Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.
Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!
In this special pirate edition of the column, we’ll be visiting the fates ‘n’ fortunes of Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates. Yo ho!
Have you ever thought about what it is like for developers and community managers who handle online games that are being shut down? It’s certain just as painful (if not more) for them as it is for us, and it is not as easy as turning off a switch and walking away.
PC Gamer has a fascinating piece on the process of sunsetting titles from a studio’s standpoint, including looks at games such as Club Penguin and PlanetSide 1.
Former Club Penguin CM Bobbi Rieger shared the overload of details that the team had to sort out when the news broke: “My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh crap.’ Of course my thoughts went to the community and how we could make this as positive as possible. At the end of the day, it’s going to be hard. It’s gonna suck. I was just like, ‘OK, what’s the action plan?'”
It’s true that we lost a lot of MMOs in 2016 — bigger and more important ones than in 2014 and 2015. 2017, however, has been a different sort of beast. The list is long, and while it’s painful for those whose games are gone, the genre didn’t lose many major MMOs this past year. And that startles me.
Marvel Heroes was surely the most dramatic of all the sunsets, given that it shut down early without notice. Earlier in the year, we saw Daybreak put an end to Landmark after less than a year of live operation, while Turbine let the Asheron’s Call franchise go, Firefall formally closed, Club Penguin’s sunset broke the internet, and NCsoft called it quits with Master X Master. A number of other MMOs simply halted development – Perpetuum, Sword Coast Legends, and SkySaga being the most prominent of those. And on a more positive note, there were a few sunsetted MMOs that were revivified, including Otherland, Uncharted Waters Online, and RaiderZ.
Farewell, old friends.
Oh, I can hear all of you out there, mewing with frustration that Massively OP hasn’t yet announced the truly important awards yet this season. Well whine no more, because the 2017 Online VGM Awards are here (here are 2015 and 2016 for educational purposes)!
Not only are these the only awards that you’ll find on MOP that deal with the greatness that is MMO video game music, but these are also the only awards that are chosen solely by me. It’s a total power trip that Bree allows me once a year, and I do not squander it. Sure, perhaps I go overboard with the heralds and the flinging of glitter in the faces of my coworkers, but I need it. Oh how I need it.
Without further ado, here are the six awards that I will be handing out from my throne of speakers and keytars. Get your amazed faces ready now to save you the effort later.
One thing you can say for the MMO industry: It never ceases to surprise all of us. No matter what predictions we may make at the beginning of a year, by December we will all be proven fools who lack vision and foresight.
Although 2017 isn’t quite over yet, we here at Massively Overpowered wanted to count down the biggest news stories that crossed over into our neck of the woods so far this year. We witnessed controversies and delights, shockers and sadness. We saw launches and shutdowns, expansions and bugs.
So before we move into 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was and remember the biggest stories that dominated headlines.
When you’ve got a club full of penguins overseen by the Mouse House itself, you know things are going to get both wacky and weird! Club Penguin may not be everyone’s go-to MMO for music, but its wide array of simplified genres certainly give the Battle Bards a lot to discuss on this week’s show.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 109: Club Penguin (or download it) now:
The use of the word “toon” to describe MMORPG characters is a contentious one, with fans divided over its annoyance or acceptance. But when it came to one MMORPG, it was nothing but proper terminology to call all characters just this.
Toontown Online was one of those “kiddie MMOs” that you probably ignored unless you happen to fall within its demographical clutches back in the day. While it lasted for about a decade, the game’s operation would be notable for its repeated transformation and uncertain status.
With a silly, cartoon-like look and theme, this MMO attempted to bring a levity to a genre that was often marinating in deep fantasy lore and statistical theorycrafting. But when you wanted to eschew dragon fighting for slapstick pie throwing, there was no better game out there. Let’s take a look!
The fallout over The Secret World’s reboot into Secret World Legends has spread far and wide over the MMO blogging community, with many expressing dismay while others signal intrigue.
“This is bad in pretty much every way that it possibly could be,” laments Superior Realities, while Through Wolfy’s Eyes said that the reboot “seems like a solution that isn’t doing a great job of communicating its intent too well, which makes me feel a tiny bit worried.” GamingSF doesn’t know if he has it in him to repeat all of the content, saying that it is “too big of an ask at the moment.” And Inventory Full calls the move “an act of desperation” on the part of the studio.
“I am also really hoping that stripped of MMO shackles that this title can truly excel,” I Has PC notes on the other hand, and Endgame Viable comments that Legends “sounds like a good thing.”
We’ve got more MMO blogger essays to share with you this week, including a requiem for Club Penguin, a judgment on SWTOR’s galactic command, and a summation of the average LOTRO player.
has just put out a pair of monthly newsletters for its 101
games — heads-up to any lost Club Penguin peeps
that there are some non-mobile MMOs still catering to your tastes!
While Pirate101’s community letter is more of the social sort, Wizard101 is currently in the midst of plotting a new update for players.
“Please download the Test Realm and join us in Testing the Monstrology system, three new Skeleton Key Bosses, the level 118 school pet quests, Aquila fishing, and much more,” the Wizard101 crew says.
There’s a teaser video too down below so you know just what to expect.
Justin goes away to Disney for a week and the MMO world explodes with news, which is to be expected. From a controversial reboot to a controversial superhero return to a controversial patch, there’s no shortage of ruffled feathers and quirked eyebrows at this past week’s news roundup!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
We’re sad to follow up on the January announcement that Disney was closing kid-centric Club Penguin to say that it has indeed happened: Yesterday marked the final day of play in the almost-12-year-old MMO. That’s 4174 days, if you’re counting. “The end of an era,” Reddit has declared it.
Disney isn’t leaving its legions of young fans entirely in the lurch; it’s replacing Club Penguin with a new game on a new platform: Club Penguin Island. In fact, it’s live today.
If your MMO’s overlords suddenly announced that they were going to shut down your game in a month’s time, how would you spend those remaining days? For some of the players of Club Penguin, the answer to that is “try to get banned as quickly and memorably as possible.”
Apparently there’s this whole crazy fad going on right now in Club Penguin where new and existing players are making a game out of getting banned faster than anyone else. The goal is to make a brand-new account and time yourself while violating the game’s rules and triggering an automatic ban. The current record to beat? One player used a few special tools to go from nothing to full-on ban in just 29 seconds.
The speedbanning community even has its own subreddit, bannedfromclubpenguin, in which players share their stories and techniques. Just so that you know, Club Penguin gives everyone a single free bad word before lowering the banhammer. You learn something new every day!
We were remarking in the Massively OP office the other day how weird it was that Club Penguin’s shutdown was getting mainstream news attention in a way that many more important and long-running titles (Asheron’s Call anyone?) were not. One reason why this might be, apart from its Disney connection, is that for some players, Club Penguin was their introduction to online worlds and they still retain a strong emotional connection because we tend to fondly remember our first everythings. Never underestimate nostalgia!
MMORPGs as we know them today weren’t really around when I was growing up, but I have no doubt that many of our readers cut their teeth on titles at a much younger age. How young were you when you played your first MMO? Was it a kiddie title like Wizard101 or an all-ages pick like World of Warcraft? Were you one of those who picked up RuneScape because it was free and you didn’t have access to your parents’ credit cards?