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.