Former PC Games editor and EverQuest senior game designer Josh Augustine announced yesterday that he's made a move to a position on a different MMORPG: World of Warcraft.
"I'm overjoyed to announce that I'm joining the World of Warcraft quest design team at Blizzard," Augustine wrote on Twitter. "One of my life goals and a huge honor!"
Augustine previously worked on several of SOE and Daybreak's titles during his tenure at the studio, including the original EverQuest, the ill-fated EverQuest Next, and Landmark.
As I peruse a hundred or so community blog posts every day, it's fascinating to me to see what games the MMO blogosphere as a whole is playing and discussing. We sometimes end up flocking to certain titles based on recent announcements or because others are talking them up pretty heavily.
One game that's been getting a lot of mentions on blogs lately is Elder Scrolls Online, with players generally enthusiastic about how it's shaped up into a pretty decent MMO. "It's a really solid game that’s much better than the game that launched," writes Occasional Hero. "Visually, I would probably rank it second behind Black Desert Online for the best-looking MMORPG out there," touts Endgame Variable.
Elder Scrolls Online not your thing? No worries; we have articles covering The Secret World, LOTRO, RIFT, and more in today's community blog roundup!
Daybreak did it again. Boy, that phrase has come to mean a great many different things over the years. However, in this case it refers to the art of dropping some bombshell that makes me toss aside whatever I was working on for the week and focus on that explosion -- and the resulting fallout. Sometimes it's good. And sometimes it's not. This time around we fell dead center into the "not" category. We are losing Landmark.
Remember when I said Daybreak needed a win this year? This is the opposite of that. This is Daybreak choking the last bit of hope and goodwill out of players like Vader faced with a lackey's lack of faith. Disturbing, I know. Well, gee folks, Happy New Year? Forget about breaking games; I can't help but agree that a more befitting moniker would be Sunset Games.
We're not yet a full week into the new year and we've already been delivered news of a major shutdown. In today's episode, Bree and Justin talk about the fallout of the Landmark announcement, the Hi-Rez Expo, and several major patches.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Obviously, the reverberations of the news of Landmark's closure continue to be seen across the MMO community, including in our own comments sections. The MMO blogosphere was alight with discussion and opinions about this event, with many using this as an opportunity to get in a last word about the lamentable EverQuest Next.
In today's special edition of Global Chat, we'll take a survey of gaming blogs to see what they have to say about the Landmark sunset and what it means for Daybreak, MMOs, and the community it affects.
In February 2015, following the SOE/Daybreak transition and ensuing mass layoffs, we polled our readers on the security of the rest of the studio's games. Almost half of you voted that Dragon's Prophet was the studio's most vulnerable remaining game, with almost 20% pointing to EverQuest Next. And you were right; SOE's North American-run Dragon's Prophet was gone within the year, with EverQuest Next to follow just a few months later.
And now Landmark's headed off into the sunset.
The thing is, Daybreak doesn't really have much left. The company that once won "best studio" four years in a row and had a much-deserved reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going is now down to four MMORPGs, plus H1Z1 A and B, and one unannounced game, plus the games it's publishing for Standing Stone. Yesterday we counted up the casualties and found Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years -- more than most studios will ever launch.
Let's break out the poll for a revisit, two years on. Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?
In light of this past week's sad Landmark news, it's perhaps too on-the-nose that I asked for players to send in pictures of defunct MMOs. Maybe it's just one of those sober reminders that sooner or later, these games will go dark. Enjoy them to their fullest now!
"To prove I can actually be on topic sometimes, I answer your call for shots from defunct MMOs with one from Dragon's Prophet," Tyler said, "the only game I've played that has shut down. There was a great deal wrong with this game, and I didn't play it for long, but there was still a lot about it that was surprisingly good. In particular I loved the unusual, battle mage-like Oracle class. Who wants to stand in the back waving your hands when your mage can charge into the thick of things and massacre everyone with a giant enchanted scythe?"
Former Landmark lead Dave Georgeson took to Twitter on Friday with a note of encouragement for fans of the soon-to-be shuttered MMO: "To those reading about the [Landmark] shutdown. Your dreams aren't dying, only this vehicle for them. Stay in touch with each other. Friends > game."
Georgeson was let go from Daybreak as part of the transition from SOE in February 2015. In an interview last spring, he said that if he had remained at the helm of the studio's next-gen MMOs, he would have delivered EverQuest Next "to vision."
Landmark will close its doors on February 21st.
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?
Sad news for fans of Landmark who were happy to see it have its own life after the closure of EverQuest Next; Daybreak has announced that the Landmark servers will be shutting down on February 21st of this year. The game only formally launched in June of 2016 after a prolonged testing period, so it didn't even quite make it to a full year of operation.
The FAQ accompanying the shutdown also torpedoes any hopes players might have regarding private servers, as Daybreak will not be releasing the source code or reimbursing players who have purchased Daybreak Cash for use with the title. The game's site and forums will also be shuttered along with the game, so if you want to keep in touch with friends afterward, make sure to get contact information sooner rather than later. It's a sad day for the last part of a project, and our condolences go out to fans and staff members affected by the sudden and unexpected shutdown.
The number of games our wee little Stream Team covers in the span of a year is staggering. If you ever wanted to know what an MMORPG looks like and how it plays before you shell out money or download a mega-client, the Stream Team is your best bet.
We’ve put together some of our favorite streams from the year, from launches to first-looks and beta deep-dives and even a series of SMITE charity streams we did with the help of our viewers. Enjoy!
Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for MMORPG the Year, which was awarded to Final Fantasy XIV last year.
Recall that in 2014, we couldn't reach consensus on an MMO of the year. In fact, enough of us voted "nothing" that "nothing" is exactly what won, which was a depressing way to end the year. So last year, we took readers' advice and opened this category up to all MMOs, provided they did something noteworthy this year. We've done the same this year, though as you'll soon see, we needn't have.
All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end, and congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and winners.
The Massively OP staff pick for MMORPG of 2016 is...
This year, we’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2017.
Both Landmark and WildStar launched on Steam in June of this year, Landmark emerging out of early access for the very first time and WildStar hoping for a second wind on a new platform. Neither one quite got what they wanted.
Meanwhile, the world had a(nother) laugh at the MMO players' expense thanks to the Warcraft movie, Jack Emmert took up residence at Daybreak's Austin studio, and CSE opened up a satellite studio in Seattle to speed up work on Camelot Unchained.
Read on for the whole list!