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SOE's next step?

Baid321Baid321 Member UncommonPosts: 4

After hearing that news about SWG getting shut down (which I had recently got back into the game about a month or so ago and was enjoying pvp on my Elder Jedi toon), I wasnt completely blown away. I've told people for the past 2 years that the game wont live much longer and so I stopped investing time into it. Although the last thing to come out in the game worth a damn was the instanced class jewlry years ago. The game was dieing of cancer since the CU. NGE accelerated the death and LA finally decided to pull the trigger. If it wasnt for LA's conflicting interest of two SW MMOs, I believe SWG would still go on.

Now, the newest topic about SOE shutting down the facebook game Fortune League (Which I never even attempted to try) is being shut down soon after being up for 7 months. You would think something such as a browser game wouldnt take much to operate at all, then why shut it down? This raises some serious questions...

Throughout the years, SOE has alienated its player base in almost every game it has ever created. So whats SOE's next move? We've seen other MMOs by SOE be shut down over the years as well as employees and studios being let go everywhere. If recent trends follow, SOE will shut down Vanguard next. It is SOEs last alternative true MMO next to DCUO, which I dont see lasting long as well. Economy has been tough and SOE has a bad rep everywhere in the MMO community. I believe they are attempting to consolidate the company and go back to its roots of being a smaller and dedicated company to a single MMO or group of MMOs - The Everquest franchise.

Lets take Blizzard for example. They have one true MMO. WoW. We will have diablo 3 come out and that will certainly attract alot of players from all MMOs. Blizzard has done extremely well. WoW blew up as well as it did because of the Warcraft franchise and its playerbase is made up of fanboys and people who never played any other online game before. Warcraft will begin to decline and this was seen with the release of Aion and most recently Rift. As the WoW playerbase begins to discover other MMOs with improved gameplay and graphics they will see the dinosaur WoW is becoming. SW:TOR will absolutely change the face of MMOs for quite some time as it is truely a story driven, fully voiced and graphically great looking MMO.

Now, back to SOE. Few years back in 09 the talk about this "Everquest Next" came out of Smed's mouth. Since then there has been very little information and details released about the game. If anyone has seen the "Evercracked" documentary made which can be seen fully on youtube, it does reference EQ Next and shows a room with a door labeled as such but they do not go in depth with it. Smed himself has said that they have some tricks up their sleeve. Perhaps EQ Next will be SOE's attempt to redeem itself to what its done to its player base as it has spoken about; to return to more of EQ's game play.

I'm currently playing EQ on the Fippy progression server. The nostalgia of being able to relive the better part of MMO history was way to tempting to pass up. Although its not the true original EQ such as back when I started playing, it certainly is damn near it and actually makes me want to log on and play the game, unlike some days on EQII where all I get on for is raiding.

I'm having high hopes for EQ Next - most bash it and think it wont be close to what EQ originally was. EQ was challenging, fairly difficult, it made me appreciate every level I got and forced players to explore zones; very unlike what EQ Live servers and what other MMOs are now,  where you only go to the old zones if they are hot zones for the week and thats if your leveling a toon because your endgame character has no need to log on.

So I'm wondering if anything has been heard or released as of late about EQ Next? I know they are about to kick off SoE fanfaire here in a week and I'm sure after almost 3 years of faintly talking about it, they are going to release quite a bit of the game.

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Comments

  • meleemadnessmeleemadness Member Posts: 592

    Very good write up.....I agree with everything except the SW:TOR piece stealing a lot of customers from WOW.  I think it will pull a lot but the story part might drive ppl mad with boredom....time will tell.  I do know Blizz did some research that showed ppl didn't care too much about story and never read the quests.

    Anyway, I too look with great anticipation on any tidbits of information on EQ Next from Fan Faire which is in 3 days!

  • erictlewiserictlewis Member UncommonPosts: 3,021

    Interesting write up.   Here is my comments.

    (1) Vanguard  I am not sure what is going to happen.  They have no dev staff,  the eq/eq2 dev staff does work on it from time to time.  So will it get closed, who knows at this point you would think its a cash make. The only reason I say that is no dev staff to play so all the subs can pay the bills to keep the servers running.

