EverQuesting: Is EverQuest II in a downward spiral?

Are we witnessing the death throes of EverQuest II? Of the whole EverQuest franchise? These questions have been at the forefront of my mind lately. Today’s EverQuesting started as a guide to EQII’s expansion prelude event, but I kept coming back to these questions. (The guide will come next week!)

Yes, I know that there are folks who have cried that EQ and EQII have been dying or all-but dead for years — and Next and Online Adventures are already deceased and buried. Yet during those years we’ve still seen some life in the first two games. They have persevered!

But now, I feel like I am witnessing the franchise’s final breaths. Me, the eternal optimist; me, who subsists on hope. And I started losing that hope because Daybreak’s actions lately appear to indicate that there’s no love left for one of my all-time favorite games, EQII. Between less dev interaction, less content, less communication, and just less enthusiasm for these two titles — yet a preponderance of attention on others — it’s hard to hold onto hope. At no other time has it felt as if Daybreak was turning its back on and all but abandoning the IP that gave it life more than it does right now. The IP that still has many fervent fans. My final two straws? The lack of any exposure at PAX West and the lack of enthusiasm for this year’s expansions.

Do the devs care?

This question may obvious to some and unfair to others. For a long while I could say I was in that first camp: It was obvious that they did! While you couldn’t just know what was in the minds of others, the devs shared with us so we could have an idea. I knew they cared because I could experience it in person at SOE Live, hear it in their voices during interviews, and see it in their interaction with community. Sadly, it’s been a long time since we’ve had any of these demonstrations. Is the question unfair now? Is it obvious? Some could say they obviously don’t care, while others could say it’s unfair to ask because we can’t know. But we could know better if there were still lines of communication.

Could the devs have had that passion for the franchise slowly sucked out of them? They could have. I wouldn’t know. My concern is that there’s nothing indicating otherwise; there’s such a lack of interaction with the fans now that there is no counter to that argument. I worried about this exact thing when Emily “Domino” Taylor left Daybreak to move back to her home country, Canada. She was the last public face of the EverQuests (Brasse, head of public relations, already departed after Daybreak’s initial layoffs), one whose enthusiasm for the game was apparent and infectious. When she left, I was concerned that there would no longer be someone to interact as she did. And I was right.

Taylor was also completely right when she told me in an interview that devs’ needn’t be that prevalent on social media, that it was the community team’s job, but I think the studio made a huge mistake not keeping someone front and center, interacting with the community. We lost the human element that we’d had for years previously. We lost a very visible reminder that the devs themselves did still care. Seeing that enthusiasm for the game went a long way to helping us remain enthused and hopeful.

When I say communication has waned, I am not just talking on a macro community level – I mean on a personal level too too. I used to personally have conversations with many devs. I could easily attest to their passion and drive for the game because I was experiencing it first hand. I shared this with everyone to help assuage fears to the contrary. But then a thing happened — we reported something true, a direct quote Daybreak didn’t like that sent the community into uproar — and my communication lines for EQ and EQII were effectively cut. I admit to a some frustration and a lot of sadness at this. The Daybreak folks were people I cared about, personally and professionally, working on a game I also cared about. And I wasn’t the only one to experience this, as the creator of EQ2Wire expressed similar sentiments when announcing the closing of his long-running EQII news and information site just last week.

Maybe the devs are still as passionate as ever. In all fairness, they really could be! But when no one can see that, it’s harder to envision. When there is less and less communication with press and playerbase, less and less meaningful content, and less and less acknowledgement of the games from the studio, it’s much more likely to feel that the loving feeling is gone, gone, gone. We can more easily succumb to believing that all the stresses of the Columbus Nova takeover, the layoffs, and the various shutdowns (and possible looming threat of the closing of the franchise) have taken a toll on enthusiasm in the workplace. With nothing to indicate otherwise, this is what we are left to believe.

Does Daybreak care?

Separate from wondering if individual devs care about the continued existence of EQ and EQII, (I’m much more inclined to believe they do as individuals), we wonder if the studio cares any about the franchise — or if Columbus Nova ever did. After the last few months, I don’t feel like it does. I’ve already been saddened by the lack of attention that the franchise gets. It feels like it has minimal resources at its disposal, a conclusion I come to by looking at the lack of content and lack of communication. Even though they’ve been neat, I can’t argue against the fact that the most recent expansions have had less meat to them, and there are fewer big patches throughout the year with substance. And we aren’t hearing much about them when there are.

The big “Daybreak doesn’t care” slap in the face for me was at PAX West. Here was a huge layout for H1Z1, and not a peep was present for EverQuest or EverQuest II. Not. A. Peep. I was honestly surprised (yeah, I probably shouldn’t have been) and very disheartened because I thought this would have been a great opportunity to drum up/share excitement about the upcoming Norrath expansions. Even if it was a little side booth in the corner of their piece of the show floor. I mean, it is well-knownn that EQ and EQII get their expansions in November, so how in Hades was there no information on these by Labor Day? This really felt like the studio was yelling loud and clear that its attention was for one offspring, and one offspring only. And it wasn’t for my beloved EQII or its older sibling.

And that brings me to the second slap of realization that’s driving my hope out of me: lack of expansion enthusiasm. Yes, we finally got announcements about the expansions this week, but those were really sparse, wedged into low-key producer letters. And there was a distinct lack of excitement about them. I get that there is no Daybreak Live to share the announcements in grandiose fashion (maybe there darn well should be), but waiting so long to put out info — and then having so little info to boot — makes the whole expansion feel like an afterthought. Like, “Oh yeah, we gotta do this thing, yada yada.” We don’t even see press releases anymore regarding Norrath, and we haven’t for a long, long time. It breaks my heart.

