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News & Features Discussion  » General: Grinds My Gears: Can SOE Make It?

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Novice Member

Joined: 1/26/10
Posts: 40

5/20/11 2:29:21 PM#41
Originally posted by TUX426

Kudos Jon! Another good article this week!

 - their problem isn't even the quality of their games, because most seem to have aspects that players absolutely LOVE! In fact, I'd say SOE is the industry leader in "potential". SOE's core problem is that they place more value on the opinions of those who AREN'T playing their games than those who are. SOE has, for years, been more concerned with the players they didn't have than the ones they did.

Hit the nail on the head with this one. SOE's games, EQ, EQ2, and VG, are my favorites of all the MMOs I've tried.  I love the games and detest SOE.  They treat the customers they do have with disrespect and contempt. I really do hope SOE does make it, just changes the way it does things. SOE could take a few cues about customer relations from several of their competitors.

I actually feel a bit sorry for SOE over the whole hacking debacle. I wasn't subscribed to any SOE games when it occurred, but I am now enjoying the 45 days and likely will subscribe again after the free days run out. The hackers didn't get anything from me that couldn't be obtained from a phone book, so I'm not terribly worried about it.; though I did get a new CC as a precautionary measure.


Old School

Joined: 1/03/04
Posts: 7944

5/20/11 2:38:43 PM#42
Originally posted by SuperXero89

[1] "SOE didn't invest enough money to see Vanguard launch in a completed fashion when they took over publishing rights from Microsoft?" -- source?

[2] Development for Vanguard began five years before its release date, and McQuaid simply promised more than he could deliver within a reasonable timeframe.  You seem to blame SOE for not funding Vanguard after Microsoft dropped them, but what caused Microsoft to drop them in the first place?

Secondly, I would say SOE did a pretty good job with updates given the fact that the game pretty much tanked and the original developer went backrupt with their employees fired in the office parking lot.  Despite the relatively rapid decline in population, SOE added content, fixed numerous bugs, and actually made the game playable at max settings for those of us without $6,000 dollar PCs.  You never saw long term support for Vanguard because the population simply dropped below a critical point.  There were far too many bugs at release and endgame players were clamoring for new content, so instead of waiting on SOE to produce updates, they left the game.  It became financially unfeasible to put so much support behind a dieing game.  Even Everquest II doesn't get the kind of attention it did back in 2004-2005.  

[3] If SOE sold Vanguard to another company, I see no reason why the same thing wouldn't happen again.  The company would put forth some effort into trying to fix numerous bugs, but when it came down to producing a plethora of new content, I'm not sure Vanguard would bring in enough money to justify the expenses.  In the end, because that game would probably be said company's primary source of income, VG's lifespan may be extended, but updates will be few and far between.

The better option, I think, is to turn Vanguard into a F2P title with a premium subscription.  


''Microsoft had wanted to launch this thing in July of 2006,'' Mr. Smedley said. ''We felt like the game needed more time, and we have given it more time, but at some point enough is enough, and we have to ship the game and start generating revenue.''"  NYTIMES SOURCE  

Regarding the underlined portion of that quote, how do you think that worked out for Vanguard? Vanguard was obviously not ready for release and the decision to force a release sealed the games fate. 


Sigil was a trainwreck, Microsoft correctly indentified it and cancelled the project.  Why SOE didn't recognize this and on top of that allowed that failure to continue as the publisher of the game is completely on the head of SOE.  Also it wasn't some critical drop in subs that cuased lack of support.  Vanguard was purchased in a state that required more funding than it generated.  SOE didn't do that.

After four years of developing the game what would you say is the crowning achievment of SOEs efforts in the game? 

They fixed some bugs and finished some content that sigil had mostly completed before the purchase.  It isn't like SOE spend the last four years making the game awesome.  It is pretty much the same game that was released with some performance tweaks.  Well SOE did add content for level 51-55 by reworking some ingame areas, but they only half finished that and then left players twisting in the wind.  Good job! 


At least Vanguard would have a developer working on the game, which is more than can be said right now. 





Note that none of this means Sigil is without blame, but the moment SOE decided to publish the game they took responsibility for the outcome.  They were holding the purse strings so they got to make the rules. 


Old School

Joined: 1/03/04
Posts: 7944

5/20/11 2:41:07 PM#43
Originally posted by BarCrow

 Well ..let's hope I'm wrong.

It is most likley to late for a revival of the game, but it still has more potential than many games the released after it.  It is just to bad it was cut so short.   


Novice Member

Joined: 11/24/09
Posts: 3001

The more you hype an upcoming game in your mind, the more it will fail to meet your expectations.

5/20/11 2:43:14 PM#44

Possible, but not likely.

Any Sony game I would be interested in playing either now or in the past, is now currently plagued with RMT, or has a near non-existant development team.

Yes, I am one of theSWG Pre-CU vets. Sure I'm still bothered by it, but that alone hadn't put me off of SOE games... although admittedly it did keep me away from them for several years.

