MMOs, unfortunately, do not last forever. When they sunset and close down for good, the whole genre mourns.
Your favorite MMO is going to die. Don’t take it personally, though; every other MMO is going to shut down, too. That includes my favorites and everyone else’s favorites.
Do you like Final Fantasy XIV? It’s going to shut down. WildStar? It’ll shut down. Ultima Online? Oh, yes, the shutdown is coming. The Secret World? Guild Wars 2? The Elder Scrolls Online? Destiny (yes, I meant to leave off the 2, I mean the original)? RIFT, Trove, Black Desert, Revelation Online, Crowfall? All of the above will shut down.
But don’t get up in arms about this. Seriously, relax, take a deep breath, maybe hum a little William Shatner tune. All of these games are going to shut down, but that’s just because every single MMO exists in one of three states: not yet launched, shut down, or waiting to be shut down. And as cynical as that may seem, I think accepting that truth is going to do wonders for all of us when it comes time for the next unexpected shutdown. Because it’s going to happen.
It’s the end of the line for one long-running Japanese MMORPG.
Emil Chronicle Online, also abbreviated ECO (no relation), is closing down its very last server in August, MMO Culture reports. The anime MMO first launched in Japan back in 2005 and was gradually licensed out to other countries and regions over successive years. However, most of those other versions were subsequently shuttered (such as the English version back in 2010), leaving the Japanese server as the sole survivor.
The game went free-to-play back in 2009 and included some pretty wacky stuff, including the ability to morph into a marionette and the opportunity to roll as a machine race called (we kid you not) Deus Ex Machina. Check out a trailer below for a sample of Emil Chronicle Online’s flavor.
Remember Runescape: Idle Adventures? Probably not, which is probably a good part of the reason why the game is rather quietly shuttering its doors on May 15th. The farewell letter to the community explains that while the community for the game was solid, people weren’t sticking around to justify the cost of developing new content, which meant the title fell into that perilous trap where there’s no new content, so people leave, so there’s no reason to develop more, etc.
The spinoff launched into early access back in September of last year with microtransactions and a free-to-play business model. Multiplatform development was planned but never materialized. Our apologies to the players who are losing a game they enjoyed and the developers forced to pull the curtains on the project.
One of Star Trek Online’s
lesser-used features is about to be chucked into a black hole, never to be seen again.
On the official forums, Cryptic announced that it will be closing STO Gateway tomorrow: “Captains, the Star Trek Online Gateway system will be shutting down on April 13th. While some members of the community enjoyed it, the system never garnered enough interest to warrant further support. There are no plans for a similar feature at this time, and we apologize for any inconvenience its removal may cause.”
The Star Trek Online Gateway was a web portal that allowed players to remotely log into their accounts to view character and ship stats, accolades, fleet holdings, and other information. It never emerged from beta after being launched at the end of 2012.
Phantasy Star Online 2 is five years old, but anyone who wants to play the game in North America without downloading an unofficial English patch is still out of luck. The introduction of the Southeast Asia localized version was a bit of a hope spot for those still hoping for a localized release, but that was a couple of years ago now. Also, that version of the game is being shuttered as of May 26th, so that’s not exactly a good sign for people hoping for an eventual export.
No reasons are cited for the shutdown, just that the service contract with Sega is coming to an end and players will be unable to spend any more actual money on the game as of April 21st. Free premium time is being granted to all accounts in light of the shutdown. Our sympathy goes out to all players affected by the shutdown of this version of the game; it’s worth noting that the original Japanese servers are still running with no sign of stopping.
War of Genesis 4 Online: Spiral Genesis might have had an impressively long title, but it did not have a lifespan to match.
Steparu reported that this Korean game is being sunsetted on May 1st. The official website is down at the time of this writing as well as the site of its developer, Softmax.
