at SOELIVEDEAD

      Reply

      • Nicolos

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        Lol seriously? The internet exploded in positivity for EQN after the keynote. Maybe not amongst the old EQ2 dinosaurs but that number is so small compared to the rest that its barely a blip on the radar.

        Reply

        • Feldon

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          Everyone went apeshit. The hype machine gets em every time. Now that 3 weeks have passed, I’ve got some more perspective. They’ve got a lot of good things going into EQNext and EQNext Landmark.

          Housing, Public Quests, almost everything OPEN instead of instanced, Minecraft-type building, and player-generated content are all AWESOME. But they have totally missed me on the overblown animations, overdone character models, and the fact that we will only use EIGHT BUTTONS to control our characters. Sorry, but that’s dumbing it down too far for me.

          Reply

          • Nicolos

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            And that’s unfortunate but of course we are all entitled to our opinions. My opinion differs. The animations looked good to me and I loved the character models. The 8 button thing is something I did for years in EQ1 and will happily do again. EQ2 has way too many hot bars for my preference. I have seen others that share your concerns but I have seen just as many or more that share my excitement. If it had been “realistic” graphics and followed the same (tired) ways of doing things then I would have been less enthusiastic. It’s impossible to please everyone, I’m just glad it’s my camp is the side they are pleasing! :p

            Reply

          • Thait

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            The eight button thing is pretty much what we did in EQ1 and it is anything but dumbed down, it was harder than EQ2. EQ2 has far, far to many hotbars and buttons necessary in combat. I would love to go back to the original eq1 type. I honestly despise the fact i’m forced to use four hotbars of buttons to control my character in a fight. And I have friends who have more than that.

            The animations don’t bother me in the least, the human model is absolutely fine though the kerra is horrid and should be changed.

            Reply

          • milliebii

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            It is not what you did in EQ1 at all!!

            In EQ1 you had a spell book and a free choice of which abilities you chose to hotbar.

            In EQ Next four are predetermined by your weapon set choice
            the other four must fit the template for whichever base class you are using (defense, attack, utility etc [1 of those 2 of these and one of the othe]) and the four together must fit within some ‘energy’ limit.

            That is far more constrained and complex than EQ1 ever was.

            Reply

        • Sievert

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          /shrug maybe its just the group of people I am around, but we all lost interest in EQN. Guess we are all “dinosaurs”, but I don’t see any of your type games lasting like role based games we play. Maybe EQN will be the exception.

          Reply

          • Winterfell

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            /agree
            Most people I see leave EQ2 to try out a new game but it never lasts for more than a few months, and then they’re back.

            Reply

  • Loch

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    A shame to lose anyone who put effort into communicating with the players.

    Didn’t they just hire three coders for EQ2 a few months back? Wonder how this will all play out.

    Reply

  • Flair

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    So how does this affect DCUO? I’ve tried asking nicely on the boards there and was locked in like 30 seconds.

    Reply

    • Blanka

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      Yes EQ2 and DCUO were the two hit worst.

      Reply

    • Atan

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      DCUO is cut deep from what I’ve been told.

      Reply

  • Seffrid

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    I’m afraid DCUO was badly impacted by the P7S1 debacle. A lot of EU players weren’t prepared to move to P7S1 when DCUO transitioned and a lot of those who tried to move found their accounts messed up and walked away as a result because they couldn’t get any sense out of P7S1 and SOE’s customer support staff said it was nothing to do with them any more.

    That must have had an adverse effect on the success of DCUO so perhaps a lot of the layoffs have been concentrated there.

    Reply

    • Anaogi

      |

      It seriously affected EQ2 as well. Lost a lot of good friends and guildies because of that round-robin Charlie Foxtrot. A lot of folks I know are embargoing Next because of it. Only reason I’m looking at it is that I have one of the old Access accounts, so won’t need to pay extra per month…

      Reply

  • Griffon Lady

    |

    My hubby and i spent 3 hours reposting the Djin Master to death for a trophy for the guild hall in 2010 or so due to a bug in the instruments. I found a thread on forums and saw Gninja had been looking into it in 2004, but got pulled away. I messaged Gninja about it and within weeks it was fixed (which is freaking AWSOME considering how much work they have). So many things in the game that need fixed and they layoff someone who actually fixed stuff. :\
    Also, I can’t help but wonder if they had done a triple SC day for the 4th, or for the back to school occasion we’re getting a lousy 50 slot bag sale… would they have needed to lay people off? o.0 They are pinching pennies so hard they are strangling themselves. I can understand since it’s an account wide currency it can complicate things with other connected games. Maybe a way to purchase game specific currencies and do the sales game by game (although that would need more employees).
    The thing is, they need to encourage people to buy SC to keep making a profit. I’ve had $90 waiting for a triple SC day ever since i blew my last batch of SC on the pink meatbeast, personally. XD

    Reply

    • Atan

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      Funny, my immediate comment to other eq2 players was, “You know if they charged 20 bucks for the Heroic Character feature, they wouldn’t have had to make the cuts to this team.”

