Now that this year's SOE Live has come and gone, all the news stories have been filed, the images have been posted, the movies watched. The exhausted Sony Online Entertainment teams are back home but not sitting back on their laurels as the legion of fans continue to clamor for more information about their favorite SOE titles.
MMORPG.com is not quite finished, however, and have one final article to write before we, too, put this baby to bed. In our latest List, we offer five random thoughts about SOE Live, what we saw, what we heard or experienced.
5. Cross Generational Gaming in Action
One of the most interesting and fascinating things about attending any fan event, but SOE Live in particular, is to get a look at the astonishing breadth of ages that are represented in Sony's games. Every age group except the very youngest is represented, all with a common interest: Gaming.
This year's SOE Live was no exception. Fans came in all sizes and ages yet found their common ground in discussing raid tactics or balance changes or best abilities for defeating that boss. They laughed with, gamed with and vied against one another for the better part of three days with fun had by all.
Sony is in a unique position here given that EverQuest is now fourteen years old. Then-teens have now grown to their thirties and have kids of their own who are into Free Realms or PlanetSide 2. Folks who were older have segued into middle age. Ultra-cool late 20th century retirees are grandparents but are still young and vibrant in the games they play.
What's really cool is how Sony cultivates each group of players by keeping their favorite games alive and developing new games for the new generations players yet to come.
4. Positive Personal Interactions Between Fans & Devs
Probably one of the most heartwarming parts of any SOE Live is to see the fans get to interact with their favorite game developers in a very positive and "human" way. Given the often vitriolic nature of game forums and community fansites, it's great that developers and players can interact with one another in such a positive way. Players can sit down and talk with devs one-on-one at, for instance, the pool party. There are opportunities galore to interact with the team from the lowliest company newb to John Smedley himself. Sony's team doesn't hide from its fans but reaches out in a friendly and informative way to their community.
It's easy to put developers on pedestals, to create some sort of hero worship about them and, for the most part, it is well-deserved. It was a ton of fun to watch somewhat tongue-tied fans greet their heroes in person and to take the photo ops made available.
3. The Pool Party
There's really little to say here except that SOE knows how to throw a party. To bring the fans of their games to Las Vegas and to reserve the entire pool for an entire evening and to have a live DJ on hand, open bars and much more is about as fun as it gets. Fans and devs mingle in a very lowkey way and, by all reports, a great time is had by all...usually followed up by Ten Ton Hammer's Recovery Breakfast the next morning.
Let's just say that you certainly don't see many pictures of the infamous pool party on official channels but a quick search is....revealing.
2. Real Information About the Games We Love
There has been no shortage of things about which to write after a mere three days of games panels at SOE Live. Each game's team is informative and honest about what can and cannot be revealed during the event. While undoubtedly carefully scripted, the feel of the event is that players are getting something special, something that only those who are there in the flesh, or those watching via Twitch.tv, are getting. In addition, fans can ask questions which are often candid peeks into the minds of the very people making the games we so dearly love to play. Conversely, the panels could be frustrating events if questions weren't answered for reasons unknown to the assembly. Still, even the answers to those questions were candidly given: "We aren't ready to talk about that right now."
The bottom line is that things are revealed at SOE Live that are revealed in no other space on the planet. If no other reason entices players to come to the event, this one certainly should.
1. EverQuest Next
Well, we've got panel wrap ups, panel videos, panel impressions, screenshots and much more. Our forums are ablaze with discussion and activity surrounding SOE's next entry into the EverQuest franchise. There is little else to say except this was the single biggest event and announcement of the summer, all other conventions and games aside. Sony has captured the MMO gaming community's collective attention and time will tell if they can hang onto it with their innovative and potentially genre-altering ideas.
If you've missed any of our coverage, be sure to swing by the EverQuest Next page in our games list and then "Features" to read all of them before heading to the EQN Forums to participate in the discussion.
So that wraps up our thoughts and our coverage of SOE Live. If you watched any of the Twitch.tv events or have read any of the articles, what do you think? Leave us your thoughts about SOE Live in the comments.
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom.