Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm Glad I Don't Play THAT Game Anymore

In Eve Online whenever an expansion comes out smart players always put a long training skill in the skills queue in case something goes wrong with the deployment.  In EverQuest 2, that advice is "don't take the day off because you might not get to play the game."  And judging from reading Feldon over at EQ2 Wire and a quick peak at the EQ2 forums, SOE had a lot of problems with the launch of the Destiny of Velious expansion yesterday.  Freeport, the EQ2 Extended server, looks like it is still experiencing severe log in queuing problems.  Another server, Everfrost, experienced login problems until late into the night San Diego time and the team may have given up and gone to bed.  I really can't tell.

In the meantime, SOE continues to show Eve players that concerns about a cash shop are justified as one of the "12 days of Velious" promotions is a sale in the SOE cash shop.  That's right, on Friday SOE will hold a sale on some of the new Velious-themed items in the Station Marketplace.  (They still call it that, right?)  And on Thursday SOE will offer free transfers for up to 5 characters to another server, but the offer is for one day only.

I want to conclude this post with something that Smokejumper, the Senior Producer for EQ2 posted while all the deployment debacle was occurring.

Well, I've only been with the team since last April, so you should really only blame me for things in that time window.

Attack away though! It doesn't really do anything useful, but if that's the only way you feel that change can be affected, then go for it. (Although I would suggest that the attack tactic might not be working for you particularly well since you still seem to be angry after 2 years of posting.)

You may perceive that we "like money more than we care about the game". It's probably unlikely that I'm going to convince you otherwise, but I'll try again because it can't hurt anything. Here goes:

The challenge of running an MMO is twofold. The first, obvious priority is to keep it relevant and entertaining for the players. But the second, just as important element (that's not *nearly* as sexy and which most Producers are scared to do anything about), is to also keep it economically strong so that it's a smart business decision to continue funding and developing the project.

Without pointing fingers, it's safe for me to say that the last couple of years of this game were lackluster from creativity and business points of view. This resulted in some players getting the feeling that the game was backsliding, it didn't inspire morale on the dev team, and SOE had to start considering whether or not EQII was getting old in the tooth.

I didn't (and don't) believe that EQII has to fade away. Ever. MMOs can go on perpetually if they're kept healthy. So the first thing we had to do was the stuff you all have chose to hate me for, which was to focus on the business aspects that everyone else had ignored previously and which was horribly overdue.

So most of the team focused on completing the DoV expansion that was already on the books when I came on board, and I kept a small strike team on improving the business side of things while that happened. That "business" work is largely complete now, although it will certain get tweaks here and there so that improvements are small and constant instead of being a big shock to the system with major changes like we've done in the last six months or so.

Velious is the changeover point for us. This expansion was the last of the legacy features already planned when I came aboard. From here, the team gets to make non-legacy decisions and be as creative as possible about making the game fun...and they get to do it on a strong foundation of smart business, as well.

I realize that it's usually more fun to post about how I'm hell-bent on destroying your game, but that's laughably untrue. This game is stronger since I took the helm, the team is better, and our potential for quality entertainment is now much greater also. EQII is a great game, and this team intends to make it much, much better in the next year.

No smoke here. This is straight-shooting.
Umm ... so yesterday's problems weren't entirely your fault?  Working on the business end of things is okay, but you have to make sure people can play your game, Smokejumper, for any of that "business end" stuff to matter.  Oh, and if the game is stronger, could you please post some figures?  Maybe I'm just too used to the transparency of Eve Online, but until SOE opens up again about how its games are doing, based on what I read at EQ2 Wire and other places, I'm not buying it.

No comments:

Post a Comment