The Daily Grind: Are you concerned for Daybreak's other MMORPGs?

Last night's startling news that Daybreak plans to sunset Landmark abruptly in February (while forbidding player emulators) sent the MMORPG community into... I'll call it "resigned and weary outrage." At Massively OP, we just spent the last month reliving last year's EverQuest Next cancellation thanks to the fact that it "won" so many awards -- Biggest Disappointment and Biggest Story, the reader vote for Biggest Blunder -- and was our most-commented-on article of the year. Landmark's sunset is sadly just a capstone to a year already dominated by Daybreak's decisions.

(The bummer is Landmark also narrowly took our serious award for Best Crafting, which it probably deserved, but most MMO gamers will never get to try it to understand why.)

Our comments last night were filled with concern for Daybreak's remaining games. We counted around 14 games canceled, most of them in the last few years, with DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2, EverQuest, EverQuest II, and the two H1Z1 halves being the only games left under the DBG banner (plus the mystery game they've been hiring for -- and it's now publishing Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online but doesn't actually own or develop them, so they're probably safe). Do you think Landmark was the last remnant of a bad business decision finally getting cleaned up, or are you concerned for Daybreak's other MMORPGs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!
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131 comments
Dajhryne
Dajhryne

In the sense that I'm concerned about the overall genre, sure. My perception is that player expectations and desires are now meeting the economic reality of just how much it costs to create a top end title with no guarantee of even making your money back. Star Citizen when it launches, yeah, yeah, lets not go there, will be well over 100 million dollars condensed down to a few dvd's. It's staggering. Given the cost, uncertainties, player demands/expectations, which only go up as older games get stale, and the sheer amount of competition, much of which is in the form of free to play titles, I'm amazed anyone would make new mmos nowadays.

Perhaps in the end using the proceeds from EQ to constantly update/modernize and provide content for EQ instead of new game after new game after new game in search of the dollars from people attracted to the latest shiny would have been their best path forward. I'm reasonably sure I'd have happily paid to play it forever had they done so. Tempting to say this is what they did with WoW but WoW is an anomaly so trying to directly compare results from it to other mmos is probably pointless.

I know the argument is that making a new mmo is easier and cheaper than re-vamping an old one but, well, we see where they ended up.

Scarecrowe
Scarecrowe

Concerned? No, not really. They don't have anything I like in their stable. So it wouldn't really impact me at all. 

GeekySharp
GeekySharp

For me, kind of a mix of dread and hope too. Recently discovered DCUO and my god, from levels 1-30 it's the superhero mmo I've always wanted. Combat that was years ahead of its time (given its 2011 release date) and you patrol Gotham and Metropolis alongside DC's roster of heroes. Adding to this, as a PC player, this game is completely playable with a control pad - such a nice change from being hunched over a keyboard and mouse the whole time, allowing you to immerse yourself in the game even more.


Post-30 the game changes into something completely different. Alongside the usual dungeon grind (which isn't bad in moderation) you also have a skill point grind. For some bizarre reason, skill points are linked to the achievements log rather than normal gameplay. Open world gameplay all but dries up too.


This is where my hope comes in. If Daybreak were to sunset DCUO, perhaps WB Games could design a new DC Comics-based mmo that takes the best of DCUO while righting its wrongs too.

sray155
sray155

Excluding H1Z1: Just Survive or an unexpected downturn for one of their games, I wouldn't worry about Daybreak cancelling anything in the current lineup.

Honestly, I'd be more concerned about Microsoft though. It might be with "Windows 11" or "Windows 12", but in the next 5 or 6 years we'll probably see games like EQ1 and UO get killed by not being profitable enough to justify supporting them through yet another new operating system (I know UO isn't Daybreak, but I'm talking about the age of the game).

thickenergy
thickenergy

I really feel like this is an excellent summary of human endeavor in general, and game development in particular:


rottenrotny
rottenrotny

God, I hate Daybreak. I wish they'd just sell of their games to whoever and go away.

Ceder
Ceder

Its looking like this will be the last year for Daybreak at this rate.

McSleaz
McSleaz

They killed EQN, I have no fcks left to give about this sht company or the fate of their games that I once loved.

