I’m trying my best right now to be eloquent about the recent news of layoffs in Daybreak Game Company. Sadly, it’s 4:00 am as I write this, a reactionary submission to MMORPG.com in light of my tenure as the Everquest Next and Landmark columnist.
Instead of being eloquent, perhaps I should write about how I know the Everquest game franchise.
Burned out from playing The Lord of the Rings Online in 2009, I came across Everquest II, and some of my friends, members of the MMORPG blogging community, were abuzz about it.
I spent quite a bit of my downtime during 2010 or 2011 playing the game on and off. It felt like a world I could get into, and I was willing to pay a subscription to then-Sony Online Entertainment to get my fix of a virtual world.
I know of Linda “Brasse” Carlson because I got into Everquest II around the time she started working with them. I also know of Dave “Smokejumper” Georgeson primarily because he had a presence on the Everquest II forums as his Smokejumper name would pop up when I checked the forums. He was also quite the funny guy on Everquest Next and Landmark’s livestreams.
I think of Brasse and Smokejumper as part of a very community-driven effort to make the Everquest games home for a lot of people. While it was not my permanent gaming home, gaming nomad that I am, Everquest II was still a cozy place to adventure in.
I’m not sure who else has been let go from Daybreak, and right now, I don’t think I could take learning if they gutted the Everquest and Landmark teams.
The removal of two pillars of the Everquest Community, however, makes me feel as if the spirit of Everquest as a whole is being disregarded in lieu of the next, NEXT BIG THING.
It absolutely stings even more knowing that they removed two pillars of the community, while saying this to Kotaku:
These reductions will not affect the operation of current games and the company will continue on its mission to partner with its player community to drive the future and push the boundaries of online gaming.
If you don’t have the people rallying the community of Everquest, which helped grow Verant/SOE/Daybreak, what do you have exactly?
If I were to put on my father’s business hat, perhaps I’d say Daybreak and Columbus Nova made a smart business decision to take the PR hit of layoffs early right after the acquisition, so as you have one cluster of horrible negative sentiment towards Daybreak instead of two.
It doesn’t diminish, however, feeling crushed by the news and, even more so, feeling like my cautious optimism in the Daybreak announcement (just last week, even) was misplaced.
You’re welcome to doomsay in the comments below, though knowing I likely feel the same as you, perhaps we can take on a different tack.
If you’ve read this far, perhaps we can all just end our messages with, “/salute to Dave, Linda, and the Daybreak staff.” It’s the least we can do to thank them for helping make awesome games for us.