Two weeks ago, I had to skip writing the ArcheAge column due to sickness. A part of me was hoping more news would occur in the two weeks since that time, but sadly, Trion has remained rather silent, in addition to being rather foreboding of late.
For the most part, with a new product on its plate, the quiet regarding ArcheAge is disheartening because the only news you hear from Trion has been about shake-ups in either Trion Worlds or XLGames. I think it’s time we delved into those bits of news, even while we hope for better things.
Shake-up at Trion
My last column on ArcheAge showed up on August 7, so let’s move on from there. On August 8, it was revealed that Scott Hartsman would be returning to Trion Worlds as CEO. More importantly, it seems he had a plan to right the good ship TW, and that meant making some hard decisions along the way.
Trion Worlds announced that it had shuttered its San Diego office around the same time, August 8, This meant that part of the San Diego workforce would be relocated to Trion Worlds’ Redwood office instead, though that also meant that not everyone would be making the trip.
On August 15, MCV also noted that Trion Worlds was closing its European office in Guildford, UK. From the MCV article, it was noted that Trion Europe head John Burns, communications head Jon Goddard, commercial director Jeff Pabst, senior brand manager Dominic Wai, and PR manager Gary Burns were affected as part of the redundancies.
Sayonara, James Nichols
James “Elrar” Nichols was, perhaps, seen as the most disheartening departure from Trion Worlds. The stalwart former Community Manager for Trion was the source of much good cheer and discussion. He was upbeat, even when his job was filled with days without tangible information to offer people about ArcheAge.
News of Elrar’s departure generally broke a day after the MCV report, with an MMO Champion post showing up with Elrar’s name on August 16. Elizabeth “Dahanese” Tobey, now the Director of Community at Trion Worlds, also had to diffuse some of the tension cause by Elrar’s departure.
To wit, one relevant portion of Tobey’s post was noteworthy. She wrote,
There are times that news happens faster than us - there are also times (like this past week) where news should go first (it's largely a business thing.) But we're here to talk about the closings and reorganizational pieces as much as possible. I'm not going to be able to give you the exact details, but I want to let you guys know that this is part of a plan, helmed by Scott, and one I believe in. That doesn't mean it's always easy, or fun, but it will result in something better and greater than ever before. Scott told me that and I believe in him completely, so I'm telling you, and I hope because you know him, you believe it too.
It also mentioned that some finalized plans may be coming in for Trion Worlds a month after the post, so September 16 may be an important day in that regard.
Trouble at XLGames?
Of course, that isn’t all the trouble that’s fit to print. MMO Culture put up an article on September 1, citing a Korean IT news website. The article basically dealt with the possibility that XLGames was also dealing with its own troubles due to the lackluster showing of ArcheAge.
According to MMO Culture’s report on the events, XLGames may be considering some kind of restructuring because ArcheAge didn’t meet financial expectations for the title’s scope and (probably sizable) funding.
While this is reportedly a rumor, combining the possibility of this with the current struggles of Trion Worlds leads to some general disquiet in my heart, and its one that generally makes me wonder if ArcheAge will turn itself around in the Western gaming world.
I would really like to hope so.
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate and ArcheAge columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.
Read more MMORPG.com coverage: