MMOs, unfortunately, do not last forever. When they sunset and close down for good, the whole genre mourns.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sad news for fans of Landmark who were happy to see it have its own life after the closure of EverQuest Next; Daybreak has announced that the Landmark servers will be shutting down on February 21st of this year. The game only formally launched in June of 2016 after a prolonged testing period, so it didn’t even quite make it to a full year of operation.
The FAQ accompanying the shutdown also torpedoes any hopes players might have regarding private servers, as Daybreak will not be releasing the source code or reimbursing players who have purchased Daybreak Cash for use with the title. The game’s site and forums will also be shuttered along with the game, so if you want to keep in touch with friends afterward, make sure to get contact information sooner rather than later. It’s a sad day for the last part of a project, and our condolences go out to fans and staff members affected by the sudden and unexpected shutdown.
Less than a year after its launch, digital card game SolForge is closing up shop for good. All development on the free-to-play title has halted and the servers will close down on January 31st. The team gave no specific reason for the shutdown other than the project’s scope got to be too big to handle.
“This isn’t the way any of us wanted SolForge to end. Unfortunately, we bit off more than we could chew trying to build a digital game of this scope and have learned many hard lessons along the way that we will apply to future games (including future incarnations of SolForge),” developer Stone Blade said.
The studio did offer a thin ray of hope, saying that it is in talks with partners to take the SolForge IP and possibly bring the game back one day. SolForge was crafted by some of the creators of Magic: The Gathering and featured a card leveling system as a core mechanic. It launched in late July 2016.
If you thought we lost a lot of MMOs in 2014 and 2015, wait until you see 2016’s list.
It’s easy to shrug off some of these, like the non-MMORPGs, the games shutting down in far-flung countries, or even Hellgate, which sunsets and revives at least a dozen times a year now.
But others sting. Asheron’s Call, due to sunset in January, is probably the smallest MMORPG on the list, but it casts a mighty shadow over the genre and will be deeply missed by veterans. The cancellations of EverQuest Next and Revival still stings. PlanetSide had a long and storied run, while DUST 514 may yet live again. And our youngins will now miss out on introductory games like Super Hero Squad Online and LEGO Minifigures.
Farewell, old friends.
Forget 2017; today I’m going to ask you to think back to 2010, when the folks behind LEGO decided it would be a great idea to release an MMORPG based on the building block universe but make it super unwieldy and hypervigilant with a weird business model that didn’t make much sense to the families likely to play it. Now fast-forward to 2011, when the team gave up on the so-named LEGO Universe because it had “not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open,” sunsetting the title in 2012, only to see Funcom take a stab at the IP with LEGO Minifigures Online in 2014. It closed last September for pretty much the same reason.
So if you have a craving for some classic LEGO MMO gameplay and aren’t enthused about MineCraft and Trove and their ilk, maybe this’ll grab you: Former players under the banner of Darkflame Universe are bringing back the original LEGO Universe, with closed alpha set to begin on January 31st, the fifth anniversary of the closure.