EverQuest Lost

No, that’s not the name of the next EverQuest game. ‘Lost’ is how many of us fans are feeling today.

Big heartfelt condolences go out to the many fine people at Daybreak (SOE) who were laid off. All of the layoffs suck, but to see Steve Danuser and Dave Georgeson and so many of the EQ dev and community teams let go truly pains me. EverQuest lost a huge part of its heart and soul today. You guys and gals did great work. Thank you for your contributions to my favorite franchise.

As a player and fan of these games, the hardest thing to think about in all of this is that anything is possible right now. EverQuest Next could be axed entirely in favor of redistributing all of the newly acquired company’s resources toward me-too games like H1Z1 or something else entirely more appealing to the newly appointed overlords.

Every industry and company has these kinds of days (my own company went through it last week), but I feel like the gaming industry is just so dang volatile lately. I’m starting to think I should stick to marketing outside of games and just be an outsider looking in and enjoying (or trying to) something fun to play.

In a world where success is being dictated by Twitch viewers and how many registered users a F2P game has, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters. Those of us willing should hold fast to our ideals. We know what matters most. We know what works. We know where the future will ultimately end up. How the industry gets there will be… well, on days like today it’ll suck. Maybe it will ultimately crash. Maybe it has to in order to recover and go back.

Again, best wishes to those affected. Please go somewhere and make great games. There are many of us just waiting to play.

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  • To lay off David Georgeson is just stupid if they intend on making Everquest Next. Which is why I doubt they will continue it or gut it. They will probably issuing sunset notices of games like EQ1 soon. I do not know what EQ2 player numbers are but, they may take that out. Then they can relaunch with another EQ game down the road.

    When they talk of multiplatform I find that to be code for phone and tablet games and lesser on console games and nothing for PC.

  • Also such swift firings makes me think they definitely have an intended goal with what they want to do with the newly acquired company. It will not be the goal that I and others want I am sure.

  • Keen do not get into the gaming industry I have met people who were formly a part of it and they had nothing but, aggravating memories of how they were treated. Only the people who want to stay in the business keep their mouths shut about their complaints.

  • I get to revisit my predictions. 😀 Lets see

    “Predictions time: Lets see where to start… EQ Next, scrapped or rushed to a early release missing more than half of the purposed features. (If it is release it will get a lot of praise on the aesthetic and environments mostly fan created.), Landmark, remains in current state with little to no more development with a big “release” to get more money.” – Looks like that is on track to happen.
    “Planetside 2, much of the same more in game micro-transactions with easier pay to win elements introduced. Development halts on all but micro-transaction items and results in a quickly petering out of interest. There will be a media blitz at some point to drum up interest in some DLC expansion and then it will die back again.” To early to tell “H1Z1 – already starting to lose a lot of interest in the twitch gamers they will ride their early access success for as long as it makes them money. There will be a “restructure” and a reevaluation of whats possible within their development cycle and they will slash a lot of the wishlist items they would like to put into the game. This will outrage the small remaining community who plays regularly and those who remember that they paid for a early access game but haven’t played it in forever. This negative press will lead into their “Release” which will have about half of the once initial development items with a promise to revisit them post launch. They will have some sales but the overall mood will be sour.” – H1Z1 has lost nearly all of its twitch followers.” H1Z1 remains popular simply because nothing else has come out. I don’t see it remaining popular as it is extremely boring to watch. “The investment group will then start selling off its IPs like EQ to third parties for development, this will generate a lot of buzz and result in a new early access game using outdated engines and start the cycle over again.” Someone commented they felt we’d see a F2P mobile game w/ EQ IP assets, which I also think is likely.

    Overall looks like we are on track.

  • Since we are checking predictions, I said Smed had 12.5 months. I didn’t see his name yet so he’s probably ok for 12 more months. I also said EQ next was already dead and this seems to confirm it. I mean all we ever got were landmark updates. And they added combat to landmark, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t the plan when they announced these two games.

    I guess the bright spot is maybe they will start over with EQN. Or sell it off. I was surprised by the ps2 firings though. I figured that would be the direction they would steer.

  • Internet has a tendancy to distort the message, but without knowing anyone in the industry, it is my only source of information. The video game industry looks to be a very toxic environment in general. It seems there’s a lot of ‘dream abuse’ going on. A lot of people seems to be paid less than what they should, treated like unimportant person, but still expected to give 110% percent all the time as they are living their dream. Kinda like all these minor leaguers in pro sports, poor conditions, but they keep going, chasing the dream.

    It might be even worse now that we are in some kinda of new cycle of ‘sausage production’ aka releasing a crap load of small games trying to squeeze the max dollar from the customers.

