News Ticker

Methink SOE Is Worried!

With the success of World of Warcraft, I think the folks at Sony Online Entertainment (SOE or as I like to call them, ScrOEw) is starting to get worried about their subscription base. This is evident in this new missive from their president, John Smedley.

But who can blame them? All I ever hear from WoW players is “Wow, this game is great!” or “Wow, this is game is so accessible!” Even friends whom I never thought would play an MMO game are playing and loving it. In Smed’s message, he talked about the competition (Blizzard) and how they have to put forth their “A” game just to compete. While it seems like he’s pep talking; to me, it’s more like of a desperate cry to the his subscribers, “Please stay with us and give us a chance to fix the numerous ScrOEws. You are our livelihood, we’ve been too aloof and we’re now willing to listen as long as you give us a chance…”

If I sound gleeful, you’re right! Long time readers will know that I’ve often complained about their holier-than-thou disdainful attitude toward their customers. It seems they’re finally waking up to the prospect that they need to get off their high horse. Bravo Blizzard!

3 Comments on Methink SOE Is Worried!

  1. Wait, EQ2 was aimed at the more casual gamer? Really? Maybe they forgot to put the casual gamer friendly stuff in. Oh, and the whole ‘for people who don’t have much time to spend in game’ thing. Right. EQ2 is huge time sink, especially as you go up in levels. Yes I know this is usually part of the fact you need more XP to level and therefore more time to get that XP. From what I’ve seen, WoW has an innovative way to help alleviate that. The longer the downtime between game sessiona equals a higher XP multipler (for a short time) for any XP you earn when you do log on. This ensures that those people who don’t have as much time to play can gain access to higher level content without having to spend months gettting there. Where was SOE when they were trying to make EQ2 more friendly?

    Mass market means you will have to make your game more appealling to a wide variety of player. I don’t think EQ2 has done that.

  2. For what it is worth, Everquest 2 has always had and still has a similar mechanic that JP describes for giving an XP bonus for those who don’t play as much as others. They didn’t highlight this in the user interface until recently, but it is there.

    Competition usually spurs companies to adapt and I’ve always felt that the best companies need competition to keep from getting complacent or stale. There is no doubt in my mind that Blizzard and World of Warcraft does that to Sony Online Entertainment. What remains to be seen is how they handle it – will they slowly watch their user base dwindle away or will they adapt and survive?

    The point of all these games is one thing and one thing only – to have fun. That’s the only reason I play them – to have fun, and for these games to have fun with my friends. Otherwise I don’t play them – when I stop having fun I quit.

    If you feel that WoW is fun then play it – by all means; I haven’t played Half-Life 2 or some other single-player games yet because I know that I’m too busy playing EQ2. But I also know that it won’t last forever – once EQ2 becomes boring and not fun, I’ll move on to something else.

    Specifically, JP EQ2 is orders of magnitude more friendly to the new player than EQ1 was. Is it good enough? I have no idea – but I can say that very few people have personally asked me about getting into EQ2 who weren’t at least pretty familiar with the MMORPG in general. On other hand, people who have never considered playing an online game before have asked me about World of Warcraft – clearly the tie-in with the Warcraft series of games has people interested in the online variant and willing to give it a try. Is it friendly to the new player? Will all those new players keep it up? I’ll defer to somebody who has played it to expound upon their actual experiences. Oh, but I do feel that EQ2 was significantly better than all the other online games I’ve played in terms of the initial player experience – better than EQ1 (which was pretty newbie unfriendly), Ultima Online, Earth & Beyond, Dark Age of Camelot, and Star Wars: Galaxies at any rate.

    And Pete, I guess I don’t understand why you would be gleeful over SOE’s acknowledgement that they have competition – unless of course you’re hoping that EQ2 will get a lot more fun because of it. Perhaps that’s what you meant, but it isn’t clear.

  3. LOL – I only had to read the first sentence to know who posted it! Scott, playing innoccent as if he doesn’t understand why Pete would be gleeful. My only fear is that they will go through with some of the ideas in Smedley’s letter. It sounds like EQ/SIMS, virtual kids? I don’t need or want virtual kids, I have real life kids and I want this game to be fun! They have a way to go to make EQ2 even more “accessible” and as such don’t need to be adding any off the wall game mechanics right now. Its all crazy talk, I tell ya, crazy talk!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: