Are you over the Daybreak Game Company layoffs shock yet? Nope, neither am I. But my shock is compounded by dread over the fate of the studio’s games. While Daybreak has reassured players that it’s still got teams working on most of its MMOs (and I myself argued yesterday that most of the games are probably safe), some of the studio’s titles seem more vulnerable than others, especially given last year’s infamous purge. Of course, getting H1Z1, PlanetSide 2, and Landmark players to agree on who’s in the most trouble is a daunting task. Let’s put it to a vote in our shiny new poll: Which Daybreak title’s future seems the most in jeopardy to you?
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I’m told that time is money, but the exchange rate is not universal. There are people whose time is, apparently, worth more than my time. But we can agree that the exchange rate is there, and it’s one of those aspects used to sell convenience in almost every game going. You can spend a whole lot of time leveling a character to the level cap in World of Warcraft, or you can just pick up a level 90 boost and save yourself a pile of time. Experience boosts, travel speed boosts, crafting time boosts, they’re all functionally ways of trading money for time.
Massively Overpowered’s first week in operation couldn’t have come at a more turbulent time in the industry. Fortunately, the podcast team of Bree and Justin are here to guide you through all of the earthshattering news that happened this past week, including the Daybreak layoffs and WildStar’s precarious situation.
Just as it’s a new beginning for my guild, this is also a new beginning for this column. This is the second or third new beginning for this column, but it’s still here because I still love SWTOR, and the readers here have stuck by it, too. Of course, we’ve all had some negative things to say about the game, but overall, the community and the game itself have been a positive experience.
Right now just happens to be a good time to get into the game for the first time or as a returning player. In fact, let me give you eight reasons why now is the perfect time to jump back into Star Wars: The Old Republic. Read more
The other day one of our readers, Joe F., pointed us at a conversation between Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman and an ArcheAge customer who was banned. In the exchange, Hartsman said he reviewed the chat log that led to the ban, concluding, “In 2015, those two words aren’t ‘cussing.’ One is hate speech, the other racism. We wish you the best.”
Obviously, there are lots of kind players who exist together in peace in MMOs, but there are also bad eggs who do like to sling slurs against others out of anger or as part of their “gaming vocabulary.” In your MMOs, do you see much hate speech in chat and tells, or are most folks pretty much behaving themselves?
The answer to both is largely level 20, for the record.
Let’s assume, then, that you’re starting the game new for the first time. Once you’ve made your character (and your birthdate and starting deity have minimal effect upon your character, so don’t sweat them) and watched the far-too-long opening cutscene, you’re dropped into a quick series of tutorial quests. What do you do from there, where do you go, and how do you make the most out of your time in Final Fantasy XIV when we’re on the cusp of the game’s first expansion?
I’ve been spending my gaming time lately PvPing in Guild Wars 2 in an attempt to reinkindle my old obsession with World of Warcraft battleground-style gameplay. It’s working: I really love the GW2 maps, and it thrills me that it’s one more fun facet of a game I already enjoy more than most titles still alive today.
(Of course, there’s no more disgruntled a group in GW2 than PvPers, and I’m sure I’ll get to that same point in a few months. But for now, while everything is still new to me, I’m actually *gasp* having a good time.)
As I type this, Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign sits comfortably at $54,323. We hit our initial $50k funding goal in roughly 48 hours. We’re on pace to smash through our $75k stretch goal before the month ends. Thanks to the miracle of crowdfunding, the Massively team and I get to keep doing what we love to do instead of spending the next few weeks explaining to potential employers what an “MMO” is and why we had to write about it.
This has been an incredible experience. I’m absolutely humbled by our community and am infinitely grateful for its support. As I said in my backer update earlier this week, I’m completely out of ways to say “thank you.”
However, my overall feelings on crowdfunding remain the same. It’s slimy, dangerous, and a borderline scam.
In the years that I’ve been playing and covering MMOs, I’ve noticed that there are two distinct phases when it comes to introducing a new game. The first is the big marketing push, as the team introduces the MAJOR TALKING POINTS and attempts to overwhelm players with how this will be the MMO to end all MMOs due to its sheer feature list. We — the press and the community — get a lot of talking mileage out of this, although it typically devolves into a straight-up comparison of other titles.
But then there’s a lesser-noticed but perhaps more significant stage, when people start checking out the game and commenting not on its impressive feature list but on the little details that stand out. I’ve read and written my fair share of posts where the author burbles excitedly about some cool little thing he or she noticed and enjoyed, and that sort of enthusiasm seems more genuine and personal.
In the northern parts of the US, we are currently in the grips of a particularly brutal winter. Snow, ice, frostbite, polar bear attacks, and tauntings by the seasonally superior Canadian military are all a part of life these days. And as much as I’m not a fan of continually shoveling my driveway, I have to say that I am a sucker for a good winter… zone in an MMO.
Forochel in Lord of the Rings Online comes to mind as one of my favorite. It’s not your typical Alpine ski resort zone, but rather a desolate, above-the-Arctic-circle landscape dominated by freezing cold, an icy bay, and the Northern Lights. Every time I’m there, it makes me feel as though I’ve truly traveled to a far-off land.
It’s been quite a week! And not just for Massively Overpowered. Right as our original site was sunsetting, SOE announced that it was bought out and would be doing business under the new moniker Daybreak Games Company. Talk about shaking things up! Breaking free of Sony and going under the umbrella of an investment firm is just a wee bit of a change, and it is one that understandably had players nervous about future of the studio’s games. What will happen to the older titles like EverQuest and PlanetSide? What about those in development like EverQuest Next and H1Z1? CEO John Smedley assured players via Twitter that all the games will continue on. Time will tell. However, there was one immediate casualty in this whole changeover: SOE Live. And then in a huge punch to the fan gut came many more casualties in the form of multiple dev layoffs.
What will this all mean for players? As far as the convention side of things, a group of fans refuse to let 2015 go by without an annual gathering of
SOE Daybreak Games players and is organizing a summer get-together. But will we even have games to celebrate come summer?
You know, folks, I am all about getting my dungeon ride on in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m a roleplayer, to boot. I like being social in my games. And yet when I find myself playing World of Warcraft, I find myself actively preferring a bit of solitude far more often than I’d expect. This isn’t meant as a commentary on that game’s player culture or anything of the sort; I just like to have more stretches of not doing dungeons, just quietly doing my own thing and playing out the events in my character’s head.
The MassivelyOP staff was discussing the
SOE Daybreak armageddon recently, and given the total absence of public data relating to who or what was ultimately responsible for the wide-ranging job cuts, we were forced to speculate. Some believe the company stretched itself too thin across its vast MMORPG portfolio. Others opined that everything from early access to SOE’s parent corp struggles to EverQuest Next and Landmark being in some sort of theoretical development hell were at fault.
Personally, I see the firm giving away expensive content — i.e., F2P — as the larger problem.