Even other announcements about recent content have been so lacking in information. Look at the summer reward event, a multi-week special event that had the barest of announcements; the most information for this came from community. Or what about the EQII expansion prelude event? It just started with so little notification and fanfare. And there is information within that announcement that looks like it is not quite right or misleading (we’ll be covering that in next week’s guide!).

Can things turn around?

I’d love to be totally wrong about all of this. I’d love to see a major resurgence of attention and love showered on EQ and EQII. I’d welcome a chance to talk with any devs who want to express how much passion they still have for Norrath. While we see official announcements on Twitter and Facebook, we don’t see much personal interaction, much love for the games. The EverQuest fanbase misses that. The current silence is deafening; after a company had spent so much of its lifespan (talking the SOE years here) being open and communicative with fans, silence only comes across as bad news. It’s like the silence of a funeral.

I want these worlds to persist because they are special. I do not think there is anything that can take their place. If I lost EQII, I’d feel a pretty big Norrath-shaped hole in my heart and I would mourn. And sadly that feels so much more imminent now. I want so much to be wrong. But my hope has waned. And I know many others have already lost theirs. This feels like the end of an era. I hear the clock ticking ever so loudly now.

Make it not so.

The EverQuest franchise is a vast realm, and sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores all the nooks and crannies from Antonica to Zek. Running biweekly on Thursdays, EverQuesting is your resource for all things EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Daybreak. And keep an eye out for MJ’s OPTV adventures!

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

118 Comments on "EverQuesting: Is EverQuest II in a downward spiral?"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Bossrprouse

This is one of the saddest stories I’ve seen, not because of the content, but who wrote it. I feel your pain, MJ. :'(

Landmark was suppose to be my new home, then Next. Now neither and my previous homes may become digital parking lots instead of important historical visits of a franchise that help build a game genre.

MJ, thank you for keeping your enthusiasm as long as you did, especially when I long lost mine.

Reader
Ben Stone

The game needs a complete overhaul at this point. They have just tacked system onto system onto system and it is just a mess. I mean, since you now basically get all of them, why is AA even a thing? Not to mention the new monstrosity of progression that they introduced this expansion… why?

Sad thing is I don’t think they have the resources to do what they would need to do to save the game from itself, so they will continue the way they always have.

Maybe one day someone will do something great with the Everquest IP again. Such a waste.

Reader
Aggrax

Honestly, it feels like both the developers and the current player base don’t care about the current state of EQ or EQ2. This is one of the few places where I see much of any discussion about the current state of the game. Everywhere else, all the talk is about the Time Locked Servers. It seems like all the excitement for the game is for being able to experience something from 10+ years ago. The Free-to-Play aspects of the game don’t really do much, since F2P players are so far behind the actual game and the subscribers are more interested in playing old content. In other MMOs, when an expansion is announced the community usually spends the first few weeks discussing it. This EQ/EQ2, no one seems to really care all that much.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

“Where have you gone, Dave Georgeson?
The Frogloks turn their lonely eyes to you.
Woo Woo Woo.”

Reader
Ben Stone

He was the beginning of the end for EQ2. His influence on the game was terrible (the initial F2P model, Sentinels Fate expansion and the itemisation nerfs). At least he left us with this gem.

ku-xlarge.jpg
Reader
Hravik

I kind of feel like EQ1 and 2 will live on for awhile. It can’t cost that much to keep the servers on. Now it may not be long until maintenance mode happens, but I think there may be enough hangers on to keep the lights on for awhile.

Now as far as the IP ever having a chance to see a resurgence, I think that hope died with EQN. The only chance of that ever happening is if someone else bought out the IP, and we all better hope it isn’t Perfect World or someone like them. I’d rather see EQ go with at least a little dignity left.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

I’d point out another issue. putitng out a meh press release for your new expansion the same week as a major release like path of fire is like screaming into a void.

Reader
Timber Toes

Gninja if you’re reading this please go join the Ashes of Creation team! Jump overboard before this ship pulls you under.

Reader
Nick

If Gninja joins that deceptively PvP heavy game it will only seal the deal I will never play ashes of creation. Oh you didn’t do the fight EXACTLY correct 6 minutes in? Instant wipe. Super duper fun.

Reader
Ben Stone

That was EQ2 raiding long before Gninja took over, he was just continuing the expected trend really.

Steely Bob
Reader
Steely Bob

Yup, hoping Daybreak breaks as soon as possible so this IP can be sold to someone who will actually put together the next EQ – ideally someone who won’t decide to focus the new game on a whole raft of stuff no old school EQer cares about, eg voxel systems, relying on player made content, fantasy survival, etc.

I mean no harm to those still stuck at Daybreak, I just want this “company” to stop name-camping/-parking this IP. If they can sell it and still stay afloat, then fine, but I doubt that will happen.

I agree Pantheon is the likely successor but I think it’s going to be much too hard to retain interest in EQ2 players, it’s going to be way too hard core for them (and even us older EQers who no longer can spend 24/7 on a game for weeks/months at a time).

I’d like to see an MMO that can focus on not only making really compelling grouping that isn’t DPS meter based and uses a much more evolved core system (ie more than just the holy trinity), and a system that can make it easy and attractive for people to hook up with friends and strangers alike in an efficient manner that lasts somewhere around 30-60 mins a go, or a couple hours at the raid level – but that obviously doesn’t devolve into the shit show that WoW dungeons do.

Piss or get off the pot DB.

oldandgrumpy
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

Hard to say @MJ_Guthrie.

On the one hand: they are still working on expansions for the game since becoming DB. They are hiring including for EQ2 and EQ2 seems to actually have a producer currently. They do communicate a little but there channels are fragment and the message is confusing. Discord has not been a resounding success with some of the player base.

