sunset

MMOs, unfortunately, do not last forever. When they sunset and close down for good, the whole genre mourns.

LawBreakers is free-to-play for now, then gone in September

We all knew it was coming, but now it’s official: LawBreakers is now free-to-play on Steam, so you can dive right in and play if you want. That’s the good news; the bad news is that the game is indeed going away for good on September 14th. The servers will remain open until then, but all in-game purchases have been disabled and no refunds will be processed for the game from this point onward.

There’s no word on turning any of the code or server-hosting options over to the community, although it’s entirely possible that it would be out of the question due to agreements with Nexon. If you want to give the game a spin and either mourn its loss or find out why it didn’t gain traction, you can do just that now; just know that it’s all going away sooner rather than later.

Source: Steam page via Polygon; thanks to Kyler and Pepperzine for the tip!

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The Crew 2 is getting an open beta while the original The Crew goes into maintenance

It’s probably not much of a surprise to hear that The Crew is slipping into maintenance mode, as patches had been quiet for a while and the sequel is slated to come out this month. But it has been confirmed at this point that there will be no more patches for the game from this point onward. Servers will remain online and playable, and maintenance isn’t ruled out for fixing imminent issues, but don’t expect any new content.

There’s hope for those who need some new online racing fun but aren’t ready to buy the sequel just yet, as the game’s beta site has teased that an open beta is coming soon and will be discussed more at this year’s E3. So you can get some new driving fun in before the game releases… it just won’t be in the original game. That’s not exactly a shock.

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Hi-Rez is basically maintenance-moding Hand of the Gods

Back in May, we covered the bizarre silence surrounding Hi-Rez’s SMITE-infused free-to-play online card game Hand of the Gods. At the time, the information and update flow had completely and dramatically stopped; Hi-Rez was refusing to communicate with the community or the press about the fate of the title, causing players on Reddit and Discord to suspect the game was dead.

As it turns out, it’s not dead, but it’s as close as it gets. Just over a week ago, Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam finally responded to player inquiries on Twitter.

“We have been working on and off on a nice bug fix patch to come out sometime soon,” he writes. “But no major content updates on the schedule. Servers will stay up as long as we have enough people wanting to play.”

I’d like to say that the game’s subreddit is filling up with farewells, but there are just a few, which probably won’t come as a surprise. Even an attempt at a postmortem hasn’t gotten much traction; players argue that stiff competition, marketing, balance, system requirements, bugs, and the mobile version were all factors in the game’s poor reception.

Source: Twitter

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RuneScape Classic is sunsetting this August thanks to instability, bots, and bugs

RuneScape has wound its way through many revisions and editions over the years, but Jagex usually left the original versions standing – or in the case of Old School RuneScape, brought it back and injected it with new life. Unfortunately, the company has decided it’s time to pull the plug on RuneScape Classic, which is the version of the game that launched way back in 2001 (and looks the part).

“It is with great sadness that we have taken the difficult decision to say goodbye to RuneScape Classic, which we will be winding down over the next 3 months,” the studio says. “With advancements in technology helping to further support both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, our tools are no longer compatible with Classic. This is particularly a problem with our community safety and macro detection tools. The game is now easily abused with the use of 3rd party macro tools, and botting has become an increasing issue. […] The truth is that bots and lack of community safety tools are serious problems, however, we also feel that we can no longer offer long term service reliability due to the growing risk of unrecoverable game breaking bugs. The number of bugs is getting worse, and we’re gradually seeing the game breaking. It’s important to highlight that these are bugs which we can’t fix due to the unsupported nature of the game.”

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Echo of Soul classic servers end their western run Wednesday, but you can still play the game

Hope you got everything done you wanted to in Echo of Soul because the fantasy MMORPG is winding down its classic servers this Wednesday, May 23rd.

According to Aeria Games, Echo of Soul’s North American and European classic servers have been more trouble than they were worth: “While these servers have served us well, due to technical issues regarding the support of classic it is time to close the doors. We would like to thank the Echo of Soul community for standing by and making memories with us in this version.”

Don’t despair, because you can totally continue to play Echo of Soul. On the same day that it announced the classic shutdown, it also encouraged players to migrate over to its more action-packed Phoenix servers. “We would like to invite all users from classic to expand their horizons and join us in Phoenix with new maps, events, and a welcome package offer for those newly joining,” Aeria said.

Source: Steam

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Jagex shutters Chronicles: RuneScape Legends, Ace of Spades, and its FunOrb portal

The developer Jagex is best known for various versions of RuneScape and shuttering any project that isn’t RuneScape. Ace of Spades is shutting down in July, its FunOrb game portal is shutting down sometime over the next three months, and even Chronicles: RuneScape Legends is being quietly taken down in August. In all three cases, a lack of development resources to address technical errors has been cited for the reason for taking down the games.

There are, however, abundant technical development resources for running the beta for Old School RuneScape‘s mobile version, so that’s still happening with the new always-on Android version. The core of having it always on is just what it sounds like; players can expect the servers to remain on and available at all times, rather than setting a firm end date for the beta testing. If all goes well, more players will be invited over time. So you could theoretically play one version in your phone and one version on the computer, if you really needed to do that for some reason.