      Reply

      • Feldon

        |

        Funny, my immediate comment to other eq2 players was, “You know if they charged 20 bucks for the Heroic Character feature, they wouldn’t have had to make the cuts to this team.”

        We’ll be able to *try* Heroic characters for free. The ship hasn’t sailed on not paying *somewhere* along the way. Also, there’s the 280 AA bauble that’s coming.

        Reply

      • skippydippy

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        I fear the ship has sailed sadly,no amount of these incentives will win people back long term

        Reply

  • Ardur

    |

    This is obviously a consequence of free to play biting its own ass. It was a good short term thing to monetize on people, but the content in this game isn’t very re-playable, aside from jumping through the same flaming hoops the same way to get some really rare pieces, this game is super saturated in the end game making it not playable for long, aside from enjoying the company of people, and not the game itself. They have been making efforts to basically cut out all of the starting content in this game, and haven’t made an effort to just make what they have viable. This game has become a hodgepodge of irrational decisions for the game but rational decisions to make cash over the weekend.

    eq2 has gone from a game that people invested in playing and subscribing to for years, to a short term cash grab where they try to sucker you into the future of the game that they cant even commit to. They changed this game into something that it isnt, so now its caving in on itself. I’m sure they will still advertise about its success as they lay off employees though.. Such illusiatory marketing is pretty sickening imo.

    Reply

  • Dethdlr

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    Sorry to hear about this. My best wishes go out to those that are being let go. I hope you land on your feet quickly.

    Reply

  • Betony

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    Boy, it never fails to surprise me that the folks who complain about the game, the developers, the producers and other players, who admit they are trying to sabotage this company actually post their surprise at lay-offs. “if they’d only listened to ME” will read many posts. Well, you sadistic old batwings, unfortunately they did listen to you and your buddies. The squeaking, complaining wheels got the grease and now you have a lot more to crow about.

    I feel for those laid off. I’m sure a lot of you old whiners are dancing the streets.

    Reply

  • Wurm

    |

    Take care Gninja, it was fun passing PMs back and forth with you over at the EQ2 forums.

    You will be missed. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes you a quick bounce back and a successful future.

    Reply

  • Wurm

    |

    @ Feldon

    One thing I don’t understand, who is running SOE?

    Due to Mr Smedley’s twits

    “layoffs suck. these are really, really good people who don’t deserve this.”

    It seems to me he had no say in the matter.

    Has he become only a figurehead?

    Reply

    • Anaogi

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      SOE is part of a larger corporate whole (Sony Computer Entertainment America). Smed takes orders from his bosses there (I still suspect the whole Prosieben disaster was also imposed from above).

      Reply

  • Sycronn

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    Ah man, I’ll miss Gnobrin’s mysterious tweets whenever he was working on new armor. 🙁

    Very sad to see the layoffs, hope everyone will find another workplace asap. My thoughts go out to them all.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Gninja has been let go. Gnobrin has not.

      Reply

    • Sycronn

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      I only read Gnobrin’s tweet and misunderstood it completely – please disregard my first comment. *walks off muttering about coffee*

      Reply

  • Feldon

    |

    Smed is certainly in charge of SOE, but he probably listens to the guys in the Finance department who tell him that X headcount need to be reduced. But then it comes down to the department heads on which team members are cut. You just have to hope then that favoritism doesn’t rule the day, and truly the best people are kept.

    Reply

    • Kaelric

      |

      Just to mention, given the noise in the news at the end of July about Sony under pressure from shareholders about its entertainment division, profitability, etc, it seems plausible that this has nothing to do with SOE itself, free to play, any particular MMO, or whatever.

