Summary of EverQuest Next News on Feb 2015

There are a lot of surprising news in SOE this month, all pertaining to separations or breaking away. Read on.

SOE headquarters

Sony Sells Off Sony Online Entertainment, Renames it Daybreak Game Company February 2, 2015 – SOE has announced today that Sony has sold the developer of EverQuest, PlanetSide, DC Universe Online and the recently released H1Z1 to investment firm Columbus Nova. The developer, Sony Online Entertainment, will now operate under a new name, Daybreak Game Company, as an independent game studio.

The studio will continue to develop game projects started by SOE such as EverQuest Landmark, EverQuest Next and H1Z1. It will also develop titles for Xbox and mobile platforms, in addition to PlayStation and PC, now that it has become independent of Sony.

According to John Smedley, president of Daybreak Game Company, “We are excited to join Columbus Nova’s impressive roster of companies. They have a proven track record in similar and related industries and we are eager to move forward to see how we can push the boundaries of online gaming. We will continue to focus on delivering exceptional games to players around the world, as well as bringing our portfolio to new platforms, fully embracing the multi-platform world in which we all live.”

“Our games and players are the heart and soul of our organization, and we are committed to maintaining our portfolio of online games and pushing the limits of where we can take online gaming together.” the developer said in a post on Reddit.

John Smedley also said on Twitter that, “Can’t wait to make Xbox games.” Where he also later offered assurance to fans that, “All of our games are still here and will continue to be.”

David Georgeson

David Georgeson and Others Laid Off at Daybreak Game Company Today February 11, 2015 – David Georgeson, the man who has served as the face of EverQuest for so many years, is only one among many who is being laid off at Daybreak studio today.

There is no knowing how many people will be let go, since as of press time, staffs are still being informed who will remain employed and who will be not.

Daybreak Game Company, previously known as Sony Online Entertainment for almost two decades, is an independent gaming company and which has changed its name and ownership last week after Sony sold it to Columbus Nova, a management firm based in New York.

A statement from PR representatives at Daybreak says, “As part of a strategic decision to rationalize the business, Daybreak Game Company announced today that it will eliminate positions in both its San Diego and Austin studios. This alignment of resources better positions the newly independent studio for future growth opportunities and developments, including delivering on its legacy of making top online games and establishing a solid foundation for future multi-platform success. These reductions will not affect the operation of current games and the company will continue on its mission to partner with its player community to drive the future and push the boundaries of online gaming.”

My expectations for EQNext as a Player of EQ and EQII

EverQuest was Verant Interactive's breakthroug...

EverQuest was Verant Interactive’s breakthrough success and the franchise continues its popularity with Sony Online Entertainment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EverQuest Next is slated to be revealed to the public on August 2nd at Sony’s summit for EverQuest fans, SOE Live 2013. As a former EverQuest Live and EverQuest II player, I have many EverQuest Next expectations.

Much like the way the world of Norrath changed a bit from the first EverQuest (EQ) to EverQuest II (EQ II) expect to that in EverQuest Next (EQNext), we’ll see Norrath as a fragment of its former self. Continents may be destroyed, or modified, but there’s an expectation of a world that is different, yet oddly familiar. I thought this was something that Sony pulled off very well from the transition from EQ to EQ II.

There have been little hints dropped by Sony developers that they’re looking to make EQNext as a true sandbox style MMO. That is a living, breathing world that you truly can do anything that you want in. In most modern MMORPG’s, you have the basic tools to be able to interact with the world around you, but the world doesn’t react back with you. As an example, if I accept a quest to stop an goblin raiding party from sacking the city, as soon as I kill ten goblins as part of my quest, I’m done. What EQNext is intending to do is to have players agree to defend the city, and once you kill enough goblins, the goblins realize the city is protected and they storm off looking to go sack some other city. Players have in this way, modified the world as a result of their actions.

Additionally, I’m expecting a return to gameplay more akin to EQ than EQ II. Anyone who’s played both quite extensively can tell you that in EQ you paid dearly for mistakes. Death penalties and the possibility of corpse rot were enough of a deterrent in EQ to make players learn how to play their classes better. Because of these challenges, victories in EQ felt sweeter, and in turn people grew to love the game more as they developed a deeper emotional attachment to their characters. That sense of identity with a person’s character, diminished a bit in EQ II as there is no corpse runs on death, or lost levels from dying.

Finally, I’m expecting EQNext to be using the Free to Play model. It’s been said many times by folks over at Sony, that they feel that the Free to Play (F2P) model for online gaming works best. If we use the examples given to us by EQ and EQ II, I’m expecting that the store will be extremely robust, with hundreds, if not thousands of offerings for players to spend their money on. I think EQNext will take this idea an additional step forward, and give players the ability to create and sell their own items in the cash shop. This seems like the next evolution in F2P gaming, which would give players a way to imprint their own style on the world, while adding items to Sony’s cash shop. Sounds like a win-win scenario.

There are many other possibilities for EQNext, and I would love to hear some of your EQNext thoughts. Feel free to comment on this blog post.

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