The Daily Grind: Are fan emulators of dead MMOs worth developing?

    
37

As an amateur historian and an MMORPG enthusiast, I generally applaud efforts by the community to resurrect, preserve, and even reboot sunsetted games. While there are legal issues to consider, especially over intellectual properties, I want these games to continue on in some fashion. If a studio is not willing or able to do it, then having the community pick up the slack is an acceptable solution in my book.

But this past week I was wondering if there are cases where fan emulators of these MMORPGs might not be worth pursuing. Is keeping City of Heroes operating as a ghost of itself in Paragon Chat helpful to a community that maybe should move on at this point? Do some of the smaller emulators that lack funds and development talent end up doing a disservice to the original title?

What are your feelings on this? Are fan emulators of dead MMOs worth developing, or should we let the deceased rest in peace?

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!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Anstalt

I don’t think it makes any difference what we think or feel about the matter!

From the amateur developers point of view, it’s a labor of love. They loved the original games and want to bring them back so are spending their spare time bringing them back. That should be applauded in my opinion, but even if we thought it was a complete waste of time, who are we to judge? This is what these people have decided to do with their spare time, it’s not for us to judge.

From the players point of view, again, if someone choose to spend their time in an emulator rather than a “live” game, who are we to judge? the numbers are so low that it’ll make no difference to the pockets of the live games. Again, it’s what these players are doing with their spare time, it’s totally their choice and not our place to judge.

From the IP holder’s point of view, I think they need to stop being so anally retentive. Stop these emulators from profiting off your IP, sure, that makes sense, but let them have their fun! It’s not damaging your IP, I actually think it enhances it as it shows just how much people enjoyed the IP and the game.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

For the sake of archive, I think so.

Reader
Crowe

Emulators of the games, sure. Paragon Chat…. well, as much as I’m a fan of CoH, I’d say no. The social part without the game, the missions, and the amazing situations they all caused. No, Paragon Chat was a fun lark for a few hours but left me saddened and depressed.

Reader
Sorenthaz

I think it’s worth it. Even if only a few hundred at best find it, that’s a few hundred who get to relive something they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. From Phantasy Star Online to Warhammer Age of Reckoning to SWG and so on, there’ve been a number of games that have been shut down over the years and some people really enjoyed those games. Nothing wrong with reviving abandoned games as fan projects.

Reader
BDJ

To be honest its not worth it at all.

They are never the same as the original. Take swgemu for example. It feels similar to live, but its no where near the same. Spawns are screwed everywhere. Loot tables are jacked. Cheating and devs / people with admin spawning 100s of NSE, DJM, ets for their friends. Its just not the same game and it does a huge disservice to the original.

Now, it would be worth it if all of this political shit going on led to companies having to hand over the exact code / set up and letting a group run a server off it. Then it would be worth it. But hacks going full blown “Paycheck” and reverse engineering and coding half the shit wonky? No ty.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

They’re not worth it to me, but I’m definitely not the target demographic. I like to let old things die and move on. I’m not really sold on the preservation aspect of things either. Sometimes I just want to forget.

Reader
Minimalistway

should we let the deceased rest in peace?

Always the word “we” makes me ask: who are “we”?

People who care enough about developing an emulator for dead MMO and can do it; they are the only one who can decided if developing an emulator is worth it or not, they are the ones who are spending their time to do it.

People like me? all we can do is talk, and there isn’t much value in that, comments are free and easy, so let people who do the work .. work, good luck for them.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
François Verret

I am completely on board. These emulators can lead to a tight-knit community, which can then lead to a more enjoyable experience. Also, who wants to see these games disappear forever?

Reader
styopa

Usually, as it’s a labor of love the “worth it” question is silly. I’d guess 90%+ of the people developing such are not in it for $.

That said, I think CoH is an exception in context; I believe that CoH was closed despite having low-but-adequate (AFAIK) revenue numbers, in order to drive customers to a different game. The people developing are still working mostly out of fondness for the genre/game, but there’s also still a value proposition there, at some low ROCE number.

gelfred
Reader
gelfred

Fully enjoying WAR as a fan server, happy that people can play some games they miss or feel are not catered to in current games. Also tends to keep a closer and better community than more recent MMOs with megaservers and such.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Modrain

I can’t say I like the question, developing emulators does not have to be “worth” anything from a player’s perspective. There’s a certain entitlement from players that emulators are made for them (“what purpose would they serve otherwise?”), and that they should have a right to say something about it, but it’s not true.

Programming is a hobby like any other, and many emulation projects fall into that category. Some that target public releases, some that don’t, but either way, not all emulators are publicly released, not all of them have players, and they doesn’t necessarily require players to be worth their developers’ time. Players are sometimes just a byproduct of games, the process of creating a game (or emulator) has an inherent value in itself, whatever the results.