EverQuest
John Smedley Steps Down as Daybreak CEO

COO Russell Shanks will be replacing Smed as president of the company.

Earlier tonight, GamesBeat broke the news that John Smedley has stepped down from his position as President and CEO of Daybreak Game Company. This move comes in the wake of recent DDoS attacks and the subsequent deletion of Smedley's social media accounts (most notably on Twitter and Reddit). According to Daybreak's spokesperson, Smedley will be "taking some time off from the company" before "transitioning to a different role to be determined."

To take up the reigns of President is COO Russell Shanks, who has been with the company since its inception. Continue reading after the jump for some personal commentary on this development from former PlanetSide 2 Creative Director Matt Higby.


It's tough to overstate how gigantic of an influence Smed has had on my life and the lives of many of my friends, both through the games he helped create, the company he built, the mentorship he shared and the opportunities he opened up. Although we argued about a ton of things over the years, one of the best things about him as a leader is I never felt like I wasn't allowed to make my case - I even won a couple of those arguments from time to time. He taught me a ton and always treated me super well - I owe him a great deal.

John ran SOE like a family, he knew just about everybody and did everything he could to take care of people over profits, promote from within, and make the workplace fun and rewarding for everyone. Loads of people there are 5,10,15 year vets - that's not normal in games. I think his loyalty to the people he worked with is something generally omitted from his public persona which is really a shame since it feels so central to his identity to me.

Something else a lot of people don't really get is that he was also extremely hands on - with everything - at all levels. I remember watching him do tech support for a network routing issue at a place we were doing a market research study for FreeRealms - 5 other engineers in the room and John was the first one rolling up his sleeves to diagnose the DMZ problems. He would personally approve game design docs for sub-features, webpage layouts, advertising verbage, art style, promotions - the works. If it happened at SOE, Smed was involved; he knew everything about it, and if he didn't write the original plan he sure has hell made some changes to the original plan for it at some point. Definitely not a corner-office, bean counting CEO type - he wanted to get his hands dirty.

For us gamers, he's the kind of maverick, passionate, risk-taking leader you want running a company. He loves to push the envelope - for better or worse. One of the #1 things I always hear said about Smed is that he's a "bull in a china shop" - couldn't agree more. This can create a lot of havoc of course and makes reliable product development & management a bit of a challenge, but it's better than the alternative of insipid reliably-profitable clones that most industry CEOs are interested in cranking out of the cookie-cutters. The games landscape today would be way more bland without Smed - there can be no arguing this.

Smed will be back pushing a giant envelope full of something that will blow our minds over a mountain of freshly smashed china soon. For now, I am happy he's taking some time off to get some rest, I hope he takes plenty. I think he needs it, and I know he deserves it.

Source: Reddit

 

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Either ,or
# Jul 23 2015 at 8:03 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
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When I saw that Smedley's Twitter account was deleted, I concluded that either:

a) The FBI advised him to cease and desist, because of the negative effect the DDOS was having on other American businesses, and/or because it might hinder their efforts,

Or....

b) Columbus Nova, the owners of Daybreak, told him to delete his account because he was undermining the company with his lack of self restraint.

Now I think it was the latter.

I'm surprised because I never thought I would see this day, but I realize I shouldn't be.
I think it is safe to say that Columbus Nova does not hesitate to remove hindrances to its goals.
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hmm
# Jul 23 2015 at 5:41 PM Rating: Decent
9 posts
This will fall into the category of "Be careful what you wish for , you just might get it"
Wishes
# Jul 23 2015 at 8:07 PM Rating: Decent
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I doubt this was a result of any of our wishes.
It is far more reasonable to deduce that this was the wish of his bosses at Columbus Nova.
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"Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. "
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
hmm
# Jul 23 2015 at 5:41 PM Rating: Decent
9 posts
This will fall into the category of "Be careful what you wish for , you just might get it"
Old gives way to the new.
# Jul 23 2015 at 2:13 PM Rating: Excellent
Guru
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I hope the new man (Mr Shanks) does better than Old Man McKenzie did (Mr Smedley)..

Hmm
# Jul 23 2015 at 2:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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863 posts
I really wonder how this will end up. I was so hopeful about Everquest Next, but with SOE becoming Daybreak and all the people that have had to leave I honestly don't know anymore.
looking forward to a fresh face
# Jul 23 2015 at 8:48 AM Rating: Excellent
hope this goes well for EQ..
interesting
# Jul 23 2015 at 5:34 AM Rating: Good
When Smed first made his posts on Twitter, I thought it may have been a coordinated effort to lure the lizard guys out but now I am thinking that he just got emotional and reacted as most people would. I guess everyone, both smed and the DBG owners have their breaking points.
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Weemage
woot
# Jul 23 2015 at 12:03 AM Rating: Good
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65 posts
Way past due IMHO.
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Fendy
wtf
# Aug 04 2015 at 9:05 AM Rating: Decent
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431 posts
I was without the use of a computer these past few weeks so i know this news is old new by now but WTF? They basically gave in to cyber terrorism and you guys say its for the best. One person even had woot in the title of his post and said it was long overdue. So yeah congrats to the cyber terrorists who got away with it while the F.B.I supposedly did their best to stop it.
The future
# Jul 22 2015 at 11:37 PM Rating: Good
3 posts
Wonder how this bodes for EQ. I hope there is a fresh outlook on things and that EQ is not dismissed, but recognized what it is in the industry and the loyalty of its customer base. There is so much that has been done with this game and so much more. Some of these previous expansions have shown it.
Smed
# Jul 22 2015 at 11:16 PM Rating: Good
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Well the good news is that his replacement, Russel Shanks, has been with the game since the beginning. At least we know there's a history there and it's not some random executive with no clue about the culture, development or evolution of the game.
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worried
# Jul 22 2015 at 10:40 PM Rating: Good
49 posts
i dont like it and makes me worried for eq
oh crap
# Jul 22 2015 at 9:59 PM Rating: Good
Scholar
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I honestly never thought I'd see the day..
Smed
# Jul 22 2015 at 9:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Yeah, right?
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- Aaikan (Luclin)
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Well heck.
# Jul 22 2015 at 9:36 PM Rating: Excellent
Special Snowflake
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I'm kinda unsurprised after the Twitter drama, but man.
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