Citadel of Sorcery shuts down after 14 years of development

    
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Chances are that you have never heard of Citadel of Sorcery. MJ, our resident “has played every MMO in the universe” expert, only vaguely recalled this very indie title. But now it looks like you won’t be getting to know the game better, as the developers have announced that the game’s development is shutting down.

The fantasy MMO, which has been in development for 14 years and hung off of a promise of a truly dynamic world, operated on donations from fans alone. That wasn’t enough to keep it going, nor was the slower-than-expected engine development from another company.

“You made some amazing progress and worked hard to make this dream come true,” the team said. “Unfortunately, there just weren’t enough believers to get sufficient funding to push this to completion.”

The only ray of hope for this project is if the game engine development gets to a point where Citadel of Sorcery can be built and run on it. If this happens, “there is always the possibility of us restarting development on this MMORPG.”

Source: Citadel of Sorcery. Thanks Stormwaltz!

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Robert Mann

They had a few interesting ideas (like jumping into quests with progress with friends) but it was really just nothing showing for so long that… yeah, nobody expected much.

Then they had feature creep, like streaming graphics and such that were supposedly nice looking… but the entire basic game was still waiting. XD

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Weilan

That’s unfortunate.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before, but after I checked their forums, it seems like even discussions there are from 2017. As if everyone gave up on it. Well, that’s what happens when you take too long. I don’t know the details and frankly I don’t care, but if they wanted their own engine, probably they couldn’t settle for an already existing one, because their all of their ideas couldn’t be implemented.

Maybe they should have settled for some engine like UE2 or whatever was trending at the time and went with it and adding features along the way and if they reached a roadblock, then think of alternatives, but at least give something to the people before it’s too late.

Now, I don’t remember when I heard about Tera or RIFT (probably 2010), but when I did, I was sort of excited about them, but by the time they came out, I had already forgotten about them and I had to “rediscover” them. Same happened with Crowfall – I was originally excited, now I don’t care, when I see articles about it, I ignore them and and keep scrolling. And those two games haven’t even taken as much time as Citadel of Sorcery… That must mean something.

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mr_gibbins

Copy pasted this so I can swap a few words around in about 7 years time……

Rialto
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Rialto

I definitely remember this game and the amazing things they talked about wanting to create. To be very honest though I’d though development had been abandoned at least 4-5 years ago if not longer.

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Hirku

Sorry, but even if I had heard of this before now my sympathy for the devs would have dried up about a decade ago.

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cursedseishi

I had to google the name to recall precisely where and what I remembered this game from. And that was likely one of the big issues it faced. For all its pomp and prattle about how crazy the game is, nobody talks about it because there was pretty much… nothing to talk about. Fourteen years of development, and the first video of gameplay pops up… in 2014. Ten years of pre-pre-alpha… that is Duke Nukem Forever levels of development hell.

I heard about the game when it was announced, saw stuff pop up on occasion on MMORPG sometimes and even Massively of old, and clicked when I was bored… But even teen me looked at it and thought it needed some proofs of concept. They talked about how an epic like the entire Lord of The Rings books constituted a single quest, then said people wouldn’t be burned out after one quest because you can’t burn out on books. Which is true and also false. People may not always burn out from a book, or books in that case, but they don’t always have time. You’re talking about sometimes up to a month or two depending on the person.

And if every quest in a game took me a month at the least? Yeah, no… Imagine how stunted development would be. Imagine the work behind the scenes to introduce a SINGLE quest post-launch. And then they talk about how everything adapts to you, but is also random, and every world is tailored to a main character…

They should of just made it a goddang single-player title with cooperative elements. If it is all solely unique to individual players, then it becomes pointless to try and push it as an MMO. And it’d of likely looked much better risk-wise to publishers… ignoring the whole “planet-size” map and various NPC-aging and death-related mechanisms meant to twist the world without your input…

This was a case of the killer whale expecting to fit in a puddle. They wanted to push (which is fine in of itself) way too much, into something they clearly did not have much of a budget for. And I don’t think they’d of succeeded much further even if their kickstarter back in 2012 hit it off. If anything, we may of seen some hints of beta footage next year, before this very same announcement was made then.

The main guy I see popping up for interviews seems to have put millions of his own cash into this. I respect that… But sometimes that isn’t going to be worth squat. If they dropped the need for persistent online interactions, pulled back on a few things, they might be able to make it work. But it is telling when, fourteen years later, the game engine itself isn’t even finished. That is… devastatingly bad. The sort of jumps in graphical and processing ability even basic computers offer would make most any engine 14 years back openly weep unless it scales very, very well. Heck, fourteen years ago dial-up was still a big thing. World of Warcraft was a thing. And sure, that game looks nice and its style has been a large part of that… but they’ve had to bump, twist, and strip that poor engine several times by now, and every time they’ve sheered and sliced away compatibility with older devices along with those updates.

taradyne
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taradyne

It was a very ambitious project funded by the founder and fans. Iirc their Kickstarter was unsuccessful so I’m sure it’s been rough. I applaud their persistence but yep, time to throw in the towel.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Somebody mentioned this game in a comment on my blog a few years back, so I followed the company on Twitter… and I’ve still barely ever heard anything about it.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

Considering many of us had never heard of the game, maybe your problem was simply not taking the time to get the word out. You can’t expect people to give your game a chance when no one even knows it exists.

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Robert Basler

Getting press is really not as easy as you might think. And it looks like they got some press in 2012, just not much since.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

There are plenty of other ways to get the word out besides the press. Twitter, Facebook, Twitch livestreams. The majority of the books I read are by mid-list authors that I learn about on Twitter. Just recently I was searching for an MMO to play. This one never showed up on a single list, even the small fan-based websites.

Besides, I can’t imagine MOP was just ignoring every press release the company was sending out. How often did they send out press packets when they had major content updates?

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Robert Basler

OK, I have a unique MMO, The Imperial Realm::Miranda. It is a live game you can play today. I have a website, email list and blog with hundreds of posts. I have been doing Twitter/Facebook/Google Plus/Instagram/YouTube since 2011. I entered a major game competition. I have done a press release and promotion for the Early Access launch and for each of 2 major updates. I have written individual emails and tweets to hundreds of press people on multiple occasions.

That mostly hasn’t worked. I have theories as to why that I am working on for the third major update, but big companies and successful indies make it look easy and it is not.

Miranda has had some lovely coverage on MOP (thanks Justin, Bree & Eliot!)

Oh, and since I’ve slipped into self-promoting territory anyway, here’s a newish screenshot.

The Imperial Realm - Miranda - Full Indie May 18.png
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Stropp

What’s your twitter handle?

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Robert Basler

It is @onemanmmo

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kgptzac

Unfortunately, there just weren’t enough believers to get sufficient funding to push this to completion.

I feel this ending sentence of a otherwise sober post is quite ridiculous (for a stillborn game, but maybe not for a cult). Pointing fingers this way says a lot about the person in charge of this project, when such time is better spend on inspecting on their own, internal, and unrealistic expectation of what a finished game should look like.

If it’s just a one-man team, making a game with no strings attached, then sure, let your perfectionism get in your way. But for a game that allegedly involve over a hundred participants and 14 years of development, plus donations, it is an abdication of responsibilities and it is my personal feeling that this person should not be leading any more game development.