    (2)Wow they are doing their best to make their fan boys unhappy,  working on a new mmo in secret.

    (3) Now we come to the crux of the problem.   EQ Next,  or EQ3.   I am worried about this game in the sense that well.  When they made EQ2 the plan was to shut down EQ.  I am glad they are two separate games, as I liked EQ2 better, and well you guys love EQ better.   Now were going to re-invent Norrath?/  Why when we already have dwindling populations ins both EQ and EQ2.  I just don't think there is enough player base they can suck from EQ and EQ2 to make EQ3 (EQ Next).

    (4) That league game on face book.  Everybody I know hated it. I don't do apps on face book due to security concerns. Lots of cookies and what not.  I know a lot of folks in our guild who had issues, most of them not getting the rewards.   Then face book decided that all the games have to participate in face book gold buying.  I think at that point it just became a burden for soe to work with face book, and on a broken application that many folks could get to work right in the first place.

    Long story short, I am worried about SOE as a company,  they already shown that they will kill a game.  Matrix, SWG, Fortune League,  The agency killed before it got to beta.  Yes I think SOE got some cash flow problems atm.

    Hopefully at fainfare we can hear whats really going on, that is if the protests don't kill the event.   I would love to go to fanfare, but I just don't have the cash.

    Oh well That's my 2 coppers worth.

  • OmaliOmali MMO Business CorrespondentMember UncommonPosts: 1,175

    Originally posted by erictlewis

    Long story short, I am worried about SOE as a company,  they already shown that they will kill a game.  Matrix, SWG, Fortune League,  The agency killed before it got to beta.  Yes I think SOE got some cash flow problems atm.

    Star Wars Galaxies is being shut down not because of subscriber numbers, which John Smedley has said were healthy and stable, but because Lucas Arts wouldn't renew the contract with The Old Republic coming out.

    image

  • erictlewiserictlewis Member UncommonPosts: 3,021

    Originally posted by Omali

    Originally posted by erictlewis

    Long story short, I am worried about SOE as a company,  they already shown that they will kill a game.  Matrix, SWG, Fortune League,  The agency killed before it got to beta.  Yes I think SOE got some cash flow problems atm.

    Star Wars Galaxies is being shut down not because of subscriber numbers, which John Smedley has said were healthy and stable, but because Lucas Arts wouldn't renew the contract with The Old Republic coming out.

     Actually if you read Smedley's statement he said it was a mutual decision.  I think that LA put such a price tag on it, that there was no way the subs could pay for the license.  However we will really never know the real truth behind it.

  • ReaktorblueReaktorblue Member UncommonPosts: 21

    Originally posted by erictlewis

    Interesting write up.   Here is my comments.

    (3) Now we come to the crux of the problem.   EQ Next,  or EQ3.   I am worried about this game in the sense that well.  When they made EQ2 the plan was to shut down EQ.  I am glad they are two separate games, as I liked EQ2 better, and well you guys love EQ better.   Now were going to re-invent Norrath?/  Why when we already have dwindling populations ins both EQ and EQ2.  I just don't think there is enough player base they can suck from EQ and EQ2 to make EQ3 (EQ Next).

    As far as I'm aware, EQ Next is not supposed to be a sequal (EQ3) but in fact a "re-imagining". I'm not sure exactly what that's supposed to mean but I found that here - http://www.giantbomb.com/news/soe-unveils-everquest-next-a-reimagining-of-everquest/2410/

    I did enjoy EQ2 but felt that there was too much fluff and not enough EQ in it. Either way, it was a great game and I really loved the graphics, if it were not for having a less than stellar computer at the time. A mix of the two, great graphics but not so good in such a way as in EQ2 where the game was unplayable.

  • AntariousAntarious Member UncommonPosts: 2,824

    Well one piece of good news that came out of Fan Faire was the new "engine".     Which is supposedly going to be used in Planetside/EQ Next.

     

    The browser game being shut down doesn't suprise me.   Honestly at this point if they want to compete in the MMO market they have to put resources in the right places.   As well as optimize the resources they have and cut bloat.

     

    EQNext.. I'm not really sure in some ways it might be more like EQ1 than EQ2 but perhaps not the way we'd think.   I also think it will be quite a bit different than EQ1/2.

