A Shift in the Breeze for EverQuest

The problem with advertising is that it isn’t magic.  It won’t make people who were not otherwise inclined buy your product… except maybe your grandparents when they see something and think you’ll like it.  We know how that works out.

So spending money on blanket advertising for a niche product… like an MMORPG… is generally a waste of money.  Your ad budget is more wisely spent trying to target people who might otherwise be inclined to be interested in your product.

For video games that used to mean full page ads in gaming magazines… though it was always better, and cheaper, to get the magazine to advertise your game for free on its cover.

Firiona Vie in all her mounted glory

Certainly, that cover was probably a lot more effective than some of SOE’s own attempts.

What exactly was the message here?

These days video game magazines are pretty much online or a distant memory.

Advertising online started off as very much a mirror of print advertising, and was done just as badly by SOE at times.

Tell me why you think these colors are cool, NOW!

That was actually an SOE ad, the details of which are at the link above.

And that sort of blunt force ad is still a thing, but since the SOE days ended and the Daybreak era began, I hadn’t seen much advertising for their games.

So I was a bit surprised to see some promoted tweets on Twitter about the new Mischief server for EverQuest.

In my feed

I mean, my experience over the years has been that you have to be pretty proactive to figure out if anything new is going on with any of the Daybreak games.

But then I remembered that we are no longer in the Daybreak era.  Enad Global 7 has taken over the reigns and I guess their team is a little more open towards advertising.

I am actually kind of happy to see their stuff getting promoted into my feed.  It is certainly closer to my interests than a lot of the stuff that appears as promoted content.  And, if anybody is in the right target demographic, it is certainly me.

I don’t know if this will be a big win for them, but it is nice to see some effort being put in after so much time of no effort or bizarrely directed effort.

7 thoughts on “A Shift in the Breeze for EverQuest

  1. anypo8

    Maxim ad: Thanks, I hate it. Lots. But if you’re appealing to a target market of boys in the 14-18 range (because who could imagine that other genders and “old people” could have fun with it? /s) it’s a cynical but probably vaguely effective strategy. Get their attention with the kind of picture the “reader” is looking for and make them aware that your game exists. Almost doesn’t matter what dialog you put there. The image on the CGW cover is arguably even less tasteful and targeted the same way, really. We’re just more used to it.

    The new ad arguably shades even more evil. “Come gamble in our lootbox casino!” Sigh. Marketing.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @anypo8 – I suspect if the Maxim ad had been effective they would have done it more than once. But proving the effectiveness advertising isn’t that easy.

    Despite your perception, the Mischief server doesn’t feature random lootboxes. The big deal is that raid bosses of the same tier share a common loot table, so if you bring down boss A, you might get loot from boss B. That is the random loot. Why they think this feature is a draw, I don’t know. Otherwise it is another fresh start progression server that requires a subscription to play through.

    So I wouldn’t compare it to evil like EA putting ads for the FIFA loot boxes in a children’s toy catalog.

    Now, the fact that they can target such ads to specific demographics… if you’re advertising an MMORPG and I don’t see the ad you’re probably not doing it right… is a whole discussion on its own.

    And the back story for me even posting this is the long running criticism of SOE/Daybreak and every other MMORPG company that if they just advertised then they would have eleventy billion users. EG7 is now actually advertising, but doing so in an inexpensive and targeted way that at least give a little bit more feedback than the old school way of buying a full page ad on the inside cover or plastering some gaming site with obnoxious graphics. Ideally, done right, this sort of advertising should only present us things in which we have an interest. Again, whether or not that is evil is a whole semester ethics class on its own.

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  3. bhagpuss

    That’s a pretty decent advert I’d say although as anypo8’s comment suggests, even very plain, descriptive text can be misinterpreted outside the target audience. That said, as I write this, both Mischief and Thornblade are at “High” population, as they have been every time I’ve looked this week, at any time of day. I’m not sure they’re the part of Darkpaw’s portfolio that needs advertising.

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  4. Kaylriene

    I spend most of my internet time these days with ad and script blockers, so I tend to miss out on trends like this.

    Then I logged into Instagram on my phone today and got the Mischief ad in Stories.

    I’ll blame your post for it!

    Jokes aside, I wonder how you successfully advertise any MMO, or even any game for that matter. So many game ads are just…not good, and it makes me wonder if anyone has ever found the secret sauce to make it worth every cent, or if it’s just a reflexive media industry habit of throwing money to get your name in front of people, who cares if it converts a prospect or not. I wish data like that was readily available!

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Kaylriene – I haven’t seen the ad on Instagram, but my account there is only for posting pictures of our cats. On Twitter though, I see it a couple of times a day. While it is easily the most on-point promoted tweet I’ve experienced, it is starting to get obnoxious after a week or so of showing up.

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