Day One of BlizzCon 2021 is over and a figure familiar to EverQuest veterans has shown up. It is none other than ex-EverQuest Lead Producer Holly Longdale.
Regular readers of this website will know that last year I predicted that Blizzard would most certainly feature Holly at a future BlizzCon and sure enough, that’s exactly what they did:
As Holly becomes lost in the massive Blizzard corporate machine, it’s doubtful that we’ll ever hear from her again unless they bring her out on the stage for identity politics reasons at a future BlizzCon.
Holly is the perfect mascot for the new, woke Blizzard 2.0. Why? It’s because she’s a progressive woman. Surely they had many more qualified and experienced Blizzard developers that could have easily taken this role. Diversity trumps merit at Blizzard.
For myself and no doubt some EverQuest fans, Holly’s ascension to Lead Producer for World of Warcraft: Classic is bittersweet. While it’s commendable that she finally left a second rate studio like Daybreak Games, it almost feels like a betrayal.
Holly revealed at BlizzCon that she’s been a big WoW player since the beta. I wonder how much of her spare was devoted to WoW when she was working on EverQuest for Daybreak?
According to her bio on LinkedIn, Holly Longdale had 5 of her 8 years at Daybreak to put the EverQuest franchise back on the map and she failed. After 22 years of the original EverQuest released in April 1999, no new incarnation of EverQuest is on the horizon.
How is it that, she’s only been with Blizzard less than a year and she’s already in charge of releasing a new expansion for WoW Classic and featured on a slick Hollywood soundstage and given a featured spotlight at BlizzCon?
Of course it’s not fair to blame the lack of a future version of the venerable but neglected EverQuest solely upon Holly’s shoulders, but one has to wonder what she was doing — if anything — to get the EverQuest franchise back on track.
As usual, the loyal EQ community has been kept in the dark.
In the final analysis, the responsibility for the future of EverQuest lies with executives like Daybreak Games CEO, Ji Ham.
Ji Ham is the Howard Hughes of the MMORPG industry. There are no pictures of Ji Ham. There are no articles or essays by Ji Ham. There are no interviews with Ji Ham. There is not a shred of evidence that Ji Ham is a MMORPG gamer or even cares the slightest about the EverQuest franchise or has any expertise in the field of video games. If there are, I stand corrected and will gladly provide the links.
A few years ago Tagn did some digging into the reclusive Daybreak Games executives. Not much has turned up about these shadowy figures.
According to Glassdoor, only 16% of Daybreak Games employees surveyed approve of CEO Ji Ham. This appallingly low approval rating speaks volumes about how he runs Daybreak Games.
Maybe this horrific rating is the reason why Daybreak Games is losing talent to other MMORPG companies like Blizzard Entertainment.
Some advice for Mr. Ham: if you’re not going to do anything with the EverQuest franchise then please sell it to a studio that will.
Clearly, if Holly Longdale thought there was a future for EverQuest she would still be at Darkpaw Games and Daybreak Games and not have jumped ship to Blizzard. We may never know what she truly thinks about her former company. But one thing is true: people vote with their feet.