“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.