Estranged
Estranged

Nah.  Those games are fine overall.  All making money mostly.  Not sure on PS2.  How is it doing?

se7engames
se7engames

I'm calling it. Daybreak drops Landmark, and then absorbs LOTRO and DDO into their All Access Pass. That's a super win for everyone and I couldn't pass up a yearly sub to all access during their sale :)  So many good games to play all under one roof!

Hagg3r
Hagg3r

Not really, Landmark was a dead game and they are supporting Everquest and Everquest 2 with expansion content regularly. I am pretty sure they are still supporting PS2 as well as providing loads of content for DCUO. H1Z1 is also doing quite well as far as I can tell. I think they were trimming the fat honestly. 


To be totally blunt though; I don't care if any of those games get shut down short of Everquest 1 since that game had a pretty huge impact (for better or worse) impact on my life. 

Kaikuruo
Kaikuruo

Maybe they are just making room for LORTO and DDO. Maybe they have some ideas to turn those two around. Hopefully starting with a business model like EQ2 has. Get rid of those lame ass quest packs for starters.

Marelius
Marelius

Soon Daybreak will shut down after selling everything they can. Sad that it may end up hurting LOTRO! Oh well not much any of us can do. 

Midgetsnowman
Midgetsnowman

Of course I'm concerned. Daybreak may still technically be SoE, but the owners now are not sony, an entertaunment company, but Columbus Nova, a holding firm. and In my exoerience, this is how the lights slowly die at any company bought by a holding firm

Wandris
Wandris

I've  never believed SOE was bought up just to milk/liquidate their games to death. Although DGB has had a near impossible task of turning 6 doomed MMO's into something profitable with limited resources. A best case scenario would be their remaining games still around in 5-10 years, profitable, being actively developed and maybe an EQ3 at some point in between. I am not too concerned becasue I believe DBG has the right intentions and a strategy which may allow them to salvage the mess they bought from sony. Still might be impossible no matter what miracles DBG can pull off, as newer more modern MMO's continue to be released it will only become harder for the players to find time or money to spend on older games like EQ1/2, PS2 etc.

GerriHarii
GerriHarii

POS company.  They can't shutdown soon enough.  The Devs would be better off working anywhere else.

melbrankin
melbrankin

I'm concerned for all their games save DC and Zombie-Stuff(tm) because they have no loyalty to the history and playerbase they inherited from SoE - despite its issues SoE was one company that fought hard to keep games going down to the last effort to make them financial - DB seems happy to sunset anything below a threshold regardless of how it impacts their community or the goodwill of the mmo community as a whole. 


We could have said that SoE would never sunset EQ1 because it generates enough good will an costs little to run but DB, they just dont seem to care.


I play PS2 and the EQ set a bit and all seem to be struggling with player numbers so 2017 could be fairly horrible for the few of us still playing.

arktourosx
arktourosx

@melbrankin SOE was run by Sony who was willing to let SOE be a financial loss.  When it sold off SOE any company who bought it wasn't going to let it continue to run at a financial loss.  That's not how businesses work.  Heavy handed changes were required to get things back to being profitable, and while "zombie-stuff" may be unappealing (to myself included) it's likely a money maker for them which is more than other games can say.  Good will doesn't pay your staff.

melbrankin
melbrankin

@arktourosx @melbrankin Business works in a lot of ways - but one thing it requires is customers who are going to be advocating for it - thats why key engagement metrics are so focused on these days - it turns out if you have customers who love you, they spread the word and pull in others to use your services.


A game can be a loss leader if its generating good will and growing that engagement - a company can be impacted far greater in profits and customer perception if they erode trust and good will of their customers.


A great example of a company built on good will (imho) is grinding gear games  who make path of exile.


Good will in the end does pay your staff far better than losing all your customers though alienating them and closing down the games they wanted to play (especially as all access covers all their game so the zombie game can pay a little $ for others etc)



BryanCo
BryanCo

I don't currently play any Daybreak games, so personally I'm not worried.  But while I have no intention of playing it again, I think it whould be a dark day for the genre if Everquest were to go down.

