September 13, 2005

Everquest 2... the SOE effect

What is this SOE effect you ask? Its the pattern that SOE has shown us for their two largest MMO's to date... Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) and Everquest II (EQ2). Basically... release the game and fix it later.

SWG recently underwent major changes to the combat system and Jedi system. These are two essential systems that any Star Wars MMO should have in a final working condition the day of launch. Combat should be something any MMO has figured out at launch.

I have combat system bolded for a reason. Everquest 2 is suffering a similiar fate... behold Everquest 2's Producer Letter. I quote the letter "Many people will be relearning parts of their characters, getting used to new spell lines and working with altered buffs. That's a lot for us to ask, and we realize that. " Essentially EQ2's combat is being overhauled similiar to what happened when SWG's combat system was overhauled. Also in the letter "We understand that changes of this magnitude, even when many of them are positive, can be disconcerting."

Not only does this show that EQ2 was not ready to come out of beta, but it leads to a disturbing trend amongst SOE MMO's. Complete reworking of CORE game systems is what BETA is for. SOE does not get this and have not gotten this. Both SWG and a very limited EQ2 beta were nothing more than PR events to get players excited about the game. A vocal majority from both games beta testers provided in length reasons why the repsective games were not ready for launch. To steal a quote from Tobolds MMORPG Blog "EQ2 has 400,000 paying beta testers, which were subjected to major "disconcerting" changes from day one" - Tobold.

So the SOE effect is in full force again. I wish people would stop giving SOE their money... send a message that SOEunderstands... $$$.

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send a message that SOE understands... $$$.

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I don't want to completely blow this letter aside... there was one good quote in it. "To sum up these changes: In any MMO, people come for the game, and they stay for their friends and the long-term challenges and rewards present in the world. We're not just in the business of providing an interesting, fun, and challenging world to adventure in. We're equally responsible to ensure that we provide a setting in which our game draws people together as best as it can." - Scott

Drawing people together... Massively Multiplayer... go figure.

8 comments:

Tobold said...

The $$$ message is already there, with Blizzard making 10 times as much money on WoW than SOE does on EQ2. I just wonder if the message is understood.

Of course most of the damage has already been done, and is irreversible. If EQ2 had been delayed one year, instead of going head to head against WoW, it would have been a bigger success. One year later the game would have been ready, and profited fully from people starting to get bored with WoW.

In the end it is a big clash of cultures. I blame Blizzard for being slow to bring out expansions. I blame SOE for being too fast to release stuff that isn't ready. There must be an optimum compromise somewhere in the middle.

heartlessgamer said...

Blizzard isn't slow IMO... they hopefully are doing things right. Better game at launch with good content updates so far = no need for expansion 1 year after launch.

Chris said...

I seriously doubt any game is ever going to be perfect out of Beta. It's too small of a group of people to completely test all of the game (and we all know Beta testers are just great testers, right? They just want to 'test' the game, and not 'play' it, right?)

The better question is: Once a game is released, if it is determined that some mechanics (even core mechanics like combat) are broken, is it worth it to make drastic overhauls to the game?

Chris said...

I seriously doubt any game is ever going to be perfect out of Beta. It's too small of a group of people to completely test all of the game (and we all know Beta testers are just great testers, right? They just want to 'test' the game, and not 'play' it, right?)

The better question is: Once a game is released, if it is determined that some mechanics (even core mechanics like combat) are broken, is it worth it to make drastic overhauls to the game?

heartlessgamer said...

Is it worth it... yes... because that is what the game needs.

I am worried because it is a trend I am seeing in SOE. Crap betas... crap releases... fix it later.

Anonymous said...

Fuck You Turtle Pocket

Anonymous said...

Fuck You Turtle Pocket

heartlessgamer said...

Winner!