[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.

David Jaffe explains Europe

Or more precisely, he explains why his last game didn’t sell too well there:

My layman’s sociological view of Europe is that you guys tend to respond to things that are sleeker, cleaner, more refined, a bit more humorous,” he told Eurogamer backstage at E3 today.

euroleaders

I’m not sure about sleeker.

“I think especially in Europe the candy wrapper is so off-putting to certain people. You say ‘that’s not for us, there’s not enough irony, there’s not enough humour’. It’s not given the chance to unveil what’s beneath the candy wrapper.”

Also, yes, I do say this to myself all the time.

What I suspect is the case is that gaming in general is a bit more mainstream in Europe. It’s why you see the Wii and handheld games doing so well here compared to the US charts (this is a chart for the first few months of last year)

Also, advertising has something to do with it, because I don’t even remember having heard of Twisted Metal.

Dark Age of Camelot EU: The Last Battle

GOA have been running Dark Age of Camelot in Europe since the day it launched. There have been up times and down times, and legendary failures. But for those of us who played DaoC back in the day, GOA were synonymous with Mythic’s old warhorse of a MMO.

That era is coming to an end. It was reported recently that GOA have either let the license lapse or had it removed, and the game will soon be run in Europe by Mythic EA.

And now I, and presumably all the other ex-subscribers who have played the game in its eight year history, have been invited to join in one last hurrah. From 14th-20th Jan, former subscribers have free access to the realms of DaoC/Europe for one final great battle against a terrible danger yet to be revealed.

Accounts will be automatically re-opened, and the client can be downloaded from the community site. A lot of old and familiar names have signed the freddyshouse thread to say that they’ll plan to be there. If you’re an old subscriber, check the email address you subscribed with to pick up the offer.

EU WoW is going to be run separately from the US version

Received via email this morning:

We have a short but important announcement that we wanted to share with our players. World of Warcraft is currently an operation of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (USA), but starting April 14, 2009, the game operator will be Blizzard Entertainment’s central European entity, Blizzard Entertainment S.A.S. (France), and will be referred to as such in the game’s Terms of Use going forward. Our European office has been an essential part of our global operations since before the launch of World of Warcraft, and this update better reflects its role within our organization, as well as our continued commitment to our European players.

This is an administrative change — your World of Warcraft game experience will not be impacted.

They are likely right and it won’t make much difference.

We don’t know why they are making this change. Could be anything from various managers building business empires to a reorganisation that should have taken place months ago.

But just for the record, we do prefer to have our service run by the same company who develops the game and not by its european offshoot.

I think EQ2 still does this. Wondering how many other games do? I’m tired of being forcibly separated from other gamers just because they’re in a different continent.