For many years I have played Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMOs for short), with Star Wars Galaxies, Planetside 2, and World of Warcraft being the ones I have enjoyed the most. The first two of those games were made by Sony Online Entertainment, a Sony subsidiary which was sold in 2015. Since that sale, the SOE I came to very much appreciate ceased to exist. While I have taken a large step back from online communities in the last couple of years and not really played much of anything in that time, I do still play Planetside 2 occasionally and keep up with its news. After reading a misleading statement on Reddit about how the new company is the same as SOE, I felt the need to post the following.
Daybreak Game Company is not simply “Sony Online Entertainment with a new name”…
And saying as much is insulting to the hard work, time, attention, and caring that many people at SOE put into their jobs and the community for nearly two decades. Especially the community. If for some reason you don’t believe me or aren’t aware, please take a few minutes to look at the video histories of their Youtube accounts to get an idea of why I am saying this today:
As a SWG vet, I know the norm was to hate on SOE for all their mistakes, trust me. However, as a guy who was an SOE customer since 2002, playing almost all their games at some point, I’ve also been lucky enough to take part in some really great times in MMO gaming, from having fun playing the games to getting in some serious dialogue with the developers of various games. It’s an amazing feeling to load up a game and actually use something that’s there because you discussed it with the developer and they added it to the game!
SOE’s community interaction was second to none and DBG’s is not up to that standard, not by a country mile. As an example, even Star Wars Galaxies was turned into a great game by the time it shut down, in large part due to the back and forth iteration on system designs that happened in the forums (the final weapon crafting revamp was pretty much a cut and paste of what community came up with, for instance). The nice folks at DBGs are around and while I am sure they care about their games and their communities, they aren’t doing so at the same level as SOE. That’s just reality.
I’m not “bashing on DBG” by saying this, I am simply taking a moment to give credit where credit is due.
SOE did a lot of things right and actually giving a damn about their communities was at the top of that list. Were the games perfect? Not by a long shot, but they were made with a lot of heart and that’s worth something. Did they talk the talk, but not walk the talk a lot? Yup, but we owe the very existence of franchises like Everquest and Planetside to that very same courage to not just dream, but actually try to achieve those dreams in the harsh realities of “the real world”.
Sure, I have been a grumpy and unappreciative turd at times over the years, earning myself some hate from Smed, Higby, and TRay in the process, but it was always because I care. I believed in the dream, I saw the potential, and for some reason, I cared. The folks who made these games cared too and many of those people are no longer at Daybreak Game Company and that matters, because it’s people who make dreams come alive. Just look at the hundreds of names rolling in the credits of any movie to get an appreciation for that fact.
SOE and DGB aren’t the same thing, for many reasons, so please don’t say that they are.
Earlier in 2015, I decided to wash my hands of Planetside 2, deleting my characters and all the cruft I had cluttered my hard drive with over the years. I did this in large part due to the boring as crap manner in which the players choose to play the game. On top of the super annoying bugs and cheaters, the poor game play and toxic community made me feel like the original vision of what the game could be was gone forever. So I deleted my level 83 TR Engineer and moved on. However, this fall I felt like playing a shooter game with vehicles and variety, so I decided to play some Planetside 2. It’s still a zergy mess with an often toxic community and more cheaters/hackers than ever and it’s not worth playing. Life is better without Planetside 2.
Many thanks to all the folks at Sony Online Entertainment who genuinely enriched my life (often for the low, low price of free!).