Monday, 23 February 2015

Glass Half Full : Daybreak Games

Pete at Dragonchasers has an excellent post up about the Daybreak situation. GamingSF has a great catch from the Everquest forums confirming the new company's intent to bring up another Progression server, something I'm sure will be music to Wilhelm's ears.

The EQ2 team has been talking about Progression servers as well, although they stress that the younger game's architecture is different, implying that may make it harder to bring one to market. I'd love to see an EQ2 Progression server just so long as no-one tries to recreate the miserable experience of the first six months.

Over at Visionary Realms Inc (were they always called that?) Brad McQuaid and his Pantheon team have a lengthy survey up that seems to be aimed at assessing the desires of the potential audience, presumably with the intention of giving the people what they want. I filled it out. It took me the best part of an hour. It was fun. I recommend it.

The questions make heavy reference to both Vanguard and the EQ franchise. Brad clearly sees himself as a contender for Torch Carrier of The Vision (TM). He's burned more bridges than Tipa has photographed and yet...and yet. Compare what little we know about Pantheon and EQNext. Which sounds more like EQ3? Which feels more like vaporware? Not so clear cut as all that, now, is it?

Meanwhile, Smed and/or his Columbus Nova overlords have given the StoryBricks team their marching orders, sending Tobold off to sulk in the gloomiest corner of the Hundred Acre Wood and spinning SynCaine's snark generator up into overdrive. Unlike Keen and with all respect to Psychochild I was never all that sold either on StoryBricks in particular or advanced AI in general so it's a bit of a non-story for me. Ironically.

Just to cap it all off for the week Massively Overpowered, already off to a storming start and so welcome back in my Feedly feed, fillets the recent Daybreak video Q&A and picks out the choice headline Everquest Next May Not Be F2P. Cat, meet pigeons.

I don't think that means Daybreak are considering a subscription model for EQNext. I imagine it's much more likely they're eying the Buy-to-Play market and so they should be. Why give away the farm?

Everything considered, I feel surprisingly sanguine about the future, at least where EQs and EQalikes are concerned.




11 comments:

  1. They need to hire someone good at doing surveys. IT's so much typing that they are just naturally going to pick out the things they personally like. Scales and metrics could have been used in a LOT of those and it would have been more useful (ie: 90% said they liked this vs 5% for this)

    It was fun to do, yes, but more for nostalgia than providing them with much value =)

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    1. It looked more like something you might use to tease out anecdotes for a documentary than anything that could be useful for future design decisions. I kept a copy of my answers for possible future use as blog posts.

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  2. Indeed, a progression server might just be the ticket for me to peek back into Norrath. We'll have to see how they play it of course.

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    1. Definitely. I'd take that journey again, for sure.

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    2. There are some great suggestions on the forum discussion thread about possible variants on the previous prog server iterations. Someone has suggested the idea I've floated many times over the years, which is to have a series of level-locked servers (or expansion-locked in this case) from which you can optionally transfer a max-level character UP to the next server but never back down. I would always have liked to see this used as an option when expansions come out for any MMO. Another good suggestion is to start with Classic+Kunark, since Kunark also comes with starting zones.

      Either of those would freshen things up nicely. I'd love to re-create my experience at the launch of Kunark, when I'd make a new gnome and ship him off to Kunark to level up in a dangerous alien land with better drops!

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    3. I'll def jump into a progression server, assuming classic and kunark last more than a couple months. Would like them to last minimum 6 months, but doubt that will happen.

      I've played both P99 and the previous progression servers, and P99 has a way different feel. The live progression servers have exp pots, referral bonuses, multi-boxing, etc. All which significantly lessen the leveling curve but lessen the game to an extent too.

      I can live will all the exp pots, dual boxing etc, if the time locks are not too fast. Give people time to enjoy the content and not feel rushed.

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  3. It's probably a bit of a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't', but I am not exactly excited to see McQuaid become the torchbearer for the series if EQN goes belly-up if he can't even put together a plan for his next MMO without needing player feedback on what we want. I'd rather he have his finger on the pulse or at least be driven by some grand dream, but Pantheon suggested to me that his finger wasn't finding any pulse at all and that he has little to go on outside of a weird pseudo-harkening to the past.

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    1. Without knowing him personally it's all guesswork of course but he certainly doesn't come across to me as someone you'd want to give any kind of responsibility to, even for something as trivial as the continuing legacy of a video game. On the other hand you do have to recognize that all he has done for the entirety of his adult life is work on EQ or some variant of it. He may not be the best person to do it but he's volunteering and he did have *some* degree of authorship over what turned out to be two of the best MMOs I've ever played so whatever he can drag together next time is always going to be something I'll at least take a look at.

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    2. Put him in a room and let him draw pictures on walls and visualize and vision (tm) all he wants, just don't let him NEAR any of the teams doing the work, especially accounting and legals. In fact, he can only communicate via old school can and string.

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  4. Oh man, that is a nightmare survey: coding that into something useful will be a complete pain in the neck. If my game design students that I teach research methods submitted that survey to me, I'd fail them and tell them to go re-read their research methods textbook :) I always tell my students 'you'll need research skills for when you're designing your games' but err, now I have a counter-example >< .

    (unless they're assuming that, as it's a self-selected sample it can't be generalised anyway, and thus will analyse it textually: in which case, mad props!)

    (and apologies if this is a double-post)

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    1. It looks like someone sent an email to everyone in the office asking for questions and then just compiled them all into a list. I can't see how it could be "analysed" other than by some poor sod having to read through the lot and submit a report.

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