Smedley Letter Regarding Price Increase

John Smedley addresses the EverQuest pricing increase in a letter to the community: ======================================= Community Letter from John Smedley Hello everyone, It's amazing that we're now six years since the launch of EverQuest, and even more amazing to see so many people enjoying the world of Norrath. I know that the development team has exciting stuff planned for the coming months (look for an announcement soon!) and they are dedicated to keeping EQ fresh and alive with all the best technology has to offer. EverQuest is in its 6th year of existence and while we have continued to bring new content for everyone to enjoy, the cost of operating a top tier MMO has increased significantly during the past three years. Today I am writing to tell you all that we will be increasing the subscription rate for EverQuest effective June 12, 2005 . The new monthly subscription rate will be $14.99/month. We strive to ensure that EverQuest remains a great entertainment value. No other game offers the detailed gameplay, huge world and tight-knit community that EverQuest offers. The monthly subscription fee allows us to provide the best possible gaming experience for you while also expanding the world. The EverQuest team is dedicated to providing fresh and dynamic content to the players with in-game events, quests, zone re-vamps, game enhancements and great new expansion packs. To thank the EverQuest community, we're offering players a limited-time promotional offer. Between May 12, 2005 and June 11, 2005, you can take advantage of a 6 or 12 month limited time subscription and reap great savings. Just go here for more details. We will continue to offer discounts from the new rate plan on multi-month subscriptions and these increases will not affect the SOE Station Access? subscription rate, which will hold at $21.99. We sincerely appreciate all of you who inhabit our EverQuest universe and we look forward to continue having you be a part of our world for years to come. Thanks, John Smedley

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the bottom line--literally
# May 30 2005 at 5:17 PM Rating: Decent
43 posts
I've played EQ for many years, so here's what I've deduced:

In the beginning ...

LOTS of players. LOTS of $$$. NO competition. Verant (at that time) raked it in and probably laughed their way to the bank. It was a stroke of genius--and luck. Sony saw it, liked it. They, like every corporation, knew everything had a price tag. Ka-ching. Sold to the highest bidder.

Later on ...

Oh, crap. Better online games? Yeppers. People packed their bags. The $$$ started to slide, slide, slide away. It was slow at first; AO and DAoC could only do so much damage. The future looked grim, though. Still, EQ think tanks had a plan and debriefed: "Ok," they said. "Expansions and a sequel." They nodded, smoked their cigars. What a great night.

Final score: Customers 0, Bad/Big Business 100.

Poetic justice? ...

The competition got better and better. EQ? It still played the same bluff, only this time the stakes had changed. Finally their deaf ear become their death sentence. Lack of effective customer support + poor decision making = HUGE profit loss. EQ2 did OK, not great. Ergo, EQ1 was becoming more of a burden. They scrambled. "Merge the servers!" they shouted. "Fire more expansions!" That lasted awhile, but the enemy kept coming. Finally, BOOM! Price hike.

What's to come ...

The bottomline? Ka-plunk. Here it is: EQ's dying heart is now official with the subscription increase. Lousy business practices and design decisions made it brain dead. The only thing keeping its vital organs up and running are the credit card numbers addicts and devoted fans pump into its frail body. It has come down to this small allegiance. That and a contract Sony signed during the "Golden Age" of EQ1. Ouch.

Audit time. Eventually Sony will vote for euthanasia, while ever determined fans will call it a crucifixion. For awhile the holy zones will remain silent, their nearly forgotten names mere folklore in the tales of old and eccentric players still clutching their expansions with an decrepit sigh, whilest they whisper to their young, "Ah, yes, Antonica, Odus, Luclin ... I remember when--"

"Antoni-what? Mom, ganddad is getting weird again."

Until at last the tomb is reopened and the spirit of EQ walks again beneath the glittering stars of-of, well, much better games out there. The savior will step before his disciples, raise his hands to prove he has risen and say, "Loading, please wait ..."

YOU HAVE BEEN DISCONNECTED

My Turn :)
# May 17 2005 at 4:14 PM Rating: Excellent
49 posts
I don't mind the price hike, really.

What has continued to bug me more and more are the routine nerfing of drops in older zones to "encourage" the purchasing of the latest expansion.

Honestly, I think the game is better served keeping ALL zones populated and viable. The expansions will STILL sell.

I won't notice the 2 bucks a month, but I hate finding empty zones.
Why are people upset?
# May 16 2005 at 12:03 PM Rating: Default
39 posts
so many really dumb posts
/sigh

especially the "they charge for all the expansions".. thats probably why they're labelled expansions.

what about all the FREE additions that get called "patches".. /sigh.

1 track minds are all too common.

and just out of curiosity, because I don't know for certain.. the server merges may have been in name, but does anyone know first hand any of the technological changes? (hardware servers linking to be more fault tolerant, etc?.. cos that would make running costs cheaper.. how?). I very much doubt they've just left all that hardware sittin' around being doorstops, and given they're config'd towards EQ.. hmm..

