MMOs, unfortunately, do not last forever. When they sunset and close down for good, the whole genre mourns.
If you’ve been playing MMOs long enough, you’ve probably lived through at least one sunset of a beloved game world. In fact, I bet most of you were personally affected by more than one. I sure have been. I also bet you’ve had to wade through your share of “let it go” trolling across the internet whenever you mention it from people who either haven’t been affected or weren’t that attached to the game worlds, their characters, and their fellow players as you were.
All that said, there are some games I’ve said goodbye to that didn’t hit me as hard as they should’ve. For example, while I consider Asheron’s Call an extremely important MMO and loved it in its day, I knew how tiny it was and had already watched its sequel sunset once, so the final curtain didn’t bring tears to my eyes. By contrast, there have been other MMOs cruelly cut down in their content prime, and those gutted me so much more.
Which MMO sunset had the biggest impact on you?
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?'”
Minecraft developer Mojang revealed this week that it will be shutting down its online card game Scrolls on February 13th. This shouldn’t come as a huge shock to the community, as the studio announced back in 2015 that it was ceasing development for the game but keeping the servers on for a while.
“The game has reached a point where it can no longer sustain continuous development,” the studio said then. Before next week’s sunset occurs, there will be a final community tournament on Saturday the 11th.
This doesn’t mean that Scrolls will go away for good, however. The team also said that it has plans to allow the players to host their own game servers within the next few weeks or months, but not as open source.
(We’ve updated below with MMOBomb’s detailed investigation into this Indiegogo – short story, don’t go handing over your dough.)
With Marvel Heroes dead and gone, most fans have moved on to other gaming pastures. After all, it would take a miracle to bring it back, right? Turns out that miracles are pretty expensive in this modern age, but there are always those who will take a shot at the near-impossible.
Enter Paragon Institute, a new non-profit that says it wants to purchase Marvel Heroes for $450,000 (or more) and form an indie studio to operate it. Even more interesting, this group says it wants to use Marvel Heroes and other titles as “learning labs” to train developers and preserve abandoned video games.
“Our goal is to establish ElderMage Studios as a learning lab to partner experienced professionals with aspiring game developers to help them gain the skills and hands-on experience necessary to work in the field,” the group posted on IndieGoGo. “This may include time spent supporting or enhancing existing titles to create entirely new ones. A secondary mission is to preserve games that are no longer supported so that those who have licensed them may continue using them and so others may learn from them.”
The past few weeks have not been kind for fans of MOBAs. In a short span of time we’ve lost Paragon, Master x Master, and Gigantic; it wasn’t so long ago that the not-quite-a-MOBA-but-close-to-it Breakaway got put on indefinite hiatus by Amazon. Off the top of my head I can think of a lot of other MOBAs that arrived, failed to make any significant impact, and then shut their doors without a whole lot of fanfare.
Of course, this also prompts a question of whether or not the bubble has burst or if there was ever a bubble in the first place. I’ve always found it kind of odd that the genre exploded as it did in the first place, because it’s already fundamentally a genre based on a mod for one very specific game. There are only four titles that have really taken off in a significant fashion, and two of those are somewhat debatable depending on who you ask.
So what do you think, readers? Has the MOBA bubble burst? Was there never really a bubble in the first place, just a bunch of games rushed out with no real sustainable market? And how does it make you personally feel either way?
It is never a happy day to see a game end. Perhaps inevitable in the grand scheme of life, but never happy. Today Massively OP’s MJ will be with MXM until its servers blink off for the very last time. Tune in live at 4:00 p.m. to share stories and say goodbye as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you the final hour of…
What: Master X Master
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018
Gigantic is on the short road to sunset, I’m sorry to report.
The move by publisher PWE won’t surprise many players, as the development studio behind the game, Motiga, was shuttered back in November. At the time, PWE said it would keep the game itself online; it even pushed out a patch a few weeks atfer that.
But today, PWE has called it quits. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the January Update is the final content update for Gigantic, and the game servers will be discontinued on July 31, 2018,” says the company, thanking players for giving the game a chance.
Sad news this morning: Linkrealms is sunsetting, today if our read of the letter sent to players yesterday is correct, since today is the end of the month. Players posted the email up on the Steam forums:
“Here we are at the end. I suppose everyone had a sense that this announcement was coming: the Linkrealms servers will be shutting down at the end of the month. Linkrealms was the result of endless hours of hard work and investment, creativity and dedication, but it never achieved any traction in the real world market. The game has been coasting down for a year and now there’s nothing left to fund the servers – reality has caught up with us all. We developers have truly enjoyed working on the game and hope you all had fun in the Linkrealms world. Below you can find a couple games that we think you might like now that Linkrealms is gone. Goodbye, and thank you for being with us in this long, exciting journey!”