      Reply

      • Betony

        |

        You talking about that hedge funder who thinks we all exist to line his pockets? I know he sent press releases to major media pleading his cause to give him shareholder sovereignty. Amazing hubris. Almost as much as … a few posters )

        Reply

      • Murfalad

        |

        Yeah, I think with Sony not really doing well SOE are always going to come under some pressure.

        Hopefully EQNext will be a success and bring in some money, although it does not look my cup of tea. On the bright side there still isn’t a good alternative to EQ2 (other than EQ1…).

        Reply

  • Revekk

    |

    One thing I saw today that was telling of the trouble we are in was that in the level 1-9 channel I kept seeing a person posting “level 12 ranger looking for group.” A new person coming in is totally not going to want to stay unless they really know someone already playing. I am, also actually surprised some peeps didn’t respond ,”just solo til 90″ as I’ve seen before.
    This MMO model with levels seems to me to be it’s Achilles heel. The people here currently are used to that model but I can see why eqnext has to be different

    Reply

  • Foodcity

    |

    Sometimes I wonder whether they aren’t just trying to see how far they can push the dagger into EQ2’s heart before killing it off…… Hmmmm…….. I may or may not be pessimistic, but things seem to get worse and worse. Still, they’ll have to do a lot worse to keep me from playing. Farewell, Gninja 🙁

    Reply

  • Betony

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    Wonder if the entire Legends of Norrath team has been let go?

    Reply

  • Froak

    |

    perhaps the layoffs are a result of the being able to create content much quicker than before. this past year has seen the biggest amount of new content of any year to date. from the launch of CoE, then all the new GU content and now a full sized expansion (at least for eq2’s standards) coming early this year – Oct 15th.

    very interesting move tho, at a very interesting time. does raise a lot of questions about the future of existing games.

    Reply

    • milliebii

      |

      Where there is a development ‘pipeline’ an increase of output can be associated with “flushing the pipe’ so that the stuff people have been working on is completed before laying staff off. This avoids the cost of ‘handing off” work in progress.

      This is generally more likely than a raise in productivity leading to layoffs.

      Reply

  • Chronusxx

    |

    Honestly it’s always a shame to see cuts but if a dev had to be cut, Gninja was probably an easy target, mainly because of what happened with Drinal x4 in Harrow’s End. Sure there’s been worse than that (Drunder HM, Commanders in PoW) but Drinal was probably fresh in their minds.

    I still think raiding will be fine as long as Xelgad and Kander are staying, along with the majority of those who don’t get as much publicity on the boards.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      Honestly it’s always a shame to see cuts but if a dev had to be cut, Gninja was probably an easy target, mainly because of what happened with Drinal x4 in Harrow’s End. Sure there’s been worse than that (Drunder HM, Commanders in PoW) but Drinal was probably fresh in their minds.

      Carlos did a lot of good, and interacted with the community. Yet people just remember Drinal. 🙁

      Reply

      • Larsenex

        |

        What was the issue with Drinal x4?

        Reply

        • Chronusxx

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          Bugged for months in utterly horrible ways. Go check the Drinal raid feedback thread on official to see all the fail in all it’s glory. But still, 1 mob does not a developer make.

          Reply

          • Alethus

            |

            and to be honest, in my opinion, the worst of the bugs were mostly programming, not design.

            Reply

      • Misia

        |

        Yes. Carlos is awesome. I hope the layoff will be short and that he’ll be back soon. At SOE Live I asked about Bristlebane (such a fun awesome fight), the devs pointed me to Carlos. We have him to thank for that fun fight. He’s a great guy in person too. He remembers people from past SOE Live events even when he hasn’t spent time with them. On test/beta when something isn’t working you can send him a tell (or post) and he is right on it.

        I’m sure they all work very hard. But, Carlos will be missed.

        Reply

  • Daeth

    |

    Its the expansion pack and content gating that is driving away customers, and all the nickel and diming. Open the game up with a cash shop like Rift / TERA and get rid of all the restrictions. Also the AA could do with a clean up (as opposed to bloating it even more).

    Reply

    • Mermut

      |

      Expacs and subscrptions are not ‘nickle and diming’. Cash shops are nickle and diming.
      I prefer a subscription option where I don’t have to constantly open my wallet for every little title and jot beyond the super basic content.

      I LOVE the AA choices where I can customize my character and try out different things and there are multiple viable options, not just a single ‘alpha build’ as so often happens when there are very few options.

