John Smedley

August 2, 2012

IAmA John Smedley, 22 year game industry veteran, President of Sony Online Entertainment AMAA

I'm John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment. AMAA about the games industry, SOE, Planetside 2 (Ok.. catching some sleep so ending it now. thank you Reddit!) - be sure to check out /r/planetside - great community

Proof -


Enough to buy a lot of gadgets I don't need

Why can't i be in the beta/ tech tests right noooow :c

what do you mean? You're not? It's fun as hell

for people that have beta keys, what is the estimated date for getting into beta? and if I am currently subscribed to PS1 am I pretty much guarenteed on day 1?>

you will be in day 1

I've been unable to find the tweet for proof, but I remember seeing that if you got the free 30 days last month you are a vet.

if you got free time then you are a vet but not neccessarily a subscriber.

And I predict the most asked question will be, "Can I have a beta key?"

On to my question... Maybe you've already stated this somewhere, but, are caves going to be in PS2? (Already in/Planning on it)


On a scale of 1-10, how sure are you about beta Monday?

And I don't mean the Smedley scale of 1-maybe, 1 being not at all and 10 being sure enough to stake your job on it.


When can we expect a PlanetSide 2 swag shop? I'm 110% sure that it'll make bank - plus I'm sure we all would spend money for dogtags and t-shirts :)

we're working on it.

How long do you think it will take (if everything goes as planned) for everyone who has twitter/PC gamer keys to get in the beta?

maybe as long as 2-3 weeks but it depends on how smoothly things go

Do you plan on working on bases in PS2 that outfits can deploy?

hell yes. That's in a 3 year plan we have. By the end of year 1 is my goal.

Outfit Bases sounds amazing. Are you also thinking of doing Outfit specific PVP with these bases? Say an outfit from another Faction could initiate a rivalry with your outfit, and then they could raid each others bases for points of some sort. And could possibly in turn limit that outfits resources. Will these bases give that outfit more resources?

well we haven't talked about specific outfit based PvP but that's a good idea.

Are you currently on track to start the beta on Friday or Monday?

Monday. Not tomorrow.

Were you involved with any of the PS2 actual development and design?

yes. The design. I work closely with Matt.

Was Dave Georgeson involved in Planetside 2 as an advisor, etc.?

he shares his ideas :)

Im an aspiring game designer, im currently getting my associates in game design, whats the best way to get into the industry as a mechanical designer?

apply over and over till you get a break. This industry is awesome. Once you're in you're in. My own son is interested in it and that's the same advice I give him

you're the president of a gaming company and you wouldn't even give your own son a job? should i be happy that you're making him work for success or disappointed in your cold heart?

lol. rules are rules and it wouldn't be fair to have my son working in the company I run. Plus he has a food service job. I love seeing that on resumes (no lie). It teaches you that hard work and service matter. Plus people should tip waiters and waitresses well.

Will beta really start on monday?


You seem to share a view with other Industry Veterans (GabeN, Blizzard, Notch) that Windows8 is not going to be a good thing for the PC Gaming World.

What are some of the specific reasons and what should M$ be doing to improve PC Gaming instead of seemingly actively trying to destroy it. Are we going to see Planetside 2 Linux at some point if M$ doesn't get their act together?

I absolutely strongly share that view. No you aren't going to see PS2 on Linux. You will see it on Mac though.

at Launch or later on for Mac?

later to my great sadness. hopefully not too much later. I love my iMac and my Retina MBP

Can you elaborate on why you share that view about Windows 8?

I believe in a completely open ecosystem on PCs. I don't mind the gatekeeper approach on Mac. But that's as far as it should go. Any further and I have to shout as loudly as I can NO FURTHER.

As a president of a company mainly dealing with MMOs, what is it like when you realise one of your products is starting to lose customers, and what steps do you take to try and rectify this?

we do our best to listen to our players and give them what they want. If it starts to lose customers we try and make the game better or add features to give the players more of what they want.

What are good jobs in the games industry that doesn't require tons of math. Also any tips on getting started?

Design (although a lot of the best designers are good at match) - Art.

What would you recommend to a High school senior who is interested in the field, and did well in AP Calculus?

go to college and study CS.

Is there anything against Computer Engineering as compared to Computer Science? Or are they pretty much the same as far as the Game Industry is concerned?

not really. Computer Engineering has a lot of hardware level stuff so frankly it's probably more math oriented but still great.

amateur level designer here, college path I'm taking will include enough programming to build an engine from scratch along with all the level/character/world design courses

you're doing it right. apply at SOE.

Can i have a beta key for planetside 2 :P?

not right now sorry :)

What would the recommended settings be for PS2? Also, how many players are you hoping to get online at one time, I mean maxed out not a rough idea.

we are working on the reccomended settings and aren't quite ready to release them. It's not a dodge - we are still gathering the data. We collect frame rate data from players.

For the people that dont have keys when can they play?

if you've applied it will be after planetside 1 players and players that already have keys. If you haven't applied you should.

Just wanted to say thanks for being so great with the community! You guys are doing amazing and I was the guy who had drove 4 hours to play the game for 30 minutes at community day!

My question is if I had subscribed to PS1 about 10 days before you guys announced the free 30 days is that considered an active sub?

I am a 9 year vet and subbed again for Planetside Day before you guys announced the free month haha


What if I sub...right now? You can have my $15 if I get in beta on Monday.

it's right on the borderline.

Hmm, I could ask you about planetside 2 but that's too easy. How would you describe your progression from whatever beginnings you had to the point of becoming president of SOE?

I started in the industry as a game programmer. I had a company that did contract work and gradually got into management. I miss it though. I miss it greatly.

How did you start out in the gaming industry? What made you think "This is what I want to do as a career".

I literally never wanted to do anything else. I quit college after 2 years at SDSU because I got a game programming job. My Dad bought an Apple II+ when I was in 8th grade and I learned Basic, then 6502. There was never anything else I wanted to do.

As a 17 year old interested in this type of thing, is it hard to find your way? I'm not sure where to start once I leave school, what's a good path to follow?

I strongly encourage you to start coding on iPhone or something mobile now. It's the future.

First off, thank you for doing this AMA. Thank you for all the hard work you and the rest of the team have put into this game. I've been looking forward to Planetside 2 for a long while now and can't wait to get into beta. Anyway, my question for you is:

What is your most memorable moment working on Planetside 2? This could be anything, an interesting experience you had with other team members, a neat new game feature you watched develop over time or maybe something a fan did or submitted.

Most memorable moment had to be the start of the tech test and watching players reactions and listening to them in chat. I grouped up with a bunch of people I didn't know and hung out in chat. Holy shit that was fun.

Will you (or anyone else at SOE) be doing this during beta or even after release?

every day.

What is the most exciting part about the entire game development process?

Personally I like it when the game is playable by early testers. We get great feedback that way. I play the game 3-4 hours a day now. It's rough but fun as hell.

Interesting you should do an IAMA. You had to know 90% of the questions would be about Planetside 2 beta. But my question is this: What first got you into the games industry?

My Dad got me into this industry by patiently typing in games from some Apple magazine in basic (they literally had the lines of code in the magazine). At the time I was playing a lot of D&D and just decided to try and make it on the Apple II+. I ended up writing a lot of character generators after I realized making D&D might be hard :)

Early 80's= Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer (CoCo) Rainbow Magazine, had the same thing...lines of code. Hours of hard work typing in hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of lines of code for some pretty NOT amazing games. (Never did complete Dallas Quest)

EQ player since November 1999. Still Active

Edited to say: Only MMO ever played. When EQ turns out the lights like SWG, that will be the end for me. With a hectic life between work, returning to school, raising kids, EQ has been a great hobby the last 13 years and hopefully a few more. Thanks SoE

thank you. you are awesome!

TRS-80. Damn.. old school right there!

About how many people are registered for the beta? A guesstimate would even be nice.

We'll announce that at some point here. A very big number though!

is there any sort of schedule/idea on how long it will take before all beta key holders are in, and when people who registered get in?

2-4 weeks probably.

I'm in Europe and already have a bunch of Station Cash sitting on my account ready for PlanetSide2. Europe players are now having to use Pro7, what happens to all our Station Cash? can we still use it for PlanetSide2?

no. Pro7 cash sorry.

does this mean european players who bought a bunch of "station cash" specifically for Planetside 2 are going to get screwed over?

hmm. i think that's kind of a loaded question - we shared that PS2 was part of the Prosieben deal. If you feel personally screwed email me at and I will see you get refunded personally.

actually canadian, just concerned about the Europeans especially after the recent station cash sale

anyone that has felt bad about it I've made personally sure gets refunded and will continue to do so.

IT is correct to refund people, but that PRo-something deal seems cumbersome and confusing. Why not let everyone use one system? What is the point of this?

simple answer - we are a US based company without an office in Europe or the resources for it. Prosieben is a great company and we think we can provide excellent service in Europe by working with them.

Why are you such a liar?

useful question thanks.

So, the current ps1 subs/within last year subs is a pretty small pool right? So former subs will be invited pretty quickly then?

reasonably so yes.

How soon will the Twitter keys be accepted in? Around two weeks or so?

good guesstimate. no guarantees

Planetside 2 and EQ Next are what I understand to be your biggest projects currently. Any new IPs in development at SOE?


Are you mixing beta invites at all? What I mean by this, are you doing ONLY subscribed vets for the first waves, or are you peppering in some unsubscribed vets/keys?

some mixing but only for technical reasons. For example we already have a bunch of PS1 vets in.


Higby is better looking

Hey! First of all PS1 was epic. The experiences I had in that game were the best experiences I've had in any game ever! I am hoping that PS2 will bring the same feelings I got to the new players that will join the game. Being one soldier among hundreds fighting a battle with lasers, rockets and vehicles flying around. Just epic. So thanks for the good times :D

My question is how far from completion is PS2? I saw you tweeted that the beta may come on Monday but just how far from a finished version are you guys? :D

hmm. That's a loaded question - for once I want us to release the game when it's ready. We'll release it when we're proud of it. I will say it's rough but fun as hell.