     

    Seriously at this point in the MMO market we have so many games with the same basic design.   The most obvious way to grab market is to be different.   To  me that doesn't me I add a personal story line or other fluff on top of the same design and hope you don't notice... it means they have to actually do something different...

     

    and I'm not exactly talking about theme park versus sand box either.   However, I would expect to be see a different type of character advancement.   Where you'd have a bit more control of your characters development.   Not exactly a skill system but more of a free form class system with the standard levels etc

     

    I'd also expect SOE to start concentrating more on their own IP's...  

     

    *edited to add*  Another poster mentioned the EQ2 graphics and performance.   One major issue with the engine used in EQ2 is that its mostly cpu dependant.   It really does not take advantage of a GPU the way it should.   There was some talk of upgrading the engine...   this was why I said the "new engine" was good news.   Its also being developed with resources from Nvidia to take advantage of PhysX which could be interesting for Planetside Next.

  • Daffid011Daffid011 Member UncommonPosts: 7,945

    All of SOEs other problems aside there is one massive problem that any new EQ game will face, Play Station 3.  If I recall right, Smed has said that going forward all SOE games will be cross platform. 

    Just think of the sacrifices that would need to be made in order to make an everquest game function on a console.  Look at what SOE presented to the PC players with DCU and how limited that game is.

     

    My biggest hope is that EQ3 will not be cross platform.

  • ReaktorblueReaktorblue Member UncommonPosts: 21

    Originally posted by Daffid011

    All of SOEs other problems aside there is one massive problem that any new EQ game will face, Play Station 3.  If I recall right, Smed has said that going forward all SOE games will be cross platform. 

    Just think of the sacrifices that would need to be made in order to make an everquest game function on a console.  Look at what SOE presented to the PC players with DCU and how limited that game is.

     

    My biggest hope is that EQ3 will not be cross platform.

    I couldn't agree more. If EQ Next is ever developed as cross platform, it's more than likely doomed to failure. We'll just have to wait and see though.

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798

    so far

    EQnext is being hinted as cross platform - but no confirmation

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-01-14-sony-hints-at-everquest-3-on-ps3

     

    daffid011 is right that SOE did say all future mmos had a console component

    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=15042

    Are you considering console MMOs more deeply?



    NB: Absolutely. We have EverQuest Online Adventures that came out on the PS2 four years ago, and that was one of the first, along with Final Fantasy XI, to be a console MMO. For us as a company moving forward, all of our MMOs in development have a console component.

     

    finally this is what Smed said about EQnext earlier this year

    12th anniversary Q&A

    http://everquest.allakhazam.com/story.html?story=25641&storypage=2

    Do you see the MMO genre ever going back to the goal of making an online world as opposed to a game?

    Smedley: I would say, without giving away to much, EverQuest Next is much truer to that vision. We feel really strongly about that. Players are going to be pretty surprised. They're not going to see us do EverQuest 2.5 or make a World of Warcraft clone or anything like that. We have an entirely new direction and we believe very strongly that the concept of it being a world is the way to go.

     

    I like SOE games but I dont trust Smed at all ;)

  • ReaktorblueReaktorblue Member UncommonPosts: 21

    Truth be told, EverQuest was in it's prime when Brad McQuaid ran the show and Verant was a major player in what was going on with EQ. When SOE took over the reigns, it started it's downward spiral. The game was still fun but many of the features of the game that made it what it was, was removed or watered down.

    It feels like now SOE does not make these games as a labor of love. It feels more like they make them with $$ as the top goal in mind which to me, may or may not make them loads of money but it makes the games fizzle out much quicker. If it's true that EQ is going somewhat strong and you can look at all of the rest of the games that SOE has come out with, dying over the years and being shut down, perhaps they'd open their eyes to try to figure out why.

    Adding that part about consoles will take away from the game. The game could do very well but I don't see people sticking with it for as long as any PC gamer sticks with their games and they generally run into other problems also. The last part about creating a world is what really makes an MMO shine.

