Daybreak Games: Roundtable With Smedley & Naviaux

Daybreak Game Company unveiled its new logo and website last week, giving a fresh face as it looks toward the future. We chatted with Daybreak President John Smedley and the Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing Laura Naviaux yesterday evening about the origins of the company's new name and logo, Columbus Nova, the future of its fan convention, and more.

Landmark's New User Experience

Landmark has been in closed beta for quite some time now, and recently developer Daybreak Games announced several changes to the game that they hope will improve the new user experience. We chatted with Senior Producer Terry Michaels and Lead Game Designer Darrin McPherson about these modifications and how they will impact the game.

Your Next: Highly Achievable

For purists, the joy of the sandbox is having no path laid before you, to know that any goal we may set for ourselves is as good as any other, and that whatever mountaintop we aim for is achievable if we have what it takes. This level of freedom doesn’t work for others, being able to track our success with shorter term and layered milestones keeps us motivated to achieve our overall goal. There’s often a certain snobbery attached when this is discussed amongst MMO enthusiasts, but I see it as just another example of how diverse we are as players and people.

In a game like Landmark, we’re presented with what is essentially a blank canvas and the offer to fill it. Some players will relish being let off the leash, but judging by reactions to other games it’s safe to assume they will be the minority.

So far, the various competitions and the Workshop in particular have offered effective shorter term goals, at least for those who have already mastered the game. This cycle has been invaluable for player motivation and retention, while creating a focal point for the community and a platform for players to to show off their skills and creativity. The results are incredible and continue to improve, I really can’t say enough good things about it.

Daybreak Maintenance: Monday, April 27, 2015

Daybreak Games will perform a general maintenance beginning at 7:00AM PDT on Monday, April 27th. The current estimated downtime for this maintenance is three to five hours, depending on the service.

This maintenance may impact the following Daybreak services across all games:

  • Commerce functions, including purchases, for all games
  • Game logins
  • Web logins for all Daybreak sites, including account creation
  • Forum access (login, posting, and viewing abilities) for all Daybreak games.

Here's our handy Time Zone Conversion Tool to help you plan.

Your Next: Just a Building Game

If you’ve read this column before, you probably know I prefer to be optimistic, to look on the bright side when it comes to the future and deal with problems as they arise. I’d rather not waste energy worrying about things I can’t change. You may have even worked out this column is meant to be about EverQuest Next and Landmark, though I hide it well sometimes.

So it takes a lot for me to say that for my personal relationship with Landmark as a player, this is a low point, and I can’t see it swinging back in the near future.

As people who write about these things are so fond of saying—Big Changes are coming to Landmark. If you haven’t heard, you can catch up with the official forum post.

The changes have been presented as dialing back the overlap with EverQuest Next to make room for something that works better for Landmark. Personally, I don’t buy this at all; these changes show a marked change in direction when it comes to how Landmark operates as a multiplayer experience.

Here’s a quick list of what I’m specifically referring to:

  • Making basic building resources free and removing some higher tier crafting materials entirely
  • Allowing all resources to be harvested with any tier of equipment
  • Streamlining or removing most material refining and processing
  • Decoupling weapon and armor crafting from tool crafting
  • Removal of the Ether Stone, and Ether Shards for most recipes
  • Removal of Salvaging
  • Removal of variation on crafted items, upgrading and relics

The way I see it, this is a change designed to bring in those people interested in the building aspects of the game when the game soft launches into open beta, they are currently the game’s core audience, so it makes sense to build on that foundation (puns everywhere). However, this is at the expense of any feature that ‘gets in the way’ of the building systems.

Weekend Bonus on $20 Station Cash Cards

Beginning at 10:00AM PDT on Friday, March 27th, if you redeem a $20 Station Cash Game Card, you will receive 500 Bonus Station Cash! All $20 Station Cash cards feature artwork from Landmark like this one.

These Landmark game cards are available in select locations of the following U.S. retail stores: GameStop, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Toys R Us.

But hurry! The 500 Bonus SC is only available if you redeem the $20 Station Cash Game Cards between 10:00AM PDT on Friday, March 27th, and 11:59PM PDT on Sunday, March 29th.

The Fine Print:  Bonus Station Cash will ONLY be awarded on the redemption of a $20 Landmark card. Other Station Cash cards are not eligible for this promotion.

Your Next: Acropocalypse

This week I’ve mostly felt like a kid with a bag of candy in one hand and a Mountain Dew in the other. There’s been so much going on it feels impossible to sift through it all and be left with a coherent thought on the other side.

With that in mind, we’re going to play a game I like to call ‘Talk About Many Disparate Subjects Then Try To Link Them Together With A Pretentious Conclusion’. Or TADSTTTLTTWAPC, since I know how much MMORPG players dig those acronyms.

Half Life 3 Confirmed at GDC! The joke that never gets old could finally get its punchline. Using Half Life as a flagship for a new kind of gaming experience would fit Valve’s MO. While my personal experience with VR (specifically Oculus Rift) has been awesome, I’m still skeptical that creating a critical mass with this kind of expensive peripheral is possible. Luckily for all of us, there’s a metric ton of money being bet against me, so fingers crossed it works and we’re all living in the nightmare dystopian future of Ready Player One by 2020. Or, put another way, within the natural lifetime of MMOs currently in development.

Storybricks Announces Its Closure

In a surprising newsletter this evening, Storybricks announced that it will be closing its doors.

Mostly known for their recent work on EverQuest Next's AI with Sony Online Entertainment, the studio cites that the decision was their own and "Sony Online Entertainment (now Daybreak Games) bears no fault for it. Sony Online Entertainment had been up for sale for a long time so our exit had no connection with the Columbus Nova acquisition."

Daybreak General Maintenance: February 24, 2015

Daybreak Games has announced a general maintenence affecting all their games:

Attention players: we will perform a general maintenance beginning at 7:00AM Pacific on Tuesday, February 24th. The current estimated downtime for this maintenance is up to three hours.

This maintenance may impact the following Daybreak services across all games:

  • Commerce functions, including purchases, for all games
  • Game logins
  • Web and forum logins for all Daybreak sites, including account creation

Thank you for your patience as we complete this maintenance.

Here's our handy Time Zone Conversation Tool to help you plan.

Your Next: Proving Negatives

For a while there I was thinking I wouldn’t have much to talk about; be careful what you wish for, I guess.

When news started to come out about the layoffs at Daybreak Game Company, players were understandably skeptical about the prospects of EverQuest Next and Landmark. With high profile names being let go, it’s easy to feel like the foundation is falling away.

It’s been wonderful to see the support from the community for the people who were let go, the tribute card in Landmark is a sight to behold, and a fitting tribute to the legacy of those people that made it possible.

It’s also a tribute to the players who made it possible and the strength of the Landmark community, which seems to have redoubled its efforts to be the most welcoming and supportive in gaming.

The message from Daybreak over the last week has been that the games remain a team effort, and while adjustments have to be made and priorities shifted, the guiding principles and foundational principles remain the same. Which is exactly what you’d expect to hear.

In times gone by, that would have been the end of it. We would have had a press release, some clarifications on an official forum, an approved interview or two, and that would be that. It’s happened many times before and shows no signs of slowing down. However, in this brave new world of open development and increased transparency, we were treated to a Q&A session with senior members of the team, using questions submitted by players.