With yesterday’s announcement of the closure of Landmark, Daybreak not only gets to continue its streak of shutting down more MMOs than it creates but also extinguishes the last vestiges of EverQuest Next in existence. It’s like a kick in the crotch of the deceased — disrespectful, unnecessary, and completely devoid of class.
Daybreak these days is pretty much two things: A hot mess of confusing messages and weird silences, and a company that is much more interested in closing games than creating them. I don’t think there are many people left who still hold the opinion that the Columbus Nova buyout was a portent of a bright future.
And while we can say that it wasn’t a huge surprise that Landmark was next on the chopping block, it doesn’t take the sting out of this — even for non-players, like myself. This move really stinks for many reasons:
- As mentioned, Landmark was all that was left of EverQuest Next and the only consolation prize that those fans had. Now it’s going to be taken away.
- Daybreak is creating a public image of a studio that doesn’t really want to make or operate games. It hasn’t put out a vision for its future, it’s been shifting leadership since Smedley left, and its fans have been given so little to be excited about.
- People dropped some serious money for the alpha that won’t be reimbursed. $100 bucks a pop to play a game that was in testing for most of its life? That’s a cautionary tale that is going right up there with the people who bought a lifetime sub to Hellgate London. At least when Smed’s Hero’s Song went down, he offered everyone’s money back. Not so here.
- In fact, Daybreak’s closure message and FAQ are nearly devoid of sympathy and compassion. No, you ain’t getting your money back. No, you can’t run a private server or emulator. No, you don’t really matter.
- It always sucks when an MMO goes down, but let us remember that Landmark is a game that featured much more player created content than what you usually find elsewhere. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of hours of creations are about to be flushed down the toilet. They’re not just closing a game, they’re taking away people’s work.
Would it have really hurt or cost so much to leave the lights on and put the game in maintenance mode? Did Daybreak just want another PR hit and remind players how much they hate the studio for killing EverQuest Next last year? Could the studio have shown a little decency and empathy for the players this affected?
This leaves EverQuest, EverQuest II, DCUO, both H1Z1 games, and PlanetSide 2 under the Daybreak umbrella — one of the smallest libraries the studio has ever had. The EverQuest games are probably fine, considering their legacy and last year’s expansions, and DCUO has always seemed to do pretty well for itself on console. But Just Survive and PlanetSide 2 appear more vulnerable now that Landmark has been shown the door.
And it should be pointed out that as Daybreak is nearing its second anniversary from its SOE transition, the studio has yet to announce a new game or launch one (and splitting the H1Z1 titles doesn’t count). I have so little respect or hope for this company, and I am far from alone in stating this.
Landmark… I’m sorry. You deserved better. You could’ve led into something better. They should’ve known better.