      Reply

      • unclex

        |

        your not the only one that feels this way and there are 3 soon to be released( one has launched this week) that have gone back to the sub based plan alone

        Reply

        • Mermut

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          I have no objections to having both a sub and ftp option in the same game. I just like having the OPTION of subbing rather then being nickled and dimed.

          Reply

  • Daeth

    |

    FYI, you can easily play EQ2 with less than 8 buttons thanks to macros. I’d rather have 8 meaningful skills than one supermacro full of forgettable ones.

    Reply

    • Mermut

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      You don’t play helaers, do you?

      Reply

      • Eschia

        |

        LOL I play a Warden and I stick all my attacks into a macro, all my heals into a second macro, and all my group heals into a 3rd. They all have quick reuse timers and I never run out of power so no big deal. I keep the raid alive while still being able to look around at whats around me. As opposed to always having my eye on the hotbar, not knowing what the dungeon actually looks like, and auto following one of the wizards in the back so I don’t get nailed by AOEs. 🙂

        Reply

        • milliebii

          |

          By macro I guess you mean using some third party keyboard/mouse software to generate the necessary keystrokes?
          If so is that not a clear breach of the EULA?

          Reply

          • milliebii

            |

            From the EULA

            you may not use, post, host or distribute macros, “bots” or other programs which would allow unattended game play or which otherwise impact game play.

            Reply

          • Feldon

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            From the EULA

            “you may not use, post, host or distribute macros, “bots” or other programs which would allow unattended game play or which otherwise impact game play.

            Unattended gameplay – The game plays itself while you are not there
            Impact game play – Zone disruption; monopolizing content and thus preventing other players from experiencing it

            If your macro, bot, or other program doesn’t do those things, then SOE has erred on the side of allowing it. To stop all of these programs, SOE would have to shut out disabled players from its games who use various software to make gameplay possible.

            PS2 is a lot stricter on this than EQ2 on PvE servers would be, because PS2 is a competitive PvP FPSMMO. Even the slightest advantage in PS2 has to be measured. As far as EQ2, as long as you are not disrupting the gameplay of others, it’s not a huge deal.

            Reply

          • Brienae

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            I don’t know why they say you can’t use macros… they allow you to create them in game. However the macros you create still require you to push the button.

            Reply

          • milliebii

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            In game macros are fine, there are limits on what they can do after all and they are part of the game. Using stuff to assist a disabled player is fine, creating a macro system to reduce your decision making and make play trivial is not fine. @FELDON it is still a breach and encouraging others to do the same thing is another breach. SOE may choose not to enforce it because the damage is small and the cost of enforcement high but it is still a breach.

            Reply

          • Feldon

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            Any legal document requires you to read the entire phrasing and take it as a whole. “Impacts gameplay” has not been explicitly defined by SOE. Thousands of players have undoubtedly been reported for software like isboxer. End result? Those people have not been banned. I would view the consistent action or inaction of customer service as the equivalent of case law.

            I’m also of the opinion that if another player’s behavior doesn’t hurt me or other players, it’s probably not my concern. #libertarian

            Reply

          • Eschia

            |

            You really don’t know what your talking about do you? There is a feature IN GAME called MACROS. Look it up.

            Reply

          • Eschia

            |

            I never said I was using 3rd party stuff so I don’t even know why it was assumed when this feature already exists in game…

            Reply

        • Mermut

          |

          Auto-following a wizard? As a warden? Worrying about AoEs? Ever heard of Tortoise Shell? What about your stoneskins for your tank? Point heals on people besides the tank? Death saves? Group cures? Point cures? Cure curse?

          Reply

          • Eschia

            |

            Yes I do use all those… Stop assuming the worst…

            Reply

          • Mermut

            |

            You said auto-following on a wizard.. implying you don’t melee.. and worrying about AoEs, implying you don’t use tortoise shell.

            Reply

          • Eschia

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            And when I say “as opposed to following one of the wizards” it kinda means I don’t actually do that…

            Reply

  • Brock Sampson

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    I would think that Legends of Norrath would be a great source of recurring revenue, and incentive to buy SC. If they need a quick infusion of cash, all they need to do is release LoN for iPad and other tablets (even Mac). It’s not like they are keeping it exclusive for their PS3/4 hardware. It doesn’t even exist for the PS3, and they’ve had plenty of time to develop for it.

    I understand companies like Nintendo wouldn’t release their intellectual property for other platforms, since they want to keep it exclusive to their closed hardware.

    I can’t believe I’m the only person who thinks there is pent-up demand for this mobile release.

