Perfect Ten: The final minutes of beloved MMORPGs

    
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“This is how the world ends,” T S Eliot wrote in his famous poem, “not with a bang, but with a whimper.”

That might well describe the concluding moment of any number of MMORPGs that were closed down over the years. From the death of an exceedingly popular title to the demise of a ghost town, those last seconds are pretty much all the same: “Connection to server lost” followed by silence forever.

But what happens before that fatal conclusion is of interest to us today, for it is in the final minutes of MMOs that the community rages, dances, mourns, and celebrates in various ways. Today we’re going to take a trip back in time to the end of 10 MMOs — and what it looked like to the players who were there.

1. Tabula Rasa: February 28, 2009

Players in this short-lived sci-fi MMO were fortunate in that the developers hastily put together a conclusion of sorts for the game’s story, allowing soldiers to fight to reclaim Earth itself before the servers went offline. In this video, keep an eye on the chat as the admins pipe up and the community stumbles over itself in saying goodbye.

2. Warhammer Online: December 18, 2013

One final “WAAAGH!” as the eternal RvR struggle of this fantasy world came to a conclusion. It’s almost as if you can see that the players have lost heart in the fight, choosing instead to come together to shoot off fireworks and emote as night falls.

3. Star Wars Galaxies: December 15, 2011

The wounds are still deep and the tears easy to access to those who called SWG the greatest sandbox MMORPG to ever exist. Its closure was far too premature, and in this video you can get a sense of how special this game was to its fans.

4. City of Heroes: November 12, 2012

How do superheroes say goodbye to their favorite game? Lots of fighting, lots of dancing, and lots and lots of reminiscing. Here you not only get to see the game’s final 23 minutes or so, but you get to hear a group of friends talk about what they loved about the game as it gets close to the end.

5. The Matrix Online: July 31, 2009

What pill did the playerbase take to wake up from this MMO? It must have been something trippy, because the game ended by all of the player characters getting scrunched into tiny balls before the server spat them back out into the real world.

6. Dungeon Runners: January 1, 2010

What’s that in the middle of Townston? Is that… a nuclear bomb? Well, I guess we know what happened to this title in the end!

7. EverQuest Online Adventures: March 12, 2012

This console MMO probably had a longer run than it had any right to, and when the final moments came, there were a few but dedicated fans who mourned the passing of this chapter in the EverQuest saga.

8. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes: July 31, 2014

You can’t say that the studio didn’t try to give Vanguard every chance it could, but in the end, even free-to-play couldn’t save this fantasy MMO. These players choose to mark the last moments on the server by admiring the vistas and listening to the music in peace. Not a bad way to go.

9. Final Fantasy XIV: November 11, 2012

The first version of Final Fantasy XIV — 1.0, as it’s called in the community — might have been a soggy mess, but its ending left its fans with no doubt that there was something awesome to come. Players watched as a horrible red moon approached Eorzea, and just as the server went down, the game transitioned into a long cutscene showing the Calamity — and setting the stage for A Realm Reborn.

10. Free Realms: March 31, 2014

Sometimes when the end comes, all that you can do is dance through the tears and be with those whom you love.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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sciencestick
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sciencestick

Save a Spot of Dungeons and Dragons Online, I’ve got the blurb for it right here: 
DDO’s
last minutes, No one can play due to lag and disconnects from the data
center move, the IP license is never renewed, the last update is paper
thin and rushed out with only 1 of normally 2 test server cycles.
Turbine says nothing, closes thread after thread on the forums and bans
players who ask difficult questions too insistently until the only
people left are Forum white knights pretending nothing strange is going
on, until the power cord is pulled.
If you want to see
what the end of an MMO looks like just head over to the DDO forums,
don’t mind the Stepford wife like atmosphere that’s what happens when
only white knights are left.

VasDrakken
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VasDrakken

Most of these games simply lost funding because of not listening to the people funding their game… ie all the subs…

