Yesterday Sony Online Entertainment announced that Everquest 2 Senior Producer Alan "Brenlo" Crosby has left the company. Brenlo will be replaced by David Georgeson, previously Producer, Director, and Lead Designer for Gaia Interactive's zOMG! He also has a background of being an SOE producer, having held the position when Planetside launched. I'm going to have to hope for good things since Mr. Georgeson worked as a developer on SSI's "Pools of Radiance" gold box games, the first computer RPGs I ever played.
I had actually started thinking about Everquest 2 again and was wondering how the game was doing. I remember thinking that the hiring of Brenlo, then in charge of the SOE Community Relations team, might be a bad sign for the game. I saw the move as taking the focus (and resources) away from EQ2 and toward newer titles. By putting in someone with years of experience not only in community relations but in the Everquest/Everquest 2 universe, I thought that SOE was positioning themselves to soothe their existing player base while the transition occurred.
The first sign that something was amiss was that the first expansion that would come out under Brenlo's reign, Sentinel's Fate, was scheduled to come out in February 2010 instead of November 2009. Lack of resources? Whatever the cause, that led to my leaving the game after nearly 3 1/2 years of playing. I had planned my character's progression to the end to coincide with a November release and the world wasn't interesting enough for me to stick around for another 3 months.
Did I leave at the right time? I'm starting to think so. I listened to the March 23rd edition of EQ2's-day and Dellmon and Zanadi talk about the latest EQ2 developer's chat on ZAM. Dellmon really sounded glum about the state of the game as he went over the chat. The part that struck me was the talk about server merges. The talk continued this week as Rothgar discussed some of the thinking.
Server merges for a mature game like EQ2 wouldn't be the end of the world to me. But another thing that struck me is that the new starting zone, Halas, still hasn't made its appearance over 2 months after Sentinel's Fate was launched. From what I've read on EQ Wire, the new battleground feature has had nothing but problems, including a pretty bad duping exploit and battlegrounds affecting performance on the world servers. Also, I've heard itemization is not that good. And from listening to Dellmon and reading Feldon's site, it sounds like the devs have had to fix an awful large number of bugs over the last two months.
So thinking about all I've heard, I'm thinking two things about the news of Brenlo leaving. First, I don't think the departure was voluntary. And second, I probably made a good decision in not jumping back into EQ2 when the expansion came out and I might want to wait a few more months before jumping back into the world of Norrath. That is, if I go back at all.