Leaderboard: What’s the most vulnerable Daybreak MMO in 2021?

    
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Yep, it’s that time of year again: We’ve been doing this recap for the last several years, although this one is going to be interesting, given that Daybreak just got sold to EG7 last month.

Longtime readers will recall that in early 2015, SOE was sold off as Daybreak and was hit with game purges and layoffs (as of last year, we were guessing around 20 titles closed total). At the time, we didn’t know it would become a recurring thing, the studio kinda stayed a mess ever since – a frustrating notion since SOE once won best studio four years in a row thanks to its reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going.

So here’s where we stand at the top of 2021:

  • In 2015, you picked Dragon’s Prophet. It sunsetted later that year.
  • In 2017, you picked PlanetSide 2. It lives and is apparently doing very well.
  • In 2018, you picked Just Survive. It’s now dead.
  • In 2019, you picked the unannounced EverQuest game. We’re assuming it’s still in production.
  • In 2020, if I discount “all of the above,” which technically won, then Z1 Battle Royale – the PC version of H1Z1 – was in the lead. And technically, it’s still going, but it’s been neglected all year and was largely omitted from EG7’s investor report, which doesn’t bode well for its future.

This year, since we now know Daybreak owns SSG outright, we get to add two new games to the list discretely: Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online. But we also have a much better understanding of how each of the games is doing, which I have to think will change the voting this year. Let’s do our poll: Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?

Leaderboard: What's the most vulnerable Daybreak MMO in 2021?

  • DC Universe Online (4%, 16 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (6%, 23 Votes)
  • EverQuest (1%, 5 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (7%, 29 Votes)
  • H1Z1 (PS4) (If Daybreak still has a stake in it) (13%, 53 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (11%, 45 Votes)
  • PlanetSide 2 (5%, 20 Votes)
  • Z1 Battle Royale (PC) (23%, 94 Votes)
  • The unannounced game Dimensional Ink is working on (1%, 4 Votes)
  • The rumored next EverQuest game (8%, 32 Votes)
  • The Alien game that might still be in production under Cold Iron (4%, 18 Votes)
  • The canceled Marvel game brought back from the dead (6%, 24 Votes)
  • A totally different unannounced game (1%, 5 Votes)
  • All of the above (6%, 25 Votes)
  • None of the above (4%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 327

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Kelly Green

I’m a daily player of DDO, but honestly, I’m surprised that SSG is still in business. Everything they’ve released since Ravenloft (which was three years ago), have been steps entirely in the wrong direction.

It’s finally gotten to the point where they’re no longer capable of producing professional quality content at all. The players seemingly provide the only QC in the game by being forced to report the massive amounts of bugs that should’ve never been there in the first place. Their latest release, Fables of the Feywild as such a phoned-in, bugged out mess it’s like they released it in alpha. Even the plot line of that faux-expansion comes across like a kid faking a term paper the night before it’s due.

The lag in this game has finally gotten so bad, that last year SSG had to finally quit blaming players’ PCs and internet connections and fess up that they needed to work on it. They actually addressed it for a while, then as soon as they started going after dupers, it got much, much worse. As it stands now, this single issue is the biggest reason that new players don’t stick around.

Their CS is another complete and utter joke. I don’t know to whom or where they farmed it out, but it’s where in-game help tickets go to die. I know players that have unanswered help tickets over 6 months old now. The only way to get anything done at all is to go thru their email support, and even that takes several days. There are exactly ZERO active GMs at any given time, so issues inside of dungeon instances can’t be rectified at all now.

Their marketing team should probably think about taking actual marketing courses because they’re about as skilled in that department as the devs are at coming out with bug free code, which is nil. Thanks for the free weekly items that are so far beyond useless, I don’t want them wasting my inventory space. I assume they’ll get around to updating the DDO Store to reflect item changes sometime in 2022.

All in all, it’s like half-assing is at the very core of their mission statement.

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Gfees

Seeing as how it’s the lowest population AND lowest profit, I’d say EQ2. But since they won’t kill anything EQ right now to try to maintain some sort of value in the franchise, I’ll pick LotRO. A dev team running on fumes, a community manager who would’ve been gone long ago if he didn’t know he’d have to find an actual job after leaving, Daybreak going into full cash shop overload in LotRO monetization, AND a much higher quality product being developed by a much larger dev house with monster financial backing ( i.e. “Surely SWG will keep their license when KotOR comes out!! flashback to the naivety and lack of business acumen of the average gamer ). LotRO is burnt toast teetering on the edge of the garbage can as we speak.