Source: Gamasutra, Steam, Reddit, Official Site; thanks to Elio and James for the tips!

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The Daily Grind: How much does fear of an MMO shutdown affect your playtime?

There are two basic reactions I’ve seen to people who fear that their favorite MMO is going to shut down. Not people who know, people who fear it. People who see the writing that seems to be upon the wall, but with no official word. Some people fall into hardcore evangelist mode, pushing the game to everyone and trying to play as much of it as possible while the game is still alive. Others basically write the game off ahead of time and warn friends not already playing to not start, because it’s going to die in five months.

I’ve seen it happen with games from Final Fantasy XIV to WildStar, and the only game that I’ve played intensely that seems to have avoided this is City of Heroes (which actually did shut down, but absolutely no players saw it coming until it was happening). And I think it’s interesting in that situation whether you tend to do your best to push the game’s number’s up or just try to accept the death preemptively. So what about you, dear readers? How much does fear of an MMO shutdown affect your playtime?

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Perfect World is sunsetting Swordsman Online and Jade Dynasty as teams move on to ‘bigger and better things’

Perfect World announced two sunsets yesterday: Four-year-old Swordsman Online and nine-year-old Jade Dynasty will close down in June. Here’s the official announcement for Swordsman players posted yesterday evening.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the shutdown of all Swordsman (SWM) servers on June 5th, 2018. On that day, your SWM character will no longer be accessible. This was a very difficult decision to make, but we are grateful for everything that you have put into the game and all the wonderful communities that have come from SWM. We no longer feel there is room for SWM to grow, but the development teams are moving on to bigger and better things! As amends to our most dedicated fans, we are making sure to offer refunds for the last few months.”

The Jade Dynasty announcement is nearly identical, with the same shutdown date and promise of refunds. Cash shop currency is no longer available for purchase; currency purchases made since February 1st will apparently be converted into Arc credit for your account.

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Elite: Dangerous is discontinuing support for the Mac [Updated]

We’re sorry to inform fans of Elite: Dangerous on Apple computers that they’re soon going to be forced to choose between the platform and the game. It’s been officially announced that support for the game on Macs will be ended with the update in Q4, toward the end of the year. Players can still log in on PCs or via accounts logged into on Bootcamp, but you’ll have to use one of those methods. This is after Mac support was first added in 2015.

Players already know that there have been technical problems preventing Horizons from launching on the platform, although their specific nature has not been explained; what matters is that further technical improvements to the game didn’t appear to be making things any better. Some players are speculating that this will also mean Horizons is bundled into the base game, but whatever the expansion changes are, you won’t be seeing them natively on a Mac. Our condolences to the players affected.

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Echo of Soul closes its Classic servers on May 23

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about Echo of Soul, but it turns out that a lot has been happening with the game since then. The last time we talked about the game was when it was preparing for its Phoenix update, but since that happened it looks like the game has moved into having both its classic version and a Phoenix version. But not for much longer, as the game’s Classic servers are shutting down on May 23rd.

The reason given is just that the Classic option was no longer financially viable, although players on Classic servers can expect nice welcome packages if they choose to hop to the Phoenix version of the game. No word on any cash shop closures or refunds, although those may simply transfer laterally. Our condolences go out to the players affected by this shutdown.

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Ragnarok Online shuts down in Europe due to new regulations [Update: US servers blocking EU access]

Update: This story was a miscommunication in the media. It turns out that while the servers are staying up, Ragnarok Online’s North American servers are blocking IP addresses from Europe due to these regulations. The European servers will be unaffected. Thanks, Kelekelio!

One of the MMO industry’s long-time institutions is finally calling it a day in Europe.

Ragnarok Online announced this week that it is shutting down all of its servers on the continent as of May 25th. The odd part about this story is that this sunset is happening not because of declining population or revenue but because of a new law that the game’s operator was not able to circumvent. Operation in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States will not be affected.

The move comes because of the rollout of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation on May 25th, a law which addresses exporting personal data outside of the EU. WarpPortal apparently decided that it wasn’t worth the cost to upgrade storage security to meet the new regulations and chose to shut down the game instead.

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Paragon artist shows off concept art from the doomed MOBA

Perhaps because the announcement was all the way back in January, but Paragon’s shutdown is scheduled to take place at the end of next week. Epic Games made the decision to pull the plug on the action MOBA due to an unsustainable playerbase and refunded all users any money they had spent on the title.

As the sun begins to set on this title, we can take a moment to ponder what might have been. Artist Dave Rapoza shared some concept art on Twitter that he had developed for the game but had never been turned into actual assets. This gallery of characters ranges from the heroic to the bizarre and gives a taste of the odd sci-fi angle the game as attempting.

“Four years ago I got the opportunity to help flesh out Paragon, the now-cancelled MOBA from Epic Games,” Rapoza wrote. “I was given free reign on the character designs, it was an awesome opportunity, but most of these never made it into the game. Hope you like it!”

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