Global Chat: What’s going on with Daybreak?

Do you ever give MMOs a questioning stare and find yourself asking to no one in particular, “What is up with Daybreak these days, anyway?” The former titan of MMOs seems to have fallen both in popularity and selection.

Blogger Ancient Gaming Noob, no stranger to Daybreak himself, took a look at the state of the studio now that it’s just over 30 months from its SOE changeover. He looks at what’s been cut and what’s been kept, pondering whether the studio is moving forward or standing still.

“What differentiates a going concern from a company just riding out its end days and milking its current titles is ongoing development of new games,” he writes. “And I haven’t seen any of that from Daybreak. Moving one five-year-old title to XBox was nice, but hardly a substitute for new work.”

Can't just spam one thing for rewards if it gives less rewards.

Alternative Chat: The state of Azeroth, my affair

“I really feel it is time to start creating quests which can have different outcomes based on the individual decisions players make at first interaction […] Really, is this too much to ask after over a decade of just being asked to do the same old stuff, over and over again?”

MMO Quests: That ONE game

“Let’s face it, we probably all have a special spot (or two) for that game. A game we want to love, that we keep installed or maybe even keep a subscription to, but we don’t actually play it. Every time we work up the courage to log in something stops us from going further. I can’t be the only one, right? For me that game is, of course, EverQuest II.”

MMO Bro: Are MMOs too easy?

“Tedium is not challenge. One tests your skill, while the other simply tests your patience. A lot of people who talk about MMOs being so much easier these days simply mean that you no longer need to spend hours looking for a group so you can spend an hour getting to your destination so you can spend hours grinding the same mobs over and over.”

Dragonchasers: Destiny 2 is growing on me

“I still haven’t finished the campaign but I’m pretty close to the end, and I have hit level 20. Along the way I have unlocked a lot of content-systems. For the most part I still feel like the campaign itself is ‘fine’ but all the other stuff is pretty good and for me at least, more fun than the mostly predictable campaign missions.”

MMO Juggler: LOTRO Lone-lands

“After finishing up Vol 1 Book 1 on Spessartina, I headed east of Bree to the Lone-lands. It had been a very long time since I quested through and was pleasantly surprised at the reorganization. The Forsaken Inn was jam packed with quest givers to start you out, but one or two other Eglain camps spaced out to the east helped lead to Ost Guruth.”

GamingSF: Player-created treasure hunts

“As I think of this I don’t think I know of any MMORPG with a system for player created content that would support well a wide-ranging treasure hunt style activity. The Dungeon Maker in EQ2 and similar systems like Neverwinter’s Foundry are highly instanced — so not supportive of the larger zone a proper hunt requires.”

Contains Moderate Peril: Gaming and voice chat

Star Trek Online is the only other MMO that I’m aware of that boasts in-game voice chat. Perhaps the increasingly solo friendly nature of subsequent MMOs has meant that voice chat is no longer considered important. Or perhaps the licensing of the technology added too much to development costs.”

Light Falls Gracefully: The cost of magic

“The cost of magic is high, very high. So high, in fact, that it’s killed the experience for me. They broke up the band, turned the earth’s underbelly into a mall, put slot machines in a Stephen King novel. ‘Get hyped for new content!’ they tell us while releasing the same content they did in December of 2015 (1 year, 9 months ago) with a new name and new systems slapped on top of it.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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35 Comments on "Global Chat: What’s going on with Daybreak?"

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Solaris
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Solaris

When Daybreak goes down, I just hope they sell the IPs they own to a good developer (and yes, I said ‘when’).

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Knox Harrington

Great.. now this song is stuck in my head.. allow me to spread the infection

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Melissa McDonald

powerful singer… good songwriter. Like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUptBgyzbyg

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Melissa McDonald

I think the time is ripe for “EverQuest (Insert Sequel Name Here)” to go crowd-fund and raise the development money that way.

I’d donate. I still think it’s a hot IP in this business and probably the biggest glaring hole in the MMO universe, no recent/new EverQuest game.

The name ain’t UsedToQuest or NeverQuest. it’s EVERQUEST.

Because it goes on… at least, what it represents in us, the Eternal Game, the endless fantasy. ;)

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George

Let it go darling, let it go…

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Jack Pipsam

Wish they’d move Planetside 2 to Xbox as well, but that’s unlikely to happen as I think the PS4 version flopped.