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cursedseishi

If you asked me? H1Z1 (and this includes the PC game with it), Planetside 2, and their unannounced titles.

Currently running titles for the most part I’d reckon is safe. Everquest 1 likely has little in upkeep costs, and alongside 2 I’m sure they do well enough to support themselves and then some. DC, DDO and LoTRO are all IPs that are well-known and have some name-draw with them so I don’t see that being dropped either–unless Daybreak loses the rights to them. DC does just fine, DDO and LoTRO less so, but they’re likely paying the bills as well. Which leaves…

My choices. H1Z1 has been a lame duck as a whole if the numerous twists and renamings/design-shifts haven’t been proof enough of that. It’s limping, and I’m willing to bet if things don’t turn around by 1st or 2nd quarter it might be eyed for the chopping block in time for the next. Planetside 2 is… honestly out of my wheelhouse, but I also think of my choices its the least likely to be dropped. It is seeing development still, I’m betting it does well enough for that much… but outside of that? I can’t speak of much.

Then… there’s the ‘everything else’ choice for me. All of the unannounced/rumored titles they may be developing just… don’t sound plausible long-term. Marvel I’d imagine might be the more expensive IP at the moment between them and DC. I can hardly imagine that’s going to last long in development–if it is at all. Hard to imagine they’d be holding onto BOTH IPs with it after all, and splitting hairs on developing two super hero games feels like it may be… dicey. Aliens is a ‘cursed’ IP, and I don’t see this turning out well at all. And another Everquest game? Yeah… it’d be a good way of showing ‘improvement’ over the Columbus Nova era of Daybreak, but I’d imagine all hands might be on deck (or should be) trying to address the issues with their current lineup. DDO and LoTRO are safe if you ask me, but they’re also lowest on that end for me. They need some major work done to fix the long-standing issues as well as regain trust in the SSG team for them.

Doesn’t exclude some small teams work-shopping ideas of course… But… You have badgers grabbing for your eggs. Daybreak shouldn’t be trying to just push out more and more eggs while counting them blind, they need to address the avivore in the corner first.

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Jack Pipsam

I’m willing to think none of them will get shut-down this year and that’s even without the new owner being involved.

The MMOs they have left are all doing mostly very well for themselves, the only problem is the H1 side of things but even so I somewhat suspect they can just keep that online without needing to actually pull the plug on the whole thing, they can just leave it be I suspect for a while yet even if they’re not actually adding anything new to it.

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treehuggerhannah

I think the Z1s are precarious.

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Ironwu

I am going to say LOTRO. Primarily because there are a lot of players not paying a subscription fee (‘Lifetime’ subs) and there has to be some sort of significant licensing fee for using the Lord of the Rings IP. There may also be a competitive product showing up eventually.

It would seem to me that of all the products, LOTRO is the most endangered.

EQ2 may also be for the chop simply because it is at the bottom of the income generation stack.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I concur, lifetime subs are iffy in general. They’re good for players, at least at first, but the more people who purchased these subs results in the company needing to think of additional monetization methods later on in the games life to make up for the loss in subs. It’s like an immediate shot of revenue that has long-term withdrawal effects.

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Karac_Avalron

I can only speak to the one I play the most, LOTRO. I dont think the doors are closing but the roadmap for 2021, the VIP pricing model, the “mini expansions”, Legendary Item grind and communication processes cant just be talked about, material changes need to be made. I got more then a few people in my kin/discord who will not renew their VIP’s until MINIMALLY we get a clear picture on mini expansions.

So does that make them vulnerable? Yes, more then the other titles? I dont know

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MolleaFauss

None of the above. I believe that in the end all games are doing ok and the overall comany is “standing up” so no imminent closure.

Unless some are getting too costly to mantain (am looking at DDO and LOTRO and their crazy outage), but they do not look like they are on the brink of closure.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

What would you say…. ya’ do here?

what would you say z1.gif
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Hirku Two

I have PvP skills! I am good at dealing with Pvp!

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Bruno Brito

I’ve been kicking ass since the dawn of time.
I’m just a killing man that reached my killing prime.
I burn and i plunder as it suits my desire.
The weapons of my choice, are great balls of fire.

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Paragon Lost

Hehe, looks like a silhouette of Freddy Mercury. 😀🏁🏍 Oh and I want my stapler back!