[EQ2] In which EU players get the shaft

If you’re been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll have seen a few rants about EU players being treated differently from US players in MMOs. (And yes, this doesn’t even begin to cover some of the hassles that players outside either of these regions can have.)

SOE has pretty much taken the biscuit though, because they’ve just announced that they have inked a multi year deal to sell off the EU servers in 8 of their games to another company. When this happens, players who already have characters on US servers can keep playing them, but any new EU players will only have access to EU servers. US players though will lose any access to EU servers.

This from a company that actually got things very right in allowing any player to pick any server, while still labelling some of the servers for EU to help people pick ones in compatible timezones. So unsurprisingly, players felt that it was OK for them to make characters on any server and there are plenty of guilds on US servers with EU players (and vice versa, for people who maybe find their shifts work better with EU hours.) Clearly, people who are happily playing on US servers now do not need a company that can ensure the games “are a reflection of [their] region’s culture”.And any EU players on US servers won’t be able to recruit any of their RL friends any more.

Just to be clear, this is what EU players can expect:

We will offer a simple way for any current SOE European player to create a new account with ProSiebenSat.1 Games and to have their existing characters and game progress transferred and the value of any Station Cash in their SOE account granted to the new ProSiebenSat.1 Games account.

Under the new partnership between SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 Games, European players of the above mentioned SOE games will be able to play via ProSiebenSat.1 Games’s service and will not have access to U.S. servers.  However, existing EverQuest II players in Europe that have played on U.S. servers before the transition will be allowed to continue playing on those servers through their SOE accounts.

And this deal also covers upcoming games like Planetside 2 and the next EQ game. I think SOE may have just lost a lot of EU players. However, I think they’ve proven quite clearly in the past that they don’t mind pissing off some existing customers if they think they can attract more new ones in future.

11 thoughts on “[EQ2] In which EU players get the shaft

  1. The sad thing is, because this is SOE, it’s not actually surprising that they are doing this… I just kind of shrug my shoulders and think “oh well, that’s Sony for you.” Not that they’re getting any of my cash at the moment anyways.

  2. That’s all very dissapointing. As a UK based ‘EU’ player, the ‘culture of my region’ tends to be a wildly diverse community many of whom speak languages I haven’t the faintest idea how to understand. I also have a lot of US online friends. Sometimes I wish that folks would realise that the United Kingdom being in Europe really is nothing like California being in the United States.

    Thinking back to Codemaster’s past problematic handling of Turbine’s games in EU, (Lotro and DDO especially) it’s very difficult to be optimistic about this move. I’m fairly sure that the ‘Exchange’ servers they passed off to Live Gamer Inc are desolate ghost towns these days, or were when I looked. (http://howtomurdertime.com/blog/2011/08/05/valuations.html)

    I do like the lower ping times of localised servers, but not being compartmentalised off from other players of the game for corporate reasons.

    It’s good that I can still get at existing EQ2 characters, but it really is making think twice about future games from SOE, when usually, I take these SOE-isms in my stride.

  3. “However, I think they’ve proven quite clearly in the past that they don’t mind pissing off some existing customers if they think they can attract more new ones in future”

    I don’t see how this attracts new customers in the future. I would have phrased that as:

    However, I think they’ve proven quite clearly in the past that they don’t mind pissing off some existing customers if they can show a short-term revenue gain.

  4. I started a reply but I have too much to say so I’m off to post about it on my own blog.

    Suffice it to say this is the single most stupid decision they’ve made since NGE, and I give them half a pass on that because LucasArts were calling the shots then, so that makes this THE stupidest decision.

  5. Bad news I fear. My experiences of split management of games in regions has been of delayed patches and poor news propagation. One thing to like about the SoE game stable was the one account for multiple games and this will split this apart as not all games are being offloaded.

    Yet again Europe gets the shaft for being the wrong side of the Atlantic. If I could I’d just give up and move to the US as I’m fed up of feeling like an afterthought to the gaming industry…

  6. Speaking for Oceanic players, I have this tiny violin that I like to play sometimes, while I look at my latency and think of the trials and tribulations of EU players.

    It is a very small violin indeed.

    • I think splitting a community up by selling off their servers/subs to another company several years after launch is in a different type of category to just providing worse service to non-US regions though tbh.

  7. So I can be an honorary American because I already have characters? The only real impact may be that it becomes more expensive to buy Station Cash. So I’d better not buy any.

    Well done Sony!

    More seriously it would be a pain if I wanted to raid with people in my time zone but that’s not how I play EQ2.

  8. …and SWTOR haven’t even launched outside the US and EU , despite EA having EA/Origin stores for many more regions.

    This is when you learn how to game the stupid regional systems these entertainment companies have (and then you wonder why they even bother).

    I wonder why companies don’t go the Arenanet/Guildwars route with server instances, that worked wonderfully to cross-over between EU/Asia/US/Aus without ever having to “transfer characters” or “re-roll on a different server” etc etc.

    If companies want to create that critical mass, like the “facebook effect” , they can NOT do this mini isolated server nonsense, you must create a sense that you can reach/play with/contact anyone who is playing the game (not only the random people who happens to be on the same 2000-10000 user server as yourself)

  9. I’m shocked that SOE could be so insensitive to their customers.

    SOE has proven time and again that they only care about their business model and don’t do anything to accommodate unless the backlash is huge. Even then they still do what they want just in a way where they can say they did it for the players.

    I understand the need to make money. Believe me I do. I just don’t get how one company can so consistently come at it from just the wrong angle.

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