They’re a company flailing about, trying to survive. They have a hit in H1Z1 and need to keep it alive.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

Ugh, voice chat. I’m not a complete misanthrope, but I like to keep other players at a distance. Voice chat brings them way too close for my comfort. I’ll stick with text thanks. Failing that, silence is pretty fucking golden.

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Sally Bowls

If you were going to invest money in gaming, why why why would you give it to DBG to let them be the ones to spend it?

If you are going to invest in gaming, IMO a perhaps dubious certainly risky idea, then market growth means you would prefer to see at least one of China and mobile in the pitch. Neither of which are DBG strenghts. SOE was performing quite poorly and DBG strikes me as a smaller, demoralized version of SOE without Sony’s resources or brandname. If I were CN looking to spend some money on gaming, assuming friends and loved ones did not stage an intervention, then DBG strikes me as one of the last places I would want to invest.

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Sally Bowls

IMO, DBG is what happens when a company, i.e. SOE, fails and they have to bring in a liquidator. DBG is a going concern in the business of managing the end-of-life of at the least all of its non-KOTH games. I don’t see why anyone would expect anything different now and I remain baffled why anyone would have thought anything different 30 months ago.

I see the non-CM/PR side of DBG doing about the best they can at fulfilling their corporate mission.

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Byórðæįr

SOE is what happens when a owner of company has a mid life crisis and walks around saying there is always time for nookie and goes and starts baking to avoid firing people.

Producers at a company find outside money and bring it in to pay bills until the player base is back to contributing enough money to pay for the development and maintenance costs.

None of the games were paying for themselves all had lost money about fifteen years in row when they tried for everquest next. Fifteen years of being in the red ink. I remember her signing and saying that it never actually made any money but it was labor love, then looking at me and saying don’t you dare mock that. I sighed and said I have an account I play some times. She said the look the fans faces is why she did it. Then Sony lost every asset in their studio vault in 2010 because someone backed a truck up the loading dock and stole every hard drive in the vault, and no one noticed until a producer was wondering why her show she was producing was not qued to go on the wire. I had to drive the copy of show over to her from when we had working on the show footage. It is good thing for the advertisers that everything was on the drive but sony basically decided to sell off their American assets. Most of those companies are still struggling. The games have fun parts where you end up losing hours but way too much of the systems were designed around making you waste time so you would have to renew to see the content.

I have no idea where they are going but they lost a lot of really talented people building up the meltdown that happened so likely the people they have a mix of new people and people who tried to ride out the storm and are likely looking for new jobs before the company fails. They could turn it around but there is no impetus, not drive toward a new goal. Basically they are going to have to create a new ip if they really want to draw players, or go the very hard route they took with everquest two and make a break with the dated graphics, the broken mechanics, the systems that are time sinks. People do not have the time, and find other ways to get people to sub every month.

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Dread Quixadhal

Daybreak is what happens when a company flails in too many directions at once, and then loses too many of their creative people that see the inevitable light at the end of the tunnel….. the train headlight.

When Smed was in charge of SOE, he pushed all their developers to try and make their games more appealing to “new players”, at the expense of their core audience. Star Wars Galaxies was the first victim of this, EQ2 soon followed suit, and eventually the rest of their properties either failed outright, or faded away.

When Sony saw the train wreck approaching, they bailed and cut them loose to Columbus Nova. The bean counters there cut all the people who were involved in decisions that started downward trends, and also anyone who disagreed with their own goals…. making money, by whatever means possible.

What’s left now is a husk. EQ1 and EQ2 pay for themselves, but don’t generate any real profit anymore. DCUO pays the bills, by virtue of being one of the only licensed superhero games left anywhere, although the free-to-play Marvel Heroes nibbles away at it now that it’s also on consoles. H1Z1 is no longer unique, and will only slide downhill as the zombie craze fades away. What does that leave them?

Without creativity, it’s unlikely anything new will ever appear from them. EQ-Next was their last chance at a real new product to push the franchise into this decade, and they botched it.

Honestly, the only way I can see them surviving is to have some “white knight” who loves the Everquest franchise come along and either buy them out or convince Columbus Nova to let them invest heavily to bring all new talent in and go “all-in” to make a new game aimed at a 2020 unveiling and a 2022 launch. Anything less, at this point, is too little, too late.

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Victor Morales

Sony saw the trainwreck approaching? THEY FIRE SOLD their entire PC side (sony VAIO, SoE, Sony’s software division etc).

It was no train wreck it was Sony Japan’s UTTER lack of interesting in anything PC related. Stop trying to make stuff up.