    Here's a thought, completely off topic though. What would you think about a Mass Effect MMORPG? Also, if you have ever played Super Nintendo and played Super Mario RPG, wouldn't it be fun if Nintendo / Square Enix came out with a Super Mario MMORPG? Food for thought I suppose.

  • LidaneLidane Member CommonPosts: 2,300

    Psst....Verant WAS SOE. They were never independent of each other:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Online_Entertainment

     

    In April 1998, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) was formed by merging parts of Sony Online Ventures with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Within a matter of months after this change, Sony Interactive Studios America was renamed 989 Studios.

    Towards the end of 1998, 989 Studios shifted its strategy to making PlayStation console games only. The company's computer game/online development branch spun off, initially calling itself RedEye Interactive and then soon after Verant Interactive.

  • ReaktorblueReaktorblue Member UncommonPosts: 21

    Originally posted by Lidane

    Psst....Verant WAS SOE. They were never independent of each other:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Online_Entertainment

     

    In April 1998, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) was formed by merging parts of Sony Online Ventures with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Within a matter of months after this change, Sony Interactive Studios America was renamed 989 Studios.

    Towards the end of 1998, 989 Studios shifted its strategy to making PlayStation console games only. The company's computer game/online development branch spun off, initially calling itself RedEye Interactive and then soon after Verant Interactive.

    I'm not so sure that wikipedia article is accurate. Please take a look at SOE's history page located at http://corporate.station.sony.com/history-of-soe.vm

    "June 2000 - SOE acquires Verant Interactive" This is taken straight from SOE's website and not from a user submitted article on Wikipedia.

  • LidaneLidane Member CommonPosts: 2,300

    Originally posted by Reaktorblue

    Originally posted by Lidane

    Psst....Verant WAS SOE. They were never independent of each other:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Online_Entertainment

     

    In April 1998, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) was formed by merging parts of Sony Online Ventures with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Within a matter of months after this change, Sony Interactive Studios America was renamed 989 Studios.

    Towards the end of 1998, 989 Studios shifted its strategy to making PlayStation console games only. The company's computer game/online development branch spun off, initially calling itself RedEye Interactive and then soon after Verant Interactive.

    You're looking at it a bit differently. Verant was a part of SOE but was a major contributing factor to the design and "vision" that day to day operations was resposible for. At a corporate level, I'm not sure exactly what happened but I remember reading articles at the time of playing when Brad McQuaid was leaving and Verant Interactive was being "absorbed" into SOE and that SOE would be making all of the day to day decisions going forward.

    The point is, Verant was never independent of Sony. Ever. They were a part of the company from the beginning. 

    Also, Verant being absorbed back into the SOE fold and any press releases about day to day decisions are real easy to parse. It means that from Sony's perspective, they didn't like the way the game was being managed by a separate division, so they consolidated their resources. Brad most likely left due to personal disagreements and conflcits. You don't leave a company when you've got a successful game on your hands without some sort of personal politics going on behind the scenes.

  • Damage99Damage99 Member UncommonPosts: 202

    The progression servers are a joke.  You want real classic EQ?  Google project 1999.

  • ReaktorblueReaktorblue Member UncommonPosts: 21

    Originally posted by Lidane

    The point is, Verant was never independent of Sony. Ever. They were a part of the company from the beginning.

    Also, Verant being absorbed back into the SOE fold and any press releases about day to day decisions are real easy to parse. It means that from Sony's perspective, they didn't like the way the game was being managed by a separate division, so they consolidated their resources. Brad most likely left due to personal disagreements and conflcits. You don't leave a company when you've got a successful game on your hands without some sort of personal politics going on behind the scenes.

    After some more research, that's completely wrong. Verant Interactive was in fact completely independant as they were a game development company and was acquired by SOE in 2000.

    SOE's role in EQ was to be the publisher as Verant Interactive was to be the developer and in 2000, SOE had purchased not only the developement rights but Verant Interactive and the name as well.

    You can verify this right on SOE's website by looking at thier history.

  • LidaneLidane Member CommonPosts: 2,300

    Originally posted by Reaktorblue

    Originally posted by Lidane



    The point is, Verant was never independent of Sony. Ever. They were a part of the company from the beginning.