On the other hand:
The new owners are moving the game further down the FTP path and adding Pay to Win elements (raids/raiders and ascensions abilities/spells as one example).

Hours played seems to have become a key measure and with the Kunark Ascending (KA) expansion the design of the game has increased the level of grind required for advancement of your character especially if you are a min/maxer.

Quality/reliability of the game (code) has noticeable decreased with the new features that have been added and with old features that have been changed.

What I am sure of is that EQ2 will never again be like it was on release day in 2004

Personally I no longer play the game as KA exhausted me and I don’t like double dipping when I am a subscriber. Prior to leaving, my guild which was already in decline took a further hit to membership over KA. I have no idea if numbers have recovered and I have no interest in logging on to see.

Reader
Dread Quixadhal

For me, EQ2 fell ill with a severe flu in 2006, after the archetype/class/sub-class system went away, and the combat changes had turned the game from almost required grouping to soloable outside of dungeons.

Shortly thereafter, the illness worsened into pneumonia as they crafting system was nerfed to do away with subcombines. This resulted in crafting ALSO becoming a solo affair, since you no longer needed to work with others to produce higher end items.

The pneumonia got complicated with renal failure after the next crafting overhaul, which removed the quality tiers as well, and nerfed dungeons even further. At this point, you could no longer fail at crafting, it was just a question of you getting back materials, or not. No more death by forge either.

So, I would assume we’re now in the final death throes, with multiple organ failure and convulsions. The last ditch expansion effort is like putting the patient on a morphine drip. You know it won’t save them, but it will ease the pain a little as they drift off…

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

That original crafting system is the best, still not bested by any other mmo to date. Between cross tradeskill subcombines, variety in quality level of goods and subcombines, rares that were actually a bit rare, a bunch of gear being BiS except for a few rare top raid drops.. All these things made crafting an actual valid profession on par with adventuring, the community binding because you had to trade and talk, and that special breed of players who love tradeskilling were welcomed and integrated by game mechanics.. Major design mistake to destroy that.

What else changed with combat I can’t put my finger on, but back around launch when I played I found combat to be fun, but with 2 brief returns to the progressions servers I simply got bored with combat.

Reader
Ben Stone

Vanguard crafting managed to beat it, but alas another dead game.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

I wonder how many staff members from the first several years of EQ’s life even still work on the game. I’d be willing to gamble a great number of those people have moved on, to other games, other companies, maybe even other careers altogether. So you’ve got new team members coming in onto this massive ginormous hella huge monster of a game that was (and probably still is) likely written in ancient non-efficient code, having to learn it all from the ground up. I bet this hurts the company more than anything.

EQ needs to be reborn, sort of like how FFXIV 2.0 was. Redo the game with modern graphics and UI, but keep the base game – the design and structure of the zones, the quests and NPCs, the classes and races, the lore. Start with classic EQ, and just work on and release the expansions in chronological order again. Probably going to need a massive overhaul to combat, maybe try to find a compromise between modern MMOs and old school slow paced.

I think most of us EQers are secretly (or openly) awaiting Pantheon because that sounds the most like what I’ve described (EQ reborn). The only two spiritual successors of EQ (EQ2 and Vanguard) were for the most part failures. I don’t think anyone believes that EQ will ever be remade, and I run into more and more people who’ve been playing EQ since 1999 who have become fed up with the company and people running it. It’s gotten pretty bad, the way the players feel about the game and company these days. So most of us are just eagerly waiting for Pantheon while also weary we’ll get burned again like Vanguard (I don’t think we will though).

But truth be told, can we really ever recapture the magic and adventure that the original Everquest provided? Probably not. It’s sad to see what’s happening to UO and EQ, and even FFXI. I wish the devs hadn’t given up on these games. But all things die eventually, I suppose.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I don’t see how you can call EQ2 a failure.

Reader
jay

I used to love eq2, but after the first 2-3 years i became more and more apparent that they were just doing the bare minimum to keep the game relevant. Things just got worse and worse when I would wonder through qeynos and not see another single soul. I would spend hours looking for groups for content, only to be told to just get a merc and do it by myself.

It was at that point that I realized that the game I had loved on release, that focused on group play & socialization had morphed into a quazi single player game. I then moved on to other pastures, but I will always remember the first year of EQ1 fondly.

Reader
Wanda Clamshuckr

It’s like the silence of a funeral

Appropriate, in a sad way, but true nonetheless.

They are going through the motions by tossing some content to appeal to the last loyal few members that are sticking it out until sunset. Interspersed in there, they launch a nostalgia server which makes people all whimsical and happy for a couple of weeks. And..that’s it.

Hey, I loved and played EQ2 to death. Well over a decade. But, the proverbial writing has been on that wall for quite some time. After the..incident..of transition, it simply wasn’t the same, and it’s not going to magically get any better.

If you enjoy EQ or EQ2, I’d say keep doing that until you can’t any longer. If you wanted to check it out, do: it is a fully fleshed out world with ridiculous amounts of content, great class systems, and robust crafting. It even has raiding if that’s your thing.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

What we need, simply put, is a New Norrath. A New EverQuest game. A new reason to care. To be excited again.

Does Daybreak even realize they have one of the hottest IPs in online gaming? Are they looking for a buyer?

I think this is one franchise that would thrive if a Chris Roberts-type character took it to the players and said, “if you help us fund it, we will build it.”

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

MJ, I think you’re spot on. Sad, but true.

Reader
Bryan Turner

It’s a shame to see this happen to a Pillar of the MMO genre, hopefully if they get sold off they get bought up by Amazon and put Smed back in charge (hell even with their faults Perfect World constantly updates some of their titles like NW and STO although there’s a possibility PWI could put EQ/EQ2 on maintenance mode like Champions).

