Back from vacation, and this reentry Monday is ROUGH. After every vacation I question whether actually going on vacation is ‘worth it’, because coming back to 500+ emails to dig through isn’t a lot of fun, especially then all 500+ can be summed up as “we held off doing anything until you got back, but now every deliverable is overdue, enjoy!”
While I was away we had a little bit of SOE being SOE, or more specifically, Smed being Smed. Only here it’s Smed (likely temporarily) going away, in about the timeframe that someone predicted. Being constantly right is the cross I bear, and yes, its heavy.
Now before I get into the meat of the post today, let me get this here first. I don’t have a personal issue with Smed. I’ve only talked to him once or twice in person, and interacted with him a few more times on the web, all of which was cordial. I also don’t support or feel good about the harassment stuff he has dealt with; there is a certain price for fame, but having your plane delayed and some of the other stuff is way over the top. Now, with that out of the way…
Smed ‘moving on’ is a good thing for the MMO genre, and as an MMO dev, I think Smed is about as overrated as you can get. I also hate seeing this ‘Smed was a gamer dev’ notion, because while true (Smed does play games), it didn’t help other MMO gamers one bit.
Smed was and will forever be tied to SOE, so how much of this is Smed’s fault vs just general SOE is up for debate, but when you are the figurehead, you eat the blame.
SOE sucks. Did when they were officially SOE, still do as Daybreak. If you take away EQ1 (and if EQ1 never happens, maybe we don’t spend a decade mired in clone-world themeparks, eh?), SOE has nothing. Planetside, perhaps the only other somewhat successful product they made, was meh at best, and PS2 is a joke. EQ2 was a disaster. Their entire “F2P, ALL THE WAY” push was a disaster that didn’t work out, but sure helped mire the genre once again. They have shut down numerous terrible games, if it wasn’t for EQ1 being such a major cash cow, they perhaps don’t survive past the EQ2 launch.
If Smed is such a gamer, why allow so much of the above to happen? After SOE ruined SWG, why dump a truckload of salt by calling H1Z1 ‘home’ for SWG players prior to it’s release? Hell, why as an MMO gamer are you releasing a DayZ clone years after the DayZ fad has passed, and then releasing something as putrid as H1Z1, and having the gall to call it an MMO? And if the response is “it wasn’t Smed’s call”, then what kind of CEO are you, and what exactly were you doing besides collecting a paycheck, posting on reddit, and tweeting?
What are you doing with Landmark? Again, why are you jumping on the Minecraft bandwagon so late, and bringing nothing to the table? When Trion’s Minecraft clone is ‘better’ (Trove), you know you have hit absolute rock bottom (get it?). And what kind of ‘gamer’ dupes your core audience into forking over $150 for access to Landmark when you know its not going to amount to anything? Just how long as Smed been cashing out at the expense of core SOE/EQ fans?
I could go on, but really just look at the Daybreak wiki page and the list of games and the story writes itself. SOE dying was a good thing. Smed leaving is also a good thing. The MMO genre is better off with both gone, just like it would have been much better off without them originally.
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Hey, that Bejeweled 2 port they did for PlayStation is still going strong!
I actually think Smed went earlier than expected due to his personal issues coming back to haunt the company via the DDoS attack. He’s on the hook for at least a year I bet and Columbus Nova Prime doesn’t want to just pay him off yet, so they’ll give him some side task to do for the remainder of his obligation. That also keeps him off the market, as here in California non-compete clauses are pretty much unenforceable.
As for H1Z1, I am pretty sure that was straight up Smed’s idea and I don’t know who would say otherwise. And, having played it, it does have its high points and feels like the kind of game Smed likes. It will be worth a look for some when and if it actually finishes and becomes free to play. But a home for SWG players, it is hard to see that as anything but a troll except in the most abstract sense.
As for Landmark, if they had just made a prettier Minecraft, which could have/should have been done by this point, they probably would have been doing okay with it. But tying it in with some future vision of EQ Next has probably ended up hurting the timeline for both games.
Planetside 2 is not a bad game. It’s certainly the best (and really the only) MMOFPS out there, and very ambitious.
To put it this way, the closest competitor is Dust 514, and *that* game is truly a joke. The opposite of ambitious.
I hope PS2 gets the support it needs after the CEO transition.
Back when I played, PS2 wasn’t really a MMOFPS, since other than a larger player size on the maps, it wasn’t any different from other FPS, other than of course bad FPS gameplay and horrid graphics. You would think, coming from an MMO company, it would have much stronger MMO hooks compared to other FPS, but it didn’t. At most, it just felt like the normal FPS level grind was longer, for less payoff.
It has a huge amount of players, and persistent worlds – it really just needs a metagame. Technically, it actually works surprisingly well compared to how many players it supports.
I’m with you – PS2 isn’t bad at all. There are no other large scale FPS games out there that capture the same feel of smaller ones such as Battlefield. I prefer the gunplay of guns and pistols so will always be a BF player, but have had hours of fun playing with family swapping pilot and gunner positions in aircraft in PS2. Having large scale maps with map/keep capture mechanics and fast transport options is rare in FPS games, but PS2 pulls it off. They just need better progression mechanics.
To me, what PS2 needs is any kind of metagame. Resources, territory, things like that to do for outfits.
At some point in 2012 they had ambitions about making ‘outlaw territories’ akin to nullsec in Eve. That would be amazing for the game. Unfortunately with SOE defunding it, all the ambition vaporized.
I really loved PS2 for a short while then I just sort of lost interest. I think you are spot on about it needing a metagame or whatever to hook people longer. The scale of the huge battles was jaw dropping, jumping in a liberator with a couple friends and flying over one of those battles is about as memorable as it gets. Great times.
Looking back, I think the fact that it was f2p and the heavy cash shop focus was a huge turn off for me. I know some people who point to it as f2p done right, which is proof that there’s no such thing.
PS2 is essentially a very strong skeleton for a game that doesn’t exist yet. I still have hopes Daybreak will realize its potential before it is too late.
The problem is that PS2 has been out for YEARS already. We aren’t talking some early access title from some guy in a garage.
Isn’t it about to hit consoles for the first time though or am I way off?
PS2 just recently hit the PlayStation 4, and Smed’s big independent dream seemed to mostly involve being able to put the game on the XBox One as well. Not sure how it is doing on either.
Of course, he promised the game on Mac OS just about three years back, so weigh that however you see fit.