    Reply

    • Malade

      |

      I can’t imagine people do anything with that game other than the free packs for EQ2 items. But it takes all kinds I guess. I bet it isn’t as much as you might think.

      Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    I always hated how SOE plays musical chairs with employees. It makes me wonder how they ever manage to get anything done when they keep laying people off or moving them to other teams. This is why Vanguard isn’t doing so well right now… At least give the current dev teams time to work with the new dev teams to get them up to speed on the projects.

    Reply

  • Graye

    |

    While not currently an EQ2 developer…

    Lead developer Harvey “Rahtiz” (Flametalon) Burgess was cut also. A majority of all the game GM’s wee cut as well

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Lead developer Harvey “Rahtiz” (Flametalon) Burgess was cut also.

      Vanguard’s current producer.

      Gninja’s wife Brandi was also cut from CS, as well as Virrago from Community.

      Niami Denmother’s husband Adam “Ngreth” Bell was cut. He was working on EQNext, and had previously been a Senior Game Designer on EQ.

      Reply

      • Malade

        |

        Doesn’t that mean EQNext is affected by this?

        Reply

  • Graye

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    Lydia “Zatozia” Pope has been let go.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      Lydia “Zatozia” Pope has been let go.

      So that’s two awesome Community people. I then scratch my head at some of the people who were kept. Clearly it’s not how hard you work or how happy you make customers, but who you know.

      Reply

      • Liftik

        |

        =( I remember Lydia Pope showed me around back in EQ1 when I showed up unannounced just before Kunark went live. I just showed up at their offices and they were kinda like “Uh, there’s a player here”. She was nice enough to give me a tour of their facilities and answer all my questions. She will be missed.

        She also approved my guild back ingame in EQ1 when you HAD to contact a GM to get a guild formed / approved.

        Reply

  • Cristamir

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    I am so sorry to see these folks hit the unemployment line. Good luck to them, and I hope they move on to bigger and better.

    Personally, moves like this do not inspire confidence in a company I already am in a love/distrust relationship with. My gaming partner has already left the game for good, and I only log in a couple of times a week to chat with a couple of friends that remain. At this point, I have zero enthusiasm for either Landmark or Next. That could change as we learn more. I hope so. The ability to destroy landscape is cute, but not compelling. At least for me.

    Reply

  • Tabri

    |

    I have noticed for weeks that not many threads are being addressed now by dev’s in the EQ2 forums. One of the threads called “We are back” which was old I posted into because someone else updated it I guess. I didnt realize this thread was from December so went back and posted ” wow I didnt know this was from December the dev’s are probably gone now and moved over to EQN and wont respond anyway”. Ttobey posted no we are all still here after I said that.

    Well guess you are not all there now areyou? I knew something was up. But anyway EQ2 will now be ignored for the most part. They will stick some content in to try to appease people till EQN is out but thats about it. You to get a response in the forums and good luck getting anything your pretty much wasting your time.

    The lag is killing the game, I dont know what they did wrong lately but the lag is worse now than it ever has been and I stopped raiding because of it. They wont fix anything old in the game and just keep adding new crap. Also restricting all of Europe through some other company didnt help either.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      Tabri,

      Good job kicking the EQ2 team while they’re down.

      Reply

      • Tabri

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        Feldon Im not trying to kick anyone while they are down Im just stating fact, Im not blaming the people that were fired the people mainly responsible for the total failure of EQ2 are the people that originally made the graphics engine for it when it was created( I dont know exactly who did that either). Why do you think WOW blew up instead of EQ2? Its because nobody could run this game on their machines at all. I stayed on extreme lowest settings till just two years ago to run it. and I still drop my setting all the way down to raid. I remember I had to go buy memory back in the day just to make it through Sol’s Eye. Why I stuck around 8 yrs I dont know, friends I met I guess, now its even worse than then.

        SOE is now going to put all their resources into EQN and totally let EQ2 die, they brought Domino back didnt they? I was happy about that, lets just hope they will bring back some of these people when/if EQN blows up and they get back on track again. I wont be playing EQN but Im sure lots of people will so I hope all of their layoff’s are short. It still sucks to lose a job especially after all of these years at the same one for so long it happens to all of us once or twice in our lifetimes usually 🙁

        Reply

  • Graye

    |

    I was informed that th major hit was to th CS team, from 55-60 down to ~12

    Reply

    • Mentin

      |

      Uh.. so they are not going to have any support for EQNext/Landmark?