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

As much as I like Smed…he doesn’t have any business running a studio given what he did to SOE over the years. His leadership drove that studio into the position it ended up being in, with massive operating losses and ever-changing strategies/directions that seemed more focused on whatever whim took him on a given day than on any coherent strategy.

I like the guy and his passion is plain as day, but he’s kinda a big reason why SOE ended up getting sold off to begin with. I’d love to see him come back, but in a role where he was not involved in any overall leadership position.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Js.

He’s not just “kinda a big reason” – he’s the only reason what has happened to SOE (and to its graveyard of the games) during its final years. And yes, he’s absolutely not fit to be in any kind of position other than perhaps being a simple PR speaker for the company.
Hopefully Amazon will also realize this fact before it will be too late for one of their new gaming studios…

Reader
aleccia_rosewater

Daybreak is going to go bankrupt by the end of the year. I simply have not seen a company as badly mismanaged as this one. It is slightly tragic that they have to take one of the last oldschool-style MMOs with. Unfortunately this is what happens when a company is this badly mismanaged; whatever product they were offering is completely destroyed instead of handed over to someone else

Reader
Victor Morales

1 million plus players on DCuO makes sure they stay afloat. you have no clue what your talking about. With that being said I hate THEYBREAK and I hope WB games doesn’t renew the IP for DCuO.

shibby523
Reader
shibby523

I don’t think they are in danger of going bankrupt, it more likely the fault of Columbus Nova, the investment company that bought SOE. All they care about is getting more money out of Daybreak than actually putting money into it. They care less about making the games, they just want the money. Most likely EQII makes a bit of extra cash, enough to not shut it down. They don’t want to put money into it as they probably don’t see it as getting them a good return.

Reader
Shiro Madoushi

You should let me introduce you to Trion Worlds sometime.

Reader
Timber Toes

If I was rich I would buy the EverQuest franchise. I’d put together 200 devs and make the largest MMO ever created. I would use UE4 and photorealistic graphics. I would launch with 10000+ quests and 100 combat levels (65 soft cap). I would build an instanced housing area (open zone with just grass) and let players build their own houses, farms and horse training infrastructure. I would allow players to have massive fields of crops, alchemy ingredients and livestock on their farming plantations. I would launch with 30+ raids, both instanced and contested.

I most certainly would launch with both PVE and PVP servers (consensual PvP). I’d reproduce Overwatch but with an EQ spin on it. It would allow PVE players to participate regardless of server. I would entice them to participate with unique PVE gear and/or currency.

I’d build a massive trading, faction and market system that draws from EQ, WoW and Black Desert.

I’d also build in AFK gameplay mechanics like Black Desert did. This would offer players an alternative to cheating with third party software and help populate the world (so it doesn’t feel dead).

I would create the most thorough guild system ever seen in an MMO. It would ncorporate unique recruitment tools that included an optional service with guild website creation – with built in game specific widgets (Wix), parsing software and a Teamspeak subscription (bundle package). I would create a census website just like EQ2wire that’s included.

$20 a month + cash shop with no pay 2 win junk.

Thumbs up if you agree.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

You’d go bust. Not only would the game cost more than even your resources could manage, but 99% of your market either wouldn’t be prepared to pay $20 a month period, or else wouldn’t expect to pay that much and be cursed with a cash shop.

I’d settle for DBG confirming that the reason they were rowing back on EQ and EQ2 was because their resources were being channeled into the development of EQ3, a proper state-of-the-art PC-based successor to EQ and EQ2 without all the voxel nonsense but literally updating the existing EQ franchise titles with ESO-style graphics. That would suit me just fine, at least it would until they pissed all over the EU playerbase for the third time!

Reader
Sally Bowls

Citizen Kane:
I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.

One of my favorite quotes in cinema and argument for having some money.

You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.

Reader
Duane Does not check email

If I was rich I would put in money too. I don’t play the game but something as rich as this game’s legacy deserves better.

Reader
Jeff

Daybreak is owned by some very cut throat venture capitalist, Daybreak hasn’t magically dumped Billions of dollars at their doorsteps like Blizzard did for it’s investors, so they are shutting it down, they will pimp out the EQ IP if anyone wants to give them money for it.

I look for DCUO to get shut down first only because I heard Jack Emmert is sending his CV to anyone with a email address and a industry connection, then Planteside 2 then the EQ twins.

look for the entire portfolio to be shuttered by 2020, if not sooner

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Outside of H1Z1, DCUO is likely their safest title. It avoided almost all of the layoffs (I think they lost a single person, while every other team lost many member) and has kept up a pretty decent amount of live support, even if it’s a quiet title.

That, plus contractual obligations. Not sure when their license for the IP ends, and wouldn’t be surprised if it was extended.

Reader
Timber Toes

. cant delete

Reader
Sally Bowls

Yes, I know that there are folks who have cried that EQ and EQII have been dying or all-but dead for years

FFS, is anyone still trying to claim we were not correct???????????? (Not literally dead, EQ1-2 may be around for many years, and even have some/a dev for years.) My analysis was that if SOE were still valuable, then it would have been sold to a gaming company. (Go read the commenter on the StoryBricks article.) What would I have done if I could have bought all of the non-H1Z1 assets for $1? Lay off people and keep cutting expenses faster than the revenue declines – profitably provide hospice care to the end-of-life of some wonderful games. What has DBG done? the same.

The disappointment in DBG not growing EQx is not on DBG; it’s on people with unrealistic assumptions & expectations. (Ofc, the ham-fisted PR debacles are all on DBG.) My analogy is some other captain(s) ran the ship into the iceberg, promoted non-sailor DBG to captain and now the mob is blaming the new captain for the inevitable, subsequent drownings.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
camelotcrusade

As a survivor of a team that got downsized and restructured — but who still has his passion for his work — I’d like to add that communication is difficult when you have more apologies than progress to report.