It's more than that though. The other two SOE games I would be interested in playing would be EQ2 and Vanguard. I have played EQ2, but I stopped playing because of all the RMT that was being put into the game, even after they repeatedly swore up and down that it would only be added to exchange servers. Then there's vanguard... a game I simply can't commit myself to. The game itself is decent, the concepts good, but it's been dumped into the station pass graveyard to die a death of no development.

All in all, SOE's past performance has been very lackluster the last several years. Their existing games are a mess due to mismanagement, and they don't seem to be showing that anything new they churn out won't be another DC Universe.

The future looks pretty bleak for SOE from what I'm seeing.


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/12/08
Posts: 661

5/20/11 2:45:33 PM#45

The only way that SOE can survive this latest debacle is for them to do 2 things.  First, fire John Smedley immediately.  Second, bring back SWG in its original form and begin supporting that game.  There, I said it and now the disgruntled former SWG vets have had their say.  Please continue the discourse.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/20/11
Posts: 7

5/20/11 2:49:07 PM#46

John has needed to step down for a long long time.  The guy just isn't good at his job.


Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20136

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

5/20/11 3:23:56 PM#47
Originally posted by gaugeforever

John has needed to step down for a long long time.  The guy just isn't good at his job.

But somewhere he has "pictures" of high level Sony Executives in compromising positions which seems to ensure his retention.

In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
"I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon



Joined: 6/02/04
Posts: 3154

Google is your friend.

5/20/11 3:32:39 PM#48

So, what I’d like to know from all of you in this week’s Grinds my Gears, is whether or not this security breach has in any way changed your opinions on SOE?


Hardly, considering my opinion of the company hasn't changed since late November 2005. I have maintained that SOE's games are theirs to do with as they please, even if it is counter to my or other customers wishes. Blatantly, brashly, SOE has strode forth in doing so, customer opinions be damned. Had the NGE not happened and had SOE addressed the bugs and issues of the game they had produced initially, growing that environment, then I'd still be a paying customer.


History as it is, that decision by SOE in 2005 left me personally wandering the back alleyways of MMO'dom trying to find a game to provide my next MMO home. Which I still haven't found to this day 6 years later. I've had a few apartments, but no MMO that gave all the character play options in such detail as SWG on the non-combat side of the coin.


So, in light of my personal experience, no, my opinion hasn't changed of them. I don't spend my nights casting voodoo spells for harm to come to the company however when something like this happens you can certainly find me with a large smile on my face. SOE tanking as a company doesn't concern me. They haven't made anything that I've wanted to play, nor have they introduced (since SWG) any MMO game play mechanics that I would hope to see in a future game. They've offered me as a MMO gamer and a customer nothing since 2005.


Such as that is I have no interest in seeing them succeed. In fact, I imagine for many "disgruntled SWG vets" whether they are the vocal sort or not news like this does chip away at that feeling of having one of your greatest MMO gaming experiences taken away from you and not being able to do a single thing about it.

"Many nights, my friend... Many nights I've put a blade to your throat while you were sleeping. Glad I never killed you, Steve. You're alright..."

Kickstarter 2 / Naysayers 0


Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

5/20/11 3:51:21 PM#49

It's karmic justice.  SOE gets everything they deserve in my opinion.  They have treated their communities very poorly, one could even say antagonistically at times.  Eventually they were going to piss off the wrong person or group of people.


Now perhaps the hackers had an agenda to undermine SOE, or perhaps it was just to steal info.  But either way, SOE has put a lot of negative energy out into cyber space and eventually it comes back like a boomerang.


Will they make it?  Probably so, limping along like their station access pass games.  But they will no longer be big players.  They will just be on the fringes, has beens who squandered talent and resources.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/16/10
Posts: 681

5/20/11 4:27:12 PM#50

DC Universe was my last hope. They farged up, and now i'm totally done with them. Still, they have some interesting titles coming up ((EQ Next and Planetside), but due to SOE i'll never buy one of them.

causs Xfire Miniprofile

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

5/20/11 5:53:45 PM#51

I worry that the impact of this on MMOs is going to be far larger than most people appreciate at the moment.  I would be surprised if this is really the first time one of these companies has had their billing database accessed, but the way it has snowballed into a PR catastrophe is a game-changer.  The sheer cost of the cleanup means that the high-level beancounters in *all* companies are going to be adding a new risk factor to their spreadsheets when determining the cost-benefit of their games. 

SOE made a lot of mistakes, but I would be surprised if there were not mistakes of a comparable scale lurking around many a server.  The question is whether years of dealing with exploit-seekers has made MMO companies more resilent to attack than your average online business (and thus a less interesting target for the current breed of criminal blackhats) or whether the huge attack surface that a client-server game offers is going to start attracting trouble now that there is blood in the water.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/23/09
Posts: 86

5/20/11 6:29:07 PM#52

Good article. I don't want to repeat the same stuff, so I am adding another perspective.