DugFromTheEarth
DugFromTheEarth

I dont concern myself with games that arent good. So no.

arktourosx
arktourosx

Not particularly but I don't really care if any of them get shut down.  I played Planetside 2 a lot but when they bumbled the game and let it stagnate till it lost vast swathes of it's playerbase during it's "optimization" period it just never recovered to me.

Apollymi
Apollymi

Yes, I'm very concerned about the other games.  It seems to me that they (DB) are intent on closing down the MMOs they now own.   Not sure for what reason.  Thankfully, Project 1999 exists as a back up to them getting rid of EQ, which I think we're gonna see in the next year or so.

Greaterdivinity
Greaterdivinity

In the immediate future...not yet.

EQ1 is likely still doing well enough, and it should be viewed as untouchable in terms of a shutdown given the importance of the game to the company brand.

EQ2, I'm actually a bit worried about. Things continue to trend downwards from what I can tell, and it never had the strength that EQ1 did in terms of loyalty etc.

DCUO, nope, not a bit. It's really their only sustained, longer term success in the past decade.

Planetside 2, not too much, at least on PC. But I fear the Xbox One port is never going to be mentioned again and I'm genuinely concerned about the PS4 version.

H1Z1 will continue along, likely with Just Survive continuing to be abandoned while they dump more money into marketing King of the Kill without really bothering to finish the game.

And...I think that's it? I'm not going to count LOTRO/DDO yet, but I'm still concerned about those two. All I know is that with this latest news, it's even harder than usual to continue justifying my annual subscription -_-

A Dad Supreme
A Dad Supreme

My lifetime subscription to DCUO is worried.

But I guess even if they got rid of it somehow, I still got more than my money's worth since Day 1 launch.

The encouraging thing is that it's a major well-known IP outside of the gaming world so I doubt they really want to give that revenue up.

Kanbe
Kanbe

I don't, and won't, play a Daybreak MMO. With that said I am still concerned for what they have left. I'll be surprised if their game list is still that "big" in 6 months.

Ordegar
Ordegar

I think they're doing right to put an end to unprofitable games and focus on what's making them money.  Better that than have them close up shop altogether I suppose.

Oleg Chebeneev
Oleg Chebeneev

I dont play those games but I'll be sad if something happens to EQ1 and EQ2

Dreema
Dreema

Daybreak are forbidding player emulators? Like that's actually going to stop anyone launching them.

MesaSage
MesaSage

@melissaheather @Dreema All an emulator needs to know is what the client is asking for from the server - mostly database stuff with communications protocols thrown in to make it more fun and challenging.

zoward
zoward

@melissaheather @Dreema  Very few emulators have access to the actual server source - most are reverse engineered by snooping on internet traffic between the client and server. 

Anatidae
Anatidae

@Dreema There is very little need for a simulator. If a developer skilled enough to stand up a server wants to - you can get the VoxelFarm engine - and a more updated version of it - plus Unity or Unreal engine and replicate what Landmark did in not that much time. 


I'm not saying what Daybreak made was trivial. Not at all. However, it was also NOT expansive compared to what you can get through available tools, platform and bootstrap pieces.


Seriously, VoxelFarm + Unity + Unity Store will net you enough assets and a head start to create your own Voxel land masses. 

NobleNerd
NobleNerd

To be concerned I would have to know about, play and have a connection to the titles. Besides EQ what else really means much? So, for me I am not concerned for Daybreak. I would hope when the company is dissolved that the EQ franchise will be picked up by another.  

Ordegar
Ordegar

@NobleNerd I thought of that too, but there isn't another company that I can think of that would do any better.