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Dread Quixadhal

And why do you think they sold everything off? Boredom? Don’t be an idiot. Companies sell off properties that are not profitable and show no signs of becoming profitable.

SOE was a trainwreck. They saw this, and decided to sell off the entire division while the brand name “Everquest” was still worth something. Columbus Nova bought it, precisely to see if they could make money from the IP in some way.

Sony sold off VAIO for the same reason… they couldn’t compete in the overseas hardware market, because cheap knock-offs far out-sold their pricier products. Had it been the 1980’s, the name Sony might have carried inferior hardware, much like the name Apple does today… but not anymore.

You should look up the history of Sony, going all the way back to their attempts to sell electric rice cookers. When any company tries to diversify too far, it ends up being spread too thin and has to sell off parts of itself, or collapse entirely. That’s business.

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Ket Viliano

Amazon.

/next_in_line

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Dystopiq

Amazon makes an ungodly amount of money from AWS. They’re not going anywhere

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Ket Viliano

Bezos strikes me as a man in search of his limitations. He will succeed in this quest some day.

Check the Amazon price to earnings ratio, and see if it makes any sense to you.

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thalendor

The main thing I wonder about from Daybreak these days is “are they going to keep the lights on for EverQuest?” Sure, I haven’t played the game regularly in ~14 years, but it’s nice to go back and visit from time to time all the same.

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Armsbend

“but hardly a substitute for new work.”

You want something new from Daybreak? Why?

Mewmew
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Mewmew

After multiple horrible experiences with voice chat on consoles when I was younger, I was put off voice chat from there on out. I was a fairly young girl when I tried it, excited to be playing with people and open to the experiences that voice chat would bring. The horrible stuff they said to me wasn’t cool or funny despite them thinking it was. I was still new to the Internet world at the time and pretty naive and didn’t have my thick internet skin yet, so the nasty stuff they were saying to me was both new and hurt my feelings a lot.

It also breaks the immersion for me, and in most games I’m looking for immersion into the game lore, story, world, etc.

It’s not just me taking part that I no longer enjoy or care to be involved in, I don’t like to hear other people in the game world talking either. Any time there is a voice option where you’d hear people talking I mute it so I don’t have to hear them.

Maybe if my early experiences were different I would have thought differently about it. Right now I don’t care to use voice chat even if it’s just friends I know in person, much less random strangers that killed voice chat for me to begin with.

If I’m totally involved in a game, it’s because I want to involve myself in it’s story and not because I want to be chatting on there about what we’re doing at the same time. Normally I’m doing 2-3 other things besides the game at once anyway and so it wouldn’t be much of an option for me a lot of the time even if I still was interested in it.

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MesaSage

Consumers have long memories. Once a brand is soiled, it takes a lot of effort to rebuild. There doesn’t seem to be any will to do that at DBaG.

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Loopy

That ONE Game: For me it’s EVE. I love everything about it, except playing it myself. Every time i want to log in, a vision of my gaming session flashes in front of my eyes – and i stop myself. There isn’t really any reason for this, the game has a crap ton of things going for it, and yet i can’t get myself to play it. Maybe it’s that lack of direction barrier that i have to force myself through…

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Ket Viliano

Or, it may be the gankers waiting for you to undock.

Or, the soul sucking bore that is the ISK grind.

Personally, it’s the ISK that gets me.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

In-game voice chat. What happened to that, indeed. LOTRO’s in-game voice chat is one reason the game has the great community it does. PUGs are actually fun and people talk to each other. No need to have Discord, super secret log ins or any of that other crap. Members of my kin just group up to talk, not even necessarily doing the same things.

Really don’t understand why devs, so very, very focused on “social” aspects of their design, ignore this.

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Alex Js.

“What’s going on with Daybreak”? Well, they’re slowly dying, of course, and this process won’t stop until one of these things will happen:
1)Columbus Nova will sell the leftovers of this company to someone else within the next year or so.
2)Columbus Nova will fire even more people in “leading” positions, replace them with other more motivated and more competent people, will license a better game engine (with better visuals, better sound system, better netcode and other subsystems) and force Daybreak to use it for all future projects (including porting H1Z1 to it – it’s still in perpetual “beta” stage anyway) and will stop wasting $$$ on silly “social promoting” (things like their “Invitational” tournaments or paying some Twitch streamers to stream this game for a day or more) at least until the game (H1Z1 or any future projects) is stable and bug-free enough to be used for such things.

