I had a conversation with a one of the guild members who founded the EverQuest 2 guild I’m in last week. He told me he was going to leave the game. We talked a bit and he gave me some of the reasons for leaving the game.
The first was he has shoulder problems and playing the game for extended periods of time tends to hurt and he’s been advised to cut down on playing. This isn’t the first time this has flared up on him and apparently the problem has gotten worse.
The second reason he gave was that with the launch of The Shadow Odyssey the game has turned into a grindfest. I have to agree with that. The developers seemed to come at the expansion with a raider’s mentality that to get the best gear you need to perform some sort of massive grind. I think the process is called “gearing up”. But as we saw with the Order of Rime quest line, new solo content was also turning into that is full of grind also. He wondered if the grind is going to become a permanent part of EverQuest 2.
Another reason that he gave was that our guild leader rarely logs in to play anymore. Those two know each other in real life and have played many games together over the years. With all the other reasons he gave me, I can see why the absence of our guild leader would make a difference in not wanting to log into the game.
The fourth reason was probably the biggest reason, though. He just got tired of all the bugs in EverQuest 2. I think that the breaking point for him was the latest problem with the in-game voice. Before SOE launched the Station Launcher, voice chat was great and our small guild was finally hitting our stride wading through and defeating TSO instances. But when the Station Launcher was introduced, a lot of guildies, including all our Australian members, lost the in-game voice. And some of our members couldn’t switch to Ventrillo because of issues on their computers. So basically all the momentum the guild had built up stopped dead in its tracks and we were never able to recapture it.
The last reason is the clincher that guarantees that he won’t change his mind about leaving. He doesn’t trust SOE to be able fix things and introduce new content anymore. He was frustrated with SOE before the whole Vivox in-game voice chat fiasco with the small quality of life issues that kept cropping up. Some of those things may be fixed in GU53, but I don’t think he wants to stick around to find out how many new bugs were introduced.
I also know that he lost faith in SOE’s ability to stop player behavior that is bad for the game. In his mind speculators are absolutely ruining the economy. He has the resources, both in time and in platinum, to wage a personal war against speculators on the brokers, undercutting them when they attempt to corner the market on goods in an effort to make sure the speculators don't make an absolute killing from jacking up prices for the rest of the server.
Is his vision of speculators hurting the game’s economy, and therefore EQ2, valid? I know in Domino’s post on the forums about how she plans to change transmuting that at least one player opposed it because she was afraid that the changes would make it easier for speculators to corner the market and jack up prices to sky-high levels. And in the first part of the Scott Hartsman interview on No Prisoners, No Mercy #41, the former EverQuest 2 producer talked about emergent game play and used market speculation in World of Warcraft as an example of how emergent game play can turn into degenerate game play. With the way that selling things on the broker has changed over time in EQ2, a speculator with 3 accounts who makes 7 characters on each account can really inflate the broker prices on a server. That is not theory-crafting either; a player on my server speculates on crafting materials and collectables and the members of my guild have determined he has at least 3 accounts. The way prices decreased when he took a two week break in August was amazing. Just like in real life, speculators can really inflate prices.
I've held off writing this post hoping that he is going to change his mind. But I've been approached by another guild officer about this and plans are being made on how to proceed when he leaves. In many ways he built the guild and his leaving is going to leave a huge hole and not just because he was the guild tank. Just another reason I've been going up and down about EQ2 lately.