Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Via Blue Kae, I'm jumping in on Scary Boosters Developer Appreciation Week. I'm taking some liberties with the idea and broadening out to a whole division that consists of several studios: Sony Online Entertainment.

Yeah, yeah they screwed the pooch with the NGE, we all know. However, screwing the pooch occasionally is one side effect of being innovative. Innovative means "risky," and when you take risks disasters will sometimes occur.

The innovations that have appeared in various SOE products over the years are staggering. Love it or hate it, Raiding was pretty much invented by the Everquest crew on SOE's watch. Most of the modern instancing mechanics were also pioneered in EQ. Planetside was the first MMO FPS. Everquest Online Adventures was nearly the first true MMO on consoles (I believe FFXI slightly preceded it in Japan), and the only MMO I am aware of to not require a hard drive (only Phantasy Star Online can also make that claim, and it's more of a Rogue-like than an MMO). The first (and still only as far as I know) MMO to jam a space arcade sim in as a side-game. The first MMO to experiment with monster play (preceding LoTRO by turned out to be easily exploitable and was quickly pulled). The first MMO to offer a server where buying and selling items and characters is vouchsafed. The first MMO to experiment with alternate rule-set servers. The first MMOs to completely integrate trading-card mini-games. All features you may or may not be a fan of. But it's hard to argue that SOE isn't willing to green light something innovative/ risky.

In addition to that, they have rescued several MMOs that would have crashed and burned left to their own devices. They kept the Matrix Online open a hell of a lot longer than anyone else would have. I seriously doubt that Pirates of the Burning Sea or Vanguard would still be with us if not for SOE. Between the stable of products they have developed and those they have rescued, a Station Access Pass connects you to a veritable museum of MMOs, and is arguably the best sub value available anywhere.

So props to the company division that everyone loves to hate, Sony Online Entertainment. And mad props to the developers in all of their studios for giving millions of us so much entertainment over the last decade.


  1. Seems like people always talk about innovation in a successfully context, good points about SOE.

    By the way, I posted a link to Twitter since it's DAW related.

  2. I "grew up" on SOE MMOs, they deserve a thank you very much and I thank you for making DAW bigger than I ever though. Blue Kae also was a huge key in the success for this week. Thanks guys.

  3. Neat! I for one did not know all this great stuff about SOE, and I wouldn't have if it wasn't for DAW. My only experience with their games is SWG.

  4. @Blue Kae: Finding useful innovations in real life is two steps forward, one step back. And SOE really seems to get that more than any other large MMO publisher. I think SOE deserves some credit for it.

    @Scarybooster: great idea, it was my pleasure to add my 2c :-)

    @mmogamerchick: that's likely because you aren't geezing as hard as me ;-)

  5. I'd have to give SOE my thanks as well. With 4 years in EQ, 4 years in EQ2, and some dabbling in SWG, Vanguard, and Free Realms, I've spent more game time in their worlds than any other.

    Still waiting for another mmo to offer the amount of non-combat stuff to do as EQ2

  6. @Aspendawn: EQ II really is an impressive MMO, and doesn't get enough credit for it imo. Really unique crafting system, tons of side activities, and a deep and expansive PvE game. It's never held my interest for more than a couple of months at a stretch, but it's always on my back burner.

  7. SOE deserves a lot of credit for the variety of products they offer. They only have such spectacular failures because of the number of games they support. Excellent choice, Yeebo!