General News
SOE Announces G.I.R.L. Scholarship Winner

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that Erin Loelius of Manasquan, NJ, has been named the winner of the 2014 Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Scholarship. She has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship for her college tutition and will have a 10-week paid internship at SOE this summer, working on both Landmark and EverQuest Next.

"I grew up playing games, so inspiration from video games has always found a way into my art, and that's what makes this internship opportunity so amazing and fitting," said 2014 G.I.R.L. winner Erin Loelius. "Someday I hope to collaborate on games with the same quirkiness and whimsy of games I grew up on. I'd love to create something that pushes people's imaginations and makes them remember their gaming childhood."

General News
SOE: Limited Customer Service Today

Sony Online Entertainment has announced through its various social media accounts:

We will have limited customer support today with the wildfires/closures impacting San Diego. Phones are closed, but help is still available through tickets/chat/ingame.

We sincerely hope that everyone in California is staying safe!

General News
The FEWW: Interview With Founder Floyd Bishop

In a high tech science lab, scientists have been experimenting with the elements to learn about the building blocks of matter in order to exploit their secrets for profit. One night, during a freak thunderstorm, the lab is struck by lightning, and the elements become self aware. You play as one of four elements as you escape the lab and ultimately destroy the evil corporation. You must fuse together different elements as you fight your way to the head of the corporation to shut it down for good.

A new Kickstarter for a side-scrolling, arcade-style "beat-'em-up" game, The FEWW (Fire, Earth, Wind and Water), launched earlier this week. The game is a nod to the arcade scrollers of the past and is being worked on by an experienced team of former AAA developers. We had the chance to chat with founder and lead animator Floyd Bishop to get more details about his ambitious project. Floyd is most recently known in the MMO community for his work on Sony Online Entertainment titles such as EverQuest Next/Landmark and Free Realms, with his animation also landing in TV and movies such as Ice Age.

Free Realms
A Farewell to Free Realms

Free Realms will shut down forever at 6pm PT (9pm ET) on Monday, March 31, 2014.

I spent the past month trying to come up with how I wanted to write this article. Should I reflect on all the changes and updates to the game? Ponder the reasoning behind the game shutting its doors? Be angry, be happy, be sad? I still don't know, to be honest.

I've seen plenty of friends be affected by other game closures, but this is the first one to hit home. My entire household of five has played, or still plays, Free Realms. My youngest two children are playing as I write this, with my six year old (whose first video game was Free Realms, starting at the age of 2.5) alternating between happiness at the various things he's accomplishing, and grief at losing his beloved characters forever.

I can't blame him one bit. His sadness is mine.

Free Realms was the first MMO where I actually felt part of a community. Starting even in the beta, players banded together in friendships that still remain. Guilds like Gone Postal, Mystic Mayhem, FR Insider and Bunny Foo Foo made an indelible mark on many people. Even as the older crowd moved on as the game aged, many of us still kept in touch, checked in on the game, and so on.

Continue after the jump for the full article.

General News
SOE Maintenance: Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sony Online Entertainment has announced maintenance on the morning of March 26.  It is expected to take approximately 2 hours. This will impact the following services:

  • Login for Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures players will be impacted starting at 8:00 AM to approximately 10:00 AM PDT.
  • Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures players who are already logged in may be disconnected and unable to log back in starting at 8:00 AM to approximately 10:00 AM PDT.
  • Account management may be unavailable starting at 8:00 AM to approximately 10:00 AM PDT.
  • Commerce transactions, including purchases on our websites and in-game marketplaces may be unavailable between 8:00 AM and approximately 10:00 AM PDT.
  • Login for all SOE forums may be affected, you may lose permissions and experience occasional disconnects between 8:00 AM and approximately 10:00 AM PDT.

Free Realms
Final Game Sunset Customer Service Notification

For the final two weeks of Free Realms, SOE has lowered all Marketplace items to 1SC. As announced on the forums:

Dear Free Realms Players,

As previously announced, we wanted to remind you that game services for Free Realms will be discontinued the evening of March 31, 2014. We are proud of everything Free Realms has accomplished and have enjoyed bringing you the fun and adventure of the “Realms” over the last few years. It has been a memorable journey, and we thank you for all of your dedication and support.

On Tuesday, March 18th, most items in the Free Realms Marketplace will be reduced to 1 SC each for you to enjoy over the last couple of weeks. For more details and information please visit SOE Customer Service.

Thank you again,
Sony Online Entertainment LLC (& Amnerys)

A downtime was also announced, which will bring this Marketplace update:

We will bring the Free Realms servers offline on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 6:00am PT for an update. Anticipated downtime is around 1 hour.

General News
SOE All-Access Program Update

Today Linda "Brasse" Carlson, Director of Global Community Relations at Sony Online Entertainment, updated the SOE All Access FAQ. As previously announced, the new and improved All Access plan is slated to start April 16, 2014. Today's update includes information on multiple month purchases, Silver membership (EQ/EQII), multiple game memberships on one account and multiple memberships on different accounts, and EQN Landmark info. 

You can check out the updated FAQ on the Station Forums here. Updates are noted in BLUE.