I don’t know how relatable my situation is to theirs, but I’ll mention it in case there are parallels. For months after our downsizing I could either work or communicate but not both. When I spent time communicating about the state of things it invariably spawned hours of meetings as unresolved problems piled up and people wanted answers. But the answer was the same whether I met with them or not: the business has decided to support a fraction of what it did before… so no, it’s not going to be fixed or solved. None of that made me — or them — happy.

Naturally, the ones who could and should have delivered that message were also gone–so it was a stressful vacuum. It wasn’t my job to explain why this not-okay stuff was now okay, but I was in the middle of it and attached by association… a windshield on the highway of cost savings, I guess. So I did conscientious outreach for a while but looking back it didn’t really help much. People were mad and wanted solutions, not excuses, apologies, or even co-misery. To get solutions, I had to stop putting out fires and go grind out some work. So what worked better was radio silence until I had enough progress to re-engage. Then I had those communication meetings again and this time we could focus on where we were going.

Anyway I bring all this up because maybe the Devs are in a similar spot. They don’t have someone who will manage the communicating for them, and they don’t have bandwidth (emotional or otherwise) to placate the howling masses–especially if they know they can’t spend time on the issues they raise anyway.

ETA: If this is at all their situation, then yes, EQ2 is swirling around the drain. The good people left will do good, but without another shift in resources they can’t do enough.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Well said.
Any communication employee is one less dev.

And in general, but absolutely definitely for gamers, I question whether communicating is always a good thing. If DBG had clearly and accurately communicated “We have a small team with limited resources that can accomplish less than it used to. And over time it will be shrinking” I think the drama would have been far worse than the silence.

IMO, people’s real wish is not the stated one – that DBG should have communicated more skillfully; fundamentally, we wish they had better news to communicate.

Reader
Sally Bowls

My most immediate reaction was on the side that thinks “Do the devs care?” was unfair. Very unfair. When Bree laid off those employees a year before the end of the Site That Was, did she care? Of course, she did! The reason why this site does not have twice as many writers and quadruple the articles is not that anyone – shareholders, management, or proletariat – doesn’t care. It’s about expenses and revenue dictating resources available to a for-profit company.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Except that the layoffs weren’t pointed to as an example of DBG “not caring” >.>

Reader
Sally Bowls

I was just saying that when Bree deliberately and consciously reduced the capacity of her AOL division, it was not because of a lack of caring on her part, for the business or the people. It was financial. I.e. in tough times with fewer resources, something has to give. Something giving is not always proof that the caring has died.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Eh, they gave me one afternoon to cut our operating budget literally in half after we’d pulled in record numbers for the network. If I’d had more time and knowledge, I would have laid off no one and changed rates and schedules. If I’d had more stones and forewarning that they were just squeezing us for one more year, I would have told them to fuck off, taken the entire staff, and rolled Massively OP right then. But no, it wasn’t about a lack of caring on my part.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Look at it this way: you went on to found a media empire that outlasted AOL!

Small companies are hard. And whether you look at small companies, online media or kickstarted media, you and yours have done well and good.

TY

Reader
inire

The current direct way to talk to the developers of Everquest 2 is to use Discord.

Here are a few choice screenshots from chat with the Everquest 2 developers on that channel; obviously a negative slant on the whole thing, totally taken out of context, without permissions from anyone, taken with a grain of salt, your experience may vary, void where prohibited, see store for details, batteries not included.

Caith1.png
Caith2.png
Kander1.png
Kander2.png
Kander3.png
Kander4.png
oldandgrumpy
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

And if you get in a disagreement with them on discord the ban hammer comes out.

Reader
Viktor Budusov

because they don’t want waste time on pointless arguments? They are right

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Kander’s a bit of an asshat isn’t he. :/

Reader
Denice J. Cook

I detect more sarcasm, as in the Kander: Yes, we all bailed comment. I picture someone asking if any devs were left on Discord or left working on EQ2, and that being the answer (clearly Kander is there as he’s responding, not to mention that the post was made at 7:30pm, so he’s certainly devoted.)

Of course, we aren’t given any context whatsoever for any of these conversations, which makes the whole thing look like more of a setup to make Daybreak look bad if anything.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

Yeah but here’s the thing, Daybreak doesn’t need any setups to make themselves bad. They’ve apparently embraced that crown and wear it proudly if you ask me. Which really makes me sigh sadly. :/

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I still don’t get why everyone is using discord, especially for official developer communications. It seems like such a terrible way to handle interactions -_-

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

As an alternative to /petition it works well. Also as community binder instead of global chat. For announcements of course its bad.

Reader
Sally Bowls

I so agree. But it is quite common. What I regret most is the stream-of-consciousness, lost-forever knowledge vs me being able to google up info from blogs and reddit years later.

Reader
Bryan Gregory

Discord has a chat search function. It’s basically a real time forum with voice chat. Why use outdated tech instead?

Reader
Sally Bowls

A chat search function where I can find info from one year ago? two? six? Trying to join lotro or STO or GW2 now and a lot of the maps, strats and info are from the past.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

The lack of threading is the problem. Ironically, I hate Slack’s threading. But for finding information and following topics? Threading. Even Reddit is better than Discord for that.

I’ll always think it’s pretty funny that Discord, which is basically fancy IRC, isn’t considered just as “outdated” as the newest php-driven forum software, which has itself gotten incredibly sophisticated. Both stand the test of time – just for different purposes.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

And that is exactly what they like about it. ^

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Yep, also the easy centralization of dev comments a la either an in-forum dev tracker or a third party tool on a fansite etc.