/shrug.

and to the baz traders who can save many bucks? well yeah, but you ARE cancelling X accounts. course it's gonna cut down your bill. heh. whatcha expect? =)

you all enjoy the game, else you wouldn't be in there. and it IS cheap entertainment (compare hourly rate to being in a bar, social environment, or in the movies...).. even after you factor in pricehikes, voluntary expansions...
RE: Why are people upset?
# May 16 2005 at 4:02 PM Rating: Decent
"what about all the FREE additions that get called "patches".. /sigh"


Actually the patches are usually fixes for things that didn't work the way they were supposed to. A long time ago some zones were added for free.(Stonebrunt, Jagged Pine) GM events were also relatively common. EQ is still relatively cheap entertainment, but don't be fooled by Mr. Smedley's letter. It's still just a way to raise revenue to help offset the loss of thousands of subscriptions. Use your brain for a minute, 9 expansions in just 6 years is a bit ridiculous! I know that's why I have refused to buy DoN. I'm not convinced that with decling subscriptions, more expansions and price hikes is the way to keep customers loyal. There comes a point when you have to wonder if SOE thinks customers are blind to the realities of the state of EQ. Hopefully merging servers will help the situation. I know I'm tired of soloing most of the time.
SOE
# May 16 2005 at 11:08 AM Rating: Default
This increase is competitive with the RPG market. This also will encourage loyalty by giving a price break to those with a one year payment(99.99). Could it be more obvious? 99.99 is such a fish bait, here's dinner! ding ding ding, 99.99 come and get it! ding ding ding!

EQ is the best RPG in the world period. Mostly due to the players, but the new game additions,,, dam. EQ2 and WOW are the new test servers :D. woot!
The Truth
# May 16 2005 at 4:22 AM Rating: Decent
12 posts
Folks i think your missing the point of all of the price hikes seriously. Imo this is the cold hard skinny of it all.soE BLEW it's cash on developing EQ2. they don't need 2 extra dollars to keep up on regular eq servers all of Know there shrinking us to just 14 from 28. What's going on is they spent TO MUCH cash on eq2. And , it's flopping on them they exected all of us to go to eq2. They didn't bank on the fact that eq2 could flop .Then here comes WOW and other new MMog's and they took alot of eq1 base players.Which in turn meant the population they expected for eq2 went to crap for them .the profits they projected to recoup from the making and advertising of eq2 drained there bank.And is now on us who have always been SoE cash cow since it purchased it from Verrant interactive.
It's simple folks there not beeing greedy they seriously need the cash I don't , and never have played Eq2 i just play eq i have no desire for Eq2. They just over extended themselves trying to get the new product out and the management never thought WOW would be a real threat and that people would swap from eq1 to 2 just cause we love eq so much.They banked on figres they saw in a project projection and in reality it fell way way short so now there back to us to keep them afloat because just like other company World wide have done put simply They counted there chickens before they hatched
Plain and Simple
# May 16 2005 at 12:44 AM Rating: Decent
20 posts
Go to the gas pumps.....then after paying that bill......go to your local pub and have a beer. You'll spend a hell of a lot more than 2 bucks for a lot less entertainment. You don't whine about the gas prices, or property taxes, or the price of a movie....but 2 bucks a month??? Hell....I've lost more money in the parking lot.
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RE: Plain and Simple
# Jun 30 2005 at 11:06 AM Rating: Decent
20 posts
LOL.....my point exactly......at least that's something to complain about.......ajnd it's a heck of a lot more than $2 a month.
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RE: Plain and Simple
# May 16 2005 at 2:46 PM Rating: Default
actually, a lot of people whine about gas prices, property taxes, and the price of a movie.
Plain and simple...
# May 15 2005 at 12:26 PM Rating: Default
4 posts
Ok. Here it is plain and brutally honest.

You all won't do S@#t about this price increase. You WILL keep paying what ever SoE wants you to pay because your ADDICTED and they know it. You put in years of work on this game and you won't stop no matter what they charge.

It would take SoE cancelling the game (FAT CHANCE) for you to stop playing. If, by some act from a divine being, you DO quit EQ, you will move on to EQ2 and become addicted all over again still paying the big SoE $15.

Repeat steps above but replace EQ with EQ2 and EQ2 with EQ3 and EQ3 with EQ4 and so on and so on....

I managed to move on because I realized Sony will just keep pumping out expansions instead of improving what they have. SONY needs to get their heads out of their wallets and realize that a game CAN get too massive and lose it's heading. Last I read they have 400,000 active subscribers @ $13 each a month = roughly $5,200,000 a month revenue.

5.2 MILLION A MONTH !!!

And what is Sony probably thinking...."I bet we can bring in $800,000 more a month if we up the subscription rate, MUHAHAHAHAHA!!" "That will pay for my 24K gold lawn gnome and private island chain in the Caribbean next month alone!!" "Those suckers won't do anything about it but whine on the forums."

Final point...you will be snorting Sony's white line until you die or join a support group...

Have a nice day =)

(Sometimes you have to be slapped in the face to come to your senses, thank me later)
RE: Plain and simple...
# May 15 2005 at 9:48 PM Rating: Decent
35 posts
There's something inherently wrong when 10 percent of the people are calling the other 90 percent "whiners". Someday all of you SOE defenders will realize that.

You are defending a company that has provem time and time again to be full of idiots. Not only by producing a product that competes with their own, but also by FORCING, not asking... FORCING, all players to purchase new equipment more than once. Some people just can't afford that and end up quitting. It has never been about "2 bucks a month" for the players. I'm sorry, but once you purchased a box with system requirements on it, you should never FORCE someone to upgrade in the future for that portion of the game.