Can you finally come clean about the decisions that were made regarding SWG? Mainly the CU and NGE?

EDIT: For everyone asking me to speak in a language you understand:

Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) went through 2 major revamps during it's life span. The Combat Upgrade (CU) which completely changed the way combat worked in the game and was met with negative reactions before and after it was released and ultimately led to a massive decline in subs. Most people who loved the game at that point quit.

Then they pushed the New Game Experience (NGE) that again changed the combat and by that time the servers became a ghost town.

SWG was a Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) unlike any other and many people were heart broken to see the game they loved be completely changed into something that they hated.

sure. Stupid decisions. Complete and utter fail and I am very sorry.

Any chance of a SWG pre-CU re-release?

zero chance. sorry.

With the benefit of hind-sight, what would you have done differently?

And bonus question, did you ever hear the Yivvits and Mr. Bubble SWG podcast impression of you?

absolutely I would have done it differently. The biggest regret of my career.

Never heard their impression of me :)

Right, but what though? More class and customization possibilities or stricter adherence to "canon," etc?

I would have made the decision about how we went about changing things differently. I would have talked openly to the community and respected the feedback.

What is your preferred whiskey. 'None' is not a valid answer.

Dalmore 50

Cheap stuff, huh?

Classy ;)

well you asked. I'm more of a beer and tequila guy to tell you the truth.

Haven't seen anything about it so, will the beta test starting monday still be under NDA? for those of us without beta keys who want to see it too.

yes although honestly we want it to be down fairly soon. Let people judge it however they will. I'll still play it :)

How does SOE feel about SWGEmu?

well officially I have to say it's bad. but that's officially.

Seaseme you guys have given nostalgia to alot of us old players. And for that, upvote

:) thanks.

if I am currently subscribed to PS1 am I pretty much guarenteed on day 1?


How do you guys think about other games like Firefall or Defiance which are also coming on strong in the MMOFPS scene? Do you think that they're competition or do you think that they're catering to different audiences?

I've played Firefall. Good game. Good company. It will do well. Defiance - hmm. there are some excellent people on that Team and Trion knows what it's doing so I have high expectations. I like SciFi (fuck the name SyFy). I saw every episode of SG1. So I'm betting it's as great as Rift.

What's it like working for SOE? Do you guys have nice desk chairs?

yes. We have great desk chairs and good computers. Ok my computer is great too.

Specs? I'd like to know how my fairly decent gaming PC matches up with your great business PC :P

i7 - 965, 12Gb ram, GTX 590 Win 7 64 bit.

What was your favorite game to work on\oversee?

probably Planetside 2 by far. The team is a blast and we are having a lot of fun.

Where do you keep the second key to the beta button? We know Higby has the first.

actually we use it for the twitter whores in the company that want more followers

I'm really excited about planetside 2. Are you happy with how it's developing? Do you feel you guys are on schedule with the development of the game? thanks.

we are doing great and relatively on schedule.. if the schedule is longer than it should have been :)

What is your favorite programming language? I saw you used to be a programmer at SOE.

I wasn't a programmer at SOE. But my favorite language is still assembly by far. I programmed x86, 6502 and 68k

Serious question.

Mr Smedley, Will we be able to pre-download the game via launcher pre beta launch and release launch? I have a decent connection speed, but with files over 10GB it will take a while on a 300kb/s download. Do you guys plan on allowing pre-downloads?

unlikely for day 1 beta simply because it's day 1. After that.. not sure.

Will certifications be in Monday beta?

some yes. not sure yet how many. Note - this may change if we aren't happy with testing but that's our plan.

Can you make a 100% promises right here that i can later use later as incriminating evidence that you will NOT do anything to break PS2 like you have done to game in the past (BFR's for example)

this is game development. We introduce stuff that doesn't work. What I can promise you is we listen a lot better than we ever have.

What do you think about tie day friday?

it's awesome. We have a handsome team.

How likely will there be new weapons / classes in expansions?

How will the beta work? Is it like GW2 where you can play 2-3 days. Or more like Blizzard betas, like where you can play as long as the beta is going on?

we don't intend to do expansions in the classic sense. Our goal (and I say it's a goal) - is not to charge for future content. We want it to be like LoL.. where new continents (maps) are free.

Are weather patterns going to be in the game?(Rain, Lightning , Fog, Snowstorms, Sandstorms, Some wierd plasma storm) Is there going to be any wildlife to play with(shoot)?

yes but not for launch. I hope we have wildlife. I love the idea of shooting wildlife. I'm not what you would call a classic nature lover. I hate the outdoors actually. I'm pretty pale.

Tech Test/Beta expert here. Just thought i'd let you know for some reason i was left out for the invites? Must have been a technical error, did you want me to PM you my email so i can get the invite?

don't know how that happened.

What are 1) your most frustrating and 2) most rewarding memories working on PS2 so far?

most frustrating -not having every single thing in the game exactly how I want. Most rewarding - not having every single thing in the game exactly how I want - it means the team cares and the team owns the game.

What do you think about the announcement SWTOR is going free-to-play? You're choosing for Planetside 2 to have a f2p model, do you think f2p is really the only way for an MMO to be successful these days?

it is the only way to go for new games. It was the right decision for SWTOR (which is a fantastic game). Wait till you see our next round of games after PS2 :)

Hi there, I'm currently studying Game Programming at university, Any tips for next year when I start looking for my first job?

apply at SOE if you are smart.

How do you intend to deal with people with high pings? and what are the minimum specs for ps2 (right now and at launch)

we haven't announced this yet - we have servers already deployed in multiple locations around the world.. so we are trying to make it reasonable for everyone. Tomorrow we test east coast servers.

Are you going to be working again this weekend? At the office all weekend?

I want to be defending my outfit's base on a Planet where we own the mining rights for a rare metal that helps to build factories that spit out autonomous robots that can be deployed around the game MOBA style

Are you going to be working again this weekend? At the office all weekend?

we will be working this weekend.

What's your favorite type of Iguana and why?

The Dancing at the Blue kind. If I have to tell you why you need to see the movie.

Hey John, PS2 looks fantastic and really looking forward to it. How did you start in this industry and at SOE? Also, your thoughts on Universities starting new Masters courses in Games development? Do they serve any advantage during screening through cv's?

I love seeing game design or development courses on peoples CV's.

As President of SOE how much are you actually invovled in the developement of Planetside 2 ? When i hear president i think about a guy in a suite singing business documents or whatever, but you seem really invovled with the communty and replying to us on twitter regularly (appreciate it !!).

Do you think your work ethics are different to other people with your rank in the industry ? (not a native speaker so i hope my question is clear)

I'm pretty involved with PS2. I have strong opinions. My work ethics? Hmm. not sure how to answer that ones. I believe in hard work.

Heya! Thanks to you and your team for all the work you have put in on Planetside. If you can pass it along to the less public side of the team too please do. :)

will do! thanks

Is there any chance we will see PS2 on linux in a hopefully not too far away future (like ~6months/year after release)?

no current plans. Who knows after Mac version.

Will we see the return of the Phantasm?

hmmm.. you've got me on that one. no plans.


at midnight. is there some other time it's supposed to? No one tells me this stuff.

Will people in the tech test still be in the first wave of beta invites?


All my outfit mates got into the Tech Test but not me. Why? I'm so lonely trying to take tore all by myself!

:) lucky I guess.

Can we expect the game to 100% go into beta monday? Delays are to be expected but we are all in the dark about what's going on behind the scenes so it's difficult when a delay is announced at the last minute lol

you don't want to see the sausage getting made. Is it 100% no. but it's damn close.

Can you do me a favor?

Keep Clegg around for a good time. He is a good dude.

By the way this game I am playing under a NDA is pretty good.

glad you like it :) and glad you like Clegg. hey wait.. is that you Clegg...

One question, I know current PS1 subs are getting in first. Are former subs who don't have active subs, but got the free month of play, in right behind current subs? Or are they grouped with the PCGamer/priority keys?

right behind current subs.

How do you feel about the rise of phone app gaming? Do you think it's very disruptive to your plans/profitability that a lot of popular games cost < 10% what a flagship PlayStation or PC game gets sold for?

I do think it's disruptive but I think a mobile game is different than a flagship PC or PS3 game. I play all of them

Any way the beta will be available soon, because after the 20th, I won't have any time to game anymore. College is going to destroy that free time.

you may be in good shape. depends on how things go.

What lessons have you learned over the many years you've been in the industry that you've applied towards making Planetside 2 a success?

work super hard with super smart people who want to make great games. simple lesson.

No question. Just wanted to say. Whoever decided to add Infantry Online (Harmless Games) is a hero. Spent years as a teenager playing it. Was generally one of the must entertaining games I've ever played.

Rod and Jeff were rockstars. they work at Linden now.

Planetside 1 veteran here. I am/was Dizik from Ghosts of the Revolution from the Emerald server, and I have a few questions:

  1. Although Planetside 1 still has a dedicated following, we all know that a lot of players left the game shortly following Aftershock's release. As I'm sure you know, not everybody was a fan of the addition of BFRs, turning Auraxis from several continents to planets, etc. This also happened to be around the same time that World of Warcraft launched. Would you consider a negative reaction to Aftershock, WoW's release, both, or something else altogether to be the main reason for the mass exodus?

  2. Despite losing a large number of players, how do you explain the cult following that Planetside 1 has?

  3. What are a some of the mistakes from the Planetside 1, as well as other SOE games, that you were able to learn from to make Planetside 2 the game that everybody is eagerly awaiting?

