The Daily Grind: Is an MMO’s shutdown announcement better or worse than shutdown suspicions?

This is a post about Marvel Heroes. It’s also a post about Firefall. In fact, it’s a post about all of the games where there’s a period between “shutdown announcement” and “things are still humming along.” There’s a certain point where communication stops, where updates don’t happen, where sometimes the servers just go down without explanation and then come back up without explanation. And you play the game knowing, at that point, that things are not going to be all right, because there’s no possible world where things turn out fine after that.

Which is awful, yes, but part of me wonders if that’s worse or better than cases where you’re suddenly smacked in the face with a shutdown notice. As far as City of Heroes players knew, everything was fine before the shutdown; by contrast, Marvel Heroes players knew full well that something was up well before the announcement came down. So what do you think, dear readers? Is an MMO’s shutdown announcement better or worse than shutdown suspicions? Is it better to just know, however surprising it may be, or would you rather it starts slow?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

30 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Is an MMO’s shutdown announcement better or worse than shutdown suspicions?"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Zen Dadaist

I always want to know in advance. Gives me time to prepare. Rumours are tiring so I’d rather have it confirmed asap.

Reader
Michael Lehner

Telling or not telling before shutting down. In my eyes either is still better than pulling a Funcom: telling customers for over a year that new stuff is coming and it will be awesome (while delivering no new content but only selling a few new mounts and lootboxes), then killing the game and replacing it with another one.

Reader
Delisted Games

Confirmation is always best. Details and dates direct from the team or publisher at least confirm things. Sad as it is to see another game shut down, knowing when it’ll happen makes me feel better than guessing or waiting.

possum440 .
Reader
possum440 .

Gaming should be heavily regulated by the government. Especially MMO’s. Way too many MMO’s will continue to farm gamer’s for cash until they finally state “Oh, by the way, we may or may not be shutting down”.

These companies need to be fined heavily, to include their publishers for this behavior. Firefall was just one glaring example of this.

Reader
Nate Woodard

It’s better at being worse. No one wants to hear about a popular MMO shutting down, but rumors are equally bad because it could kill a player-base or prevent it from expanding.

PurpleCopper
Reader
PurpleCopper

Shutdown announcements are better because shutdown suspicion rumors are often true and leaves people worrying.

TophatKiyaki
Reader
TophatKiyaki

This doesn’t even seem like it would honestly warrant posing the question. I can’t imagine anyone who would rather just have their favorite game die out of the blue one day instead of knowing it’s coming in advance.

Like Sray said below, it isn’t always a black and white situation, and announcements generally won’t come until there’s a 100% chance there’s no way of continuing, because even the faintest air of bad press can kill any chance the game had of moving forward.

That said, Warframe languished on the edge of financial failure back in 2012, and their communication about said fact is what SAVED the game from death. It resulted in the establishment of the Founders Program, which provided enough income to the team to continue development to the point the game could stand on it’s own.

So, in the long run, there just isn’t ever a proper situation where being upfront about it with the consumers doesn’t seem like it wouldn’t be the best option. You obviously don’t need to be providing in-depth commentary about the financial state of your team, but the least you can do is say “We’re having trouble.” Warframe has proven that if your game is loved enough by a small amount of people, just doing that can be enough to save you if you’re willing to put in the leg work once you’ve got the funding.

And just pulling the plug out of the blue? Yeah, that never ends well for anyone involved. It kills your cred in the eyes of the players, and they’ll remember you being part of the team that did it for a long, long time.

Reader
Fervor Bliss

Knowledge is always better. I have never found ignorance worthwhile.

Reader
Dystopiq

I prefer closure. At least I know.

Bruce Morrison
Reader
Bruce Morrison

I think it’s worse as a player when you have no clue that it’s going to happen like with City of Heroes.

abyssalstar
Reader
abyssalstar

CoH was still profitable at the time and everything was running smoothly. We had no reason to think a shutdown was coming. I’m not even sure Paragon Studios had a clue until NCSoft dropped the bomb.