Judging by Columbus Nova’s current behavior it’s not likely that they’ll go for #2, so the #1 is the most probable ending of that slow dying process.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

60 open positions currently. Seems they are working on something new.

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Michael Mohr

They lost their soul and their love of gaming with the acquisition from Columbus Nova and the formation of DBG and the mass firing of their most passionate people. They put a non-gaming suit in charge of the over all company as CEO. I’d played EQ1 since the days of Variant Interactive before even SOE got hold of the franchise. For the crap SOE got, they at least cared about the game and the profit, not just the profit. I get it, businesses have to do that, but if that is your sole goal, you will fail every time because you get content like their last EQ2 expansion which was trash.

The only hope for EQ as a franchise, is for DBG to try and sell the brand to someone that is an actual gaming company, not a 5 year profit acquisition before the company and properties are liquidated.

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Slaasher

EQNext aside, what they did to Landmark (the best building game that’s ever been created for gaming) has left this fanboi of 20 years not even looking in Daybreaks direction anymore.
Just not interested.

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Geo Kavu

Exactly.
That ol’switcheroo they did with making people invest in EQN through buying Landmark and then ending both, while their community managers kept reassuring everyone that all is well..
As a community we have to come together and punish such behavior. With our wallets.

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Raidervc

I like to compare failing MMOs to failing restaurants. As a restaurant fails, it starts cutting corners. Buying frozen instead of fresh. Fewer waiters. Failing to maintain facilities to a high standard. All of these keep customers from returning. Restaurants that are willing to invest money to revitalize their customer base can do very well for themselves. It’s the old saying,”you have to spend money to make money.”
It seems like game company management is totally opposed to investing back into their games, and so the cycle of failure continues.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

Which is why games like GW2 -that reinvests in new mechanics, new stories, new expansion- still thrive half a decade after they launch. Meanwhile there have been many closings of games launched within only a year or two because of those missteps you mentioned above.

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Raidervc

I think of GW2 and then FFXIV. Final fantasy could have just muscled through their disasterous launch, but instead they closed the front door, tore the place apart, and relaunched to immense success. Guild Wars 2 is just a steady contender and attempts to reinvigorate their player base on a routine basis. Great examples.

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A Dad Supreme

Daybreak had/has a new game that it seemed like Smedley and then SOE banked their future on, all the H1Z1 stuff. They built two games out of one and Smedley seemed like he spent far more time talking about H1Z1 than he ever did for EQNext or Landmark.

To me, it was obvious they were pushing that H1Z1 PvP zombie thing extremely hard because they probably thought they were unique. Of course there were other PvP games like DayZ, Rust, and a couple others but they were being made by much smaller companies and weren’t very well made so Daybreak probably figured that since they were bigger and were more well-known, they’d be able to corner that market.

Daybreak has claimed that H1Z1 and the King of the Kill games are doing well. But what they surely didn’t see was a game like Player Unknown Battleground coming in and taking almost everyone’s lunch in that open-world PvP genre. Imagine how much more money they could have made if that game wasn’t around.

The rise of PUG says to me that Daybreak may be in real trouble going forward since it’s a very similar type of game but it’s the new hotness that everyone wants to play. If H1Z1 goes south, then that leaves Daybreak with no real new successful games going forward; everything will be older and done better by someone else.

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Sray

“If H1Z1 goes south, then that leaves Daybreak with no real new successful games going forward”

Actually, DCUO is by far Daybreak’s biggest money maker. It doesn’t get a whole ton of attention from MMO sites because they tend to be more PC centric (DCUO is about 70% PS4, 20% Xbox, 10% PC at this point); and it doesn’t get much mainstream attention because MMO; but it is where most of Daybreak’s revenue comes from. It’s kind of like Warframe: no one talks much about it while it silently prints money by the boatload.

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A Dad Supreme

“Actually, DCUO is by far Daybreak’s biggest money maker.”
========
Yeah but DCUO isn’t a new game, that’s what I’m focusing on and kind of what the thread talks about; what’s going on at Daybreak, not “what happened in the past at Daybreak”.

Old games can still be profitable, but unless your company is churning out new games or has a old hit, it will eventually slow down.

The newest game Daybreak made (H1Z1) is already not even the most popular new game of it’s genre, that’s PUBG. That’s not good news for Daybreak considering it’s the most recent offering from the company and what they’ve spent their resources on.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

pubg is basically hizi king of the hill without the crafting bullshit and with decent gun play. part of the reason everyone it seems switched from one to the other and even more people got on board with pubg beyond them.

wpDiscuz