  4. What are some of the things that you really wanted to be included with Planetside 2, but you know are never going to happen (i.e. something way to ambitious considering today's technology, etc.)

  5. Finally, my current rig is going to struggle with Planetside 2. Help a brother out. ;)

1) Wow didn't help. But I think the real problem with PS1 is it wasn't the right game at the right time. 2) It's fun as hell. 3) Not to release stuff before it's ready. We're not perfect but we're better now. 4) We haven't ruled anything out just yet. 5) GL :)

Do you demand that everyone at soe call you Sir Mister President of Soe the Great John Smedley because you should also will my gtx 560 be able to run ps2 on ultra or high settings

560 works great. not on ultra. NO CARD works well on ultra. That's for cards next year or the year after.

2 7970's crossfired. If that can't run the game on ultra nothing will.

we don't have crossfire turned on. I can tell you 2 690's are challenged.

In 2009 there was a survey that was emailed to people about the possible development of Planetside 2. What were you able to take away from that survey, and did it have an impact on what is being done now?

don't remember that survey honestly. So I'd have to go with no.

In 2009 there was a survey that was emailed to people about the possible development of Planetside 2. What were you able to take away from that survey, and did it have an impact on what is being done now?

no but it doesn't matter any more.

I like turtles, do you like turtles?

I'm not an outdoor guy, but I do scuba dive so yes I like Turtles.

Do you regret hiring Abashi and having him do "customer support" on the original EQ forums?

I cut my MMORPG teeth ranting on the old EQ boards, and I couldn't stand Abashi when he came in.

don't regret hiring him. Regret leaving him on the the front lines as long as we did.

Long time player of EQ here, was addicted for quite a long time.

Any news on EQnext? Is it on schedule? How are things coming along?

nothing to announce except Awesomeness is coming.

after hearing about PS2, getting a beta key and getting super excited, I bought PS1 and subbed. Been playing for over a month now.

With that said, do I qualify as one of those who will get in because of being subbed? I won't be mad, I'm having fun playing PS1 till I get in. Hope the game is going well, and I'm super excited to play!

you will get in because you're subbed.

I've not played the game, yet, but it seems there's a lack of landing/repair pads for aircraft. There are 'air towers' but those seem to be spawn pads, which would cause issues when people land there. Plus there does not appear to be a way to get back to the pad if you jump off (if you, say want to land at a tower, switch your loadout, or fight off an intruder, then fly away). I'd feel kinda dirty having to land on the floor.

Is this because I've just not seen the game or is this actually the case?

we do have spawn pads. Need to talk to the team about making them repair craft. I think that's the plan but it's a good question.

What faction would you recommend for players with higher latency (eg. Aussies)?

hmm. We plan on having some lower latency options for Aussies :) (maybe even a server down there if there is demand).

now THAT's a ping!

Any chance we might get a Logitech Gamepanel applet for PS2? It looks like I won't be needing 3rd party VOIP, so that frees up my G510's LCD to display PS2 goodness.

I have one of those myself! no current plans but we do plan to open a lot of UI stuff up for extension

Can I have 500 doughnuts from Krispy Kreme? You are just too awesome to have done this to penny arcade. What's your favourite game of all time, if you can't come up with that what's your favourite game currently?

My favorite game of all time. - Planetside (yes really). Playing PS2, Eve Online, League of Legends right now.

How long 'till priority keys get in, after the closed beta starts on Monday?

2-3 weeks. maybe sooner.

What PS Faction does the majority of the dev team prefer?

not sure of the answer on that one.

If I were to buy PS1 and sub to it would I get into the beta on monday? even though I already have a PC gamer keys since about 2 months ago?

likely yes.

How many PS1 veteran subs are currently active? Wondering how many you have to invite for the first waves of beta.

we don't give out that number.

No question. Just wanted to say that despite it's flaws, I really enjoyed my time playing Star Wars Galaxies. I've yet to see an MMO or multiplayer-heavy game foster the kind of community that game did. Thanks.

thank you. If you liked the sandbox gameplay in SWG you will like where we are going with PS2.

No question. Just wanted to say that despite it's flaws, I really enjoyed my time playing Star Wars Galaxies. I've yet to see an MMO or multiplayer-heavy game foster the kind of community that game did. Thanks.

thank you.

How soon can we expect to see my most <3 thresher make an appearance hovering across the battlefield at 90kmh? Also will I be able to deploy sneaky minefields as an infiltrator like you could in PS1 with combat engineering+stealth wraith loaded with full ACE's in the trunk? Not gonna lie but I would be pretty upset if I won't be able to run behind enemy lines and fully mine a bridge or canyon to cause some vehicle mayhem :D Thanks in advance

not sure on that.

Have you considered making a steam-workshop-like feature where the community can model and submit cosmetic items for the developers to review and add to the cash shop?

Less work for the devs, more items in the shop, lots of money made/saved.

stay tuned very soon. very soon indeed.

how large of a risk is it that the servers will just shit themselves once you go into open beta or release?

and the thing on monday will everyone be able to get in?

we've been doing this a while. That's the reason for the tech test. hopefully they don't shit themselves.

EQ: Next - When will we see it and why isn't it right now?

when it's done because it isn't.

Give the PS2 dev-team a hard-earned vacation ... sooon!

they're certainly earning it!

Are you skipping the usual friends and family beta and just grouping it with current vets (when beta starts on Monday)?


Can you teach me your ways and then hire me...please.

only if you're good!

Hi Mr. Smedley. First of all, wanna say I love how much interaction you have with the community along with the dev team for PS2, certainly something we don't see much in this day and age.

As for my questions, just a couple.

  1. Can you go into any more detail about how the PS2 servers function? I may be misremembering but I seem to remember something saying that people connecting to servers that are technically further away shouldn't have completely massive pings like they would in other games. If I'm wrong then ignore : ).

  2. I've been curious about the population cap. So is it simply 666 of your faction on a continent and that's it or is it based on 2000 max with a mixture of any? Also, will there be anything in place for outfits to get on the same continent when player counts are high?

Might have more questions later but that's all I can think of at the moment : /.

on #1 - not much to say.

2 - it's likely to be a max cap of 2,000 per continent. Still working out the final details about pop caps per empire.

Have you guys considered adding a feature whereby the color/look of your character changes the higher in BR you get, or the more certs you have, kind of like PS1?

we have cooler stuff planned for higher BR.

How will people getting acces to the game? ps1 vets ---->twitter keys----->sing up keys or?

And 1 more question. How long will it take to others with keys to join the game after vets get access to it

we will simply enable their accounts and announce it

What's the status of Sony's trademark on 'Soon'?

that would be Soon(tm)

not sure.


work in progress. higher than a lot of games but still very playable by a wide variety of rigs bought in the last 4 years.

On the subject of people wishing to create Planetside 2 content: when are you looking to do away with the NDA, some time during the beta, or at release like the registration email suggests?

It seems particularly counter-intuitive to carry an NDA to the final stages of a beta that anyone can sign up for and get in to. Not to mention that fans themselves can more than help drum up excitement and advertise the game's release with their content.

simple truth - the game needs some polish and love before we're ready to have people talk about it. To us it's a beautiful baby though...

So John, did you get involved in the Payday/Left 4 Dead crossover deal, or did the boys bring that to you to approve after they'd already gotten started with it?

that was all them and we love those guys. love them

What are your thoughts the future of the PC/MMO industry, given the swift decline of SWTOR?

I fucking hate it when people talk about the decline of the PC industry. It's idiotic garbage spouted by morons that can't count where the players are playing. It's not like League of Legends reports numbers to NPD. The players are playing F2P games on the PC not going to retail.

is there any word on how Australian's have handled playing on the us servers? just interested I think a lot of Australian's would like to know :) Thanks in advance :)

pretty well so far.

Do you know if Elder Scrolls Online is going to be supported by the PS3, or is it a secret?

no idea but the game looks awesome!

So, when are we going to have a sequel to Tanarus?

Planetside WAS the sequel to Tanarus. I know. I designed Tanarus :)

Any plans to provide an API for third party applications to hit, similar to EVE Online?

yes. big big plans on this. Stay tuned soon.

I still miss the gratuitous spell effects from early EQ1. They made me feel powerful, even at a lower level. I loved playing with the third-person camera and watching the effects go off.

Can medics get giant, insane, and impractical EQ1-style sparkle effects for revives and healing in PS2? I'd pay a stupid amount for that.

we are doing some cool stuff with PS2.

Will there be locks on team vehicles preventing a random player from taking your vehicle? (if they are certified to use it)

yes. actually going in right now.

Is the server code for SWG Pre-CU and Pre-NGE really gone or was that just the line to get people to stop asking about it?

is it gone? No. Is it ever coming out again? no.

What is one piece of advice you could give everyone here, regarding anything.

listen to your Mom and Dad. Mine got smarter as I got older.

When if do you hire college students for internships (Looking into something in the industry)


Did TSR Tim ever become the president of SOE? You should at least give him an extra ham in his christmas stockings.


So Blackbird...true or false: Tanarus just wouldn't die.

lol. It finally died.

Do you ever think MMOs will return to their UO/EQ/AC style roots of heavy exploration and emergent gameplay rather than the Skinner Box style gameplay the genre has moved towards?

That's where the whole thing is going. That's where we're going. Emergent.

Will it be against the NDA to talk about my super secret special club next week? (The no beta invite club, TNBIC™)

don't know what you're talking about.. and if I did I couldn't say.

This isn't really a question but I would like to thank you and all of SOE for bringing a sequel to my favorite game ever and one I still play even today.

you're welcome! glad you liked PS1.

Have you given any thoughts about space/naval combat? Is it part of your 3-year plan that you guys are employing?

it is part of the plan. Seamless continents. not saying it's technically feasible yet but it's part of the plan.

I definitely want to see naval combat, and beach landings and everything. There are going to be some people arguing "community splitting" just because players in naval ships aren't holding a rifle, but fortunately I think you can see past that objection.

