Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.
Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!
Line of Defense
To most gamers these days, game designer Derek Smart is known primarily for his troubled sci-fi titles, his antagonistic attitude toward the community, and his all-consuming hatred for Star Citizen. But lest we forget, Smart is also heading up a new sci-fi shooter MMO called Line of Defense that’s been slowly forming over several years now.
The MMO has not had the smoothest of development and testing cycles. While Line of Defense was on Steam for a while, Smart yanked it from the platform in April 2016 due to what he claimed was “review bombing” by critics. In January 2017, the game was changing up its graphic engine and switching over to a buy-to-play model. Both PC and console versions were reportedly in development, with a secondary team brought on board in August 2017 to handle the console port.
While the team posted in May 2017 that the project was “winding down” as it prepared for closed beta testing, it looked as though there was a good possibility that the console edition was going to be given up in favor of concentrating on the PC client.
The latest patch for Line of Defense came back in February 2018, when Smart took players on a public tour of the game’s planetary scenes. “Please excuse the silence these past few months. A LOT of things are going on behind the scenes and all will be revealed soon. It’s all good. I promise,” Smart posted at that time, but since then, he’s apparently been busy rescuing Alganon from doom.
The-game-formerly-known-as-Das-Tal was once a scrappy underdog on its way up in the MMO circuits with its hardcore PvP attitude and a hard-working studio. The title always seemed to struggle, however, and the name change didn’t help to build a wider audience. By June 2017, the population was much lower than it needed to be, and the dev team was doing contract work to simply make money while sidelining the game itself.
The Exiled’s Hail Mary pass came late last summer with a new “limited lives” survival mode. That generated some interest but not nearly enough, and by October 2017, the devs put the game in an unlimited trial mode while they tried to figure out their next moves. The game’s eighth season was set to conclude on November 2nd.
Since then there has not been a peep out of the dev team on official channels (though Alexander Zacherl is active on his own Twitter), and many players now assume that The Exiled is unofficially dead.
“This game still has so much potential — if only the devs had more manpower and resources,” one player lamented on the forums. “I jumped in late when the player base had already declined. However in those few moments I did experience the game as it was supposed to be. That was so much fun.”
The PvP-centric MMO spin-off of the highly acclaimed pen-and-paper RPG enjoyed early popularity and hype (not to mention an alpha that required players to subscribe, which was fairly uncommon at the time) — until it crashed and burned in September 2015. That was when we discovered that Pathfinder Online was in a lot of trouble as the team was laid off and the control reverted to Pathfinder’s Paizo.
Since then, the title has barely survived on life support, with Paizo struggling to figure out what to do with the game. Several talks with various investors have not, to date, come to fruition, but at least it’s given fans hope that Paizo wants to do something more than shut off the game’s servers. The few developers still on the project have worked to refine Pathfinder, with patches in 2017 working toward a (hopeful) full release.
And you know what? The team might actually get there some day as it continues to plug away on the game’s features and bug fixes. There was a blog post back in January on how settlement warfare works in Pathfinder Online. Two patches also have dropped this year: v14.3 primarily focused on fixes and adjustments while v15 added settlement structure upgrades, taxation, development indexes, and many other feature improvements.
Still, we had to list this as one of the top 10 MMOs to have the most uncertain futures in the industry right now. Time will tell!