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General News
SOE Maintenance: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that they will perform maintenance beginning at 3:00 AM Pacific on February 18, 2014. This will impact the following services:

  • Account management, which includes logging into our websites, submitting, updating, or viewing Support Tickets.
  • Commerce transactions, including purchases on SOE websites and in-game marketplaces.
  • SOE Forums will remain open during the downtime however you may lose permissions and experience occasional disconnects.
  • Login for SOE games MAY be affected.

While no downtime estimate is mentioned in the forum posts, the Facebook preview of the announcement originally showed a four hour downtime.

EverQuest Next Landmark
Year of EverQuest Community Celebration Pictures

We were on-site at Sony Online Entertainment's community celebration last Friday, January 31. The Year of EverQuest has kicked off, celebrating EverQuest's 15th anniversary, EverQuest II's 10th anniversary, and the birth of EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark. Landmark launched into alpha testing for Explorer and Trailblazer level Founder's Packs that night and had its NDA drop the following day.

While we were at the event we captured some photos we think you will enjoy! Take a look!

General News
SOE Accepting G.I.R.L. Scholarship Applications

Sony Online Entertainment is now accepting applications for the 2014 G.I.R.L. scholarship! Check out the full press release after the jump.

Free Realms
SOE Announces More Game Closures

This afternoon Sony Online Entertainment has announced that they will be closing Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and Wizardry Online later this year. Closure dates are:

SOE President John Smedley held a Reddit AMAA this evening, which can be viewed in its entirety here. I took the opportunity to inquire about Free Realms on my daughter's behalf, and here is his response. EQ2 Wire has a breakdown of many of Smedley's replies as well.

Free Realms
Downtime - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From the official forums:

We will bring the Free Realms servers offline on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 at 6:00 a.m. PST (San Diego Time) for an update. Anticipated downtime is around 1 hour.

EverQuest II
Smedley Talks Memberships, EU Player Studio

John Smedley swooped in earlier this month, reverting some unfavorable changes to memberships and announcing his desire to only keep a $15/month All Access plan to their games, doing away with the individual game subscriptions. Over the past week he's taken to Twitter, keeping everyone apprised of what's been going on.

Continue after the jump for a compilation of his updates!

SOE 2014 Membership Update From John Smedley

Subscription for All Access is being lowered to $14.99/month, and the previously announced change to Station Cash bonuses for Gold Members is being done away with. The monthly 500 Station Cash bonus will stay in place with the only change being that members will have to actively claim it each month.

This information and more comes from another update by John Smedley (by way of the EverQuest Forums, by way of Reddit):

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the feedback. We listened.

Here are the basics of our revised plan. Please note - we have not had the time to do estimates of the work involved, and also we're continuing to listen. so this isn't baked just yet. Do not expect that this is all going to happen immediately. We plain don't know yet. we're doing that meeting tmw.

1) We're lowering the price of All Access to $14.99

2) We're going to make it so every subscriber to all our PC games an all access member. Basically there will be one SOE membership for our PC games. Please note there are some minor restrictions around our kids titles (simply put - if you're a 12 year old who signed up for FR you won't have access to the adult games so we'll likely leave the lower priced kids offerings as separate subscriptions for under 12 for the same low prices).

3) We're keeping the 500 SC included with the subscription instead of going to the "pick an item" system. We heard you. You didn't like the change. The only change we are making is that we're now going to make you claim it monthly. You can still hoard it though I realize this is a bit of a pain but honestly it's the best compromise we could come up with that solves the problems I mentioned in the other thread.