I see World of Tanks and World of Warplanes and World of Warships and I say we can do 2 of those right now in the same world and I want all 3 :)

What games do you see as being PS2's competition?

hmm. BF3 and MW3. Probably Black Ops 2. PS2 is a world class shooter that is an MMO.

How long do you plan for the beta phase to last? And is there going to be an open beta?

not sure yet. Till the game is ready to launch.

A lot of the mmos in the industry have copied everquest and I feel that the only big change to MMOs in the past 15 years was when SOE upgraded the Ultima Online generation of MMO to the EverQuest generation. Infact it didn't seem like the current generation of games got most of the Ultima Online feature set till EQ2/Vanguard (housing, boats, guild halls etc)

But aside from features where do you see things going next for a truly new generation of MMO? VR (Oculus Rift)? User generated content? (minecraft)? I'd be interested to hear your visions and prophecies!

Emergent gameplay is where this whole thing is going. People chew through content faster than any company can make it.

Any plans to perhaps open an office in Florida? EA is here, but they it's their sports division, yech :P

no plans sorry.

Out of curiosity, what were the numbers for SWG subscriptions like right after the NGE and/or around the time when it was shut down? I realize that the numbers were dropping even before the NGE.

And while the NGE was bad, messups happen and if you admit the messups then that's great.

can't say.. we have an NDA on this sorry.

Welcome to reddit John

thanks. Been a lurker for a long time.

It seems that it is a rarity that people in your position in the gaming industry are so active in communicating with their fan/user base. I remember distinctly that you would be in the Everquest chatroom when there were service outages or just to chat with your customers.

Why do you think this level of communication is such a rarity? What sort of benefits have you found from being so close and open with your audience? Has it bit you in the ass ever or has it mostly been positive experience?

not sure. Talking to people is the fun part of the job!

A skunk just sprayed somewhere near my house. I have no air conditioning so I can't close my windows. It's also 90 degrees outside. How do I sleep comfortably without letting the skunk stench waft inside?

that's a question I asked myself two nights ago. I live out in the boonies a bit. lots of skunks. Or as my dogs like to call them "cats that like to have their asses sniffed".

When you said people with active ps1 accounts, does that include accounts that would deactivate with a subscription after the free month period ends (in terms of getting into the beta Monday)

no. active subs.

What chance do those that obtained codes through the April PC Gamer have of getting in on Monday (if it starts then)?

pretty much zero. PS1 subs first.

Any thoughts on being able to holster weapons? For immersion/videos, etc when you're chilling at home base?

not sure. No immediate plans but that would be cool.

Hello, Marketer here!

Basically I am looking to get into the business side of the game industry. I feel I have an advantage having a business degree, experience in marketing B2B software, and being a passionate gamer.

Do you feel there is a disconnect between the overall business/marketing strategies and the design side of gaming? The perception of the larger companies (EA, Activision... etc) with the online, vocal minority seems to think this. I am interested in an internal opinion on the matter.

I think to make games you have to be a gamer. It doesn't matter what you learned in school.. any discipline including marketing can help you make games. But if you don't play games you will be a shitty game marketer.

Assuming SOE could get the rights and jump through all the hoops and such, would you guys ever consider doing a redo of SWG? Maybe call it SWG2 or something?

For me at least, and I think a lot of people, SWTOR has been a bit of a let down. It just doesn't have that feel of true sandbox RPG that Galaxies had.

I for one would gladly buy into it.

As much as we love the game, no. we are making our own stuff from now on.

What about honest to god space combat in PS2 and not the indirect fly-like-RTS combat of EVE? You're not going to let that slip through your/our fingers are you?

Also, what about EQ Next?

who knows. I love Eve. no plans right now but it could happen in the future.

EQ Next - nothing to say right now.

Just 10 questions for you

1: How's your day been?

2: How do you feel about the fact that when PS2 gets popular, there will be an inordinate amount of people complaining because they expected too much?

3: How long has PS2 been in development/concept?

4: Are they dragging "How I Met Your Mother" on a bit now?

5: Do you think the opposition is under-represented in the Czech Republic's Parliament?

6: Jeff and Annie; will they or won't they?

7: Do you think PS2 will have the most success out of all of SOE's games?

8: How much time do you get to play? And which games do you like playing?

9: Steak; rare, medium or ruined?

10: If a train was on the tracks to run over 5 people, would you intentionally change its course to run over 4 people instead?

1) Awesome 2) People will complain. more people will be happy. So I'll be happy. 3) Multiple years. 4) yes - I want to know who the hell she is. My whole family watches that show. 5) No clue. 6) wow. you've got me there. 7) Yes. So far anyways. 8) I play games every night and all weekend most weekends. at least 3-4 hours a night. 9) medium 10) yes.

what describes a PS1 vet ? people who bought the game BEFORE you gave out the free month ? people with active subs before you handled out the free month (INCLUDING freshly bought ps1 players?)

will people with current ps1 subs be in on monday ? (including people who bought the game 7 days before u gave out the free month to old players?)

anyone with an active subscription (that doesn't include people we gave a free month to and do not have an active subscription)

Since you're making a free-to-play game, how do you feel about popular free-to-play games right now, both MMOs and competitive multiplayer? Do you feel like free-to-play is where all multiplayer-only experiences are headed, in one way or another? Does it bother you that these free-to-play games require a server connection and will therefore die one day with no way to dust off an old copy of League of Legends, for instance, and be able to play with a bunch of friends long after it's had its run? I personally like that most of these multiplayer games are moving to free-to-play, but I have to admit there are problems with both preservation and the way the creators are monetizing them.

I think F2P is the ultimate destination of all games. Yes. I said all games.

It doesn't bother me that someday games turn off. Try and run your games you bought 13 years ago on your PC. Yes you can if you use some weird emulator. but mostly you can't.

I only ever played the PS1 trial, and somehow got the free 45-day sub that was given out after what I believe was a hacking incident. It's still active on my account until the ninth because I only bothered to look at my SOE account when Planetside Day got announced and PS2 news was picking up.

Am I right if I say that I won't have "active sub" priority with this, but will if I buy a month now? That's what it seems like based on your response to another guy about getting in day one.

you have to have an active sub.

Will you be wiping characters before beta? Will you be wiping characters after beta?

both likely.

I've been voice acting for about 9 months as a hobby and last weekend a couple of my voiceovers exploded in popularity on YouTube, leading me to decide I'm going to make a serious run at paid work. What I'd really, really like to do is voice act in video games. I love games, I love characterizations, this is what I want to do. How can I get to a point where I'm auditioning for roles like people do for you and your colleagues? I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to angling for game work and anything you can tell me would be met with huge appreciation...

Many thanks for doing this AMA - I really believe this forum is a great way for people to talk to professionals when otherwise they never would.

I'm sorry this one is out of my area of knowledge.

What's the beta key hierachy? It'd be nice to a definitive answer on this, including if there's a difference between PC Gamer/Twitter/Event keys. Sorry if this was already asked.

Planetside 1 current subs > Planetside 1 vets (who applied for beta) > Priority keys (PC Gamer, Twitter, giveaways) > normal registrations

Will the people who are currently participating in the technical test be allowed into the beta on the day it starts?


When can we expect to see a creative use of the LucasArts license? Star Wars + Planetside = It Prints Money

that would be an awesome game wouldn't it!

Can I get a definite answer on this: PCGamer keys > Twitter keys or PCGamer keys == Twitter keys?

Thanks for doing this!

they are equal. we call them priority keys.

Do you think SOE will ever venture into a sandbox style MMO? Personally my favorite gaming memories we getting a group of friends and just doing whatever we felt (I know this is somewhat achieved in PS2).

hell yes we will.

Can we buy weapon sound packs in the PS2 item shop? I'd like to customize the PEW PEW PEW of my VS weaponry for real $$$$$.

not at launch but that's a good idea.

Really pumped that you have also played EvE Online. Has experiencing other mmo's especially those focused on massive scale helped? Any plans to run a single shard/server like EvE?

I love EVE and play it to this day. I'm in a NSA and love the big scale combat. I even went to Eve Fanfest in Iceland!

Does faction bias play into development? (ex. a 3d modeller on the PS2 team who loves Vanu makes cooler art for Vanu infantry)

of course it does :)

Can we talk to Kevin Butler instead please?

hah. I love those commercials. I would rather hear from him too :)


1) We kept it up as long as we could. 2) I Played a lot around launch. I played Cosmic Rift as well. Those were great games.

Say hello to the people in your usabilty lab for me, they're great people (though they won't know who this is).

Question: If you could have any semi-super power (Mystery Men not Marvel), what would it be?

Invisible boy of course.


not our game anymore. that is all.

So, as we get closer and closer to the Beta and eventual release, has there ever been a time where you thought to yourself "I wish I had a different group of ravening fans"? Also, have you ever looked back at this entire thing and either thought you could have communicated differently or wished you hadn't said anything?

Thanks for the AMA!!!

I love the fans we've got.

I just wanted to say that until it was ruined, SWG was the best game I have ever played next to a couple of others. The best MMO by far.

thanks and sorry.

How important is industry experience when considering a new IP/game design document? I'm assuming very, but you know what they say about assumptions.

it's the idea that matters. Honestly the truth is we have more ideas then time to develop them.

Don't want to be selfish but follow up: in your experience how hard is it to get the necessary support for new IP's?

it's not hard. It's more like we have a whole lot more great ideas and don't need other IP. Star Wars and DC are about as good as you can get.

When can we have a PS4? I'm sick of my PC outperforming a much more fun gaming system. I hate keyboard and mouse, and small screens.

try a Vita!

You said you play League. Who's your favorite champ?


