Thursday, September 6, 2018

Days Like This

It's been one of those days, hasn't it?

I came home from work this evening, chatted with Mrs Bhagpuss, had my tea, then down at the PC to see what Feedly had for me. The first thing I saw was this:

"EVE Online developer CCP Games bought by Black Desert Online studio Pearl Abyss"

As MassivelyOP so astutely put it "I bet that’s not a headline you expected to wake up to!" No, nor come home to, either.

I have never played EVE but I've read a lot about it, mostly at The Ancient Gaming Noob. Wilhelm has the full details and links to the many people talking about this surprising turn of fortune.

As I said in the comments there, it could be worse. Pearl Abyss don't have a particularly bad reputation, despite the accusations that they favor Pay to Win mechanics, and Black Desert Online has been one of the more popular, successful and accepted transitions from East to West of recent years.

Al the same, I would bet most EVE players would rather CCP had remained independent and I would be surprised if there's much of a shift in that feeling over the next year or two. MMO players don't like change, even when it's objectively in their own best interests.

The EVE buyout was such a huge story it eclipsed another piece of news that would have been a main headline on another day:

"THQ Nordic has bought up the rights to 38 Studios’ Project Copernicus and Kingdoms of Amalur"

I'd all but forgotten Curt Schilling's ill-fated attempt to re-create his EverQuest raiding days by funding his own MMORPG. If you build it they will come, perhaps. Only he never did build it.

Instead the whole thing turned into what MassivelyOP describes as "one of the biggest messes the MMORPG genre – and gaming itself – has ever seen". I don't imagine anyone ever expected to see Project Copernicus return in a playable form after that and maybe we still never will, but THQ Nordic (no, me neither) must have bought the assets for something so who knows?

After all that I needed a bit of a change of pace so I went and watched Eggheads for half an hour. I am old. Don't mock me.

I came back, glanced at Feedly before logging in to EQ2 and stap me if I didn't see this:

"WildStar and Carbine are shutting down"

What are we doing? Playing MMO Industry Bingo? One buyout, one acquisition, one closedown - HOUSE!

WildStar, of course, has been living on borrowed time while drinking at the last chance saloon for years now. Many pundits have pondered over NCSoft's apparent unwillingness to pull the switch on this failed experiment in hardcore gaming.

Was it fear of a backlash after the desperately badly-received decision to close the then-profitable City of Heroes just because it wasn't profitable enough? Or had they simply forgotten WildStar even existed? God knows that would have been easy enough to do - most of us managed it years ago.

I never entirely got on with WildStar. It was too brash and too jarring to be relaxing, something its cuddly anhropomorphic characters seemed to suggest it should be. Still, I had some good times there, on and off. I don't suppose I would ever have played it again but I'm sorry to see it go.

I hope WildStar gets another chance in that grey zone where emulators operate. If Earth Eternal can do it, anyone can. Although I imagine EE's code is a lot less complex than WildStar's.

However you want to paint it, that's a lot of news for one day. I scarcely dare check Feedly again. I've been typing this for half an hour - who knows what MMO might have closed down or changed hands since I last looked?

Wilhelm and I have been corresponding recently on those rumors about Daybreak Games' future plans. As he pointed out, some of them have already happened. Come to think of it, there was some talk once about Daybreak or SOE acquiring CCP, wan't there? I did say it could have been worse!

We're still waiting on any news about this Autumn's EverQuest and EQ2 expansions, beyond the bald assertion that they will happen. I am now braced to hear that they will also be the last.

Whether that means the end of a chapter or the closing of the book remains to be seen. After a day like today I'm not going to make any predictions about anything.


  1. My EngComp teacher in high school would applaud the structure of this post. You opened with big news, ended on big news, and put the lesser item in the middle just like she taught us.

    But it has been quite a day, all that and Burt Reynolds passing away.

    Also, in one of the interviews I linked to the CEO mentioned numbers when asked about how many people play EVE Online. The range was 200-300K average players logging in on a given month, which still leaves a lot of open questions, but it is more than we had before.

    1. Yes, I have a terrible tendency to bury my main point at the back end of a post, something I am going to try to address. What I would have done if I'd been awake to see the DBG news as well I have no idea. That's the biggest news to me but probably not to everyone.

      I would be willing to believe 100k players logging in to EQ each month but not more than 300k, which would put it above EVE as your other source suggested. On the other hand I might believe that DBG gets more money out of 100-150k players than EVE does from fouble that number. There's subs, paid expansions and a cash shop and I get the impression that EQ players these days are older and generally well set-up financialy. Where that leaves them with the new announcement on Mobile is intertesting - I would lay odds almost none of the existing EQ or EQ2 playerbases will follow the brand to Mobile - in fact Mobile Gaming is virtually a cuss word in EQ circles. They have to be looking at an entirely new market, which makes me wonder what they need the EQ brand for in the first place.

  2. Now go check out the news for Daybreak. From Eq2Wire. "Billionaire doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong who owns the Los Angeles Times has made a huge investment in Daybreak Games, joined the Daybreak board, taken over complete control of H1Z1 Battle Royale and its eSports league, and formed a new LLC to manage the continued publication of H1Z1 and EverQuest, including the development of Mobile versions of both games."

    1. I have absolutely no idea if this is good news or bad news. All I can say for sure is it's definitely news.

      Watch this space.

  3. WildStar makes me sad. All MMO endings do, but this one particularly as it's one I kept going back to and having a bit of fun in, and always wondering if I should spend more time there.

    Whixh was hard to commit to - especially since it wasn't supposed to be around.

    Not doing something because you expect something to happen that then does happen likely because you (and thoudsands other) didnt do it - what's the term for that?

    1. I just bet there is a word for that - in German, probably. I never could get settled in WildStar. I found it slightly tiring to play and it got increasingly harder to drag myself back each time. It had its moments, for sure, but I never really took to it in a big way.

    2. Thats it! Not a word, but a phrase.

  4. I had always meant to try Wildstar, but never got around to it. Now I guess I wont get to. The focus on raiding was a huge turnoff, but the setting looked interesting.

    1. I liked the setting in theory but in practice it never seemed to live up to its promise. Some of the zones were gorgeous but some were scrappy. I didn't see all that many of them and the gameplay tended to put me off leveling up high enough to see more. It's also one of those games that looks a lot better in screenshots thanit does when you're playing. Looking back through my WildStar album it looks absolutely stunning but I never felt it was quite that gorgeous when I was playing.


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