Thursday, April 29, 2010

Listening To: SOE Official Podcast #84 - Free Realms B-Day

Podcast: Sony Online Entertainment Official Podcast #84
Host: Aimee "Ashlanne" Rekoske
Release Date: 26 April 2010
Length: 50:55

Some people look at the official podcasts of gaming companies and just are not interested. Why? Because the podcasters are employees of the game company and have to toe the party line. That can lead to some boring and sugarcoated talk. But I wanted to listen to the SOE Official Podcast #84 for two reasons. Not only did the podcast come at the one year anniversary of the launch of Free Realms, but it was the first episode to come out without its founder, former SOE Community Relations Manager and, more recently, EverQuest 2 Senior Producer Alan “Brenlo” Crosby.

So how did the SOE podcast crew handle the transition? First, Brenlo’s longtime co-host Aimee "Ashlanne" Rekoske is now the permanent host and long-time news reader Jason “Pex” Ryan took a turn as the co-host. For this show Jason, the Community Manager for Free Realms, was the obvious choice since the podcast would focus on Free Realms. For the future, the current plan is to have a rotating crew of co-hosts and for the next episode listeners will get to vote on the next co-host. My vote is for Linda “Brasse” Carlson. Why? Because I’d really like to listen to her try to be corporate. I’m more used to listening to her appearances on The Jethal Silverwing Show on Online Gaming Radio.

As for Brenlo’s departure from SOE, the crew didn’t say anything themselves. The only mention was from a reader e-mail expressing reget and good wishes to Brenlo on his future. Yet more evidence that Brenlo’s departure wasn’t on the best of terms.

As is customary, the podcast had a news segment in which news of SOE’s games gets mentioned. EverQuest players will see changes in mercenary pricing, new alternate achievements and some fine tuning of the Underfoot raid. EverQuest 2 players were briefly told about the Passport program and directed to ZAM.com for interviews with the new producer of EQ2. Star Wars: Galaxies players will be getting a lot of new content to include a lot more storage for their stuff. And Pox Nora came out with its 13th expansion on the 26th.

Of course, the big news was the 1st birthday for Free Realms. Aimee interviewed Free Realm’s Tiffany Chu and the pair went over all the in-game celebrations. I’m almost tempted to log in to see if the cake monsters disrupt the parties that will be held every hour today.

Official podcasts from game companies are supposed to drum up interest in their games and this podcast did a good job. Did you know that there are in-game staff wandering around the game world? Or that they hold live events on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Combine that with fun things like the cake monster boss that will run around as part of the celebration and I remember why the game is popular.

The Official SOE Podcast is not the greatest podcast by any means. But I’m going to listen to the next few just to see the direction it takes with the departure of Brenlo.

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