The Daily Grind: Did Marvel Heroes just get the worst-managed MMORPG sunset of all time?

If you happened to catch the Massively OP Podcast this week, you heard my positively livid rant about the whole Marvel Heroes situation. Now, I have been doing this a long time, and I’ve weathered a lot of extremely painful sunsets of beloved games. But I’ve never, ever seen one handled as abysmally as the Marvel Heroes sunset.

Gazillion, Marvel, and Disney completely and utterly dropped the ball on telling players about the stepped-up sunset, to the point that many players had no idea what was going on. Nobody sent so much as an email or tweet or forum post to the players. The only company granting refunds? Microsoft, eating costs it shouldn’t have to eat. The only ones who did anything were laid-off rank-and-file devs who felt a duty to warn the public.

In fact, the only thing that comes close is Firefall, and that sunset came after a year of that weird thing with the Chinese cashmere company. It was bad, but it was understandable because it was basically a clownshow from the day Red 5 got bought out. This? There’s no excuse for a company as huge and wealthy as Disney/Marvel to screw over players in this way when either could have easily floated Gazillion and the game to the end of the year as promised. Or at least sent them a damn email of apology, knowing the banks were yoinking the servers on Monday. Nothing. We got nothing.

That makes Marvel Heroes the absolute worst-managed closure of all time in my mind, and the worst part is, since mainstream outlets don’t care much, Disney is getting away with it. Can you think of any other MMORPG sunsets that were worse?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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81 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Did Marvel Heroes just get the worst-managed MMORPG sunset of all time?"

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Hope

To be the worst managed sunset, it would have to have been managed. It wasn’t. It was allowed to drive into a wall then someone with a producer title commented on the smoking wreckage after the fact.

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CasualSlacks

I was thinking about the original Real Time World’s APB lifecycle, but perhaps that was more disappointing to me than poorly handled. Even after the studio was shuddered in like September after being launched in July, the servers ran on fumes until December if memory serves.

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Robert Mann

Disney seems dead set on pissing people off recently. It’s pretty interesting, honestly. As in that “What ARE they thinking?” kind of interesting.

My theory is that there is some alien being held hostage by the leaders of the political parties, and that said alien has somehow become important to the high up people at Disney as the only thing which can calm their children’s cats, thus ensuring that Disney will do anything to avoid damage to said alien, and the political parties are using Disney to try to distract us from how terrible they both are…

*Made just for fun, I have no actual knowledge of alien hostages or crazy cats.*

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Tithian

It wasn’t managed, period. They just let shit go down. They arbitrarily changed the sunset date, and then missed the deadline, as a final reminder of that entire clusterfuck that was November. And they didn’t even bother with a message to people that didn’t check forums or reddit (aka, the vast majority).

By far the worst shut down of a game I’ve seen, ever. I’ll be actively avoiding games developed by teams that have hired any of the upper management of Gazillion.

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zoward

That wasn’t a sunset – that was a crater. There was no “managment” involved. No one group of people sat down and said, “here’s how we’re going to close this game in a well-planned, thoughtful way”. Disney revoked their license, banks stepped up to grab whatever thye could before everything fell apart … and Gazillion went immedately from “struggling” to “ceased to exist”. Granted a ton of mistakes were made along the way, but this sunset wasn’t planned – it just happened.

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Sally Bowls

Regarding “Microsoft, eating costs it shouldn’t have to eat” and the bad publicity Disney got, I suspect one of the takeaways from this tragedy is

DO NOT DEAL WITH INDIES!

If Disney licensed this to EA or ATVI or TenCent, I doubt this would have happened. Not because the employees of those companies are more ethical, just that the large company has
assets to be sued and reputation of other ongoing companies. Whereas if today Gazillion were hit with a billion dollar judgement for mistreating employees and customers, they would not care; they would pay zero as they have zero to pay.

So when EA’s decade-long Star Wars deal is up, who will they choose? Even if an aggressive indie company makes a good case, won’t some executives think “life is too short to risk another Gazillion, let’s stick with safe?”

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Sally Bowls

It was the worst I can recall.

Note: I don’t quite share the Disney anger. Technically, Disney did not directly control anything in Marvel. “We can’t make you do anything, but we can make you wish you had. – Army saying” Gazillion could have shut down the game without notice or portray superhereos being mean to kittens. It was their game. Disney just had the right and legal team to make Gazillion regret it back when Gazillion had assets.

Was it even possible for Disney to loan them the money as described? IDK, my assumption was that all the money and assets that Gadzillion had was owned by secured creditors. So if Disney had given Gadzillion a million dollars, then as soon as the cash hit the bank account, wouldn’t a creditor say “mine!” before it could be spent on months of game operation? If everyone had known six months ago that Gazillion was going to implode in November, then perhaps something could have been negotiated.

Disney certainly could not send any MH customer an email. Disney did not have their email addresses. I doubt the T&C the users clicked gave Gazillion the rights to give Disney the email addresses.

P.s.: TIL, sometimes typos like misspelling “shut down the game” as “shit down the game” feel right.

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kody

This is very different from the army. They treat you like they own you, but they don’t actually own you. Disney literally owns Marvel and all of its IPs.

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NeoWolf

If it didn’t, it comes pretty close as this shut down managed to screw everyone, their own employees included.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

This was a lousy way to do this and it reflects badly on everyone involved. The fact that decisions about a game are being made by entities 3 and 4 times removed from gamers is all you need to know about why it happened this way.

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scrapper

Good on Microsoft for eating the costs and doing full refunds. Wish Steam did even partial ones for last 90 days or something.

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rafael12104

Yes. I have to admit. I didn’t not think that would happen. Microsoft eats the costs of a full refund.

Of course the more cynical side of me thinks that MS has their lawyers pounding the ground on who sue for the money back. MS fears no man or woman!

(**they might fear the mouse though given recent events.)

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Sally Bowls

Why would Microsoft sue anybody? Gazillion has no assets; it would be a waste of legal fees. All they can do is try to avoid repeating the mistake with future companies they sign.

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rafael12104

Oh, I’m saying they are looking around. They have lawyers on retainer.