in sony’s case they offered a free to play game with sub to play for everything then hoped that the players of their more popular games would pay for the rest, all while forgetting their big claim to fan pre-wow was a hundred thousand happy players… vanguard had the famous floating eye balls and hair… I know I was beta testing the game and in the process of being hired as a scribe, and would have had to explain to the players why there shiny new 8800 GTX cards which matched the raster exactly was not using ARB ARRB logic from ATi to render faster on ATi cards. The developers said before the card came out that ATi was just faster and nothing odd was going on… when I put in my brand new shiny card… I loaded the screen… I looked and said hummm… must be the loading screen, nope no model’s loading in game. swapped in the other card the slower nvidia one. character loads just fine. I shrugged and sent an email to Brad who was thinking about it still and told him that if he lied to the players about something like that how could I trust him to pay my paychecks… I ran into him at Landmark’s launch and he told me that if I could read this and I have no idea what the rest said it was so full of stylized letters that may if I spent time trying to figure it out I could figure out he was still pissed off that I quit and every one else who decided if we could not trust the developers why should we reward them with money. This was about about a month before a major launch of the game. Since he was a producer he has effected many other games because he had the coolest looking game before the launch of the 8800 gtx and it was a new ip. Dungeon runners never had enough players when it was free to test, they wanted people to buy their loot via spending real money to open random boxes for the worse of the asian mixed with the worst of western money tactics… the game was fun but even a wealthy person would say “and you expect me to pay for what?” the ever quest console game took a hit on money because it used most of the bandwidth of the PlayStation network while only bring in first party sales… they had to start charging for the usage of the network to cover the costs of a couple games that got resold many times and then expects playstation to cover the over head from the first party sales.
TMO was fun in the beta and in the release but they did not have enough money to pay someone to fix the rubber banding issues until they partnered with AOL to fix the issues for a share of the game, who then took the game in a different direction targeting a different audience which did not have the funds to make the game last. Once a game drops down to about thirty thousand players the servers alone that are designed for a hundred thousand are too expensive and replacing licensed code with free code simply does not happen when you are bleeding money. It takes money to do that and most companies are busy trying to figure when the company will fail and budget most of the money to upper management to get golden parachutes a couple months before that so that the investors are left with a bunch of QA who have no idea why they own a debt ridden company. It back fired once. ATVI was built on the remains of another company the upper management bailed on and they turned it into a franchise that was owned by a dozen different companies until the employees bought it from vindida the company that owed toys’ r us. But the company had really cool ideas but as soon as they decided that there would always be more money as long as something happened then they lost everything when they got taken over by a corp politics… I don’t trust corps over companies because of this reason. I have seen numerous corps fail because they went looking for more money and found someone else owning their corp, they call them llc because the corp has limited liability to the employees and share holders… every one of the development studios were llc at one point before being taken over by investors.
Every studio on the planet deals with this because of the shining examples in the article. They can either stick to their vision that got the players playing and listen to the ones spending the money or they can ignore them and go looking for few more dollars and wonder where all their money went when the gamers go so your spending my money to make fun of geeks who liked the game because someone is butt hurt… I forget who said it but it was funny but true when they said it. I think was in city of heroes when some one said it to me the first time about some game closing… I laughed at the time, now I wonder how many games hit critical mass then change something to get more money and fail because people ask where did my game go. The people who make these changes should be chased around the studio with nerf guns the first time, and fired if they don’t get the game back on track. grin. if they don’t work at the studio then it clearly is someone else’s fault. If it is someone else’s fault then they should look at their bank accounts and scream when they realize just how wealthy they could have been… though I would guess that it was someone else’s money to begin with.
There are a couple games that went out with bang when their loyal players could not cover a game that was no longer popular because they engine was too outdated, the content was boring, or what ever lead people to the think grass was greener in another game… games need funding to survive and how they get that funding seems to tell you how long the game will last. Half the profit has to be rolled back into an MMO to keep it going. look at wow and eve online they have events and major content updates… that can not be cheap. they are the longest run sub based games… they turn to the their players for every time of funding they can… guild wars two has less over head and major cash shop that provides impulse buys which when you are in the impulse of oh shiny but later on when you look at your statements you go so most of the gaming budget went to one game. hummm. I literally have to set myself a gaming budget because I do every once in a while go oh shiny… which is not a big deal until you notice you spent a couple hundred dollars one month trying to beat the rng… bad idea. I would rather say humm you need ten bucks to justify playing this artist to make one more set of armor and more space on the servers, and a little bump in the game requirements which limits the audience a little bit at a time, then spend twenty bucks and have a bunch of stuff I would never use and can not sell to make me think a bunch of stuff is equal to what I wanted in the first place. I have gotten some cool stuff over the years I did not plan on but if something costs ten or twenty bucks to get made charge me eleven dollars for the ten dollar thing and twenty two for the twenty dollar thing and stash the extra to make that next thing.

short version most of these companies stopped listening to the players
because they wanted a little bit money or needed money to fix something
and in doing so the developers lost their player base when the extra
funding decided that they wanted a different game with existing
subscribers playing for it.The point is most of them were fun then something happened, and none of them recovered because the people funding the failing projects asked the wrong people for how to save the games. Gamers build communities but a developers who does not like the game they are working on generally may as well be working in holly wood or at an accounting firm. If it is boring but pays the bills… why are you in the video game industry?

ComradeStanimir
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ComradeStanimir

This was sadder than I thought it would be. 
I suppose I’ll be pretty upset when they close down LOTRO or SWTOR.

Captain Electric
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Captain Electric
CthulhuDawg
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CthulhuDawg

I’ll probably cry when EQ shuts down. I’m comfortable admitting that as a full grown man.

Husvik
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Husvik

Sleepery Dixa Agreed

Vladamyr
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Vladamyr

Remember when WoW died? :)
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ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

This got me thinking about what I’d do in the last minutes of the games I play/have played if/when they get the plug pulled :/ Did not need!

Sleepery
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Sleepery

Dixa Tabula Rasa – it was just fun. The gunplay was a great mix of shooter and mmo mechanics, the dynamic battles were fantastic, and the setting itself was really interesting. The clone system that meant you never had to level a toon from the start again, the mechs they managed to introduce before the end. Brilliant, all of it.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
xanadox

/agree
Tabula Rasa became a good game after richard garriot’s dismissal.
Sadly, Ncsoft didn’t wait enough.

krieglich
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krieglich

I miss Vanguard. :,(