They've never cared about anything but profit, they don't now, and they never will. Business is all about profit, but this particular business relies on keeping active customers. SOE isn't trying to keep their active clients, they are making the active ones pay out of the *** for the clients they pushed away with their own stupidity.
RE: Plain and simple...
# May 16 2005 at 4:33 PM Rating: Decent
Woody,

You need to get a grip. You are attacking a company that you freely state is ripping you off for extra money per month, and, is full of idiots. This leaves me to wonder... if you've been around long enough to know that they've had system requirement upgrades twice, you've been around long enough to have kept right on paying your $13/mo (per account, if you have more, etc). Considering that you KNOW that they're idiots, and you KNOW that they're ripping you off, and you KNOW that they've "FORCED" you to upgrade your system(s) not once but twice, and you're STILL here paying your $13 (now $15) per month? Seriously makes me wonder who the idiot is...

No one has ever "FORCED" you to upgrade your equipment. Ever heard of quitting the game? Would you continue to pay for service from your cable TV provider if the service sucked, they never added any good new channels, yet upped the prices anyway? I'd venture a guess (unless you're an idiot, see above paragraph) that you'd cancel your Cable and go with Satellite. Get the idea? Go play another game if you don't like EQ. No one has a gun to your head forcing you to play EQ.

The most hilarious thing is that all these people below are ******** about SOE's claim that "costs have risen". Would you have been happier if Sony had instead said:

"EverQuest is in its 6th year of existence and while we have not really added any content without charging you for it by making you buy the expansion, the cost of operating a top tier MMO has not really increased except for real world inflation. Today I am writing to tell you all that we will be increasing the subscription rate for EverQuest effective June 12, 2005 . The new monthly subscription rate will be $14.99/month. All this because no matter how much the costs actually increase, we're doing what every other corporation on the planet does, which is raise the consumer price to keep our profit margin % at it's present level. Thank you for your time"

Yep, I kinda didn't think so. You'd then be sitting here ******** that Sony's a greedy conglomerate that's just f**cking us all as hard and as often as they can, and we're like lambs to the slaughter that keep coming back for more.

In conclusion Woody, and those of you who think like him, get a grip on reality. If you don't like the price of the service, stop paying for it. Your words and ******** aren't going to change the FACT that the price is now higher, those who CHOOSE (not Forced, by the way) to continue playing, are going to pay it. If they're not willing to, you can go buy Guildwars, since most of the other top MMORPG's such as EQ2 and WOW are in the $15 range per month anyway.
RE: Plain and simple...
# May 18 2005 at 8:19 AM Rating: Decent
35 posts
In response to the EQ Lemming...
Quote:
You need to get a grip. You are attacking a company that you freely state is ripping you off for extra money per month...
I said no such thing. Read it again.
Quote:
No one has ever "FORCED" you to upgrade your equipment. Ever heard of quitting the game?
Excuse me, but who the hell do you or SOE think you are to tell me to quit something that I ALREADY paid for? Are you going to refund my original CD expense? What I said isn't about 2 bucks... it's about 50, then 30, then 30, etc... and then BAM, they arbitrarily change it so that we need new equipment for PAST purchases!

Check the requirements on the boxes, bud... Then go see if you can now play EQ with that system as originally advertised. My money went for the game and system requirements that were advertised on a product package, which were then ALTERED (more than once) in the short future, AFTER they obtained my money.

I have no problem with new requirements for an expansion, but I DO have a problem with FORCIBLE altering of the original zones, which created a situation of FALSE ADVERTISING for players who did not purchase the CDs at the time of initial offering. Think of the people who bought the CDs months later, only to find out that they couldn't even play what they had JUST purchased, as stated on the box. Now do you get it?

Did they ever offer refunds of the CD price? Not the monthly charge, but the CD PRICE? No, they ***-raped many of us into purchasing new equipment or FORFEITING the money we shelled out for the CD products. FORFEIT is the same as FORCE, in this case. Basically, you are agreeing that it was ok to swindle customers. Perhaps your surname is Smedley.
Quote:
Would you continue to pay for service from your cable TV provider if the service sucked, they never added any good new channels, yet upped the prices anyway?
No, but if they charged me for a digital cable box and then told me I had to buy another HDTV one a month later I'd damn well ask for a refund on my original box.
Quote:
No one has a gun to your head forcing you to play EQ.
Which is exactly why I canceled my account, because there is such a term as "the last straw", and THAT'S why I call them idiots, because that's NOT what they want customers to do. I will simply find a new "cable company". I won't join you in blowing John Smedley any longer.
My various qualms
# May 15 2005 at 2:31 AM Rating: Decent
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216 posts
Forgive me for being kinda random, but I am a little frustrated right now.

There HAVE been many improvements over the years, BUT many of those have been visual improvements. Because of the advacements, I can no longer walk through ANY zone, heaven forbid the bazaar or PoK, without looking at the ground. True, I could purcahse better computer parts, but that is a LOT more expensive than $2/month, and I simply cannot afford that living on my own and in college. Most of the zones added in the last 2 or 3 expansions, where all the experience is, I cannot travel to BECAUSE they are so taxing on my computer. Therefore I am stuck with older zones, and lesser experience. This also tends to make me need to solo on a consistent basis, because everyone wants to group in the sparkly new zones.
I have ALSO put lots of time into this game and it pains me to most likely be leaving. However, I have put LOTS of time into this game, and my main (only) is just now nearing lvl 64 after 1.5 years!
I have been considering leaving EQ for some time now, and this increase has just strengthened the argument. Not because I cant afford $24 a year, but why should I pay to suffer? I have instead chosen a game with no monthly fee, and maybe a lesser quality game. That is a risk I am willing to take.
maybe...
# May 14 2005 at 10:46 AM Rating: Decent
im hoping beyond hope that the new price hike is to actually pay someone to be a customer rep now.. instead of getting a form letter on every friggin petition i have put in the game since /who all gm stopped working
price hike
# May 14 2005 at 7:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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103 posts
Maybe a few of the ever whining people will finally leave this game once and for all with this price rise. I work and can afford the cost of 5 accounts, so an extra 10$ isn't going to hurt me none. Plus this game is better than any other ive taken the time to play.
Perfect Timing
# May 13 2005 at 10:05 PM Rating: Decent
This price increase couldn't have come at a better time for me. I've been playing WoW since 12/04 and have let my EQ subscription lapse since that time. I have to admit that I am a recovering EQ addict ( obviously, or I wouldn't be interested in what's going on in the game these days). I've been considering renewing my account status quite a bit recently but I really can't see paying the same price for EQ as I do for WoW since EQ is 6 years old now and seems to be on it's last leg.