Oh Sony online entertainment, you guys are the ones that ruined one of the greatest games ever made. Star Wars Galaxies thanks for that not only did you save me from wasting the last 6 years of my life you also robbed me of one of my favorite things I've ever done. You people are also the reason I will never own a Playstation and its not because your products are inferior its simply out of principle.


I wanted to thank you for the years of enjoyment that my dad and I got out of Tanarus. We started playing when I was 12 right after the name was changed from Armorgeddon and I played it through college.

I also enjoyed Planetside 1 and am looking forward to the PS2 beta. What are your goals with PS2? Are you just releasing another MMO or are your ambitions larger?

wow. you're a serious serious vet if you remember that! thank you.

Our ambitions are huge - it's going to be the best sandbox MMOFPS ever made.


sure. we post those from time to time.

I know you have said in previous answers that all twitter key holders will get in most likely in 2-3 weeks, if everything goes well. However, do you know when about they will START being let in? Would it possibly be within the week after beta releases on Monday? Could you give a rough estimate? Thanks!

likely around that time.

Can you guys make more classic games for online purchase. Please?

Talk to whoever you need to talk to in order to get Battle Toads. Please.

sorry not our thing.

Is there ever going to be a solution to the Voice Over issue of most games? Generally the initial game and sometimes first expansion has voice overs for the game giving you a great immersive experience but then later on (no doubt due to players chewing through content and the cost) the npcs start to drop to text only narrative

Will there ever be a way around this? Perhaps community voice over packs or something?

it's a good point and a tough one to deal with. We do our best but it's hard..

No questions here. But I want to say thank you for EverQuest. When it came out, it was one of the few ways for me to keep in touch with my brother who lived across the country at the time. My childhood was forever changed positively as soon as we found EQ. With that, I'm really looking forward to EverQuest Next.

thank you. Hearing stuff like that makes me feel good. It's actually the best thing about making online games.

I played PS1 since beta and thought it was an epic game way ahead of its time. Why do you think it never really took off as a major FPS? What lessons do you think you learned and will apply towards PS2?

I think MMOs in general were pretty new. I also think FPS games hadn't hit the serious mainstream yet. Plus we did a lot of things right and made mistakes. The time is ripe now though.

is it certain that everyone who registed will get in beta?

it is likely but not certain. It all depends on how things go. I would say 95% likely.

I was going to ask why gaming as a whole has disappointed me for the past ten years or so when it struck me: commercial/pop gaming is almost analogous to commercial/pop music. It's for the masses and is designed to appeal to the largest audience rather than someone who is passionate about gaming. Do you find that to be true and do you find yourself yourself being more impressed by indie games than by big-budget studio games?

Gaming is a huge part of my life. I can't say I feel the same way you do. I love gaming so much and I love seeing and playing new games. Except maybe Zynga stuff.

i hope my question will be answered :)

i bought planetside roughly 1 week before you gave out the free subscription to old players, and i have an current active subscription since then, the 30 free days that came with the game and i paid a 1 month sub on the same day the 30 free days were to run out. so im subbed till next month 22., do i have a chance to get in on monday?


Hmm, thought of another couple questions:

  1. Are you guys being super careful to balance out the cash shop in PS2? Now, I know these seems like it should be obvious but I would hate to see this game take a turn like Tribes:Ascend did. They didn't test the content thoroughly and had to make knee-jerk patches to try and fix new weapons that were much too powerful.

  2. Along the same line, how are you planning to work in buying things for resources compared to buying for cash (mostly talking about weapons here). Since they are supposedly available for both currencies then are you going to make the weapons incredibly expensive like Hi-Rez does or are you going to try and strike a nice balance? This is probably one of my biggest worries because many times (in Tribes: Ascend most definitely) I feel like I can't play properly unless I buy something for cash because you don't anywhere near enough XP to buy things. Will it be reasonable to expect someone who uses only resources to buy a weapon whenever they feel they need or will they see themselves having to save up through months of gameplay?

1) It's the most important balance consideration we have. That's why we aren't selling power. only gameplay styles (i.e. same gun sidegrades that differentiate but not give more raw power).

2) The things that are available for both currencies will be carefully balanced. We want to let players purchase things using in-game resources (not everything will be purchaseable this way but weapons will for example). Roughly speaking we're going for LoL champions level of time investment. maybe a bit less. This is something we need to get a feel for during beta so it could change.

so the people with keys will get in on the first 2-3 weeks. what about the people who signed up for keys on the website but don't actually have them yet?

they will get in later in the beta.

how do you feel about the swgemu project?

I answered this somewhere but overall I can't endorse it but I have no comment. It's technically not cool.

When are you going to follow me on twitter?

what's your twitter? do you say interesting shit?

@arclegger. I'm somewhere in between @kanyewest and @Higbys_beard

that's not a lot of room...but count me in as one of your followers

say interesting shit

Do you have a Twitter I can follow?


if i subscribe/buy PS1 now do i get day 1 PS2 beta access?

maybe but you better hurry. I think we are cutting it off tmw morning.

Why are your products so hard to uninstall?

a fair question - honestly we've had issues with people moving the install around but it's something we need to get better at. It's not intentional but the product of patches after the original install.

Would you rather fight a 100 duck sized horses, or 1 horse sized duck?

1 horse sized duck. I hate ducks.

Will there be a way of transferring my station cash to my Pro7 account?

if it's for the same game yes.

In your opinion, what will it take for MMO's to be successful on consoles?

they already are. DCUO is doing amazing on PS3. Dust 514 will be great too.


in which game?

I swear to you on everything that is my lowly life, my last name is Smedley. Are you long lost family? I must know.


Our family tree doesn't exactly present itself that easy.

I'm proud to know that a Smedley has made it in life.

there's a fashion designer at - hah. It's rough having that name. I don't fit in the clothes they make sadly.

There is a small town just about a mile northwest of me in Southern Indiana named after a family of Smedley's. It is rough. Everyone forgets that last 'e'. And judging from the initial slide on that site, I would fit in his clothes either.

I think I would need to begin a heroin binge and not eat for a few years to fit in those clothes. they look nice though.

Why was remote play advertised for Vita, demonstrated that is 100% capable, and then crippled when the Vita was released?

sorry not something I know anything about. I love my Vita but haven't heard about this at all.

What do you think of the recent rise of the MOBA genre and the free to play market?

Also do you think the MMO genre will be making a leap to the console and handheld market anytime soon?

I think the MOBA market is the result of DOTA being awesome and LoL being awesome and easy to get into (DOTA was a bit of a pain to install).

If I have a 45-day non-recurring subscription of free playtime, and were to subscribe today on my veteran PS1 account as well, would my account be activated as an actively-subscribed-veteran and get in the first wave(s) of the beta, or would it not go through until mid-August, and not be eligible for the first wave(s)? If not, would a new account that subscribes today be considered an actively-subscribed-veteran?

ugh. sorry this is complicated and I don't know. Email me at and I can find out.

Do you ever get irritated by the whole playstation(psp/ps2/ps3) hacking scene, with all the custom firmwares and piracy?

I'm against piracy of any kind. We work hard to make games. Pirates suck. well maybe not all pirates but the kinds that steal other people's work suck.

I'm a business analyst for an MMO. Nerd out with me for a moment: what are the biggest metrics you plan to have your eyes glued to during this beta? How will you know it's a hit and not hype?

Unique users and concurrent users. Most important by far. It tells you if people like your game.

As an honest question, why is the PS3 better than a X-Box 360?

Blu Ray is the easy answer but the other answer is the PSN which is pure awesome.

Where do you think the game industry is going? Do you think the standard concept of handheld controller is here to stay?

I think the game industry is going to continue to grow in a big way. Handheld controllers and consoles are here to stay. People like gaming in front of their TV.


not sure what to say to this except I'm sorry you feel this way. We have a lot of customers who have been with us for 13 years. I hope we do a good job and strive to do a better one for people like you.

How many servers will there be on PS2 Launch? Also do you know the number of 'active' subscribers to Planetside? Can't wait till Monday!

lots. Still working out the details.

Best email to contact support for my SOE username? _^ Tried resetting password, prompted to security question, and none of my answers are working :(

contact me at - I'll help.

Is it possible for a light assault to jetpack vertically and stick C4 onto an aircraft? If so, that will be my specialization.

yes you can jetpack vertically and mess with aircraft. not sure on the c4 specifcally but I hope so.

Is TrackIR support planned at all? How polished is Joystick support, especially supporting more than one stick, for people with things like rudder pedals.

joystick support will be solid. It's weak sauce atm because it hasn't gotten any love but it will be great.

I bought and played PS1 on release with my friends, but sadly lost interest after a few months. When I saw the email about PS2 beta, let me tell you, I spent 4 weeks going back and forth with support trying to get access to my old account (that sat unused for nigh on 8 years) to be able to register for the beta.

But finally yesterday we got it settled and I was finally allowed back on. Now to hope I get in. Put in a good word for me! I am old'ish after all.

good luck!

Expansion for space combat? Capturable guild owned capital ships/orbital bases?

no plans but who knows. I love space!

Hey, Smed! Whenever I see your name, "Everquest" immediately flashes into my mind (I'm an old fart,was in beta.) What a long, strange trip it's been, eh?

it has been a long strange trip indeed!

If I am a PS2 Veteran but, used a twitter key on my account, will I still get in when all the other vets do or will I have to wait for the other keys spot in line?

Did I shoot myself in the foot?

PS1 veteran? you're good.

Why did Sony persecute Geohot when he jailbroke the PS3? When the Kinect was hacked Microsoft embraced it and the product became the best selling electronic product launch in history.

Edit: I'm the dumb. :(

don't mean to dodge the question but that's a question for another part of Sony.

What prompted SOE to take over Monolith Production's "The Matrix Online" and drastically downsize assets associated with it? Was this mutual? More Monolith's plan? More SOE's plan? As a player from launch date with Monolith Productions to its demise with Sony Online Entertainment, I am greatly interested in the decision-making process associated with that game.

well the simple answer was it was part of a larger deal that also involved the DC Universe License. We did the best we could with that game. It had a lot of great ideas.