      Reply

  • Mentin

    |

    While I do feel sorry for the people let go..

    This ‘no discussion’ policy from Sony really feels more like a huge coverup of the fact that most of the older games will take a big hit to development of new content now.

    Smedley on Reddit and Twitter is both saying that game X lost development resources, and that game X will not be affected by this. Sorry Mr. Smedley, those two statements do not match up. Of course a game will be negatively affected when you take development resources away from it.

    The effect when people realize the older games are being mothballed is of course that people leave, leading to revenue loss for Sony. Nobody want to invest time into a game with few updates expected or as short expected remaining lifetime.

    So of course Sony at any cost want to tone down that side of this.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      Personally, I would have ONE forum that allows this discussion, and have posts APPROVED before they appear. That’s the only way. Instead, people are scrambling over Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and other places where SOE cannot control the message or correct inaccuracies like the “205 laid off” number which is a c/p from 2011.

      Reply

      • Larsenex

        |

        Feldon does this site (EQ2Wire) have a forum where we can discuss this? I tried looking around but did not find any topic other than what is being said in reply here.

        Reply

        • Feldon

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          does this site (EQ2Wire) have a forum

          I’ve considered setting up actual forums here for discussing EQ2U. Not sure I want to run general purpose EQ2 forums.

          Reply

  • Graye

    |

    Corey “Ceythos” LeFever VG developer is gone

    Reply

    • Anne

      |

      🙁

      Reply

  • Seffrid

    |

    @Feldon: “Not sure I want to run general purpose EQ2 forums.”

    Very wise! Leave the EQ2 flames to another site more appropriately named for the purpose ;)!

    Besides which, you’ve got a winning formula here, why change it when it isn’t broken?

    Reply

  • striinger

    |

    Having been through a dozen corporate restructures (latest one still wrapping up), I expect the following:

    Smed may be SOE top dog, but to Sony’s board and chairman he’s a little fish. They call the shots on budgets.

    Every restructure has started with a wave of “voluntary” talent happy to take a payout and go elsewhere) and forced redundancies. Thus, layoffs never just trimmed the fat.

    I hope the people who have lost their jobs have enough support to make it through okay, and find the strength to ignore the insensitive assholes who seem to think their right to play a F2P game is more important than someone’s livelihood.

    Reply

  • Nomore

    |

    The lay offs come as no surprise – why?

    SOE has been screwing EQ2 players to a point where they have caused heir own demise through pure greed. I don’t believe Smed or anyone in the EQ2 team are to blame – this is purely greed at BOD level in driving profits hard, based on short terminism self glorification, at the cost of long term income and survival of EQ2.

    I’d guess that EQnext has been a big driver here, but I predict a failure for EQnext due to sickened EQ2 players and post EQ2 bad feeling on micro transactions. Having to pay for every littel reward in game as opposed to earning rewards through game play alone is killing the MMO industry.

    I look forward to the day when another company come along and give us gameplay and rewards with a sub that give us a game that will gain a large and happy playerbase who are happy to stay and pay. You might see it as unrealistic, someone will realise the value in long term gains over short term ass raping of players.

    Reply

    • Larsenex

      |

      I agree with this and believe this is the cause..^^^

      I am sick of micro transactions and hate the FTP model in general. I have played Dragons Profit $$$ and you pay for everything in that game with SC.

      As for a game where you have old school everything for a sub, I can say ESO is looking very very good and it will be sub based thank God!

      I am in beta tonight (again) and its quality and gameplay are solid and more important fun. Content is full and there are (so far) no bugs. However this is not the forum on this so I digress…

      Reply

  • Crankers

    |

    Pull you head out of your ASS SOE!

    Reply

  • Avianna

    |

    To the families laid off, My sympathy, compassion and heartfelt thank you for the passion dedication and time you have put into this game. I do not even know most of you and yet you have shared in my adventures over the past 9 years. Don’t give up, your creative minds have been a part of making the greatest MMO in the world in my opinion. You did it once you can do it again.

    To SOE as a whole, I am your customer, I too am passionate about this game that has been my source of daily entertainment for 9 years. My office is filled with eq2 swag from over the years that I have collected and proudly display. I am crying right now for the families affected.

