The Daily Grind: Do you get worried when MMO fan sites shut down?

    
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Ah... huh.

Fan sites come and go. They always have and always will. The game that you thought you would care about forever when you were 17 turns out to not mean much to you when you’re 27. That having been said, sometimes the shutdown of a fan site can be pretty worrying, like the closure of a Diablo series fansite when the franchise is expecting one new title soon and more in the near future.

It’s one thing to decide after several years that, say, Xenosaga doesn’t mean as much to you now that the games have been out for some time and are getting no more sequels. It’s quite another for online games that are at least still ostensibly maintained and updated to lose their fans.

Of course, the closure of fan sites is not always a useful barometer of overall attitudes toward a game or a company, but if a site that used to focus on Lord of the Rings Online stops really talking about that game, it makes me a bit worried about the state of LotRO. What about you? Do you get worried when MMO fan sites shut down?

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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Sorenthaz

Not really unless it had useful stuff that I couldn’t find elsewhere.

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Fenrir Wolf

The Internet is strange. I feel that as the web becomes more focused on the verisimilitude, the more volatile it becomes. Sites are like little bubbles on the broiling, tumultuous sea of lava, swishing around in a volcano that’s always so ready to blow.

It’s a shame, too. I don’t ever really let anything go. It’s a trait of autism. Anyone who reads these comments will know how I am with Free Realms. I don’t let things go. Things that were important to me, stay important to me.

The neurotypical experience is exotic and strange to me; falling into love with one thing, only to ricochet back out moments later. I’ve read that this is why NTs more often than not have unstable relationships, since they’re more invested in the surface novelty of a new face than exploring the depths of the partner they have.

Sites come, sites go. People come, people go. So many people I’ve cared about whom I’ll never forget. And I always leave myself back there, too. Just as many past instances of myself.

Who you are will always be defined in part by your interaction with others. Sapience rarely exists in a vacuum; the depth created by your interactions with others, that side of you, is always with you and just as important, if a little more difficult to summon up when they others are long gone.

It’s worst with the ones who’ve died.

I say all this as an autistic person, I’m as introverted as they come, but I still recognise that we’re social animals. It’s simply a matter of scale. I don’t and will never do parties. NTs don’t really get overloaded, it’s an experience outside of their ken. If you vomit at a party, you’re probably drunk. No other reason.

Anyway, yes, it might not be the most quintessential experience but I’m fond of it all. And yet, as tied to it as I am, I’m just as ready for the future and whatever that brings. Deep dive VR, when?

Old Internet was cool though, right? So colourful, so vibrant, crazy, untamed, and just bonkers. There were no wrong ideas, no kits for making sites in exactly the same way as everyone else. Everything was a passion project. I miss that.

God, I miss the shrines.

Look, now you’ve got me reminiscing. So, yes, it’s unfortunate when we lose a site but it’s just the volatile nature of the Internet, fashioned by an equally volatile people.

What matters most of all is the stories you lose. Someone here mentioned webcomics as one case scenario, though I feel it goes so much deeper. The stories we tell of our experiences, the fiction we write of and for our characters, the art we make, it all has so much of a life of its own and there’s not nearly the effort there should be to preserve it all.

Even with the Internet Archive, blessed as that site is, often still so much media is lost to the sands of time. I don’t know if it’s okay to just allow all that to be forgotten. I’m a hardcore archivist for that reason, and pretty much that reason alone.

I’m the good kind of archivist. Not all of us are doxxing trolls.

I collect stories, art, and whatever manages to mean something to me in any way. I recall when the Furry Videogames Database went down, I wrote a mail to the owner asking if I could have a copy of it. I was relieved and gracious that my request was reciprocated by a DVD in the mail containing all of it.

Sort of on the topic are GoG’s mixes, and how they’re all gone, now. All of those varied collections of games, loved by very different people, with whatever reasons they gave for doing so. There’s so much that just ends up lost on the Internet.

I don’t think I’ve ever been worried when a site disappears. Maybe a little as a selfish gesture, but mostly… glum and downhearted.

Ah, good, that (spell) checks out. I was worried downhearted wasn’t actually a word.

Thing is? Massively’ll be gone one day, too. All the comments, stories, thoughts, and feelings just lost.

The Internet is a precious kind of art that we might not value enough till it’s too late.

Much like everything with humanity, hm?

As a random segue, I wish we could value insects more! The best predictions show that we’re on track to wipe out 40~ per cent of all insect life, soon. So many diverse species just gone. And that’s really bad, they fill so many ecological niches. And if we lose bees? Well, that’s all, folks!