I enjoyed playing the game for years but I couldn't invest the time needed to gain the levels and flags and such to travel to all the new zones, so the paying for the new content seemed like a waste of money on my part.

As far as the reason for the price hike itself, I can't believe it's simply a matter of increased operating costs. More likely it's the fact that so many people have moved to the newer games, that their profit margin is shrinking faster than they can find ways to cut costs. If anything, they should be lowering the fee in order to attract new players and maybe even bring back some of the old addicts like myself.

RE: Perfect Timing
# May 16 2005 at 7:08 PM Rating: Decent
I totally agree with you Sephiris. The price increase which lets face it is TRIVIAL. Economics 101 supply and demand.
EQ which use to increase servers every year now had to consolodate from loss of players.
Why did they leave.
Simple facts of EQ _____ Ups
1) Killed the soloing game. Yes druids and necros could solo always and this game did everything to stop that for years. Group and Raids are fun but sometime people didnt want to be bothered.
a)People couldnt find groups and couldnt solo without at least Time gear and 400aa
b) Too many keyed zones ..... God forbid you had the wrong guild you dont get flagged and when there was Backflag channel how many times do you try and get your toons < alts for me > flagged only to see MB wipe out the pickup raid.
3) they decided to make it more of an even playing field. Lets make GoD and this time we will make all the spells No Drop. I know many of lvl 70 players that still didnt have all their GoD spells.
4)Undercons...... very annoying you can still go to SSRA at lvl 70 and see blue cons.
I QUOTE THE MANUEL
Blue Text:You have a good chance to defeat this opponent, but it won't be easy
To Sum things up I played EQ for over 5 years and made the decision to quit. When the game is no longer fun to play people leave lvl 70 or lvl 30. Day by Day World of Warcraft gains players from SOE and that is a fact. I have several friends from Tarrew Marr one of the oldest servers on EQ that no exists in WoW right now that I again enjoying playing with. They are not going to EQ2 as they want No Part Of SOE. So enjoy the $2 increase and the 2 Expansions every years for another $60 for each account. Oh and I cant wait till the Station House is included for EQ1 be looking forward to the posts
Not a big deal
# May 13 2005 at 5:35 PM Rating: Good
I just have to say this... If you hate SOE, and you find it so difficult to find an extra $2 a month, and you are blind to all the improvements that they have made to EverQuest --- then just shut up and quit the game. Its that simple. Just quit playing, and walk away.

Im currently paying for station access so my price will not increase, but if I did have to pay more I would be glad to. They have allowed me to play this game for 6 years for pennies a day. If they need a little bit more money to compete with WarCraft then they can have it. I would rather pay an extra 6 cents a day than watch this game sink into the ground.
RE: Not a big deal
# May 14 2005 at 9:23 AM Rating: Decent
hey you dont think $2 a month is a big deal... well lets do the math. I plan on playing eq for at least another like 3 years AT LEAST. thats 36 months. that is $72 more than what i would pay and if i play longer lests say another year after that. thats $72+$24=$96. and for me thats alot.

Besides SoE has no reason to increase the price. I mean come on how can running a server increase cost? ARent they making enough money with the $13 a month they get from the millions of people who play EQ? Thats like $13000000 if 1 million people play. and thats only a month! how can it cost more than $13million to run a half the amount of servers than they did before? SoE is gonna be hated forever for this change!
RE: Not a big deal
# May 18 2005 at 11:19 AM Rating: Decent
All I can say is if yuo plan on playing for the next 3 years (like myself) then take advantage of their yearly rate, it never went up. Its not like they have not offered people the chance to keep the same cost (or if you can afford it with the 1 or 2 year rate, a lower rate). Though I would like to see what they do in the near future for the game. Things have come a long way since I started before SoL.. Perhaps now they will fix some of those pesky bugs.
RE: Not a big deal
# May 14 2005 at 2:10 PM Rating: Decent
I honestly don't think that "millions" of people play EQ. Do you realize why all these servers have been merging? It's because people are leaving for WarCraft and EQII. Thousands play EQ; not millions. If anything SOE is raising prices to make-up for missing people.

Edited, Sat May 14 15:12:37 2005
RE: Not a big deal
# May 15 2005 at 10:13 AM Rating: Decent
They did, back in the days of old when you could see the server population counts. Of course when those counts started to decline the took that out and just put in a server up or down indicator.

Check out all the zones now, they have merged, would they merge if all of them where populated? I don't believe so, it was done to reduce cost, in the factory they call that lean manufacturing.

