Friday, December 16, 2005

MO5 - The SOE effect... part II... MMORPG madness

Mouthing Off 5

If you play Everquest 2 currently, I would quit. Why? Because the SOE effect is going full tilt and the ole’ captain over at SOE, John Smedley, has lost the lock to his spigot: err, mouth. Read the clown’s: err John Smedley’s new interview over at Gamespot.

To quote the clown:
"One thing that I love about our company is that there is no 'quit' in this company. It's about making sure that we have pride in what we do. People within the company feel so much pride in this game that they want it to beat the crap out of World of Warcraft. That's something we feel very passionate about. We know we are capable of making the best stuff out there, and I'm proud to say that with the changes we're making in Galaxies, I think we're headed in the right direction."

They love your company so much that the Star Wars Galaxies team has lost numerous leads, developers, and technicians?

They are so dedicated that they somehow are going to rebuild a 2.5 year old game into a World of Warcraft killer? You can “want to beat the crap out of World of Warcraft”, but I would think it a bit silly to actually believe you can. It is said though, confidence is a key to success.

Enough about Star Wars Galaxies, let us get back to Everquest 2. As I have previously defined the SOE effect I will connect some dots. In April ’05 Star Wars Galaxies underwent the Combat Upgrade to mixed reviews and a slight murmur in the crowd. Players stayed and lived with the changes because it was not GAME ALTERING or DRAMATIC. Fast forward to November and the BOMBSHELL known as the NGE was dropped inside a two week period.

The numbers are not in or they are very closely guarded, but the word around the Internet is that the NGE has killed Star Wars Galaxies. Actually, effectively killed would be a better statement. No amount of marketing or positive PR spin will sway a large group of new players to pick up Star Wars Galaxies sans a complete re-launch under a new name.

Now, back to Everquest 2. EQ2 already had a major revision to it's combat system and class balance. Once again, there are some murmurs in the player base about the changes. People are still playing though. However, what will happen when SOE decides that the game isn’t Everquesty enough?

Smedley claimed that their sandbox approach didn’t work with Star Wars because it wasn’t Star Warsy enough. Everquest 2 isn’t a sandbox game, but it’s no Everquest either. SOE so far has swayed from making a better Everquest all the way to making change after change to open the game up towards what I like to call “the World of Warcraft player”. Not just casual gamers, but gamers that like to solo MORE than group. Obviously World of Warcraft has found A LOT of gamers that fit this mold.

If SOE is so CONFIDENT that they can turn Star Wars Galaxies into a World of Warcraft killer then what do you think they will believe they can do with Everquest 2, which is still rumored to be short of pulling a profit due to high development costs. Is Everquest 2 in for a major shake up because it somehow doesn’t fit the mold that SOE believes it should?

If 300,000+ accounts at SWG’s peak wasn't good enough then what is the threshold for Everquest 2 before SOE mandates it be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up? Did SOE learn with Everquest 2 that sequels don’t work in the MMO market and did that scare away the idea of a Star Wars Galaxies 2 implementing their new features? I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems like the SOE effect is getting worse.

With SOE’s parent company, Sony, already hurting in the public relations department with the DRM fiasco, will they be willing to take any more negative press as the story of the Star Wars Galaxies NGE debacle starts crossing into the New York Times?

Everquest 2 players: get while the getting is good. Don't say "It will never happen", because it already has. As much as you may hate the idea, you can't deny the obvious trend that SOE has set. How many more games do they need to kill to prove it?

Update: 3 May, 2009 - Edited post and applied labels.


  1. Anonymous5:15 PM

    SOE and LucasArts' public relations strategy for the NGE continues to mystify me. I wrote a longish blog entry here if you're interested.

    Regarding EQ2, you now have me wondering why we haven't already seen something so, um, revolutionary as the NGE for that game. Perhaps Sony is less conservative with intellectual property it doesn't outright own, or perhaps its margins are simply a lot healthier.

  2. Anonymous4:18 AM

    The owner of this blog is a moron, doesn't even sound like you PLAY the game(you sound like a WoW fan boy to me). Seriously, after the combat revamp there was some negative lash back but generally it fixed the core problems people saw with combat.

    After the revamp most classes have more unique spells and can fulfill their core archetype roles. People whine period no matter what they do.

    No one can deny that it sucks to have a huge overhaul of the game, especially one that no one asked for like in SWG. Most people i knew who played the game played it and became quickly bored because it was very niche outside of the star wars liscence.

    But face facts EQ-2 appeals to a different market and it's not the same game as SWG. It doesn't carry a well known worldwide liscence to it's name except to MMO gamers.

    It may be a part of SOE but there are other people at the helm of the game trying to make it better. If SOE was so quick to ruin games explain why people still play EQ1 even though people complained about all the changes it went through.

    Most of the changes were things the community asked for, SWG got stuff it didn't ask for. That's why it's a big deal. People can't deny that the original SWG game was great either. But such a huge unwanted change is different.

    People bitched about the eq2 combat revamp initially but a majority of people are happy with the outcome. You can't make everyone happy either...

    Try playing games before you know what your talking about.. I guess PS3 will fail too now because of some bad press eh? Besides it's not like blizzard didn't make drastic changes that got people mad and that they still complain about regardless of it's subscription numbers.

    To be honest i think the issue was people were very hyped to have a "Star Wars MMORPG" and were let down(hell i was). Even before release people thought it was going to be the #1 game because of those 2 facts alone. And SOE was disappointed because it didn't grab allot of fans including the hardcore SW fans.

    At any rate check your facts. 2 different games, same senior producer, 2 different teams working on each game. All MMO's have had a combat revamp at some point.

    Eh, i'm preaching to the wall here though because people can never be objective about anything...

  3. Check your facts. 2 different games. 2 similiar patterns. Same company.

    Call me a WoW fanboi all you want... but you can read on and see what I think they screwed up also.

    There will come a point and time when SOE deems EQ2 isn't Everquest enough and changes will come down that will overhaul the game.

  4. Anonymous3:40 PM

    WOW Fanboi

  5. Wow - SOE still sucks. It only seems like a short while ago I was quitting EQ after 140 days played, 5 expansions and 4 effective years of my life I'd never recover.

    I'll never pick up another SOE product (well, I probably I will - but as a blanket statement...) again. I've read numerous opinions about the changes to SWG and honestly it doesn't surprise me in the least - the gaming public to them is ground beef to be molded into whatever they feel you need to be made into, not the other way around.


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