The Daily Grind: Has the MOBA bubble burst?

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?

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Epic shutters Paragon over playerbase size woes, declaring it ‘unsustainable’

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.

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PWE is sunsetting both Battle of the Immortals and War of the Immortals next week

Add two more to the sunset list: Perfect World announced last month that it will sunset the international versions of six-year-old War of the Immortals and Battle of the Immortals next week.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the shutdown of all War of the Immortals (WOI) server on January 9th, 2018. On that day, your WOI character will no longer be accessible. All WOI payments from September 1st, 2017 through December 14th, 2017 @ 11 AM PT will be converted into Arc credit and allocated to your account. These credits can be used in any of the other PWE games. Arc Points between this same time period will also be refunded to your account. Your Arc credit and Arc points will be distributed before the end of next week. Thank you for your loyalty to War of the Immortals over the last six years.”

The Battle of the Immortals site has a similar message in regard to the closure and compensation. Neither gives an explanation for the cease in game operation.

Source: BOI, WOI. With thanks to Nicholas.


Working As Intended: The MMOs we lost in 2017

It’s true that we lost a lot of MMOs in 2016 — bigger and more important ones than in 2014 and 2015. 2017, however, has been a different sort of beast. The list is long, and while it’s painful for those whose games are gone, the genre didn’t lose many major MMOs this past year. And that startles me.

Marvel Heroes was surely the most dramatic of all the sunsets, given that it shut down early without notice. Earlier in the year, we saw Daybreak put an end to Landmark after less than a year of live operation, while Turbine let the Asheron’s Call franchise go, Firefall formally closed, Club Penguin’s sunset broke the internet, and NCsoft called it quits with Master X Master. A number of other MMOs simply halted development – Perpetuum, Sword Coast Legends, and SkySaga being the most prominent of those. And on a more positive note, there were a few sunsetted MMOs that were revivified, including Otherland, Uncharted Waters Online, and RaiderZ.

Farewell, old friends.

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RIP Marvel Heroes

It’s gone, gang, and I’m so sorry.

Following the disastrous silences and accusations that unfolded over October and November, Marvel announced that it had terminated its relationship with gaming studio Gazillion and canceled MMOARPG Marvel Heroes, which was then scheduled to sunset at the end of the year.

However, on Wednesday, Gazillion employees began reporting that they’d been sent a letter by company CEO Dave Dohrmann announcing the end of Gazillion, the loss of their jobs (and some of their benefits), and a rushed end to Marvel Heroes as the bank called in its debts. The letter said the game would be shut down on Friday following an announcement, causing panic among MMO players who thought they had a bit more time. But no announcement came, and the game stayed up through the weekend.

Now, players on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 report that the game has indeed gone fully offline as of this afternoon.

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Gazillion is dead and Marvel Heroes is shutting down Friday, NOT at the end of the year

Massively OP has received a credible tip from a former Gazillion employee who told us under condition of anonymity that Marvel Heroes will be over significantly sooner than Disney and Marvel previously declared.

The ex-employee says he was terminated as of today, that Gazillion is being shut down entirely, and that Marvel Heroes will sunset this coming Friday, not at the end of the year as originally announced.

The termination letter written by CEO Dave Dohrmann was shared with Massively OP and claims that banking creditors have effectively pulled the plug on the company, leading to the termination of almost every employee at the studio and the apparent renege of benefits including accrued PTO.

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NCsoft is already sunsetting MOBA Master X Master

NCsoft announced this evening that it will sunset its relatively new MOBA Master X Master, explaining that the game just “wasn’t enough to take on the established juggernauts.”

“There is no easy way to say this, but regretfully, we will be discontinuing our service for MXM, with the final day of the game’s life to be January 31. Deciding to close the game is not a decision we come to lightly, but ultimately it came down to a matter of business—we explored several options, but none of them were sustainable. We truly believe that MXM is special, and offered a lot of new ideas to change up the MOBA genre, but in trying to carve out a niche for itself, we failed to connect with players.”

The company will compensate players with a stack of cash-shop currency, refund all purchases made from August 30th to today, and turn on all game modes for the remainder of the game’s life, which will come to an end on January 31st.

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Disney has canceled Marvel Heroes, Marvel has ended its relationship with Gazillion

We can now confirm this as real, following a statement made by a Marvel representative to Massively OP. We’re updating below.

According to Kotaku, Disney has canceled Marvel Heroes – on all platforms – and nuked its business partnership with Gazillion. Here’s the message Kotaku says it received:

“We regret to inform our Marvel Heroes fans that we have ended our relationship with Gazillion Entertainment, and that the Marvel Heroes games will be shut down. We would like to sincerely thank the players who joined the Marvel Heroes community, and will provide any further updates as they become available.”