To be honest, I can't remember the last monthly dues price hike, maybe I'm too old to play now, or I just over looked it. Two bucks a month doesn't sound like much for those who can afford it, but some who are on tighter budgets than others (college is such a drain on resources, time, money, energy) that I can understand the anger with the increase.

On the same hand though, increasing the price and then not doing anything to increase the players game experience in regards to simplifying the newer zones (get rid of the flags would open them all up to everyone and really for what purpose does gettign a flag serve other than to rob a player of his expansion purchase benefits.

Tasking and questing are the main parts of the game, some expansion zones you can't solo in, you must group, most of the solo players have never been into those zones, even though they have paid for the expansion. So that there is rip off of $30, that's per expansion and how many of them are there now like that.

A solo player has a much harder challenge than grouping with five twinked out players. Not only must they defend themselves, strategize in a different way, they have to find their own ways to make the game interesting to continue to pay to play.

That bag is empty, or at least near empty. For those who do group life goes on for you, but if you had any balls at all you would try to level a new toon from 1 to 60 with out ever grouping. Then you'll see just how much more challenging the game can be.

But I'll bet you'll do it after you've twinked out your new toon, and that's just cheating you out of the experience of doing it on your own, as if that where you're very first toon.

I use to love the game, and couldn't wait to get home to play it, but that was before Scars of Velious came out.

Now I hardly play at all, the are other games out there now, more challenging and more entertaining, but like everyone's first love, you will never forget your first online multi player game. For me that is Ever Quest.

I will always fondly remember the early days of EQ, like I do the days of Duke Nuke'm and playing with two or three friends online. Nothing like an RPG to wake your butt up.

To those who choose to leave, all is well and don't let the pricks bother you, they too will leave the game some day in the not to distant future for probably the same reasons. Only then they won't feel like whiners, and they'll go thru what they've but others thru.

For those who choose to stay, keep the game alive as long as you can. Offer up suggestions, it would be totally kewl if a group of you say down and made your own quest using the old zones and then got SOE to incorporate it. I think that might actually make the game more exciting if they did.

For those who fondly remember the days of the "Running of the Gnomes" and or the "Maidens Scavanger Hunts" where guilds would create quests for fun and open to all. I'll remember you, and the other 200 naked gnomes running to the docks.

Best of luck to all of you.

Rannie
RE: Not a big deal
# May 13 2005 at 6:00 PM Rating: Decent
**
508 posts
I think the people who want to pay more should be able to do so. Its just that I am not one of them. I think they should leave my price the same, and raise yours. After all, you are happy to take it on.
So Easy!
# May 13 2005 at 4:21 PM Rating: Default
Sage
Avatar
**
751 posts
Lack of any meaningful improvements over the last year, bugs that have remained for years, etc., but it was ever so easy to click the end subscription button on all five of the accounts in this home.
Get over it part 2
# May 13 2005 at 2:52 PM Rating: Good
you know I don't post here very often, but I just have the urge to put my 2cp's in on this subject.

1. Inflation ... it's a nasty word, and it goes up, every year, you can see it going up, the cost of cigarettes, the cost of soda, the cost of liquor, the cost of a dime bag .. AHHH .. GOT YA .. so you can't have that extra ______(insert your choice here). IS EQ worth it to you not to have the EXTRA you buy now? Consider this, if you've played 6 years (which I have) and have multiple accounts (6 in our household and none are bazaar mules) this is going to cost us more to play. So why is it a big deal to give up one thing you enjoy for another?

2. Cost of living barring extras .... the cost of food, the cost of rent, the cost of gas, these things translate into survival.... if the $2 more you're going to pay a month is going to take away from any of those things ... food, clothing, shelter, heat/cooling, .. then you didn't need to be on EQ in the first place. So what are you doing here?

3. Capitalism ... People are naturally inclined to want to make money above and beyond the cost of survival. If you went to work every day and only made enough to pay just your basic bills, how long would it be before you'd look for a better job? Well, if EQ is just barely keeping the servers afloat on what they are making, then how long before they look to put the servers to another use, if they don't start clearing a profit off of them? Servers take:

a) Manpower to maintain and operate, you can not just stick a computer or rack system in a room and let it run.

b) Electricity to operate, it doesn't run on hamster power, and even if it did we'd
have to pay for housing, feeding and care of those hamsters.

c) Parts and upgrades while the price of the components themselves may have gone down,
it still requires some one with a bit of post secondary education to install and service these things, have you priced even a 2 year college education these days? These people don't work for free. They have student loans to pay off.

d) Connectivity, you do realize that for us to enjoy the game we play, we have to be
able to connect to it in some manner, So, unless SOE is going to run truncated lines and private access servers on their own intranet, where as we would have to call in to even
access the servers via the phone line then it is going to cost them a significant amount per month/year/agreement term to provide us with publicly accessible servers.

e) Corporate Relations, EQ1 has to pay it's fair share to the corporation to exist. If it becomes a money pit, and is not paying it's dues, they will soon trash it and move on to something that is more profitable This includes Customer Service, and paying it's own bills.
So, why shouldn't that translate into our subscription dues?

The arguments that they're just trying to gouge us out of more money really doesn't float. If you want to play this game, quit being a tight ***, and pay for what you get. They've improved a lot of things over the last 18 months. But, with progress comes cost, you want a sub-standard game, I can point you in the direction of a Cartooned chat room called The Realm, that will only cost you a fraction of what EQ does, you want a game that's about actual game play, then dig out your wallet, checkbook, debit card, credit card, and get used it. If you think the new games are so much better content wise, in the words of my favorite Wizard ... Be Gone!