What do you think the biggest innovation in the MMO market has been? In the game industry?

I think the biggest innovation has been large scale PVP. In the game industry I'd have to say MMOs in general.

Is PS2 going to have quality support for ATI Eyefinity and Nvidia 2D surround? Allowing the large aspect ratio is not good enough. In most games HUD elements and menus get incredibly distorted, sometimes making the game unplayable. Additionally, a single viewpoint camera does a terrible job of rendering objects on the edges of the display.

HUDs and menus should be properly scaled. There should be a spherical camera or 3 separate cameras rendering the seen. Are their any plans for this?

2d surround? well it's supported by default. It's not going to be a pretty frame rate picture at super high res though. ATI I'm not sure yet. our HUD should properly scale. not sure it does atm. I personally run at 2560 x 1600

Everquest franchise... Seemed like a lock, loyal fanbase, original'd that get ruined?

it's still awesome 13 years later. it's not ruined IMO.

Despite my many dashed hopes, I am still, on some level, anticipating EQ:Next. Original EQ was bar none, by far, the most fun I ever had in an MMO. Luclin, and especially PoP, made me unbelievably frustrated, and ended my EQ days. So we went to SW:G, which was pretty darn awesome in its' heyday. Then SOE did it to me again. I still tried EQ2, regretted it quickly.

Please, please, please do not make EQ Next a WoW clone, point and click, crap game. I know this isn't a question, and I am bashing you a little, but your company has created my two favorite examples of online gaming. Please do this right. I have faith in you!

EQ Next is about as far from a WoW clone, EQ Clone or any current MMO as you can get period. It's nothing like them at all. It's the new hotness. Or it will be :)

just purchased the original Planetside, downloading now :), thought I might as well get a little Planetside experience before PS2 :)

it's still awesome. Played it myself recently.

I'm surprised i haven't seen this, but what is your favorite game of all time, then what is your favorite playstation exclusive?

favorite game of all time is Planetside (the original and yes that's an honest answer). Second favorite is EQ. Third favorite is Battlefield 2. Favorite PS exclusive would be Crash Bandicoot.

Do you know your employees secretly refer to you as the "death star"?


it may just be a QA thing :)

good to know!

How do you feel about DC Universe Online? What do you think went wrong?

I love the game. not sure why you think something went wrong.

Well, the fact that the game went from $50 to free to play after population numbers and server numbers decreased quite a lot definitely says something went wrong.

this is just plain wrong. All numbers went up after we went F2P. We actually gave out basic numbers. It went up by a lot.

Have you played DayZ?

yes. awesome. I'm a huge Zombie and Vampire fan. Reading the sequel to The Passage right now (got an ARC).


likely around the same time.


not our thing sorry.

fuck you kindly.

kindness accepted.

do you ever plan on making another eqoa? that was my favorite mmo of all time.

is there any release date for everquest next yet, and are the rumors that it will be multi platform pc/ps3 true?

I've heard people say that a second expack was 90% done for eqoa but was cancelled, is that true?

been a big fan of soe since i was like 9, thanks for all the fun games

another console based EQ? yes.

A lot of questions so you can answer as many or few as you want.

  1. I am a possibly aspiring programmer. Is the games industry in need of programmers?

  2. What are the most needed jobs in the industry? Hardest?

  3. What do you think separates SOE from other companies?

  4. What is the work environment like at SOE? Stressful? Do you enjoy your job?

  5. What consoles do you own, if any?

  6. Favorite game of all time?

  7. What features are you most excited about in Planetside 2?

  8. What game are you looking forward to the most that doesn't involve SOE?

  9. Can you tell what an average day in the life of you entails?

  10. Thank you for all your hard work for everything. As a gamer, I really appreciate people like you who spend time with their community. I think that is what makes a company successful and consumers happy. Thanks for all that your doing!

1) Yes 2) Graphics programmers 3) Experience and talent in making MMOS 4) I think it's a fun environment. I love my job and the people I work with. 5) All of them. I play more PC games though. 6) Planetside 7) Massive team coordination. I love a huge ass force attacking a well defended base. 8) Probably Guild Wars 2 9) I get up. I eat breakfast. I drive my kids to school. I come to work and play games all day and/or get stuck in meetings all day. I go home. I eat. I play games. I read. I sleep 10) thank you very much!

Being a PS1 vet, with an active subscription, would a beta key have been emailed to me?

Also, regardless of how it ended, SWG was my favorite MMO, great work.

nope. we'll turn your account on and let you know (either email or an announcement).

When SOE officially acquired IP and rights of Everquest from Verant and Brad McQuaid, how much of the lore had already been written?

It seems that once Verant finally left EQ (shortly post Planes of Power expansion), that SOE really began to run in different directions with the story.

Did SOE have to hire new writers to fill the void left by Brad McQuaid? I know that much of the game's depth was often attributed to "The Vision".

SOE and Verant are really pretty much the same thing.

I had no idea there was another EQ in the works. Lost nearly a decade to the original and finally got the balls to delete the game from my system just a few weeks ago. I still blame Verant

Long live Fansy THE FAMOUS BARD!

Not really a question but I had to say it.

hah! awesome.

RootKits. That was the bane of my existence when I was ripping my cd's for a digital collection. What up wit dat?

not us sorry.

I don't mean it as an angry post, more as a contextual one. I dig your style and your honesty.

I know about it. I'm saying SOE wasn't involved.

Whatever happened to SOE Denver? I was in college, and it was one of the few places I saw internships posted, then it up and vanished.

we consolidated into San Diego and Austin. Some of the people are still here though and the rest landed safely.

I miss the old star wars galaxies before the updates. It was before the combat upgrade. Could you bring it back for me to provide me some nostalgic memories?

sorry no

I'd really like to do a Planetside 2 live stream during the beta. Is that going to be possible or will there be an NDA against it? Is it possible to get special permission to do some Planetside 2 streaming or video content?

I sent an email to one of the SOE PR reps about this but never heard back.


at some point soon we will allow it.

We might even be working on a secret and youtube streaming thing I can't talk about that might or might not be going in as I'm writing this.

Never expected to see this; SWG hate and all. you don't seem to be the person who'd make those decisions that really fucked it up for a couple million folks.

people make mistakes and learn from them. I am most certainly one of them.

If I were to purchase the original Planetside tonight, could that have any influence on me getting into the beta sooner? I might just do it either way, but I'm still curious.

it literally is a close call. I think we may get the emails ready tmw. not positive though.

First i didn't know the answer and second they are always pushing away the date that they said.

we aren't doing it on purpose. It's just the reality of where we are at in the beta. We do our best to be transparent.

I grew up with the SoE games, pretty much every single one of them. I'm a college student going into computer science/programming. How do I intern with you guys next summer?

email me at and i can hook you up with HR.

Mr. Smedley, if you'd indulge me for a slightly long post:

I just wanted to thank you for giving Planetside the second chance it needed. I played EQ1 from 1999 to 2006ish, as well as Planetside 1 for...well my account has a six year ribbon on it. I was a proud member of Keepers of Johari for those entire six years and I can't tell you how much of the stuff that appears to be in PS2 was talked about over our Teamspeak at great length. To say I'm excited would be a vast understatement.

The only question I have at the moment would be that since PS2 will be a no-subscription game, I'm assuming like most games there will be a premium account type payment plan that will offer additional benefits. If that is the case, will the SOE All Access Pass apply to this plan?

Thank you again for sticking with Planetside. I've played every major released SOE MMO to date...I've been there for all the ups and downs, and if PS2 is half as good as I think it's going to be, I really think SOE is going to change some minds and turn some heads. And if EQ Next has the same kind of passion and innovation that PS2 has, then I'll wait patiently for the return of my first MMO love.

thank you very much. Yes there will be a sub that will give some benefits (don't worry you can still play free if you like) and the SOE All Access Pass will apply.


It's going F2P next week with many members of the original team on it! It's getting a lot of love.

Hey John,

thanks for entertaining me for 11 years starting with EverQuest.

I'm currently subscribed to the all access pass and I've been a PS1 vet since 2003. Does the all access pass count for being subbed when the beta rolls around?


it does as long as you applied for the beta.

Thank you for the AMA John, I've always been a big fan. Your hands-on community oriented approach to the MMO world has always been admirable.

My question: With the success of the EverQuest guide program, why has it not been continued in recent SOE MMO releases? It utilized free, talented workers who had a true in-depth knowledge of game mechanics and appreciation of the game. That, and it dramatically reduced the time it took to receive first line customer service support.

Thanks in advance for answering!

it's a great question - I think as time has gone on we've tried to incorporate some of it but the world is a different place now in terms of our ability to support this kind of program. These games are a lot bigger. Will we do more in the future? Yes. Can't say much now though.

I'm hoping to be an indie game developer one of these days, what perspective technologies or trends would you recommend that I read up on or experiment with in order to be ahead of the curve?

I strongly suggest looking at HTML5 and NACL.

Why did you fuck up Planetside 1, and how do you plan to fuck up Planetside 2?

Planetside 1 was awesome. Planetside 2 will be awesome.

I don't know ANY of the acronyms..


Can you give us any info on Bungie's new game? In progress? ETA?

yes. soon.

when are we going to get to see some of the other continents? As far as I know we've basically only seen Indar so far

they're getting close. You'll start seeing them very soon.

I'm an employed, salaried programmer, 21 and still in school. I'm confident in my knowledge (I picked up a new language enough to comfortably use it in a few days) but I obviously still have things to learn. Though, having this job, gave me a rather strong integration to using Databases and a bit of administration (and even IT stuff..)

