ZAM at E3: Roundup of SOE Coverage

We've summarized all of the content that Sony Online Entertainment is showcasing at E3.

Sony Online Entertainment's E3 live stream just ended, and we have compiled a wrap-up to give you an overview of what the company is showcasing at the convention. One of the most interesting announcements is that Station Access will soon by dropping to $19.99 per month from the current price of $29.99 per month! They also emphasized that you can still register for Fan Faire, which will be held from July 7-9 in Las Vegas.

Sadly, SOE is not talking about PlanetSide Next or EverQuest Next at E3. However, they are discussing DC Universe Online's Update 4; EverQuest II in 3D; Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures' squads and tower defense game; Free Realms' upcoming ranching feature; their new PAYDAY: The Heist shooter; and Magic: The Gathering - Tactics' first expansion. Keep reading below for all the details, and be sure to check out the rest of our E3 coverage!

DC Universe Online

Many players are wondering when Update 3 will launch, and new Game Director Mark Anderson confirmed that it's “ready to go live any day now. It's imminent. Days!" As we found out in our recent roundtable interview, Update 3 will feature Ra's al Ghul and much more. UPDATE: DC Universe Online's Update 3 launched on June 9, the day after this live stream.

The DC Universe Online team is showing off Update 4 at E3. The demo features a Fortress of Solitude raid that requires heroes and villains to work together to battle Brainiac. “Superman fans should be very happy,” he said, noting that Superman will be teaming up with bad guys like Lex Luthor and General Zod. Update 4 is scheduled to be released later this summer. Check out the trailer below for a glimpse of the raid.

Senior Game Designer Jesse Benjamin also jumped in to say that he helped turn the Batcave 1 raid into a 4-man alert for Update 4. He also mentioned that the upcoming MegaServers are “not server consolidation,” but are a way to shorten queue times for players.

EverQuest II

Executive Producer David "SmokeJumper" Georgeson and Lead Programmer Greg "Rothgar" Spence talked about playing EverQuest II in 3D, which is what they're showcasing at E3 thanks to some new Sony VAIO hardware. "It's amazing! I notice the environment art so much more in 3D," Spence said. He also let players know that they'll need a minimum of a Nvidia 8600 graphics card to play the game in 3D. SOE will be showing off the technology at Fan Faire.

After talking a bit about the new Leaper and Glider mounts that are coming soon to EverQuest II, Georgeson said that “this is just the tip of the iceberg. Fan Faire is going to be so much fun this year. We have so much stuff to announce."

Greg Spence (left) and David Georgeson discuss EverQuest II 3D.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures

Producer Todd Carson outlined some of the new additions to the kid-friendly browser game. Squads are basically guilds that allow groups of players to communicate with each other and promote people within the squad. In order to get players into mini-games quickly, you can now click on a player to bring up a radial menu and invite them to a multiplayer game with one click.

Carson was most excited to discuss a new mini-game called Galactic Forces, which uses a tower defense mechanic. "Basically what you're doing is creating a war. You pick your troops. It's more of a strategy game,” he said, emphasizing that these battles could last for quite awhile.

Carson also mentioned that the team will be hosting a speeder bike tournament at Fan Faire, so keep an eye out for that on July 8 if you attend.

Free Realms

Senior Artist Floyd Bishop talked briefly about some of the new items that are coming to farming in Free Realms, such as scarecrows and sprinklers. The majority of his time on camera revolved around the upcoming ranching feature, which will allow you to raise pets and mounts such as unicorns, ponies and even a Tyrannosaurus rex.

"You can get an egg and raise that egg. Everything hatches from an egg. You can raise that baby up to be a pet or a mount,” Bishop said.

PAYDAY: The Heist

Creative Director Simon Viklund then gave viewers some details on PAYDAY: The Heist, an upcoming squad-based first-person shooter that SOE unveiled at E3. The game is being developed by Overkill Software and will be coming out later this year.

PAYDAY has “everything you love about heists,” Viklund said. "It's all about working together as a team." You can play with up to four people through the heists. Similar to Left 4 Dead, the other characters will be controlled by the AI if you don't have enough players around to join you on your crime spree.

"There's a constant ebb and tide of assault waves. During the assault waves, it's about survival at that point,” Viklund said. He commented that it's a very fast-paced game; heists can be completed in approximately 20 minutes with a good team.

A public demo featuring a bank heist will be made available to the public before launch. The game will be available on the PlayStation Network and PC as a digital download.

Magic: The Gathering – Tactics

Executive Producer Mark Tuttle wrapped up the live stream by stating that the first expansion for Magic: The Gathering – Tactics is slated to launch by the end of August. “We're working hard on Set 2, which will basically build on the strategies that we put in Set 1," he said.

The first Magic: The Gathering – Tactics tournament will be held at Fan Faire on July 7 at 10 p.m. PDT.

Darryl "Togikagi" Gangloff, Editor-in-Chief


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Cash Cow
# Jun 12 2011 at 7:54 PM Rating: Decent
136 posts
its sad.. i will agree... with most likely 150000 active paid subscriptions at 14.99 a month, EQ is still pulling in over 2.2Million a month on this game... since it is already paid for.. this game is SOE's cash cow... generating over 20million a year... and that is if they only have 150000 active subs...which is about what Ultima and AC still have... so why they dont advertise blows my mind.... I wish EQ had went FTP and eq 2 stayed pay......
Thanks !
# Jun 09 2011 at 12:47 PM Rating: Decent
Thanks for the price break SOE! My wife and daughter were going to drop DCUO this week! I think we will now keep it. I really appreciate it! In fact I think I will look at some of the other games now as well.
# Jun 09 2011 at 4:55 AM Rating: Decent
I agree EQ does have a fan base and we do pay for the service to play the game. They can't tell me EQ is not making money they are and maybe not as much as they wanted but it still making money. If SOE would advertise as they do DC comics and Eq 2 they would make more money with EQ.

I just don't see how a free MMO can make more money then a fee base game it just blows my mind that a free game would make more then a fee base game.

Soe did shoot them selfs in the foot when they was so hard on there players when they first bought EQ so I still love the game but hope it stays around for a long time. Been playing it a long time and love playing my main and alts.

Do the advertise and see the money roll in :) yes its that easy as when EQ was down all those weeks I try other games and none comes close to it.

Long live EQ
Where's some news about EQ?
# Jun 08 2011 at 5:27 PM Rating: Decent
Why does SOE insist on ignoring the game that got them to the dance? No mention of EverQuest? No money put back into it, no advertising but lets waste a ton of money on EQ 2, Free Realms, DCUO and a new risky ip that will probably fail Payday The Heist...great business model. No wonder Blizzard only has one MMO and it is the most successful by far. It's too easy and cartoony but at least it's good at what it does, although I'll never play it I can at least appreciate how they do things
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