EverQuest II
SOE Live Updates: Extra Space and More

Linda "Brasse" Carlson has been posting updates all over today about SOE Live. SOE has managed to score more seat accomodations (meaning more premium passes can be sold), an experimental improved smart phone signal and more.

Confirmed: increased area of grand ballroom to accommodate 150 more Premium Passes. We will sell tickets online right up to event time (unless we sell out).

Confirmed: hotel has "increased nodes" in ballroom in an attempt to improve smart phone access - to be tested at the event! Initial tests by staff are positive, but huge numbers of people do weird things to cell reception.

Confirmed: Player Got Talent auditions to be accepted SOON - as in tomorrow. Start practising!

Confirmed: International attendees CAN participate in our awesome game tournaments this year!

Confirmed: EverQuest players lead the pack of 1542 people registered with 520 attendees, well in advance of second place EQII with 392.

Confirmed: Dead Carpet event, the Zombie Prom Party - we WILL have a zombie-themed drink special. I hope it does not contain gross lumpy or chunky bits.

Stay tuned for an awesome SOE Live contest launching on ZAM later today!

General News
SOE Maintenance Notice: July 2, 2014

Sony Online Entertainment has announced maintenance on July 2, 2014:

Attention players: we will perform maintenance beginning at 6:00 AM PDT on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. We expect this maintenance to take approximately two hours. This will impact the following SOE services:

  • Account management
  • Commerce functions, including purchases
  • Game, web and forum logins (between 6:30 and 7:00 AM)

The complete service window could last as long as four hours and may intermittently affect our services outside of the time frames above.

Here's our handy Time Zone Conversion Tool to help you plan!

EverQuest II
SOE Live 2014 Panel Schedule Posted

Coinciding with the final day to get your SOE Live All Access badge for $149 (you can get it here) is the release of this year's panel lineup. Since player panels have not been announced, they are not on the schedule yet, and what content will be livestreamed is still unknown. The full schedule is available here and notable panels are:

  • Welcome Ceremony: Thursday, August 14, 7-9pm PT
  • Closing Ceremony/Costume Contest: Saturday, August 16, 8-11pm PT
  • Brunch w/ the Dev Team: Sunday, August 17, 10am-Noon PT
    • Must have paid pass upgrade option to get in
  • EverQuest
    • Expansion Keynote: Friday, August 15, 1-2pm PT 
    • Q&A Part 1: Saturday, August 16, 11am-Noon PT
    • Q&A Part 2: Sunday, August 17, 2-3pm PT
  • EverQuest II
    • Expansion Keynote: Friday, August 15, Noon-1pm PT 
    • AMAA Part 1: Friday, August 15, 1-2pm PT
    • Systems: Saturday, August 16, 1-2pm PT
    • AMAA Part 2: Sunday, August 17, 1-2pm PT
  • EverQuest Next
    • Keynote: Friday, August 15, 10-11am PT
    • Tech Evolution: Friday, August 15, 4-5pm PT
    • Combat & Classes: Saturday, August 16, 11-Noon PT
    • Storybricks: Sunday, August 17, 2-3pm PT

Continue after the jump for Landmark, H1Z1 and miscellaneous panels of interest.

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.