    Also, Verant being absorbed back into the SOE fold and any press releases about day to day decisions are real easy to parse. It means that from Sony's perspective, they didn't like the way the game was being managed by a separate division, so they consolidated their resources. Brad most likely left due to personal disagreements and conflcits. You don't leave a company when you've got a successful game on your hands without some sort of personal politics going on behind the scenes.

    After some more research, that's completely wrong. Verant Interactive was in fact completely independant as they were a game development company and was acquired by SOE in 2000.

    SOE's role in EQ was to be the publisher as Verant Interactive was to be the developer and in 2000, SOE had purchased not only the developement rights but Verant Interactive and the name as well.

    You can verify this right on SOE's website by looking at thier history.

    That's interesting, because Brad says otherwise:

    http://otherworlds31279.yuku.com/topic/1391/background-to-Verant-as-told-by-Brad-McQuaid

    Smed and I founded Verant. We started our own corporation, with him as President/CEO and me as Vice President. 



    Same with Sigil. Jeff Butler and I founded Sigil. We started our own corporation, with him as Vice President and me as President & CEO (later as we grew, I promoted Jeff to President so we could have multiple Vice Presidents under us to begin forming an upper management team that now consists of 2 VPs and several Directors). I remain CEO and Chairman of Sigil. 



    Some differences: 



    1. Verant spun off of 989 Studios -- what happened was the online development group of 989 left that company and so when Smed and I formed Verant, we already had 60+ employees right off the bat -- the transition was pretty seamless (we didn't even move buildings for a while, renting the building we were in from 989). 



    2. SOE, a different Sony entity (989 was part of SCEA, the Playstation side of Sony, reporting to Sony Japan, and which was later assimilated back into SCEA and they just kept 989 Sports around as a brand) bought Verant. SOE, which is a Sony entity that is under Sony Pictures, which is under Sony America, was a different entity in one of the many companies under the larger Sony umbrella. SOE until that time had been focused on web based online games using ad revenue and using brands that Sony Pictures owned or had a license to (Wheel of Fortune, etc). SOE was looking to incorporate subscription based revenue, because ad revenue was shrinking. What finally happened was of note: Sony closed down SOE New York, which was where the company had been formally headquartered, and most of the original SOE employees left (though some stayed and moved to San Diego). All Verant employees then became SOE employees and SOE became headquartered in San Diego in the same buildings Verant was in (though they have expanded into several more buildings since then). Smed became COO of SOE, and I became VP of Premium Games and then later Chief Creative Officer. With the company growing, other VP positions were made. After I left SOE, over a year later, Smed was promoted to President of SOE, with SOE still reporting to Sony Pictures. 



    3. When Verant spun off, SCEA remained the owner of the EverQuest IP, so Verant was the developer of EverQuest for SCEA, receiving a royalty from the game's profits. 

     

    To recap -- Verant was created out of the ashes of the online/PC games division of 989 Studios, which was owned by Sony. Sony acquired Verant, which was already made up of Sony employees and located in a Sony building. They never owned the EverQuest IP. SCEA --that is, Sony -- did. They just developed the game FOR Sony.

    How were they ever independent of Sony again?

  • ReaktorblueReaktorblue Member UncommonPosts: 21

    You're grasping for straws at this point. I'm not going to argue semantics or the legality of things. The fact is the game had a noticeable change within during the time of that announcement. For about a little over a year the game had 1 feeling to it and after the announcement, the game had a completely different feeling.

    The details you're attempting to provide are for the most part irrelevant of my comment because regardless of where you want to draw the roots, what teams were involved, where legally anything was derived, it does not negate the fact that the synergy was altered.

    Not to mention you are getting your information from websites that are user submitted and not from the corporate source. It does not make much logical sense for SOE to post that in 2000 they "acquired" Verant Interactive, if they already had owned it.

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798

    Originally posted by Reaktorblue

    Not to mention you are getting your information from websites that are user submitted and not from the corporate source. It does not make much logical sense for SOE to post that in 2000 they "acquired" Verant Interactive, if they already had owned it.