    To Smed, I have collected all that EQ2 swag from over the years into a cardboard box and am shipping it to SOE much like the cardboard boxes that were carried out today by crying ex employees. I am encouraging others to do the same as a statement to you. As those packages arrive every day and you open them and read the letters from other customers like me I want you to reflect on the lives you have impacted and the families that will be struggling financially to make ends meet. Then I challenge you to bring EQ2 back to what it was before it was a SC store with D&D attached. Put the game back into perspective of fun & entertainment over profit & bean counting. If you do that Mr. Smedley then you will have my respect; And respect sir will earn you more profit than money ever could. Word gets around fast in this industry and when you respect the player and the game over the profit the game and the player base grow and along with it so does the profit.

    Reply

    • milliebii

      |

      More than a little bit extreme. Layoffs happen in every industry. The general case is that costs are exceeding revenues and in order not to deplete assets costs need to be reduced. Salaries are always a big item and more so in the software business.

      So why did revenues drop below costs?

      Well not enough attention has been put on “profit and bean counting”.

      It is totally unreasonable for a customer to say to a business ‘make a loss and make a better product’.

      Reply

      • Avianna

        |

        You sir are incorrect, If the company puts the attention on the game itself (i.e. fix the bugs, release new content included with the game not SC or add on’s) improve the gameplay experience, what happens? people notice… When people notice they talk when they talk their friend come to see what all the hype is about when their friends see what all the hype is about SOE makes more profit.

        As opposed to what IS happening now… soe adds cool new feature ( I’ll just pick heroic characters as an example) gets everyone ramped up about it and the player base is yeah wow cool awesome idea we love it… then they throw in oh yeah by the way we said you would be able to TRY it for free and the playerbase goes WHAT???!!! We are being nickel and dimed here… and again we talk and when our friends hear how we are being nickle and dimed they go to a different game. when they go to a different game and their experience there is fabulous they talk and we go see what all the hype is about, then layoffs happen. That is how this industry works.

        The idea here is to make the profit without the feeling of being nickle and dimed to death. Which SOE failed at big time by having a subscription model AND the SC store If one pays for the game it should include ALL of it period. If it is F2P then by all means SC away. But do not have your cake and eat it too SOE.

        So saying I am going to extreme is actually an understatement when I am calling for an extreme change to the game model.

        Reply

        • Quabi

          |

          I completely disagree.

          EQ2 is a niche game. Even at it’s peak right after launch, I don’t think it even broke 500K subs (maybe not even 350K). With a smaller playerbase, they need to get a lot of revenue from their most passionate fans, and if they ever want any new players, the barrier to entry has to be very low. The way to do that is F2P with microtransactions.

          Reply

          • Avianna

            |

            monthly sub $10-18 depending on how you pay…
            in game SC mount $20

            Nothing “micro” about that transaction.

            Reply

  • Avianna

    |

    I am not saying the free to play model is bad, I am also not saying the subscription model is bad. I am however saying that having both are bad.

    If “hypothetically speaking” you had a strictly F2P model that was solely supported on microtransactions and you had to pay for the goodies I would not have any issues. If it was a subscription model where I paid my monthly dues and the goodies are included I would not have issues either. but instead it is a pay for the sub and then pay more for the goodies.

    So SOE is having their cake and eating it too, and worse yet they have the general population brainwashed into thinking that is a good idea.

    My whole-hearted opinion is that the SC store took away from this game so much and has become the focal point of it. Once upon a time if there was new content added it was added to *gasp* the game itself.

    So it is going down hill much like a gas station, once upon a time you pull up to a gas station and you got your gas pumped for you your windows cleaned, and your oil checked. fast forward to today and you’re lucky of the teller even knows english let alone knows what an oil cap is.

    In both cases I miss the good ole days.

    Reply

    • Zosime

      |

      I’ve actually went back to everquest 1 and have been enjoying it alot. Its one game that really has not changed.

      Reply

  • Curel

    |

    In regards to the GamesRadar update, it has been confirmed that the Free Realms team has been hit as well. Free Realms lost its community manager, Virrago, and some of its developers have confirmed their layoffs on Facebook.

    Reply

  • badcat

    |

    So what exactly will this mean for those of us who actually still play EQ2. I raid 5 nights a week. From what I understand most of the xpac work is done and ready.

    However I look at this and wonder, is smed trying to throw eq2 under the buss to force us to go to eqnext.

    By the way I was one of the very few who looked at the new kera model and when why. I hate that lion king mated with tony the tiger. It just looked silly.

    Oh well I feel for those pour folks being laid off.

    Reply

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