The Daily Grind: Which MMORPGs should be preserved in the Video Game Museum?

    
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In returning to the video game preservation debate this week following the DMCA exceptions granted to museums and archivists allowing them to archive online games, I got really angry all over again at the ESA. Earlier this year, the bajillion-dollar video game publishing industry lobby fought tooth and nail to stop preservation efforts, smearing a freakin’ charity museum as degenerate software pirates to thwart their work.

And why would they do this? They’re scared, fam. They’re terrified that this is one more step toward allowing consumers access to old online games instead of leaving us no choice but to shell out new ones. And they should be! A lot of old MMOs were awesome, and a lot of the new ones that have replaced them are not. As I put it in Overthinking, “If you’re genuinely afraid that the emulation of a 20-year-old MMORPG will cause people to stop playing your new games, maybe you should stop churning out regressive, abusively monetized garbage in 2018.” I’m absolutely convinced that MMOs belong in museums, and moreover I’m convinced that MMOs belong back in the hands the gamers who originally paid for them – “not in dusty code warehouses of people who defile the public interest in exchange for their fourth yacht.”

So let’s hear it – let’s tell the museum which MMOs it should shortlist for its negotiation efforts. We know it’s already angling for Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes, and WildStar. Which other MMORPGs need to be preserved?

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!

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Stormwaltz

I’d be glad for Asheron’s Call 1 and City of Heroes.

packagegrope
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packagegrope

city of heroes should be preserved on my hard drive so i can play it.

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Sorenthaz

Warhammer Age of Reckoning. Matrix Online would be cool to see just as a sort of ‘that happened’ MMO, but WAR was a more ambitious project that brought with it some unique systems and elements that have been taken and evolved on by other MMOs (RIFT, FFXIV, GW2 all use some form of public quest systems) to where I really don’t think we’d see that type of stuff without WAR doing it first years before the others.

In general though, retired larger name/budget MMOs would be good candidates.

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Alex Malone

MMOs in museums?!?!

I don’t even understand the concept. An MMO is a combination of the code/assets with the people who played it at the time. You can preserve the code all you want and let people wander about the worlds in a museum…..but you’ll still be a million miles away from preserving the game because there is no way to preserve the people.

Massively multiplayer…..

Its the single unique selling point of the entire genre and there is no way to preserve that for a dead game.

Maybe I just don’t understand what the museums are trying to achieve. A better solution (in my opinion) would be for dead MMOs to be sold off to a separate company that would continue to host it for a minimum of 10 years. That would be their speciality: hosting dead MMOs. SWG, CoH, W*, Matrix, WAR etc, all in one place, all in maintenance mode. That company can then charge a single monthly sub that grants access to them all.

In this way, the original devs get some money when selling off their dead game. The new company gets money for hosting the old games. All the IP / code can be protected by suitable legal contracts. And we, as players, get to play these old games with a genuine community so we can experience the game as closely as possible to the original.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Well, I think preservation needs to be defined. Because I don’t believe it means what many of you think it means. To preserve an artifact it doesn’t have to be fully functional. In fact, most of the time it isn’t functional at all.

That doesn’t mean the codebase and tech aren’t preserved. However, to achieve preservation, it doesn’t need to be featured and ready for launch.

So what games should be preserved? Answers will be as varied as colors on a pinwheel. And why not?

But rather than list my faves, I will simply say that an MMO for archive needs to be historically significant as a sign of the times. Heh. That should stir up a hornet’s nest. But if you can make your case, then I’m on board.

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Armsbend

October 2018 Headline: The Video Game Museum granted the server code for Star Wars Galaxy.

Hooray?

What about my personal information that was stored on the servers? Is it safe? Who are the people that the company I entrusted with my personal data set? Are they in any way involved in the industry? How? Are they a security risk? Have any of them any criminal record concerning hacking, etc? Let’s see the background checks.

Do you people see how this might be a problem? Why would Lucasarts want to spend the time scrubbing information, which may not even work, for literally no gain – only a loss of what was once theirs? Even if that isn’t a possibility – the optics of a former customer even THINKING their data might be at risk is a huge problem.

These ideas to let code live free are nice – but extremely naive and childlike. A well run business would never take on risk with zero benefit. It’s easier to let it die.

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ChaosConstant

Code does not equal database. They could sell/donate the code to these games without handing over the information of the people who played on it originally. In fact, it would probably violate the terms of service to do so.

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Armsbend

Which is why I added the third paragraph.

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Leiloni

Game server code and customer database are two entirely different things. They’re not giving away your contact information when they give away the server code.

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Robert

I’m concerned that you played the types of games to which you provided your social security number, date of birth, address, and other personally identifying information.

What did you give? A 10-year old credit card that is expired and/or has already been upgraded to the new chip technology (with a credit card number change added for good measure)?

No one is coming to look for you. And on the 0.0000000000000001% chance your old credit card is somehow lifted, don’t worry, your bank has you covered. :)

And if you are worried about your address being leaked (aside from the fact that no one is coming to look for you), then you should contact the phone company and take some time logging in to ALL the sites that have address information and make sure it’s all deleted – just for good measure.

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Bryan Correll

maybe you should stop churning out regressive, abusively monetized garbage in 2018

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XqVcvVYVr70/Uz15ngz2eXI/AAAAAAAAIAw/ZPLss9RmwYc/s1600/Im-Mad-As-Hell.gif

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mystwen

Yeah, I think it goes a bit against the Massively Overthinking last week: Is there too much negativity in the MMO genre?

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Obviously the games should be preserved and it’s shameful what the ESA is doing to hamper that. Hopefully their poor behavior will reflect negatively on future lobbying efforts.

How many here really understand the restrictions though? Far too many in the Wildstar community are jumping for joy screaming “we’re saved!” when it not even close to that. Even if by some miracle the code is handed over this will NOT put it back online nor allow it to run 24/7. According to the exception as written the games cannot be accessed remotely. This is adequate for research purposes but does nothing for the former fans of a game.

There’s far too much incentive in the form of tax writeoffs to mothball games. Fix that and maybe more companies would consider releasing code. Or at least be pressured into reuse.

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Keersone .

warhammer online.
best game ever made.

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Robert

It’s a close race between Warhammer Online and Matrix Online for me. :)

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PhoenixDfire

Of course I would love to see MXO available again but without the Live Events and the community (which was the best thing about the game), then it would be just a curiosity.

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Suikoden

I agree. MXO was one of my favorites. It had some real cool systems, and such a unique setting for an MMO that actually worked. When you logged into the game you were jacking into the Matrix. That was such a cool concept. I also liked how the guilds were your ship’s crew and only had a few people, but your ship was part of a larger fleet. It gave you that feeling of being in a small tight guild while also being part of a larger one at the same time.