They used to be a great company and they used to have good games. Then inexplicably bad creative direction crept into their games (I am leaving NGE out, really!). It went downhill already when SWG introduced nothing else than Barbie doll house decoration items and the team did anything in their power to avoid any references to actual Star Wars (you only saw these on promo material, while they dedicated time to implement such things as pink mandalorian armors. Really.)

SOE would repeat their formula of fail on DCUO as well, when they thought that centering their updates on holydays would be a good idea. Who thought that german expressionism Batman would be successful, as with Tim Burton's take. And who thought that you can make an animated series using art deco and film noir designs? Well, people who obviously know their stuff (Batman originally being a pulp detective comic).

I know that it's just one aspect, but wrecking entire franchises like that is the most efficient way to destroy both reputation and image of the company. SOE really is the Joel Schumacher of the online game world.


Novice Member

Joined: 6/01/08
Posts: 232

5/20/11 6:37:52 PM#53

I feel that SOE will be fine.  Sure they need to makes some changes, but I think they will continue to be around and I am glad.  I have a lot of good memories of EQ and EQ 2.  Personally I feel that EQ Next will be huge.  The only way that I could see them being in trouble is if EQ Next bombs, but I do not see that happening.

As far as the security breach goes, it could have happened to anyone.  The hackers just happened to pick the PSN.  Thats why if you are worried about your credit card information, you do not use your main account.  If you use a Visa debit tied to your bank account, you are just asking for trouble.  Always use a separate account just for games.  Or use game time cards or prepaid credit.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/12/11
Posts: 70

5/20/11 6:45:30 PM#54

The question is not whether CAN they make it, but SHOULD they be able to make it.

The answer to that is ...




Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 3068

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

5/20/11 7:55:25 PM#55

Despite a lot of folks wanting soe to roll over and die.  Well all I can say is keep wishing.  We still here.  While we were down for a couple of weeks, it did not kill us.  I still see plenty of folks playing eq2,  now I cant speak for the other games.

So keep wishing soe to die,  its not going to happen.  I would think cryptic would sooner sale out before soe dies.


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/29/06
Posts: 35

5/20/11 7:59:03 PM#56

If you dont agree with how a company treats you as a customer, then you can do a couple of things...provide them with feedback and hope they change, or stop giving them money.  Since the Smedster made it clear that the only thing SOE listens to is "people voting with their feet".

I will never, ever play another SOE game or buy another SOE product.  The security breach and their handling of it, just firther justified my earlier decision. 



Joined: 11/03/07
Posts: 544

Thug, Thief, Killer, Pirate

5/20/11 8:38:31 PM#57

If a company, any company provides poor service and second rate products and is generally incompetent from the top down market forces will do the rest.

The recent hacking thing is just another failure in a whole long line of failures by SOE and even if this isn't what brings them down if they don't change, fast they will just mess something else up and then something else after that and its just a matter of time before they cant sustain it any longer, its just to bad for the competent staff they do have if they end up losing their jobs.

Currently playing:

EVE online (Ruining low sec one hotdrop at a time)

Gravity Rush,
Dishonoured: The Knife of Dunwall.

(Waiting for) Metro: Last Light,
Company of Heroes II.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/20/11
Posts: 120

5/20/11 9:20:49 PM#58

I know I should make a long more useful reply. But I am so disappointed with PSN right now and Sony. C'mon, letting a server fall down, what is with that. Thats just dumb. Letting hacks in. They should be on that with their team of maintnence and security.

 All I am saying is, their rep is taking a hit or two.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/04
Posts: 390

5/20/11 9:32:11 PM#59

My history with SOE started with SWG, after playing for 2 years, the 'combat upgrade' caused my favorite game to crash and burn.  I hung in with SOE for EQ2 and played that for about a year and  a half... happily bought Vanguard and it was like eating a cake that was runny in the middle... SOE was churning out crap.

I cut SOE out of my life for several years while nodding at Blizzard and their protocol for running a business that felt professional and that seemed to make wise choices for their community of players. 

I recently got my daughter a Free REalms account and was dismayed at the 'cash store'... I felt this type of game model made SOE feel even seedier.  Everytime they tried to suck another station cash token from my white knuckles I was reminded of the two bit, back alley hooker with the smeared lipstick and the ripped fishnets... SOE dropped to a new level in my book, one with very little CLASS.  For a company that totes a name like SONY, which used to mean quality, they have become a sad, sad panda.

I think like the FORD of the car manufacturers, they really need to cutback and take a hard look at their business model and redesign themselves if they want to survive in the gaming market.  One too many Explorer tire blow outs and people start to veer away from your shoddy products.  Classic case of too big, too much, too fast and bad management choices.

No bitchers.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/11/06
Posts: 482

5/20/11 9:56:35 PM#60

No the breach hasnt changed my mind about $oe, but then again it would be hard for me to have a lower opinion of them. As long as they continue to operate as they have since eq1 with the same inept fools mismanaging their games,expansions,and releases it wont be a question of "if" they will fail but "when".

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