A Pirate Sails Alone

I let the EverQuest II community know today that I’m headed back to Denver, Colorado. I wrote a goodbye message that applies mostly to EQII players, but I’ll include the text from that letter here for anyone who is interested. I’ll keep blogging up a storm here on Nerfbat, but it won’t technically be from an “insider’s” point of view, at least for a little while.

Though what I’m about to say will likely cause some concern, please don’t jump to any conclusions until you’ve heard me out. The short version: I’m moving back to my home in Denver, Colorado, which means I will no longer be the EQII Community Relations Manager.

Some might assume that this move was motivated by a desire to leave Sony Online Entertainment or EverQuest II. It wasn’t. In fact, the hardest part about making this decision was having to leave EQII, SOE, and the amazing community we have.

My choice comes down to a personal decision. I’ve decided that if I’m going to make a leap of faith of any kind in my life, I better do it while I’m still young. While leaving SOE certainly isn’t something I’ve ever planned on doing, I need to take a chance on something in my personal life to see if it works out. Please wish me luck in that regard.

Back to my original point: I’m not leaving because of anything related to EQII or SOE. EverQuest II is going very well. The dedication of the team here has been far more than impressive. This team is more agile and hard-working than any I have ever seen. They are capable of creating fun new content and features at a remarkable pace without skipping a beat, and they love the game.

Not only is the live game healthier than ever, but Echoes of Faydwer is simply amazing. It is everything I could ever hope for in an MMO expansion. It looks great, the content is second to none, and the features are spot on. I think as soon as you get your hands on this expansion, you’re going to fall in love with Norrath all over again.

And I better mention the community team that I hold so dear. The forward-thinking Community Relations team at SOE is the best in the business. I’m very proud to have helped lay the foundations for what it means to be a Community Relations Manager in this industry. Those guys and gals have set the bar for every other company to aspire to.

There are many more people at SOE who have been instrumental in making EverQuest II a wonderful game, but I don’t have the space to mention every one of them here. They know who they are. It’s very hard for me to leave my many friends at SOE behind, but it might be even tougher leaving the game’s community behind. The EverQuest II community is, simply put, the best MMO community I’ve ever been a part of. And, believe me, I’ve been part of quite a few.

The degree of dedication I see from our fansites and the passion I can feel from the rest of the community is heartwarming. When someone starts playing EQII, they become part of a family. I’m the type of player that rolls a lot of newbie characters, and it never fails to amaze me how often other people in the world have come up to me to lend a hand. That’s something you don’t always see in a lot of other MMOs. That sense of community is absolutely priceless.

I can’t help but reflect upon all of my time with the EverQuest II community. From the old days on EQII.com–where I ran the first fansite and forums for the game–on through Beta, Launch, Adventure Packs, Expansions, Fan Faires, Summits, and on. It’s been an incredible journey, and I thank you for sharing it with me.

Thank you all for not only making my stay here at SOE remarkable, but for truly helping me become me a better person. I look forward to seeing you all again in the future. Maybe that bald, pirate-looking charmer in your group will be one of my characters. Hopefully you’ll see me in another part the game industry again one day. Until then, my best wishes go out to you.

Please keep in touch. You can still reach me at rshwayder@nerfbat.com. Follow my now non-industry blog at Nerfbat.com if you want to keep updated on my random opinions. Enjoy EverQuest II and Echoes of Faydwer, and be gentle with my successor!


Ryan “Blackguard” Shwayder

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