Jalaran DeSelkirk
66th Exarch of Tunare
Proud Member of Swords of Virtue
Loving wife of Kotov




Edited, Fri May 13 16:09:20 2005
RE: Get over it part 2
# May 13 2005 at 7:13 PM Rating: Decent
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82 posts
I am not complaining about the price increase, but your argument that it is costing more to run the servers I just don't buy. Since they have (or are in process to) removed almost half the servers, how can there be greater cost associated with the ones left over?

I find it more likely that they are finding that the expense to run the game as a whole has not decreased with loss of servers, but has stay almost the same. With the loss of 1/3 (or more) of their revenue from players leaving for other games, that cost (profit margin included) is now spread over a smaller segment. That is what (most likely) is driving the cost up.

IMHO
____________________________
Arfyak Reflux
"One Sick Mage"
RE: Get over it part 2
# May 14 2005 at 9:09 AM Rating: Decent
when was the last time u payed an electric bill?
when was the last time u paid ur heath insurance?
when was the last time u paid ur property tax?

yes these cost are increasing rapidly in todays world

if mommy and daddy aint willin to kick in the xtra 24 bux a year for thier virtual baby sitter ur gonna have to find something else to do
SIGH
# May 13 2005 at 1:30 PM Rating: Default
35 posts
Community letter TO John Smedley
Dear Mr. Smedley,

Consider the following hypothetical situation...

A restaurant company INSISTS that 6 employees ("Group") have a meeting to accomplish a daily task. Each employee has separate tools necessary for the meeting, therefore all 6 must be present or nothing gets done. Ridiculously, the employees are willing to PAY to work for this company.

The company tells each employee to meet at any one of their 200 restaurants (called "The Zone"), where they may hope and pray that the other 5 will wander in at some point in time. Of course, the chances of this are miniscule, despite massive cell-phone calls to find the correct 5 others needed to begin work.

The company could revamp some of the older restaurants to make them more appealing and increase the chances of the employees finding a single spot by chance. The company could even get rid of a ton of unused restaurants to increase the odds... But they don't.

The company offers a strange solution every 3 months... It adds even more restaurants and charges the employees a fee! Well, that didn't work... So they do it again... and AGAIN! Inexplicably to the company, the employees still cannot find each other.

The company now decides to offer another solution... Make the employees pay even MORE to work for them.

Sadly, after far too long, the employees figure out that this company isn't a great place to work anymore. They are even willing to PAY to work somewhere else.

END OF HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION

My question now is... Whose fault is it when the company soon goes out of business?
RE: SIGH
# May 13 2005 at 9:12 PM Rating: Decent
Change the 6 (group) from "employee's" to "customers" and i'll buy your analogy.EQ and all mmorpgs are meant to be recreation,when you start feeling like an unpaid laborer,it's time to find a new hobby.
Get over it
# May 13 2005 at 11:29 AM Rating: Decent
Hmm, hard to imagine SOE is actually in business to make money. I thought they were a totally altruistic company, here to give us their time and their product without any gain for themselves. . .

To all the people who claim that their costs cannot have gone up . . . you don't know what you are talking about. First off, anyone with a basic high school business course under their belt knows that costs are expressed and discussed as a percentage of revenue, not a dollar value. Given all the new expansions, the recent server mergers, the ******** with people selling accounts and stealing them back, etc. it is easy to see that Sony has had a pretty substantial payroll. I would be very surprised if their overhead (for those of you without that highschool businees course, this means rent/taxes/legal/accounting/benefits/etc/etc costs) has not increased in the last 6 years. That could easily add up to an increase in their costs compared to their revenue.

I have no idea how many people are currently subscribers. I have no doubt that populations have decreased in the last year. I also have no doubt that the population will suffer a little as a result of this increase (some people can't afford it. Some people will drop their trader accounts). I would imagine that SOE has a revenue/expense formula based on what it costs them to run EQ on a per user basis. I am sure they expect some decrease in population and have calculated accordingly.

Would I prefer to have it cheaper? Of course. Would I prefer to have free expansions? Absolutely. But at the end of the day I like the game and prefer that it continue to exist and improve. If my lousy $2 / month (ok $6, I have 3 accounts) can help insure that it does stay, I am all for it.

Oh, BTW, for those of you who haven't been to the eqlive site, go have a look:

They are offering pretty good discounts for six months and one year subscriptions.

RE: Get over it
# May 15 2005 at 10:36 AM Rating: Default
You fail to see the long term issues, in the early days when many played money poured in to SOE like water from a hole in a dam.

The cost to run the place was near nothing compared to what they brought in.

Now they table has turned. There is no longer any overhead for game design, they know how to do it, or at least they should by now after six years of gameing (i'll let slide the years of developing it before launch, that might confure you).

CEO's and the higher ranks are still getting their fat bonus checks and pay checks, while customer service, employee's and the game itself suffer the consequences.

It's not new, every company does it. And evey company suffers thru the down turns, they either make it or they disappear.

That's how business is run, rape and pillage, horde the cash, ignore the moral and ethical responsibilites and ***** the customer base untill the stock falls then sell all the stock, grasp the reigns of the golden parachute and wave bye bye to all the hapless suckers who paid for it.

It is all about money, so don't even try to pull a republican spin on it and claim this and that cost more now, when in fact those costs aren't even being addressed, except on paper.