The news will not come as a shock to MMORPG players, as we’ve been chronicling the mess over at Gazillion for weeks now. We’d gone an entire month since the last formal update from the team, social media accounts have lain dormant, Halloween was bungled, negative Steam reviews were flooding in, the PC playerbase shrunk to its smallest size in four and a half years, the Thor Ragnarok promotion never happened, two community reps for the studio departed, and accusations flew from former studio employees in regard to “inappropriate conduct” toward female employees on the part of current CEO Dave Dohrmann, whose removal from the studio became the goal of some activist players.

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Kritika Online is sunsetting in Southeast Asia

We’ve updated below with En Masse’s statement confirming that this sunset will have no impact on Kritika in the west.

Kritika Online will sunset in the Southeast Asia region, Asiasoft announced this morning. It had been live for just a year, and you’re not getting much notice here.

“With much sadness, Kritika Online SEA will discontinue servicing by 12th of December. We understand your frustration and feedback from all players at this point but we’d like to seek your kind understanding throughout this closure as we have prepared a couple of Thank You events all the way to the closure date.”

KritikaSEA staff say the game will operate normally through the end date, with the added bonus of 3000 cash shop currency added to your account per day. Payment will be shut down on November 10th.

We have no specific reason to believe this move will have any bearing on Kritika Online as launched by En Masse in the west; however, we have inquired with the studio’s PR and will report back once we’ve got the official statement.

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DC Universe Online is shutting down PlayStation 3 support in 2018

The official announcement is titled “Changes coming to DC Universe Online for PlayStation 3,” but it’s really just one change for DC Universe Online. Specifically, that one change will be that the game is no longer available for the PlayStation 3. If you’ve been getting by on nothing more than the aging console for your platform of choice, you will have to either upgrade to a newer console or wave farewell as of January 31st, 2018, as Daybreak says it’s planning to “focus [its] resources on further optimizing the game for PlayStation 4.”

On the bright side, migrating to PlayStation 4 means keeping all of your achievements, subscriptions, unlocks, and so forth as long as you use the same PSN account on both platforms. So you won’t actually lose any progress by upgrading. Still, you’re going to need to upgrade if you’ve been sticking with the console this time; hopefully the upgrade will mean a better experience for players on all platforms and chances for the developers to push for better content.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Greaterdivinity, Jose, ChaosConstant, and Eric for the tip!


Amazon may have already canceled Breakaway

Kotaku is reporting that Amazon has “basically canceled” Breakaway, with two sources confirming that the game is over – on “indefinite hiatus,” one said, with the potential to return in another format in the future.

The game was announced by Amazon’s fledgling studio last fall following a drawn-out series of Twitter teases. It was essentially a 4v4 brawler that boasted heavy Twitch integration.

It is not clear whether other in-progress Amazon games — like the MMO sandbox New World or the unnamed game John Smedley’s old Hero’s Song team was picked up to work on — are affected. Kotaku writes that “no layoffs are planned” for Breakaway’s team, in any case.

Source: Kotaku


Digital Extremes halts development on The Amazing Eternals

Digital Extremes announced this morning that it’s halting development on The Amazing Eternals.

“After many discussions internally on the state of The Amazing Eternals, we have decided to hit the pause button on development at this time. This decision didn’t come lightly. We worked hard to make a game that we are proud to say was shaping up to have great potential. However, we took an honest look at the current gaming landscape and how the game was performing in Closed Beta. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t attracting players fast enough to support a viable matchmaking player base with the current game design direction, which is the lifeblood of this type of game. So, with heavy hearts, we’re taking a step back to reevaluate the design and may revisit our intrepid heroes in the future.”

Refunds for those who purchased founder packs will be granted beginning today; the servers will stay up until November 2nd.

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Farewell to MOBA Cloud Pirates, which sunsetted over the weekend

If you blinked, you missed it: Cloud Pirates shut down over the weekend. announced that it was giving up on its Allods-themed Cloud Pirates MOBA back at the end of August; the game’s last day was technically September 29th, although when we tried to stream it Friday, it had already shut down, frustrating our farewell effort.

At the time, didn’t explain the reason for the sunset, but we assumed it was simply a matter of its low numbers on Steam. The game’s western port had only been known for a year; it hit early access in February, then launched in April.

Our condolences to those affected by the shutdown. There’s a little bit of chatter on the game’s subreddit, including a screenshot gallery of the last days of the game, plus check out Last Level Press’ final video of the game.

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