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

Dean Hall's space sandbox MMO Ion is dead

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."


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Devs and players say farewell to Landmark and the last remnants of EverQuest Next

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.

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The Stream Team: Landmark's sunset stream

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.

What: Landmark
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

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Neverwinter is sunsetting in China

MMO Culture 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.

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Valve sunsets Steam Greenlight, proposes dev submission fees to 'decrease the noise'

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."

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Recapping the Asheron's Call sunsets

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.

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SolForge gets a stay of execution thanks to Grinding Gear Games developers

It never gives any of us pleasure here at Massively OP to announce the closure of an online game because we know that it uproots a community from its home and removes an important part of some players' lives. So it makes us incredibly happy today to report that in one instance a planned shutdown never actually materialized.

Earlier in January, we reported that digital card game SolForge was going to shut down on the 31st due to too large of a scope and presumably financial reasons. However, the sunset didn't happen and the game might now survive, thanks to community support and some help from two devs from Path of Exile's Grinding Gear Games. The current plan is to move SolForge to a smaller server and make it more sustainable.

"Thanks to support from the community, along with technical support from executives at Grinding Gear Games, we may have a solution that could keep the current game running for the foreseeable future," the team said. "We are currently working on an attempt to migrate Solforge to a smaller server, allowing it to stay online and protect everyone’s current collections and ability to play."

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Disney's Club Penguin to close down in March to make way for its sequel

After an 11-and-a-half year run, Disney's Club Penguin is preparing to close its doors. Don't cry too hard; the move is one of those strange good news, bad news situations. The reason for the shutdown of both the mobile and desktop MMO is that Disney is preparing to launch a mobile successor called Club Penguin Island around the same time.

"As part of the launch of Club Penguin Island in March, we will be transitioning to an entirely new platform, and, we’ve made the decision to discontinue the current Club Penguin game on desktop and mobile devices on March 29th, 2017," Disney announced.

Club Penguin launched back in October 2005 and was purchased by Disney in 2007. Disney has a huge party planned for the game in February and is encouraging players to reserve their names for Club Penguin Island.

Source: Club Penguin. Thanks Ness199X!


Turbine clarifies Asheron's Call sunset times

Turbine has clarified on the official forums the precise moment when Asheron's Call and its sister game, Asheron's Call 2, as well as the official forums will go dark.

"We've had a few questions about the forums and shutdown time, so I thought it best to make a fresh post," Turbine's Halistran told players today. "Asheron's Call will be shutting down at 12PM (Noon) Eastern Standard Time on January 31st. The forums will be shutting down on the same day and at the same time - January 31st at noon."

The company announced the twin sunsets just before Christmas last month following the revelation that Turbine had spun off Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online to a new and independent studio, Standing Stone Games, to be published by Daybreak.

Standing Stone, which is made up of apparently all the former Turbine employees, has refused to comment on the circumstances behind the fate of Asheron's Call and its sequel.

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Closers Online shuts down in Japan, moves over to Taiwan

As of today, Closers Online is, um, closed in Japan. SEGA has shut down the game's servers and is handing all operations of the title over to Taiwan's HappyTuk, which is starting the MMO back up on its own hardware.

Fortunately for those affected, Japanese players can migrate their accounts and progress to the new servers and continue to play using their native language. A new client will need to be downloaded and installed, as the old one will no longer work after the change of guard.

No reason was given for the transfer between publishers.

Source: Closers Online via Steparu


EverQuesting: The loss of Landmark

Daybreak did it again. Boy, that phrase has come to mean a great many different things over the years. However, in this case it refers to the art of dropping some bombshell that makes me toss aside whatever I was working on for the week and focus on that explosion -- and the resulting fallout. Sometimes it's good. And sometimes it's not. This time around we fell dead center into the "not" category. We are losing Landmark.

Remember when I said Daybreak needed a win this year? This is the opposite of that. This is Daybreak choking the last bit of hope and goodwill out of players like Vader faced with a lackey's lack of faith. Disturbing, I know. Well, gee folks, Happy New Year? Forget about breaking games; I can't help but agree that a more befitting moniker would be Sunset Games.

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The Daily Grind: What defunct MMO would you like to play that you never tried?

It's easy to look back at games we loved in the past and sometimes wish we could go back to old favorites that have left us. I know there are times when I'd really love to jump back into City of Heroes and make a new character or two. But there are always games that we never quite got around to trying, games that we meant to give a real shot, the ones we have no memories of that still seem peculiar and interesting.

I never played The Matrix Online or Asta before both were shut down, but I was always interested in both of them. My time in Auto Assault was entirely limited to its early beta, yet I love the idea. Obviously, I'm never going to have a chance to try Asheron's Call before it waves farewell, and any consideration I had been giving to roleplaying in Landmark with my wife has been thoroughly killed.

So today's question isn't about what MMO you played and wish were still around. Instead, we're talking about the memories that never were. What defunct MMO would you like to play that you never tried? Not an old favorite, but an old title that was gone before you had a chance to fall in love with it.

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HeroWarz plans a year-long shutdown

Here is something you don't see every day: An MMO that is voluntarily taking itself offline for a year to rework the title from the ground up (yet this does sound familiar...).

HeroWarz, the hack-and-slash title from KOG Games, announced this week that it will be going offline as of March 26th for what the studio is calling "The Pause of HeroWarz." The team is apparently not content with the game's current state and claims that it needs put HeroWarz on haitus for a revamp of non-specified features.

Until this "pause" players can enjoy ongoing boosts and check out some sweeping balance changes that may herald some of the reworkings to come. KOG Games said that it will stay in communication with fans during the downtime period and will hopefully relaunch HeroWarz in early 2018.


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