It’s been a constant gripe for me with SWL, lately -__-

Reader
A Dad Supreme

“Do the devs care? Does Daybreak care?”
=========

I think the abortion that was EQNext had to have sapped a lot of team/community spirit out of the Daybreak (then SOE) workers.

I would imagine it’s like working in an auto plant in Detroit around the 80’s, seeing better cars come from elsewhere and jobs whittling down, while the new owners/management tells you about all the plans they have for getting Detroit “back to work” and “saving jobs” with this new electric car project they are building.

Then when the workers find out the car or project isn’t really that viable or even if it was (EQNext), wouldn’t be enough to save all the jobs or they couldn’t do it in time, people just kind of go through the motions until they start get canned one by one, quit to find other jobs, or wait for the factory to shut down.

I don’t think the devs “don’t care”, but I think when you live with the specter that the whole company can come crashing down at any second for years because you see everything going on in the background customers/players don’t, you kind of become numb to almost anything they say or suggest and get that thousand yard stare because… “doesn’t really matter”.

For Daybreak, that electric car was EQ Next and without it, there isn’t much hope of growth in the future in the company.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Yeah.
Although, this analogy gives EQN advocates the opportunity to point out that since the 80s, GM has gone bankrupt and the electric car company, TESLA, become worth more than GM, then Ford, then BMW.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

To be fair, the electric car was invented long before Tesla in regards to the main automotive dealers.

Big Oil killed the car because it was going to hurt their bottom line, so the US Auto Industry abandoned it (back then) and subsequently kept laying off workers and closing US plants.

The only reason Tesla made a lot of money was because it was a private company (I think) selling to a richer customer, which makes them more like an independent Kickstarter MMO like Star Citizen and Daybreak like one of the Big Three.

Reader
Sally Bowls

TSLA has been public for quite a while

In the last five years, GM stock is up 72% vs TSLA 1152% but you have a good analogy: TSLA worth more than GM and CIG worth more than DBG.

Car stuff somewhat more related to gaming:
https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/17/09/21/2039210/ford-is-using-microsofts-hololens-to-design-cars-in-augmented-reality
Microsoft is planning to hold a Windows Mixed Reality launch event on October 3rd in San Francisco. We’re not expecting to hear about a HoloLens successor, but we should get a better idea of what apps and games we’ll see coming for Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

Reader
David Harrison

Here’s the main problem. There is no Everquest-clone. When it shuts down, that’s it. Game Over.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Pantheon is the game you should be aware of

Reader
Shiro Madoushi

Almost every modern mmo with raiding has borrowed from EQ.

oldandgrumpy
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

Wow borrowed some of there staff from eq2 I think :)

Reader
Timber Toes

No MMO has ever reproduced EQ end game content. Too many gaming companies try to be different and put their own crappy spin on it. Instead of being different they need to return to what worked and it will explode.

Reader
Shiro Madoushi

I’m sure those games are reaching a threshold where they are no longer very profitable to keep running. Eventually they will be shuttered and DBG will concentrate on milking H1Z1 for what they can get out of it.

semugh
Reader
semugh

ok releasing EQ2 was a mistake. Everyone had only a vague idea what Blizzard was up to.
Anyways, servers are cheap, bandwidth is cheap. And EQ’s codebase is probably so mature even an intern is enough to maintain it.
2 subs cover the whole expense of the game.

Reader
David Harrison

Nobody at DBG has cared about Everquest nor Everquest II since the day that Sony Online Entertainment was sold and renamed Daybreak Games. The games had been releasing poorly designed small expansions for many years.

I just wish the Everquest IP could be sold to a company that WANTS to develop it.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
camelotcrusade

Yeah. Reminds me of the dark day when Atari collected my beloved D&D license, and for a long time, after a couple lukewarm games, we had “none whatsoever.” It’s a little different now, but all those lost years still grate on me.

Reader
Simon Kolomar

Current EQ2 players, please answer this:

Does the disappearing shadows and disappearing water reflections bug still exists? When your near the water, there are reflections in it, but when you rotate camera, reflections are gone. When you’re near some buildings or tress, they are casting shadows, but when you rotate the camera, shadows also randomly disappear. That is distracting and the game without shadows looks really bland to me :(

It’s not my PC’s guilt, because I saw on forums few months ago that this is happening to some people.
Here is a link to the topic, pls dont be angry Massively OP editors:
https://forums.daybreakgames.com/eq2/index.php?threads/gpu-shadow-maps-disappearing-problem.554799/

Morgan Feldon
Reader
Morgan Feldon

Why would MassivelyOP be upset? I’ve seen far more pronounced bugs than that, with streaks of color and random triangles covering the entire screen depending on the camera angle.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
camelotcrusade

To each his own, right? Back when I played EQ2 I turned all the shadows off to get a performance boost and even when I upgraded my PC, I never bothered to reinstate them. :)

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

Any given night there is someone advertising for someones inn or tavern for an RP show. Last one I went to had two bards and a saucy striptease such as it can be in EQ2.

That said, I feel its just the same few rpers going to each others areas.

Otherwise, I have asked questions as one of the few lowbies about and sometimes i get answers and when I do they are hugely helpful. Usually I don’t and its dead silence on the general chat.

Other than that, the lowbie areas do still have folks in them. Halas, Neriak, even the starter area in Fallen Gate, although last time i was there just reminded me of how unpolished EQ2 was when it started. So slow.

Otherwise, the most chat I see if someone advertising themselves for Expert dungeons and occasionally raid group recruitment.

It’s not dead but it seems a small base of folks.

I ran through Crushbone Keep several nights, an open orc stronghold, and saw one person the whole time.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Dont you think its a stratch to call lack of communication from devs an impending doom for whole franchise?

