One of the annual blogosphere activities is the Developer Appreciation Week, where bloggers take a break from critique and negativity to actually praise the vast amounts of unsung effort that the continued development of MMORPGs must require.
Although I’m probably not the first to write about either of the two companies I will mention this year, I do have two particular studios whose efforts I greatly appreciate; even when I’m not blogging about their games.
Daybreak Game Company
Firstly I wish to praise the continued efforts of Daybreak Game Company, my only consistent engagement with their varying stable of games has been with Everquest 2. But this game alone is such a unique, deeply characterful, parts surprising and parts hilarious masterpiece of MMORPG development. The depth and rich textures of this version of Norrath and its cast of ever-so-colourful characters is a place I always return to.
So thanks to all the developers, artists, technical and admin staff who keep the studio and their games running and growing!
Zenimax Online Studios
Although my involvement with Elder Scrolls Online has been more recent and, like many games, somewhat intermittent, I have to express my admiration for the developers (and all others involved) who produce this now thriving MMORPG. With shades of my post on Square Enix from 2015, I think it’s fair to say that ESO had a troubled early period, but that the game has really turned around now. The world design is as beautiful as it is expansive, the storytelling is also very much a strong point.
Perhaps I am most thankful to Zenimax for giving me, finally, an Elder Scrolls game that I can truly enjoy. I played but never really got into Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim – I wanted to like the franchise but something always nagged. I think the earlier games lacked something vital, that ESO has – a very lively world, populated not just by programmed patrolling NPC, but also by happy, zergy and unpredictable player characters.