To get in the gaming industry, what do you think I should try to focus on from here? I assume database knowledge is becoming more important as more games have heftier online requirements (and an obvious need to be efficient). They also assigned me to reporting and told me it's an extremely important position. What might differ between what I do there (mostly numbers, revenue, performance, etc) and in the gaming industry?

Sorry, I should have formatted a bit better, but this is one of the neater AMAAs I've come across. I've worked hard since I was about 13 to get where I am, and I'm willing to work harder to get where I truly want to be.

database coding is EXTREMELY important and you can have a job right now if you know it.

The decision to charge a monthly fee for the online game called Infantry by SOE was one of the worst things that happened in my childhood of gaming. You had such a burgeoning community of over 30,000+. After SOE decided to charge a monthly fee, it went down the drain and was never the same.

Why did SOE decide to do that? I really loved that game.

it was a bad call. too early for F2P. Wish we hadn't done that but it was a different time and place.

Hi John, signed up just to say that I would never, ever give money to SOE ever again for what was done with SWG.

I'll boycott your company as long as I'm a gamer, and encourage others to do so as well.

very sorry you feel that way. hope we can change your mind.

Where do you see PS2 in 5 years?

Why isn't there 1S1K melee in PS2? NC get a 1S1K sniper, but a cloaker that does work getting in the right spot can't backstab a guy?

How can a CS grad get hired? What skills would be looked for? I did see a hiring position for a scaleform developer....

With Sony's declining status in the worlds markets, how protected is SOE(And PS2) from being taken down with it?

hmm. not sure on the 1S1K stuff

getting hired starts with applying and making it clear by all possible means that you want a job

Sony is still very dominant in the world and we have some bright stuff coming in the future. I really think we are doing cool stuff that will make a difference in the near term future.

How do you feel about Brad McQuaid being invited back to work on VanGuard?

I'm glad he's back. He is a very great designer

What happened with the spy vs spy game?

it took to long,and didn't look like it was finishing soon. That said it was also looking amazing. At some point we have finite resources and had to make some tough calls. Planetside 2 exists largely because we made the tough call to cancel the game despite the fact that it was looking good. The team was terrific. Some of them came down to San Diego and are on PS2.

As a computer science masters student and someone who is interested in the field (and a PS1 CR 5 veteran), how would you say your company stacks up with some of the others in terms of atmosphere and quality of life?

Many of the exit reviews at Glassdoor ( are quite negative and certainly turn off my colleagues and I from considering SOE - would you give a response to the primary complaint of nepotism within company culture?

we've had ups and downs. We do our best to retain and motivate great people. not much more I can say then that.

How come Sony games don't have that PS1 startup intro they used to have?

we've changed it over the years. can't even remember which one you're talking about.

Are the UI going to be as customizable on PS2 as you guys claim? From the gameplays I seen, the UI looks relatively the same in different videos.

it is. not at launch though. it is a big goal and one we haven't focused on yet.

Not to turn the attention to other MMO groups (hence no names being dropped), but with some people planning to do real time cross platform connectivity between two different games, has this changed long range plans to move into the console market? Or even just between two different styles of games that can persist in the same universe?

Also, as a long term EQ/EQ2 player, can you share any hints on EQ Next?

We love cross platform connectivity. it's something we want to do in the future. It's not easy


email me your CV at

As a long time EverQuest player, I'd like to know a couple things:

The last time I recall seeing adverts for EQ were during the first Living Legacy. Why was there no advertising for EQ for so long before that, and why has there been none (That I have seen) since?

What is the general plan for EQ Next?

Can I have a Breezeboots Frigid Gnasher?

Murloc on itemization wtf?

We still do ads for EQ. The general plan for EQ Next is to make an awesome game and release it when it's ready. it's not.

sorry.. no free boots :)

How do you feel about Project SWG? Would you guys have it shut down if it gets up and running?

people keep asking me about this. Honestly we aren't really focused on this stuff. It's not really something people are supposed to do exactly...

Question regarding EQ next..

Any plans to reduce some of the 'hand holding' endemic in MMOs today and go back to the EQ1 roots? I loved the world of that game, how you could [theoretically] kill everything, or go everywhere. Quests weren't handed out by the dozen, nor was there an arrow pointing you to the quest objective, nor a minimap pinpointing your location so you never got lost. You had to explore for the sake of exploring, and learn the landscape like you'd learn the area you live in. And I especially loved how the classes weren't watered down copies of each other. Each class had some unique and powerful abilities. I won't miss hell levels though.

Basically what I'm wondering is will the game be a sandbox or a theme park.

PS: Grats to you and the team on PS2. I am very much looking forward to it. Just don't release it in September or October.. I will be very busy with Borderlands 2. :D

I despise the hand holding shit. hate it in a big way.


I don't believe we release garbage online games and I'm sorry if you feel that we do. we do our best.

I've heard you're a fan and player of EVE online. Any substance to this?

yup. Love it.

How do you feel about the Matrix Online shutdown? Any prevention methods you could have used or do you feel it could be brought back in a F2P model?

it actually might have worked in an F2P model.

Will EverQuest Next be a return to the roots of what made EQ great? (immersive world, no instances, living breathing NPCs, group focused content, making your own stories) or will it be more... a WoW clone?

yes it's going to rock your world

I'm an ISS major that had a lot of class discussion in the PSN breach. Can we discuss the security breach of PSN? What are your takeaways from it? What is the number one rule that was determined from it? What is SOE's CBA like on the new security?

Thank you very much if you answer!

we learned a lot from the security breach. We worked very hard to strongly improve our security for the future. I think we are in good shape now.

I QA'd on untold legends 3: Dark Kingdom and EQ at your guys' company. Enjoyed it enough that I left for school to become an artist (to be honest I sorta felt SOE was going nowhere at the time).

Well you guys really turned it around, I know it's a long shot but if there are any artist positions at your studio here's my portfolio!

congrats on PS2, looks amazing

awesome! submit your resume. We had a tough time for a while but we're back in a big way.

do you know how many players are in a platoon in ps2?

not confirmed just yet.

As a color blind gamer I am always concerned about usability. How do you intend to allow color blind people to enjoy your game or is it something you don't care about?

we do care about it. email me at with suggestions.

Could I request another game like Lord Of The Rings: War In The North, a co-op action RPG, please. Also, an Unkarted game, naughty dog's wacky racers side to Uncharted, aha. Thanks.

sorry those aren't our games


Everquest 3. that has a nice ring

As a vet of ps1 it was disheartening that balance was so skewed. I was a vs player and having staff play specific factions certainly made things feel like bias. I remember when brewko was playing nc and used meteors on vs to throw the battle. I paid for years and between those antics and unbalance of weapons it seriously made the game miserable. I wished brewko would have been fired. He had no business working in customer service.

we have a lot better data mining tools for balance now. I think that's going to make the difference.

Thanks for the AMA. Good to see SOE interacting a bit more closely with the community.

After seeing some of the design decisions that have changed from Planetside 1 to Planetside 2 (Lack of vehicle exit/enter animations, class system, rather than armor-based certifications, tank drivers being able to operate the main turret), did the design team feel as if the PS1 mechanics wouldn't draw in a large enough crowd, who would be used to these mechanics from other games, perhaps most similarly BF3?

And, do you feel as if the lack of these mechanics might alienate some of the PS1 fanbase?

Loved PS1 and SWG. I can honestly say that I've had the most fun out of all my years in gaming from those two. All I can say is, please no CU/BFR-esque updates.

honestly some of what you're talking about comes down to simple design choices to make the game more accessible. At it's heart, PS2 is similar to PS1. play it and let me know what you think

Why wasn't there ever Star Wars Galaxies "Classic" servers - despite the massive media upset and subsequent population plummet after the NGE?

it was a mistake. not much more I can say

Hey! =) Really love the answers you're giving.

One question: if I subscribe to Planetside right now, will I get into the beta on Monday?


I do hope you are reading new and see this even as I'm a bit late to the party.

You were a co-founder your own game company back in the early days of game development. How did you come about founding your company? Were you pushed or did you organize others together? Did you always know you wanted to be the head of a company? And lastly, what words of advice would you give to those that aspire to become the next John Smedley?

Thanks for doing this John.

my first company I did the very hard way - by starting programming myself and then gradually growing it.

You made EverQuest! Bravo!


I always thought the depth and lore of EQ made it great. Everyone is racing to the shallow end of the pool for combat system depth and are clearly creating most quests procedurally. I understand that EQ was different in that many of the famous quests and items were adapted from a real D&D campaign and this someone really thought about them.

How do you plan to make EQ Next that great? How will you create deep rich folds of combat, exploration, and lore?

we plan to make EQ Next great by going places MMOS have never gone. I know that's vague but it's coming

Dust 514 is a HUGE title for the ps3, but so many people have never even heard of it. How does Sony plan to get the word out, considering this game would need lots of consistent players to properly function?

I'm sure helping get the word out. It is a great game. CCP is awesome.

Hey Smed, what kind of Anti-Aliasing is Planetside 2 using? Is it just FFXA or do we get some options?

not sure specifically which type. email me at and I'll find out for ya.

Hi John,

I remember being really impressed when EQ was being rolled out over a decade ago when you called me up personally to confirm that my technical/connectivity/account issues were resolved. I was a tester, was having some problems once the game went live, and all of a sudden there was a call from John Smedley.

To this day I remember you asking what I did for a living or something along those lines, I said I was in college, and you laughed and said "My college experience would have been very different if EQ was around." Anyway, thanks for imparting quality customer service at an impressionable age.

My question: What on earth happened with the MMO genre? Why is their so little innovation in that space since EQ? I mean Guild Wars 2 comes out later this month, and finally--maybe--there's a worthy PvP successor to DAoC? Otherwise so many expensive-to-make games have come out, often with huge licenses, only to fail miserably. I hope you have some insight.

