John Smedley, the president of SOE, did a Reddit AMA a little while ago and dropped some bombs.
If you could relaunch a shutdown title which one would you pick and what would you do differently this time?
SWG. I would do everything differently.
SWG PLAYERS – OUR NEXT GAME (not announced yet) IS DEDICATED TO YOU. Once we launch it… you can come home now. (source)
Here are some more snippets:
- The PlanetSide 2 pricing model is not a good gauge for EQN/L (and Ps2 prices may be decreased soon)
- There will be a Bard in EQN
- The Ps2 Player Studio will eventually allow players to create vehicles and even weapons eventually.
- EQN is confirmed to be coming to the PS4.
- The whole Storybricks/emergent AI thing is the secret sauce to EQN.
- You can expect EQN:L, expansions to EQ and EQ2, and an unannounced MMO in 2014.
- When asked about the closing of Vanguard, he admitted that they were actually running it at a loss for years.
His response to the closing of Free Realms was rather depressing:
1) Are you planning on adding more family-friendly options? First there was Toontown Online, then there was Free Realms, and CWA. Is there another youth-oriented game planned?
1) No. No more kids games. Kids don’t spend well and it’s very difficult to run a kids game. Turns out Kids do mean stuff to each other a lot. (source)
There was another question/answer that I felt was rather interesting, concerning card games:
Will Legends of Norrath also be sunsetted in the near future?
no. Actually after seeing what Blizzard did with Hearthstone it’s given us some other ideas…. LoN is an awesome card game. We can take that to the next level. (source)
The whole WoW-clone phenomenon is well established, but I still find it interesting seeing it take place in real-time.
Factoids from Smed
In the midst of phat beats the Smedster was laying down yesterday, there were a few random facts I didn’t want to let slip through the cracks.
In practice, our primary job is making fun games. That always comes first. PS2 was a $25M investment. (source)
It is pretty rare that we get to see how much a game costs directly from a knowledgeable source.
Player Studio items – let me make this simple. We excluded them because we didn’t like the idea of giving away someone else’s item. The player who made it would get no revenue in that case because it’s a free item. We are considering just eating the cost of this. Either way we are likely going to allow Player Studio items. (source)
In case you were wondering about the “eating the cost” comment for Player Studio items. Here is a bigger drop though:
We’re in the middle of developing Everquest Next Landmark (on schedule right now for end of this month). We rebooted the game 3 times. It was a massive delay and it hurt us financially. But it was the right thing to do for us, and for the industry. Most importantly you all are going to get to play something we’re very proud of and we think is a whole lot of fun. (source)
Emphasis added. So… the weird sort of “marketing” surrounding EQN:L is starting to make sense. Namely, SOE didn’t know what the hell they were doing either. That’s almost comforting. But a little scary too, considering it appears as though SOE is going to be leaning on EQN:L for financial stability.
We’ll have to see how it plays out, but for my part, I am liable to start my SOE subscription back up once I can start playing EQN:L given how I’ll likely be getting PlanetSide 2 bonuses as well.
Bring It, 2014
The normal sort of thing to do is look back on what 2013 brought us, but ain’t nobody got time for that. And 2013 sucked anyway. Let’s see what’s in store for next year, yeah?
For as much as crusty old bloggers harp about Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online, I find it amusing how not a one of them (that I am aware of) has mentioned The Repopulation. What is it? Why, according to Kotaku it is the love child of SWG and UO. MMO? Check. Open-world sandbox? Check. Build your own towns? Check. No levels or classes? Check and check. Can just be a crafter all day, or dancer, or street performer? Ayep. Hell, they even claim you can seamlessly switch from hotkey MMO style combat to an action-oriented 1st/3rd-person shooter perspective. It’s a veritable pantheon of Jesus features.
Apparently the game is already in Alpha from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012, although they are giving it another $50k Kickstart for some reason or another. Closed Beta for backers starts in March. The end result will be a F2P MMO that sells “memberships” in tiers for a one-time purchase, which is perhaps the most novel business model I’ve seen yet. In fact, I think that was the last undiscovered videogame payment scheme. Achievement unlocked.
It’s a thing.
Elder Scrolls Online
Also a thing.
EverQuest Next: Landmark
If Landmark ends up being anything more than a commercial disaster, it will be in spite of having the most vague, nonsensical marketing strategy I have ever witnessed. I mean, watch this promotional video. That was uploaded on December 6th, 2013, so it’s not from back when they didn’t know how they were going to cover up the EQN delay.
That being said, I am always keenly interested in anything that allows players to freeform create things in game spaces. I’m not talking about building a house somewhere in UO or other nonsense. I’m talking about actually being able to craft something that can effectively be used as a portfolio of game design. Hell, I still have all 11.6 gigs of Portal 2 installed because I imagined that one day I would get around to building my own puzzle as an example of level design. Did it happen? Nope. Could it have happened? Yep. PlanetSide 2’s Player Studio deal apparently had some budding designers banking $5000-$8000 in a quarter, for crafting the equivalent of hats and camo. Landmark will have the same sort of system in place, on a much larger scale.
So, Landmark is on the radar. I’m not convinced that it will actually be a “real” MMO in terms of it being entertaining to play the non-crafting bits, but who knows? Certainly not SOE, that’s for goddamn sure.
Not a thing. Seriously, it’s Borderlands 2 Online minus a PC version. Which means I’m not playing it.
I hadn’t even thought about this game since I ran into a bugged quest back in July. Actually, I take that back. I had an entire post ready to go entitled “Firefail” and it was to be accompanied by this picture:
Basically, I tried patching the game and got stuck at the last 0.04 MB. I truly did try everything, including a full uninstall of the game client and a redownload.
As it turns out, I might have dodged a bullet there. Apparently, the CEO of the game studio was fired after having spent millions of dollars on high-end camera equipment and, no joke, converting a tour bus into a mock-up of in-game transport. That bus job cost $3 million from an MMO game studio’s coffers. Oh, and I guess apparently the CEO announced that he unilaterally cancelled all PvP in a forum post? You can read a sort of insider view of the dirty laundry in this (verified!) Reddit thread.
WoW: Outlands 2.0
Probably a thing.