The title, which was the first entry in the War of Genesis series (which stretches back to 1995!) to be made into an MMO, allowed players to create and command an entire squad of adventurers on the field. War of Genesis 4 came onto the scene back in 2015 but failed to make much of an impression in either the east or the west.
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.
Way back in 2015, Dean Hall announced Ion, a ridiculously ambitious sci-fi space sandbox MMO built using Improbable’s SpatialOS. And now it’s dead.
Eurogamer went digging and got statements from Improbable and Hall that imply it’s game over for the game; Improbably says it’s not working on Ion but wouldn’t really comment further, and Hall said that he and his New Zealand studio aren’t working on it either — in fact, it hasn’t been active since fall of last year and couldn’t be done without Improbable. There’s clearly plenty left being unsaid.
And just so we understand exactly what we’re losing here: Hall was adamant at E3 2015 that the game was an MMO. “We had a lot of marketing people saying, don’t call it an MMO. Everyone will think it’s orcs and wizards running around,” he said at the time. “It’s stale [the MMO genre]. My point is, that’s exactly why we have to own it as an MMO. It is. It’s inspired by EVE Online and Space Station 13. I’m hoping that we can show there are so many areas you can innovate in terms of MMOs.”
Landmark’s servers blinked off for the very last time last night, with our own EverQuest franchise columnist MJ Guthrie there to stream the end. The sandbox hadn’t even reached its first birthday after its long-awaited but still hasty launch last year.
“Such a waste,” former SOE and Daybreak CEO John Smedley remarked on Twitter. “It’s tragic to see this game turned off. EQ Next would have been brilliant based on it. We could have done it.”
We’ve rounded up some memories from the current and former Daybreak and SOE reps, plus we’ve included MJ’s stream and some of our favorite Landmark content in the last couple of years.
Parting is such sorrow, but there is certainly nothing sweet about this one! Massively OP’s MJ is forced to say goodbye to a game that really captured her heart and imagination; come 7:00 p.m. EST, Landmark is closing forever. To say she’s not really happy about it is an understatement. So many amazing creations will be lost, an amazing community will be homeless, and the MMOverse will lose something unique. With two hours left before the islands are blown up, what will MJ do? There’s so much more to see. Join us live at 5:00 p.m. for the final two hours.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017
is reporting that Perfect World’s China branch has announced that Neverwinter’s
Chinese version is shutting down. The game is expected to sunset in that region on May 19th, less than two years after its launch there.
There is no anticipated effect on the Western version of the game; we have reached out to PWE for comment on confirmation, however, and will update when we have it.
In the west, the free-to-play Neverwinter has seemingly enjoyed a popular run on PC and console, claiming 12 million registered players across all platforms as of last autumn. Its Cloaked Ascendancy expansion is due out later this month.
Valve is determined to keep itself in the news this weekend, apparently: Yesterday, the company announced it’s shutting down the Steam Greenlight platform. That’s no big deal; Greenlight’s been a bit of a joke for a long time, such a weak barrier to entry that pundits have long argued there’s so much on Steam that it’s hard to find anything.
Where it gets complicated is in how Valve plans to replace Greenlight: Instead of the company curating what it publishes or players vetting games with easily manipulable votes, the studios themselves will be paying an entry fee to weed out… well, presumably they think it’ll weed out bad games, but it looks more like the actual effect will be to weed out poorbies, students, experimental games, and folks in developing countries — meanwhile, giant distributors pushing out garbage will breeze on by.
“The next step in these improvements is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling Steam Direct, is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.”
Just before Christmas, we learned the sad news that Turbine would not be transferring Asheron’s Call and its revivified sequel to Standing Stone as part of its Daybreak deal. No, Turbine planned to sunset both games on January 31st along with their forums, which provoked outrage, attempts to save the games, and open distress from players and developers alike.
But now it’s done, and no last-minute reprieve or sale has materialized.
While it’s still fresh in our minds, I wanted to collect our streams, retrospectives, and community efforts all in one place. Enjoy.