HumanoidTyphoon
HumanoidTyphoon

Thing is, this is not really startling news. Landmark was doomed the day Next was cancelled. So, I don't think there should be any concern right now...maybe for Just Survive to focus on Kotk, but Landmark's cancellation was not a matter of "if" it was always the matter of "when". They just kept the game up to calm the enraged fans that bought those $100 packs.

deekay_zero
deekay_zero

@HumanoidTyphoon those of us who bought $100 founders packs did get burned pretty badly. part of the deal was getting 4 game access codes to give to friends. and they removed access for those code users at "launch". i do believe there was some qq about that. alot of us who bought founders packs from SOE directly also weren't able to find a download button for the game at launch. idk if they ever fixed that but at that point cba to try again.


they were also deleting threads and banning customers from tehir forums for asking questions about the state and future of the game, even while bot porn spam was left up. and also blocking people on twitter who asked them questions about it there. not even talking angry tweets, just simple reasonable qustions like "hey what's going on with landmark? is it still being worked on?"

zoward
zoward

@deekay_zero @HumanoidTyphoon  According to Steam, I put 211 hours into Landmark, and I got my Trailblazer's pack from Steam for ~$30.  That's an awful lot of entertainment for $30.  It's hard to be disappointed I didn't get my money's worth.  So instead I'll be disappointed I can't return to Landmark or play Everquest Next.

deekay_zero
deekay_zero

@zoward @deekay_zero @HumanoidTyphoon eh i might not disagree if we got even a quarter of what the game was advertised as being or parts of the package removed after the fact when they changed from f2p for cash grabby $10 b2p thing.


the sold us one thing. we got something entirely different. that's not something to be defended.

Nordavind
Nordavind

I don't touch Daybreak stuff at all, so no.

thatchefdude
thatchefdude

I don't mean to gloat here, but I'm so thankful for a game like FFXIV where it's just an old fashioned, well-made game with a good strong stream of content, a well thought-out and developed world lore, and a lot of non-combat options for fun, without the usual MMO devilry (lockboxes, cash shop crazy levels of stuff, developer nightmares, funding issues)....


Every time I see another MMO hit hard times, it just shines a little more light on Square Enix and FFXIV in my eyes...

thatchefdude
thatchefdude

@Ordegar @thatchefdude I played EQ2 for a while, I liked it a lot, but coming from EQ1 back in 2000-2002 era, it was a bit of a letdown for me compared one of my first MMOs.

Ordegar
Ordegar

@thatchefdude Interesting because I personally think EQ2 is a much better game by far than FFXIV will ever be.

Chernobyl
Chernobyl

@Ordegar @thatchefdude This is a first for me, I've literally never seen anyone claim that EQ2 is a better game than FFXIV. What a strange and curious opinion!

Hravik
Hravik

I keep seeing a lot of calls for them to sell the EQ IP, which I'm all for.  But the problem for me is, who do you sell it to?


Turbine is gone, Carbine can barely keep Wildstar afloat, Blizzard games tend to be a complete style clash to EQ, Trion...no...just...no.


Who out there could or would make a worthy EQ successor that doesn't just ride on the coattails of the IP, or make it into a crappy cashgrab mobile game? 

deekay_zero
deekay_zero

@Hravik ncsoft and blizzard/acti don't really publish third party IPs. you'd be looking more at companies like en masse, nexon, gameforge gpotato etc.

breetoplay
breetoplay moderator

@deekay_zero @Hravik Was thinking more like Trion (lot of ex-SOE people there) and PWE would be more likely. NCsoft might pick up a full studio, but not like one Daybreak.

deekay_zero
deekay_zero

@breetoplay @deekay_zero @Hravik that's a good point - ncsoft will buy IPs/games studios and even make new studios for the game they buy if they don't buy the studio too. i was thinking more in terms of publishing alone i guess :P


and PWE would definitely be a contender for buying up stuff, as they've done a fair bit of that lately.



other possibilities are the9 (thank you firefall article) and tencent.

deekay_zero
deekay_zero

@breetoplay @deekay_zero @Hravik sorry :P


tbh tencent seems to treat riot really well. then again riot is printing money like mad.


the9 tho, afaik blizz always had issues with them as their partner in china so...

melissaheather
melissaheather

@Hravik Any company reading game forums and sites should know that a hotly anticipated title and established IP failed to deliver and everyone was mighty disappointed.   Henry Ford and Thomas Edison would be all over a situation like that and grab the opportunity by the jubblies.

So I'm hoping an Amazon, Facebook, EA, big player will realize how much money is left on the table.  I would have gladly paid a subscrip, or lifetime, or whatever, to be in the New Norrath.

But will it happen?  Nah. Prolly not.  We're dreamers.