Sometimes parting is just sweet, without the sorrow. Such is the case with the first bit of news: the departure of ProSiebenSat.1 from SOE. That's right, my European compadres, rejoice because SOE is bringing you back into the fold! The deal that quickly went sour for fans squished between the US company and the European partner is over, and SOE's titles are returning fully to its portfolio while region locks are being lifted. I can hear you all singing hallelujahs and dancing in the street!
The second bit of news worthy of celebration was the launch of Player Studio in Landmark. Although it arrived later than anticipated thanks to the international tax registration processes, the wait was worthwhile because players from not only the U.S but also Canada, Sweden, France, the UK (yes, including Ireland), Germany, Norway, and Denmark can now submit items for sale to other players. That means that aspiring money-makers and non-builders who want to buy their cool items can finally find one another and do business. And that just paves the way for the system to work in EverQuest Next.
As great as the announcements are, neither is without a few downs mixed in with the ups. Norrathian Notebook explores both bits of news to get you the necessary details.
Feel free to sing it out, folks! The announcement of the PSS1/SOE split is music to Norrathian's ears. By abolishing region locks and bringing everyone back under one umbrella, SOE ensures that EverQuest II players will finally be one big happy -- albeit at times crazy -- family again, regardless of which side of the pond they play from. Although all existing players for EverQuest, EQII, and PlanetSide 2 did have the option to remain with SOE instead of migrate to PSS1, all new accounts had to go through the partner company. That meant any friends joining the games from different continents were kept apart. That was a serious killjoy. Luckily that's no longer an issue.
But what if you don't play EQII and you are only looking ahead to the newer Norrath? This split is really good news for you, too. It answers that burning question that has been haunting hopeful EverQuest Next players about whether or not PSS1 will manage the new game's accounts. That answer is no! There will be no SOE games with ProSiebenSat.1 come July 1st. Additionally, if you've signed up to test the beta of Landmark, you are now signed up for the beta of EQN as well.
As I'm a resident of the US, the PSS1 deal never affected my accounts personally, but it affected me when friends from elsewhere wanted to play games with me and couldn't. And I felt badly for all my European comrades-in-arms who shared stories of being tortured by poor service and other issues.
Welcome (back) to SOE
While the exact how-to for the account migration is not available yet, players can keep tabs on a detailed FAQ for information. The basics are this: Region locks have been lifted, and all PSS1 players who wish to continue playing SOE's games after July 1st will have to create a SOE account, to which all earned status, characters, and in-game coin will transfer. EU players who already have a membership will be upgraded to the SOE All Access membership for the duration of their remaining paid subscription. Specific instructions on how to migrate an account will be emailed to players, and they will have a 90-day window to complete the migration.
Here's where it gets sticky: Some players already have SOE accounts for other games and will be migrating over a different game. Most folks want to have all their games on the single SOE account if for no other reason than to take advantage of the All Access subscription on all their games. The FAQ states, "We are sorry, but we are not able to combine accounts at this time." Before you get too disappointed, hang on to the hope of that phrase at this time. It could, and it really should, be possible in the future. I know that EQII players can buy the ability to move characters from one account they own to another from the Marketplace, and the team is actively looking into this for DC Universe Online.
But I say SOE needs to get this sorted out sooner rather than later. I can understand there are logistics involved in mashing accounts together, but one of the perks of supporting multiple SOE games is the All Access plan for your account. To help sow goodwill with the players, SOE should ensure that all the games can have characters migrated from the PSS1 accounts to existing SOE accounts, even if players must temporarily make a new SOE account to house their PSS1 ones as the logistics are worked out. And this service should be free for a limited time. Yes, I understand that SOE is a business, and I am fine with there being charges for many things that a player chooses, but players certainly didn't choose PSS1 (especially in DCUO's case). In fact, many stopped playing all SOE games associated with the European partner. SOE has made many strides in showing it is listening to the needs of players, and giving players this service for free will restore much faith in the company that many felt burned by with the ProSiebenSat.1 move.
According to an email sent to members and posted on the official FAQ, SOE is aware of that some DCUO players never personally migrated to PSS1 (perhaps with the hope that the accounts would return to SOE in the future), but their accounts were actually migrated by the studio and then banned on the SOE servers. The team is looking into opening up those accounts but can make no promises.
Some might say that any actions are too little, too late. To that, I just have to say that SOE is doing exactly what its players have been begging for. Did it take a while? Well, of course! What did you expect? SOE entered into a business deal, and those things cannot just be tossed aside willy-nilly. There are some serious repercussions to breaking a deal. And do you really want to work with a company that won't honor its deals? I didn't think so.
Based on conversations with devs (remember EQ Franchise Director Dave Georgeson's comments from SOE Live 2013 that they "got the message" about PSS1?), I suspect that the company has been well aware of the situation and has been working on ways to rectify the situation. But you still can't just walk away from a major business deal. The situation has to be resolved in such a manner that both parties are satisfied. I can understand why it took time and why SOE could also never comment about dealing with a current business partner other to say that it had "ideas." I am just glad that the split is going to be final.
I've another song in my heart, and this one is all about the release of Player Studio in Landmark. Not only is this player-money-making-feature live in the US now, but it is also available in seven other countries, with more planned. The patch notes give a very detailed explanation on how things work, from who gets paid for the work to submitting your templates in the official patch notes. The team also talked about the process at great length in the latest Landmark Live episode.
While we'll explore this subject more fully another time, here are the highlights for using Player Studio:
- Items are submitted via template.
- Players must complete tax registration.
- Players must currently be 18 or older to submit templates.
- There is a $1 listing fee for every template that is accepted to Player Studio.
- Everyone who has any voxels in the template will be credited as creator and receive profit from sales proportional to contribution (meaning all who contribute must have completed the tax registration).
- Painting a voxel does not change ownership, nor does copy and pasting; however, altering it any other way (including line and add) does.
- Props are not considered contributions to a template.
- When you're buying a template, the only thing you can do is paint or add; you cannot alter the original design.