I've said this over and over again, this game had so much to offer, and for the most part it was successful at that, but now it isn't designed to bring in players, fresh players, brand new players. It's just there to suck away at the ones who are still playing.

Is that smart business? Depleate the customer base untill it costs too much for even the hardiest of die hard players can no longer justify it?

It is if the intention is to make the money, pull the rip cord and laugh your way to the bank.


It's $2 folks.
# May 13 2005 at 10:35 AM Rating: Decent
Quote from below "1. If you can't afford $24 more a year, EQ's not something you should be spending your money on, anyway."

Amen, brother.
Price hike?
# May 13 2005 at 10:14 AM Rating: Default
Truth be told, this is nothing more than a profitable idea generated by a sweet talking attorney or wet-behind-the-ears marketing graduate. He got the ear of someone important and their eyes lit up when they imagined the resurgence of income from a declining program.

While it is true that a LOT of content has been added over the 6 years, a very minute amount of that content has been at no additional cost. The cost of creating that content was directly factored into the cost of expansions and included a reasonable profit margin. There's certainly no loss of income there.

Furthermore, the cost of maintaining EQ has NOT increased. In fact, leaving out the cost in manpower of MERGING servers it can only have decreased. The Customer Relations staff has been anything but stable and you don't replace a CSR who made $18 an hour by paying the next $20. You pay the new people less. The cost of maintaining the equipment cannot have gone up.... Servers have not been upgraded for years and the cost of every single component inside a sever has GONE DOWN. Returning to the merging of servers, I can only imagine it to take a lot of manpower and planning to do, but this is a one-time cost.

Overarching all this is the fact that populations have fairly drastically been cut. People got bored, hacked off or intrigued by a new game. This DECREASES the cost of operation. (but more dramatically decreases profits)

The staff at Sony are perfectly aware that EQ is in decline and are clearly working to keep it functional. They are also aware that while the COST of operation is NOT higher, the inherent PROFIT in what they are doing is lower. As such, some individual grabbed someone's ear and convinced them that the market could handle a price hike and would result in greater profits. Alas, but they are correct. A few will leave due to the hike or other reasons, but accounting for the decline there is still more profit to be made by increasing fees.

As was suggested earlier, it would be nice if analysis like this was not necessary. That said, I don't imagine any corporation will EVER say "Look, profits are down because others go elsewhere so those who remain need to pick up the slack. Who's first to offer some extra cash?"

Edited, Fri May 13 11:18:24 2005
RE: Price hike?
# May 13 2005 at 4:35 PM Rating: Decent
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508 posts
Its funny since I look at our 6 accounts, of which we cancelled two today. Our EQ bill dropped from $78/month to $60/month, and we gave up our dedocated bazaar traders.

But, those two accounts generated $26/month for SOE for two years or more (since we got two levels of veteran points on those accounts right before we cancelled). That $26/month revenue eats up the profits of 13 other accounts which are paying the higher rate.
RE: Price hike?
# May 13 2005 at 11:10 AM Rating: Decent
Quote:
Furthermore, the cost of maintaining EQ has NOT increased. In fact, leaving out the cost in manpower of MERGING servers it can only have decreased. The Customer Relations staff has been anything but stable and you don't replace a CSR who made $18 an hour by paying the next $20. You pay the new people less. The cost of maintaining the equipment cannot have gone up.... Servers have not been upgraded for years and the cost of every single component inside a sever has GONE DOWN. Returning to the merging of servers, I can only imagine it to take a lot of manpower and planning to do, but this is a one-time cost.


So, the SOE people live in a vacuum not affected by the outside world? Let's make an example:

Oil prices rise. So? Commodity totally unrelated to EQ and SOE right? Wrong.

That alone would cause heating prices to rise, energy costs to rise. Gas prices rise, which means the annual cost for the same standard of living of EVERY employee rises.

Then, factor in that that's a universal problem. The people who manufacture your hardware? They have the same cost increases, so THEIR price goes up, meaning your input costs go up. Same for your cleaning staff, tech support, the company that provides the computers your staff works on, that maintains and upgrades them, etc etc etc.

Economics 101
RE: Price hike?
# May 13 2005 at 6:06 PM Rating: Decent
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508 posts
But, this is also true for our house. The price of gas is way higher than last year, the price of heating the house, the price of water, medications, vet bills, ... the list goes on.

Sure, they can make that decision but I make the same decision not to pay them, for the very same reasons you described.

EQ is optional, its not a necessity and it most certainly isn't a high priority compared to medical needs. So, a decision of economics is made by us, for us. You have no right to decide our values for us, when your own are clearly questionable.

We run our household like a business, critical needs are addressed first. Any confusion regarding that is entirely your own.
RE: Price hike?
# May 13 2005 at 1:03 PM Rating: Default
35 posts
Oh, give me a frikking break with your highbrow college Economics BS... The cost of heating a couple buildings can't possibly justify the need of another HALF-MILLION dollars a month. Cutting the amount of used servers in half can't possibly INCREASE equipment cost.

The programmers make more mistakes than high-school students. The expansions spread players out too thin. Tech support is non-existent. SOE has never done a damn thing to address this game except to change the graphics, which is the LEAST important part of gameplay.

Nobody can justify this price-increase to the players. It's not the matter of ONLY 2 bucks, it's the GALL to raise prices on a game that EVERYONE knows is taking it's last breath. This is nothing more than a crystal-clear attempt to squeeze the last dollar and get back some of the massive lost profits. When you consider that they COULD have attempted to make the game more appealing and revived it prior to a price-hike, you see the desperate signs of a Dead-Man's hand.

