While I didn’t find the time or occasion to comment the two upcoming expansions (for the two EverQuests) and despite I must still have some notes saved somewhere, I’ll comment quickly the latest news about the servers consolidation.
It starts with a curious statement:
Thanks to all of you, EverQuest II is growing.
Hence they are going to close some servers. No, really.
As the title suggests, I’m going to believe what Scott Hartsman wrote. I like the guy and I actually believe he is doing a decent work on the game. At least for what is possible and probably because I’m observing from too far away to feel the “heat of bitching” (I’m sure I would find plenty to complain about if I was playing).
But I also believe that those arguments are solid and make sense. In fact they were already part of my worries from the beginning (curiously enough, in a discussion with Scott).
The biggest problem is that consolidating some servers to make the game world feel less barren is only a temporary, superficial band-aid and not really a direct answer (that would require deeper discussions about the use of instancing and content progression. So directly the foundations of the game). But then it would be asking too much. (read also this for context)
So, is EQ2 in trouble?
I don’t think it is. Or it isn’t to the point to feel more worried than usual. That EQ2 wasn’t as successful as expected is not a news. It’s here where SOE “lies” (they won’t admit this). But we still have to see how this translates to “trouble” and I’m not convinced by this perspective. There are no concrete signs of this.
If the sky is going to fall, it is going to fall on the whole company (and this wouldn’t surprise me, instead), not on EQ2. The game is actually doing much better than how I expected and exactly because the hard work they are putting on it after the release. So despite they had to build on top of a wrecked game.
SWG is in a much worst condition, EQ is being pillaged and PlanetSide is going “free” to try to survive. I don’t think that Matrix Online is more than a mmo zombie.
EQ2 is probably the most solid game they have at the moment.
By the way, Scott clearly stated on FoH’s boards what most of us are curious about:
Right. Taken as a net, EQ2 grows every week. The sum of +new subs in, -cancels nets out to a positive number.
Taken at the individual server level, underpopulated servers make up a disproportionately large number of the -cancels component in that equation, which correlates to “Server that is not populated enough just isn’t fun.”
So much so, that it’s in EQ2’s best interest to address the problem directly, instead of dancing around it, no matter what random non-subscribing doomsayers will end up saying.