    SilkyVenom is a site that has all of Brad McQuaid's posts in their Dev tracker

    http://www.silkyvenom.com/pages/devtracker/index.php?go=posts&get=thread&fromsite=1&id=51141

    Brad McQuaid (Aradune Mithara)   is not some "user submitted info"

  • ReaktorblueReaktorblue Member UncommonPosts: 21

    Originally posted by Nadia

    Originally posted by Reaktorblue

    Not to mention you are getting your information from websites that are user submitted and not from the corporate source. It does not make much logical sense for SOE to post that in 2000 they "acquired" Verant Interactive, if they already had owned it.

    SilkyVenom is a site that has all of Brad McQuaid's posts in their Dev tracker

    http://www.silkyvenom.com/pages/devtracker/index.php?go=posts&get=thread&fromsite=1&id=51141

    Brad McQuaid (Aradune Mithara)   is not some "user submitted info"

    I'm confused, I too know of SilkyVenom but nowhere in the previous posts did I see that mentioned. All I saw was Wikipedia, which is user submitted information and another forum site. So if I'm mistaken and it was posted, I completely apologize.

    Back to the original point though, the game changed around the time of the announcement and it did not change for the better.

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798

    you are correct, his orginal link

    http://otherworlds31279.yuku.com/topic/1391/background-to-Verant-as-told-by-Brad-McQuaid

    did not list the original source --- I fixed it tho -- it came from Silky Venom

  • OnigodOnigod Member UncommonPosts: 756

    i hope for the whole company to shut down.

     

    so many games that have the potentional to become the best wich no work put into it making them all slowly die

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798

    Originally posted by Onigod

    so many games that have the potentional to become the best wich no work put into it making them all slowly die

    I do not deny what you say but SOE has been doing a decent job w EQ2

  • pdk25pdk25 Member Posts: 115

    I started playing EQ again about 1 1/2 years ago after a 5 year time off. I think EQ is better now than ever before. I`m certainly haveing more fun now anyways.

  • eqarigoneqarigon Member Posts: 5

    Man if the next EQ is a cross platform go ahead and stick a fork in it.   These new MMO players from the WoW generation will never accept a MMO that penalizes you for making a mistake.  So this is all im asking for in a new EQ game.   I want the class mechanics to be nearly identicle as EQ1.   I want pullers / mezzers to play a bigger role again.   I get bored pulling a entire area and killing them all in one min.  EQ if you accidently pulled more than 3 mobs without a chanter, you might as well EVAC lol.  Yes bring Evacs back as well!   I want FD pulling.   I want snare kiting for our caster friends.   I want only good gear available in 24/7 open dungeons like the Lower Guk days!   I want trains to zone ins.  I want camp checks because groups will actually sit in a spot in a dungeon and camp the names and kill the PH's.   Yes I want camps back!    Give them WoW players some solo content but dammit I dont want to play a MMO in single player mode like I am in Rift at the moment.   Limit them damn instances zones. I hate them they discourage interaction among players.      I use to like waking up early Saturday mornings to see what I can find for sell in the tunnel of EC.    We got fat and lazy with our clicky ports and automated auctions....but I guess I can live with those if it will appeal to the WoW kids.

     

    Things that hurt EQ2 in the beginning.   Dont overspec the game, the requirements of EQ2 when it was launched required a major overhaul or replacement of your PC.   WoW worked right out of the box.   I lost my guild in EQ2 that transfered over from EQ1 because over half the players PC couldnt run the game.    SOE hardly advertised the game, they counted on the EQ fanbase to come over.   They didnt give the competition enough credit.   Even by today standards I think EQ2 graphics is right up there with todays new MMO.    EQ2 is no EQ to me but easily one of the better polished MMO out today.   But yet nobody knows much about it because SOE does nothing to promote it.   Years after the success of WoW they still advertise the game on TV and every major retail store still has it on their shelves.   EQ2 (cricket sounds).

     

  • pdk25pdk25 Member Posts: 115

    A very good post Eqarigon. I agree 100% that the class mechanics should be exactly like EQ1. I would also mention that I prefer Monks being a DPS/Puller type of class rather than a tank class like in EQ2. Even though I left EQ2 with 5 max level toons, I am so glad I went back to EQ1. To me the EQ1 classes are done about perfectly and the AA system is just the best.

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