In 2000, EQ was an amazing game. In 2005 it's a total piece of crap, decimated by John Smedley and his clueless company.
Sony needs to get it's head screwed on right
# May 13 2005 at 9:27 AM Rating: Decent
Well Sony does not have it's head screwed on right. More peeps might of bought this if they kwew that the monthly price would be going up 2 days after the special ended.

They just closed (May 11) the Special 1 year sub for (99.00) that they advertised if you buy it it will count as an extra year on the new Veteran Reward coming out today Friday 13th.
Current EQ players** one special Veteran Reward for every year that you've been an active.

http://eqlive.station.sony.com/lowsrc/news_section/newsview.jsp?story=50003

Bazaar mules gone
# May 13 2005 at 9:12 AM Rating: Decent
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508 posts
If you are running just one EQ account per house then this is fairly minor, but when you have a family who plays you look at the overall costs and bang for the buck.

We are closing our bazaar trader accounts. They were worth it before to have our traders up while we play our mains, but just barely. With the price change those just aren't worth $360/year to us.

Our household EQ budget dropped from $78/month to $60 in exchange for not putting up bazaar traders, and we can live with that.

My thinking is that SOE upped the price by about 15%, and they might lose 10% of the monthly subscriptions from people who have bazaar or mule accounts, or keep EQ going just because they want to play very occassionally. I don't think its a move that will attract new players, since dollar for dollar a newer game is a better choice. SOE will overall come out with a small increase in monthly fees in exchange for a small drop in active accounts.

Edited, Fri May 13 10:13:04 2005
A little white fib
# May 13 2005 at 8:54 AM Rating: Default
Quote:
EverQuest is in its 6th year of existence and while we have continued to bring new content for everyone to enjoy, the cost of operating a top tier MMO has increased significantly during the past three years


As many people have pointed out,EQ charged for every expansion they've released AND charged a monthly fee that's higher than most other MMORPGs.
The fact is,the cost to run the game hasn't increased enough over the past 3 years to justify a sub increase. They're profits have gone down due to players leaving for other games. And in their usual infinite wisdom,they decide to "punish" those who are loyal,just as they do when they nerf things in-game because they catch some loser cheating.

The fact is,their profit margin has decreased because many have left the game. The cost is just a little higher,but the money coming in has decreased. So,to make close to the same profit they made before,they have to increase the sub-rate. Ex: old: (1000 x $12 = %12,000)- (cost: $9,000) = (Profit: $3,000)
new: (850 x $15 = $12,750)- (cost: $10,000) = (profit: $2,750)
This is just an example,not the actual numbers(which would be much higher). The actual number for population loss is more than 15%,probably closer to 25% to 35%,hence the server merges. And in no way did the cost fluctuate more than 10%.
This is the same mentality owners of MLB teams use when they decide to a. Raise ticket prices and b. trade away top baseball players and promote unknown rookies.
Seems that all businesses dealing directly with the public use this strategy. Their profits are tremendous,but when the cost goes up even a little,they adjust prices to maintain that profit-margin.

The bottom line is,I love playing EQ more than any other game and I will continue to do so. I only have one account(GASP!!!),and the increase isn't big enough to make my wallet cringe. I just wish PR guys could actually tell the truth, instead of this sugar-coated malarky. Most people can understand the truth,and therefore,accept it. Insulting their intelligence doesn't encourage trust and loyalty.
I don't really care.
# May 13 2005 at 6:05 AM Rating: Decent
IMO they should let out this news before they stop the option to take a 1 year subsciption.
Then again i don't really care.. eq is an investement for me, not paying off in cash but paying off in all the friends I get and the things we do together. I have spent too much cash on EQ to quit now :)
just the norm
# May 13 2005 at 3:54 AM Rating: Decent
1 post
I personally have no qualms about the added $2 a month, and I run 3 accounts.
But I do have two thoughts.
1: Other games that are charging $14.95 a month, also have included free downloadable expansions. I’m curious to see if EQ will be doing that.
2: How many kiddies is this going to weed out ?
RE: just the norm
# May 13 2005 at 9:03 AM Rating: Default
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175 posts
Quote:
1: Other games that are charging $14.95 a month, also have included free downloadable expansions. I’m curious to see if EQ will be doing that.
2: How many kiddies is this going to weed out ?


1. I doubt very much if EQ will make expansions free....they have us by the b]bleep[/b and we know it. Very few will leave at this point. They know if we haven't left yet,we're addicted!!!
2. Most kiddies playing this either have a parent playing as well,or are spoiled so their parents will still pay for it.
Do you really think the kids pay for their own accounts??? LOL
____________________________
"Newbies are future experts who haven't yet learned what the rest of us already know,so degrading someone as a "noob" is itself an act of ignorance."--RWM
More for less.
# May 13 2005 at 2:23 AM Rating: Good
Sure, only $2 a month increase or $24 a year (or a $72 increase for my 3 account subscriptions, which could go towards picking up one of the more recent games). In my opinion, this is a bad move coming so soon after server consolidation. I haven't seen enough proof that the game will improve so much to justify the increase, especially considering the other options on the market. I'll remain optimistic though, sans 2 accounts.
#Anonymous, Posted: May 13 2005 at 2:05 AM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) you mean like how they nerfed all the druid dot spells? Ya that made game play alot more fun.
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