Honestly, I dont think much changed for EQ2. Since its launch in 2004 game never really improved. They were just piling and piling zones and quests of same outdated quality for 13 years. I mean compare WoW of today with vanilla. From zones design to quests design to spell animations its day and night difference. Now compare vanilla EQ2 with current EQ2. Same old crap but with 300 more plastic zones and 20,000 more quests that are all the same.

They were milking EQ2 never caring to improve it. They will keep milking it, releasing boring expansions for die hard fans while playerbase is big enough

Morgan Feldon
Reader
Morgan Feldon

Preach it. EQ/EQ2 seem to be like “If only the last few websites still talking about us would just stop picking on us.” They seem annoyed that anyone would write anything but glowing praise about them. There’s a reality distortion field is in effect and anything that does not fit that view is viewed as an attack.

Reader
birini

Just an observation, but hypersensitivity to outside criticism like that, in my experience, is correlated with miserable working conditions.

Reader
birini

Something else just occurred to me: isn’t it odd that Columbus Nova was the winning bidder for Daybreak? You’d think EA or ActiBlizzard would have loved to gobble up the IPs if nothing else. Amazon was certainly thinking about getting in and that’s a franchise that makes Amazon gaming instantly credible. There’s got to be a story there. I suspect it’s a sad one, though.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I imagine most wouldn’t have wanted the studio though, it seems like it was an all or nothing sale not a piecemeal sale where a publisher could come in and snap up the few IP’s they wanted while leaving everything else alone.

I doubt EA, Activision-Blizzard, or anyone else wanted a pure MMO studio, especially given the waning interest in MMO’s at the time. Especially one that was as financially troubled as SOE was (last I recall they had some pretty huge debts/operating losses). Yeah, the EQ brand was strong, but it’s lost so much of its strength over the years that it’s a shadow of what it formerly was.

Morgan Feldon
Reader
Morgan Feldon

Storybricks and Perfect World Entertainment each tendered offers to buy the entire studio. They were rejected. Sony then put more pressure on SOE to sell itself, so Columbus Nova got the company under a totally different structured deal than what SB and PWE were required to make. Not saying PWE was the perfect home. We would have seen microtransactions become macrotransactions and plenty of whalebait on the marketplace. But the games would have gotten MORE resources instead of a big layoff.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

…how could SB have afforded the studio and all its expenses/debts? I mean, they didn’t even last too long after they got dropped from EQN >.> That seems like a patently ludicrous and unbelievable/non-viable option.

PWE I could see being a more realistic option, and honestly compared to CN I’d take them any day. They’re an actual MMO publisher/developer, and while I’m not thrilled with everything that’s happened to Cryptic’s titles since they got picked up by PWE I don’t think their games have suffered that much either.

Seriously, just musing about what could have been for SOE under PWE ownership, compared to what we’re seeing now, is making me all sad and depressed now : (

Reader
birini

I remember the SB story now, too, and had the same reaction as you when they disbanded. Just devil’s advocate: Possible that they could have gotten funding backed by the income stream for SOE’s existing games but it does seem like a stretch. Also possible that, after working on EQN for so long and seeing the industry, they decided to walk away and keep what money they had left because they no longer liked their prospects as much. Difficult to say.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Oh you sweet summer children. :-) In the days of Michel Milken, Drexel, KKR, RJR … there were many billions of leveraged buyouts. At least until some jail time slowed things down.

Among the first was
The Three du Pont Cousins—How They Bought DuPont and How Pierre Took Control
where the duPont cousins used $700 of their own money to buy the DuPont company and make hundreds of millions back when that was a lot of money :-).

You use the assets of a company you are acquiring as the collateral for the loans to acquire them with. By the end, Sony was in bad shape and they were very motivated sellers.

Reader
birini

That’s a well thought out and logical reply. But, this being the Internet: Personal insult. Personal insult. Question whether you are real.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

*insert the dankest memes here*

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

This is why I didn’t like signing a TOS agreement with SSG, when I noted I was actually signing one with Daybreak/Columbus Nova as well. I actually uninstalled my EQ2 game and client last year, I have no trust in anything CN touches.

That SSG (ex-Turbine) has a relationship with them, close enough that I have to agree to a Daybreak TOS, makes me really, really nervous and unhappy. I feel for anyone who still plays EQ and EQII, I know i’m a glass half full sort of guy and all, but I just really can’t get over having bad feelings for the future of the franchise of EQ. :/

Reader
birini

It does seem very much like Daybreak has hitched it’s wagon to other properties. The slow death of fan sites and — at least according to folks at MOP — the dearth of community interaction does suggest that we’re nearing the end. It’s a shame. Norrath is still my absolute favorite MMO world. Was really looking forward to visiting again in EQN but… well, I think it’s been delayed or something.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Support for the live, non-progression servers really seems to have waned considerably over the years. That may be a result of the apparently near complete halt in public communications/PR from the team, but either way it puts on a pretty terrible look.

Yeah, we’re still getting expansions and progression server news, but that’s squarely focused on monetized content and most of the time it’s progression servers which do nothing for the live-games. What was the last content update for EQ2? I…honestly haven’t the foggiest clue, has there even been a significant one since the last expansion? I haven’t followed closely, but I legitimately can’t remember the last headline I saw for an update that wasn’t primarily a holiday/themed event.

Honestly though…and I realize this is kinda shitty…I’d love to see them both spin down, especially EQ2 (which has been a god-damn disaster over the years with the development team appearing to go all over the place, for a while they made a hard push towards WoW design that clashed with classic EQ2 design so hard and left the game feeling incredibly awkward). Leave them in a maintenance mode, leave progression servers on an automated system. Then redirect those resources to something NEW!