Linkrealms was an isometric, indie sandbox plainly inspired in part by Ultima Online; it first hit beta in 2011 and made its way to Steam in 2016.
It shouldn’t really need to be said, but Paragon has fans. You may not love it yourself, but there are a lot of fans who are really upset about the shutdown announcement. So the fans have turned to that time-honored tradition in the wake of an unwanted shutdown, a petition for Epic Games to keep the lights on at the bare minimum.
The petition was aiming for 25,000 signatures and as of this writing has almost hit that number, so it’s clear that a lot of people are willing to write in to support the game at least remaining online even if the updates grind to a halt. Of course, petitions to avert shutdowns do not have the most positive track record; nevertheless, if you are sad about the game shuttering, we encourage you to throw your name onto the list.
Don’t think a petition is going to work? You could always join the folks playing on the Tencent-backed Chinese version of the game, which reportedly either isn’t sunsetting – or hasn’t been told yet.
; thanks to Kinya for the tip!
When Epic Games admitted last week that Paragon’s playerbase just couldn’t seem to push past its core, many fans all but expected this announcement, and now it’s come.
“It’s with heavy hearts we’ve decided to close down Paragon. We truly appreciate everything you’ve put into Paragon. We received many passionate ideas for where to take the game; the outpouring of thoughtful suggestions is another testament to this incredible community. After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable.”
Epic has taken the unusual step of offering refunds to all Paragon players for all purchases on every platform ever. The servers will close on April 26, 2018.
I recently read a wild argument based on unsubstantiated rumor
that Star War: The Old Republic
is nearing its end of life, that BioWare
is tired of it and is considering shutting it down. It’s just one among many I’ve read lately, and I don’t believe they are right. Instead, some appear to be repeating the same tired premise: “I don’t like it, and therefore no one should like it.”
Now, I don’t like many games, but I understand the merits and positive qualities of even some of the oldest, most shop-worn MMORPGs. First-person shooters make me disoriented because of the camera placement, but that doesn’t make them bad. In fact, one of my favorite series of games, Bioshock, was all told in first-person, but that didn’t affect the quality of the game. (Of course, I had to play it in super-easy mode just so that I could get through it without getting sick, but that’s beside the point.)
So in that vein, I would like to present my argument for why I believe the rumormongers are wrong about SWTOR.
Over the weekend, we added a new entry to our “whatever happened to X” series with a quick note about Fragmented, the survival sandbox that Above & Beyond put together in its attempt to raise enough funds to save The Repopulation. While we quoted the formal statement that A&B wasn’t abandoning updates for the game at launch, an awesome tipster dug up a forum thread from just last week where the devs effectively admit defeat.
“The game hasn’t been abandoned but it is more or less in maintenance and bug fix mode only at this point,” A&B’s J.C. Smith says in response to players asking whether it’s worth $3 from the latest sale. “It just doesn’t bring in enough revenue for anyone to support it full time at this point. Josh are I still around to fix emergency issues and issue the occasional bug patch but the team has moved on to other projects at this point and we don’t foresee any major additions to the game in the future. Future patches will likely be similar to the last couple patches, focusing on streamlining and bug fixes.”
Just one more casualty of The Repopulation’s sad story.
. Cheers, Emmanuel.
Two-year-old Devilian will not make it to its third birthday, we are sorry to report. Trion Worlds announced on Friday that it will be shuttering the Diablo-style MMO on March 5th. This makes sense following developer Bluehole’s decision late last year to discontinue work on the game.
“Trion Worlds and Bluehole Ginno have come to the mutual agreement to bring Devilian to a close,” the publisher posted. “In order to help with this transition, we want to ensure that you have time to say goodbye to your favorite haunts and to decide where your journeys will take you next. As Nala’s time nears its end, we want to offer you every opportunity to enjoy your remaining time there. While the servers are still on, we are turning on a 24/7 event with bonus experience, gold, gems, Enigma keys, and flower drops — making it easier for all to experience endgame content together.”
Devilian players are being compensated with a welcome package and credit transfer to one of Trion’s other titles. We recently checked in with the title, as you can see in the two-year birthday stream below.