There was an homage thread to EQ the other day on reddit. You might enjoy checking it out. Cheers!

thanks for pointing out that thread. I think there has been more polishing than innovation but to be fair we've seen the space grow massive and we've seen some really great games come out. It's time for something new though

Big fan of all SOE products, first most being PS1. I was involved in original beta of PS1 9 years ago. My question is that I just resubbed 5 mins ago... Think I'm in the clear for first wave?

Also, need a PS2 store like EVE Online store. I'm thinking $$$ :)

probably you should be good.

why did you fuck up poxnora? i remember harbingers were like 400 dollars each and people had tons of money invested in them until you decided to sell them for like 50 bucks each and release new LE runes every month. i was pissed. to redeem yourself you should make a classic version of pox that only uses the first few sets, i would enjoy that

sort of a leading question. We tried our best to keep Pox Nora awesome. I still think it is.

Will PS2 have an old PS1 base? It will be nice to see it in the new game.

hmm. no but interesting idea.

i was pretty surprised to see you were a pretty chill guy, cheers



How long has it been since your network has been hacked? I keep losing track.

long enough not to answer a question like that :)

Planetside 2 yadda yadda yadda... Why wont you do an EQ classic server (no, not another lame progression)? If enthusiasts can make decent emu versions and operate them for free with thousands playing from just word of mouth....what the heck is stopping you from doing it and making decent money while showing love to the classic fans?

if that's what EQ fans wanted we would

I'm curious about the role that Producers play at SOE, and specifically on PS2.

Also, thank you so much for this game, I've been waiting for so many years to wreak havoc in a late model Liberator.

they manage the games and the teams. enjoy the game!

First, thanks for your integral role in bringing EverQuest to life. It will always have a special place in my heart and I spent 5+ fantastic years playing it - I started playing on Day 1 of launch. Do you have any backstory on how you convinced Sony to give something like EQ a whirl? I know The Realm, Ultima Online and Meridian 59 were doing okay, but was that enough to convince them to give you funding? What was the first indication you had something amazing on your hands? And lastly, do you have a favorite memory from working on EQ?


I got lucky and had a boss that took a chance. Kelly Flock. He was a brave guy.

When are you going to release Subscription/Premium details from your store?

when we finalize them. still considering options. subscription will NOT remotely be something you need to have. just something nice to have.

What Joystick do you personally recommend?

I'm the wrong guy to ask because I can't stand joysticks anymore. I loved my Sidewinder. Don't take that as us not supporting joysticks btw. We will in a big way.

Hey Smedley! Started playing EQ in '99. Remember how magical the game felt for many years? Being the first and all.

Do you think any game is going to come close to that feeling again? I wonder if it's just an age thing.

Anyway - best wishes & keep on rockin'. Don't forget some sort of Halas McQuaid type reference. Got to keep the band together even when folks are off doing their own thing.

See you in EQ Next!

see you there!

I am in need of a job. I've basically spent my whole life on video games, and am quite knowledgeable. Can you get me a job working for SOE? I can do most anything I put my mind to.

it starts with the application!

I'm currently in my junior year studying industrial engineering and I would like to get into game production so I'm applying to several internship positions next summer- what do you recommend that I do/learn in order to increase my chances at getting into gaming industry?

it totally depends on what you want to do. if it's coding then make some iphone stuff to show off.

Ps2 looks really cool and I'm very excited to play it, but I'd have to say that I am QAY more excited for eq next, any chance we will hear more information about it this year?


Does your company employ any lobyists, so you can change the laws to your licking? (i probably sound like an ass whole but im actually curious)

we don't. We should.

Know any good schools in Texas with good game industry programs?

I don't.. sorry

Why did you allow Lucas and the EQ team to ruin SWG?

hmm. not sure I think the EQ team ruined SWG.

We did our best. some stuff worked. some didn't but we needed to do better

any chance of seeing servers in oceania/australia for ps2?

some chance yes. depends on how many people want to play

What's your net worth?

my net is worth like $20 from the fishing supply store. actually I'm kidding. I hate fishing.

I shot you in the back of the head. It was my first TK, I felt pretty bad about it. But I also wrote a rap about it. I'd show it to you, but it breaks NDA and stuff. edit: Oh yeah, awesome work. Loving every moment.

hah. rap away man. you can break the NDA for that :) (only if it's good).

Tanarus 2?

already made it. It was called Planetside. yes it was really Tanarus 2.

I have been subbed to planet side 1 just since mid-july not a vet but a active subscriber I also got a beta key will I get in day 1?


Hi John, I know this is a long shot, but here it goes.

I just got WFRed from my QA lead position at HP. I live close to SOE in SD and have interned at SCEA as a software developer. Is there any way you can get me a job? :)

no promises but email me at


wow. can't go near that one sorry

Why is EQ2 free to play model so much worse than every other mmos free to play model?

tell me what is worse. email me at

Doubt this will be answered but...

I played SWG from day 1 until the last day. I loved it for the RP tools you put into the game. Yes, the combat got progressively worse but everything else was ahead of its time.

Here is the question. After playing SWG and having a rather poor relationship with it (Not the game itself but how it was managed), would you say that I should feel more comfortable about playing SOE's current games seeing as they are completely in SOE's control?

we learned from our mistakes. that's the best thing I can say. It's free. give it a try

Can we have something similar to ANTs in PS2? I'm gonna miss the feeling of saving a whole base at 10% NTU by dropping from a Gal with a fully charged ANT...

more to come here.

Great job fucking up SWG.



I strongly disagree but am willing to hear you out.


hah. I LOVED Wizardry


asked and answered. Made a mistake. am sorry for it.

Who do you like more, your son or your daughter? I go to school with each and I ponder this everyday


Personal favourite game SOE has produced?


Do you prefer red wine or white wine?

red. white wine is not for me.

Fantastic game you guys are developing so far, and I'm looking forward to playing the finished product. Tough question, but any major mistakes from the first game you learned from and will change for Planetside 2, and how so?

we learned to add a lot of solid data feeds from the game to balance better. Plus a TON of anti-hacking stuff.

Are you planning on making a Star Wars: Battlefront 3 anytime soon? Nearly half the world will be elated if said question's answer is a yes.


A growing concern for me in online games is the division of solo and group play, especially in PVP based games like Planetside.

While I like when games reward teamwork and cooperation it's also unfun when either they require it to be successful or punish solo players by allowing team work to be too strong.

This became an issue for me in Planetside 1 when I felt that some of the rock-paper-scissors balancing required me to rely on my team to make up for my weaknesses, this is understandable, but often I felt that certain situations were too hard to counter. For example I've seen a BFR brick wall a large number of tanks at a bridge, having solutions be elaborate plans like galaxy drops or hoping for a skilled infiltrator keeps a solo player from feeling they can find a way around an obstacle.

Do you plan on having a safer playing environment in PS2 for solo players?

honestly it's not safe.. but we do have a lot of options to stay back from the combat if you want to support.

i have a comment instead of a question. my company works for sony as your registered agent. since i am more technically inclined (aka gamer) than my coworkers i like to grab stuff for tech companies such as yours and i end up contacting companies if things get complicated.

i must say, the people in your legal department are very polite, professional, and prompt to respond. professional is not a strong enough word to describe their demeanor really. it is a treat to work with them compared to most companies. if you get a spare moment, please shoot them an A+

and if you get another moment, please shoot me a beta key :)


Wow I used to be your neighbor kinda star struck right now

my neighbor? who?

I worked for SOE in San Diego about 7 years ago doing tech support for everquest and some other online games.

The outsourcing company you used was horrific. We got paid weekly, and had to go down to a special office and hopefully get paid. Sometimes they just wouldn't show up. One day... no one showed up. Turns out everyone in the outsourcing company quit their jobs so you brought in a different company that said instead of giving us any benefits (Despite working full time) that we would have "hot dog" days once and a while. I walked out that day.

I also worked at Rockstar Games. Worked insane hours doing "mandatory overtime" that they couldn't tell me it was "mandatory" but if I didn't work it they would "let me go".

With video game companies having a bad wrap for how their workers are treated, what do you think you can do to improve the work environment of your own employees?

I got out of the industry as fast as I could but I couldn't help but wonder how awesome of a job it would have been if someone just treated us like human beings that had even a shred of value.

this is a tough question and a fair one. We do our best for our employees. Some hated it. Some loved it. I don't like a bad work life balance for our employees but my view may be distorted on this. I certainly hate reading stuff like this. My view on work life balance has changed as I've gotten older.

The fact that you are replying to all these comments tells wonders about what youre trying to do. Thank you for replying honestly and thoroughly. I've been a big fan of many SOE games, including PS1 and SWG, but the latter never seemed to just "grab me".

My question is: If you could have changed anything about SWG and its development/deployment, what would it be? Also, what can we expect from SOE in the future? Please dont be vague!

I would have listened to customers more.

You can expect us to make a heavy investment in more sandbox stuff. Very heavy

What are your musical preferences?

and can I have a beta key?

very, very hard rock. And Sting.

Do you think SWG would have lasted longer without the CU and NGE? Prior to the changes it was my favorite MMO and I've never found another that captivated me the same way.


Are the PC Gamer keys the same priority level as the Twitter ones?



thanks and sorry

I've been waiting for a long time for this, you sir .... SUCK DICK. you fucking suck!!!! god I've hated you for so long. How the fuck you are still employeed? You must suck major dick during meetings? lol. SOE? Seriously you fucking DESTROYED starwars galaxies. Ok go ahead and post some PR bullshit how you optimized game earnings graph characters upwards dynamics. trust me when I say this asshole is the asshole of gaming. He might as well me Mr. EA. Fuck you asshole. You're a fucking disgrace and you should regret ever coming here you asshole dick suck

got it. thanks.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with John Smedley conducted on Reddit on 2012-08-02. The Reddit AMA can be found here.