    Back to the main topic, it’s always sad when people lose their jobs. I was not interested in their product, the EQ franchise does nothing to me, but it didn’t prevent me of wishing them the best. It was expected though after the company was sold. Some people left on board might quit within the next year on their own as they are not able to fit in the company. Unfortunately, that’s part of all mergers and acquisitions.

  • Seems like the best hope for EQ and EQ2 is they can maintain enough users to justify a sale of those games to a third-party. Doubt the IP would be released totally, as the IP appears to be about the only thing of value left at that company.

    Anyone investing time and effort into H1Z1 should honestly reconsider it now. With so many choices out there why play a game that will likely never live up to any of its promises. I understand those committed to EQ and EQ2 playing, but after moves like this don’t be surprised if subs drop dramatically forcing the eventual sunsetting.

    We all saw this coming, but it still stings.

  • @Nuke: Let’ hope not. 🙁

    @Werit: Yeah, she was always a special part of SOE Live for me. She was often quiet and behind the scenes in terms of community but always came out with a great showing when it was needed. I always loved her website too back in the day.

    @Horrorshow: Yeah, laying off Dave was a big mistake. From what I could see he had so much passion and enthusiasm for EverQuest. The swift layoffs are indeed indicative of a plan, and I really feel this was in the works for some time. As for me and the gaming industry… we’ll see. I’m passionate about games and I’m passionate about marketing. I’ve always wanted to marry the two. Maybe some day I’ll join up with a studio who needs someone who understands what it means to build a community and the correct type of excitement for a game! I love the industry too much to shut the door on that.

    @Yotor: Yeah… Nostradamus over there.

    @baba black sheep: They won’t start over with EQ. If anything, I’m betting it takes on more of an action feel and becomes more ‘accessible’ to the masses and F2P-driven. It’ll lose the MMORPG feel, if it ever had any.

    @Maljjin: Very much expected. Sadly the industry does appear to be run by a few top dogs and the rest are just pieces on the board being moved to make the biggest plays regardless of the fate of those pieces.

    @SynCaine: I don’t think this is really the end of it. I think we’re right in the thick of it, or even dare I say the beginning of the end. This will crash. You and I both know it will. It’ll crash so hard that we probably go 3-5 years without a single MMO attempt. It’ll come back.

    @JJ Robinson: Stings bad, and we did see it coming. I would be truly shocked if they sold EQ. I think they’ll hang onto it and monetize it to death. They’ll make console and ios games. Heck, I would expect a match three and tower defense EQ game on the iPhone before they sell it off. Agreed on H1Z1 et al.

  • Yeah looking in might be better. While I agree with following your dream, you should look at it more from the perspective of things you like doing and not on the perspective of things that look cool. If you like marketing their are tons of fun things to market, they might not all be sexy but they might pay more and have a far more rewarding work environment. Games look sexy so a lot of people think its their dream, but in reality the day to day activities might be something they hate.

  • @Wufiavelli: Exactly. Right now I’m the Director of Marketing for a smallish to medium sized company. What we do is not sexy at all. In fact, it’s quite boring. It’s a heck of a lot more stable than anything I’ve seen in gaming, but likely nowhere near as fun.

  • Ok so here is my prediction. EQN is cancelled. All other games will go into maintenance, no new development. Just keep it going and collect subscription, cash shop money. With no development they can run with the bare minimum staff, hence the layoffs.

    Sell the EQ IP to the highest bidder for a huge profit. Shutdown all the other games. The EQ brand is definitely worth some $ to some other big gaming company.

  • I will say this much, as I’ve read from some other comments on various blogs, SOE definitely needed a shake up. Now whether that means long time devs needed to go, or just a whole strategy shift, let’s not sit here and joke that we liked what SOE was putting out. Their products had been bad for while, so this could just be the swan song for them.

    While it is sad to think EQN will never see reality, UO2 died and I moved on. We’ll find new games to enjoy and some dev team out there will recognize the opportunity created and fill the void.

  • The people they let go weren’t the people who took SOE in this direction, though. For example, Steve Danuser was the lore guy. He was creating the ‘living world’ who wanted the game to have a great story that captured the minds of those trying to live in Norrath. He wasn’t the guy pushing cash shops and cross-platform games, y’know?

  • Your place might even be funner if you work with good people. All that really changes is the niftiness factor of your product in the end.

  • One of my biggest concerns here is that EQN promised something that many other games don’t currently focus on, a sense of adventure. Their ideas (though ambitious) for the fluidity of the game world and NPC interaction really grabbed my attention, and I hope that to see these ideas carried out.

    Whether it’s Georgeson, the EQ Franchise, or the next big MMORPG, I’m ecstatic to experience a modern gaming experience that captures a sense of adventure and a true world within the game universe. I hope this happens sooner than later!