It seems my unease over EverQuest’s future may have been valid after all. Today it appears many (reports of 70-100) of Daybreak’s employees have lost their jobs due to “realigning our [Daybreak’s] workforce to better position our [Daybreak’s] company for the future.” From the looks of things on Twitter, it’s just about anyone who had a name and face. To be blunt, it may be only the skeleton crew of CSRs and people necessary to keep the games running who are left.
I’m hopeful that those impacted by the layoffs are able to find something even better that will propel their careers forward. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and listening to podcasts talking about disruption, and as someone going through a bit of that myself right now I believe there’s a positive side to all of these kinds of things.
As for Daybreak… yikes.
EverQuest will probably keep on trucking along as a little nostalgia-driving cash cow. It’ll get sold to someone eventually. I think of those games like The Realm, UO, and DAoC that change hands over the years. All of their times have long since passed.
I’ll put my money on Daybreak closing up shop entirely within a year; I consider selling off to someone else to be synonymous. Their current game portfolio simply isn’t performing. I don’t see a portfolio of resounding successes coming from Daybreak, merely a white-knuckled grasp on the successes (big and small) of their past. Supporting hundreds of employees in their state, quite frankly, had to have been delaying the inevitable.
My future in EverQuest now is probably joining Graev as we wait for EverQuest Online Adventures to get an emulator.
That escalated quickly…
I have no interest in who nominally (or actually) owns the company that operates any of the MMOs so long as whoever it is keeps the servers up and I can play my characters. Having been around through every stage, from Verant through SOE, via Ubisoft and very nearly PSS1 to DBG, my personal experience has generally been very good indeed. I have very rarely had any cause to contact Customer Service because most things work properly most of the time but when I have the service i’ve received has been exemplary.
Again, speaking purely from my personal experience (what else can one speak from, really?) I’ve found the period since SOE sold the business to…whoever bought it… with the flag on the masthead showing as DBG to be the best-managed and least problematic of the whole two decades. The servers stayed up, the updates and expansions arrived on time, there were far fewer ridiculous ventures into the wrong kind of fantasy and I was able to play with pleasure.
At this point my main hope is that whoever is in charge can simply keep the ship steady until the storm passes. If it ends up with the various IPs being sold on then so be it. Beter a new owner than the lights going out. If the worst happens and the whole thing goes dark then I’ll be spending a lot more time on the excellent Vanguard Emu and probably some time on P2002 (not 1999 – I have no desire to go back to the real dark age of EQ). Sadly, there is no working EQ2 emulator and as far as I know never has been. Maybe if there really was no EQ2 Live someone would be motivated to create one but I’m not counting on it.
Current rumors suggest there are already negotiations happening over the sale of the business, with Intrepid, the studio making Ashes of Creation, being mentioned. Half of Intrepid is ex-SOE so that wouldn’t be too surprising, although where a studio that hasn’t even got one live assett would get the funds to buy and run half a dozen existing MMOs beats me…
Also, it occurs to me, the studio/mmo that would gain the most from the demise of EQ would, ironically, be Brad McQuaid’s Pantheon. It would provide a very obvious spiritual home for all those many thousands of displaced EQ players. AoC would be the probable home for some EQ2 players, I guess, although the weird hybrid action controls are still problematic for old school MMO vets.
I don’t care who owns them either, as long as the ship continues smoothly.
My comfort in that being the case, after losing so many of the names and faces who have run this ship for up to a decade, is shaky at best.
I’ve heard the rumors too, and when the CEO of Intrepid says he doesn’t comment on rumors vs simply saying, “No, sorry…” it doesn’t really dispel them.
I’m also in agreement about Pantheon. I have my hopes for Pantheon, and this most certainly helps them.
[…] Keen & Graev – What happens now? […]
While a lot of the developers remained the same from SOE to DBG, the last few years have been my least favorite expansions in EQ2 by far. From killing alt play, entry to grouping be difficult, and they have zero idea how to speak with their customers. They have been blatantly dishonest and rude.
I really hope they sell the IP. I have been playing EQ since 2001 and EQ2 since it started and there is no way I am renewing if it is still DBG running the show. This whole “Columbus Nova never bought us” is really just par for the course for how they treat their paying customers and what they expect us to believe.