Yeah, EQN was killed before it even had a chance to live, but they can absolutely revisit a sequel/spinoff that’s smaller in scope, scale, and ambition, and grow from there.

At this point, EQ feels like a “legacy” brand that DBG doesn’t give a shit about, frankly. It may have built the company and been instrumental in growing and expanding the early MMO genre and being a massive proof that MMO’s could be successful on a large scale for the time (hundreds of thousands of subs), but now? Now it’s just something that it seems like the studio feels they “have” to keep alive to preserve their overall image, not something that they’re passionate about and want to grow.

I know the devs still actually working on EQ1/2 are likely passionate and dedicated to their games, and love the hell out of them. But from an outside observers point of view, it sure is hard to see any real evidence of that through the filter of DBG : /

Reader
Kinya

I played EQ2 from 2004 and stopped 2 years ago. I loved that game – it was my first MMO.
It was so much fun, and then few years back devs started to introduce some crappy signature solo quests which required to finish all other solo boring quests, solo instances, mercenaries, etc. Me and my friends hated when they introduced mythical spells (or whatever it was), and you had to research them by using Station Cash (!!!) because the chances to drop the book was like 0,0000001%.
I do not understand why devs are allowing to use botting programms to farm raiding instances – seriuosly, my guild had to learn startegies and coordinate everything, while other person could do it solo with 14+ other accounts on follow.
I loved community in my guild. I cried a lot the day I told them I was leaving game after so long, but paid DLC announced on the 1st of April so ppl will have time to clam down and think it was a joke, was the last straw for me. And when I tried to express my feelings about all that mess on forums, I was banned… 11 years of paying and I was not allowed to say how I felt about that idea.

So yeah, EQ2 team is not listening to any critique and even they say to players “if you don’t like it, then don’t play it”. It just looks like they don’t care anymore, which is sad :(
Looking at Ashes of Creation team, in which there is so many devs from EQ2 team, I wonder who is left…

Sorry for that rant, by my heart is still in pain. I loved that game and it is hard for me to see what is happening atm :(

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I feel like anything Daybreak touches fails. It literally gives me anxiety that they are mixed up with LOTRO now.

Reader
2Ton Gamer

I think it’s too late for Lotro. Their releases and the way they have handled everything this year has been one disaster after another and has not been any indicator that it’s heading in a better place. I came back to Lotro in hopes that the change was real and for the better. Sadly, it was not.

Reader
Viktor Budusov

What disasters happened?? What a hatish bs. Mordor was quite fine. U20 was fine. U21.1 was fine. So again what disasters you imagine?

PS. Ah you mean exclusion of race from expansion and crazy prices i guess – well that was bad decision. But anyway releases were quite good.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

You and me both. I just can’t get over having to sign that TOS that was from Daybreak/CN. (sigh)

Reader
birini

“Hey, Blizzard, why don’t you sell us WoW so you can focus on your new games like Overwatch and Hearthstone?”

Reader
nobleeinherjar

I really feel like I should dive back into LOTRO and enjoy it while I can before Daybreak does what it seemingly does best ..

Reader
Melissa McDonald

yes I have retreated back into LOTRO almost exclusively last few weeks. I feel like I’m spending time with an elderly loved one who’s days are numbered. Savoring it while I can. Hopefully it will have years left.

Reader
Gadgets-4G

I have always felt that Daybreak bought this company and IP in order to milk their corpses. they made it plain they weren’t interested in carrying the EQ IP when they dropped Landmark and NEXT right out of the gate. They will continue to work less and try to sell more until such point as they have exhausted the hemorrhage and then shut it down maybe sell it to someone else.

Morgan Feldon
Reader
Morgan Feldon

The fate of Landmark and EQNext were sealed at the 2013 reveal when a rushed and untested concept was thrown on stage with page after page of impossible promises in the background. What little bit was demoed was smoke and mirrors deftly presented with the marketing prowess of Walt Disney. However brute force and bad planning could not turn a development kit into a shippable game. Communication with players almost immediately ceased and millions of dollars were wasted. It was clear even in 2014 that EQNext was never going to ship, or if it did, it would be hugely compromised.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I’m not so sure of that. Landmark was a pretty amazing game all by itself. Now, their reason for canceling it was “It wasn’t fun”, and for sure, the combat in Landmark wasn’t fun. And that was probably exactly what it was in EQN also. In a word – they may have been telling the truth – the game wasn’t going to be good at anything other than building stuff.

Morgan Feldon
Reader
Morgan Feldon

But Landmark was never supposed to be a game. It was built as a rough development kit so that the dev team could shift all their attention to EQNext. Instead, Georgeson insisted that all the focus be on making Landmark better. There is a huge difference between how you program a developer’s kit and how you program a final product. A developer’s kit is hacked together and everything is hardcoded and rough. It is not modular at all. It’s a very poor foundation to build a finished product, especially a MMORPG, on top of. But Georgeson insisted, against a chorus of developers warning how bad an idea it was.

I know people loved Landmark, but it was only ever intended to create content for EQNext. Landmark never even got basic Trading/Vendor/Broker features. Guilds were implemented as basically a Friends list. The entire UI was written in Adobe Flash!

Reader
MesaSage

In the past year I’ve played on one of the non-AB servers and it’s pretty much dead, so I’m not surprised about their lack of enthusiasm.

Reader
Armsbend

I’d assumed everything in the Daybreak library is in a downward spiral. The better question to ask is why you would ever think anything they make isn’t?

Morgan Feldon
Reader
Morgan Feldon

Because they are (or were) making money hand-over-fist with H1Z1:KotK.

oldandgrumpy
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
oldandgrumpy

Player Unknown Battlegrounds has put a bit of a dint into that currently. I am sure that the excessive amount of middle management is getting that threat sorted :)

wpDiscuz