I feel like Orville’s Isaac, sometimes. Except in this case I don’t understand humanity as I feel NTs don’t care about anything enough.

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Bruno Brito

You really drift on thoughts, don’t you?

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cerement

I get more worried when fan webcomics disappear – so many good WoW comics that have gone dark over the years as subscription levels diminish and artists move on to other things in their lives … if Dark Legacy ever stops updating, WoW is well and truly dead …

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Roger Melly

Has a Lotro fansite closed down recently ?

I suppose if its happened in isolation then it could happen for all sorts of reasons because fan sites are passion projects , it could be as simple as the person running it having real life commitments that outweigh gaming .

However if it happens with multiple sites over a reasonably short period of time then I suppose that would be a very good indication of game that is losing popularity .

I have noticed a reoccurring theme on this website about worry about the future of mmos in one way or another in recent weeks . I certainly think in general we are seeing a process where mmos are becoming a niche genre again as many younger players are moving onto other types of multiplayer online games . I think we will see a lot less AAA mmos but maybe the smaller developers may come up with something special .

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

No, but a bunch of Blizzard-related ones have closed down or are reorienting heavily. Larry’s also covered the dramatic decline of SWTOR fansites too.

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Greaterdivinity

Yes. Fansites are a great indicator of an active, healthy, dedicated playerbase. Even smaller games often have small fansites/communities for the more engaged players and they are surprisingly important for the longterm health of games (developers often work directly with them as a result).

The closure of Diablofans is less “concerning” and more “predictable” at this point, sadly. After the year Diablo had following years and years of…well…existing, and without the kind of thriving farming/trading economy that existed in D2 there’s just no real point to it anymore. I mean, what’s left to discuss other than rather uninteresting changes between ladder seasons?

But Blizzard should be the most concerned, to be honest. If their core, dedicated players are drifting away – the folks that are playing hardcore, the folks streaming and sharing content, the folks discussing the game all over the place, the folks bringing in new players as a result of all these activities – then they have quite an uphill battle to get them back. Sure, the “broader appeal” crowd will help them move initial units for whatever else is coming around the bend, but without the core community the game won’t have the kind of staying power a title like D2 or PoE had/has.

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Barnoc N'Draak

No. Not only do most games not generate enough discussion to support a game-specific site, but there is usually a wiki page that has all the info you need.

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Jack Pipsam

I think Fan Sites themselves are a thing of the past mostly. Now we have social media groups and wikis which tend to have taken their place. Honestly, the last time anything had a flurry of a fansite that I can remember was when the Brony community first came into its peak, there were tons and tons (still are to a lesser degree) of fan sites out there.
But aside from that unique situation, I feel like the idea of a fan site is kinda more of an older internet kind of concept.
The web is now article based, social media based. Not “site” based as much as it used to be and that’s a shame.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

I would tend to agree with that. I think fan sites are going the way of the good old Prima Game Guide. There will always be a few dedicated ones that are at the top of their game -like Dulfy. But just as the article states, things change. A game can still be fairly popular but, especially in regards to MMOs, if there are changes that someone who runs a fan site doesn’t particularly like and they leave the game, that’s just the nature of the beast.

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Fenrir Wolf

I guess it depends. I still see fan sites as plenty plentiful when a game launches. It’s where all the grey muzzl’d lore nerds go, usually. Hardly a perfect system, though. Often a place to get frustrated by people taking lore 100 per cent literally, as though every little piece of information written was an irrefutable fact.

The Fallout fans that buzzed around Avellone’s Bible were insufferable in that regard. There’s so much in our own history that’s abstract, subjective, and guesswork which is only marginally weighted by evidence that I don’t see why we should treat lore any differently.

It always blows minds too when I point out the subjectivity of our own history, unfortunately. It amazes me how many don’t realise that carbondating is essentially meaningless as it relies on some pretty shady guesswork.

Then again, dark matter also relies on some pretty shady guesswork and there are those who’d slay anyone who dares speak ill of it.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Lore nerding is fun, if done right. I’ve found some pretty good forums for that, and some pretty bad ones. TESO was lovely. GW2… less so. I suppose bad writing invokes the worst kinds of lore fans.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this any more, other than forums for lore nerds still exist, and they can be quite nice so long as you’re fortunate enough to have a precocious, learned gathering.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Not really. If a game has serious issues that are driving players away, I’m well aware of them. Fansite closures aren’t my measuring stick or validation. Why? Because fansites can have their own problems that have nothing to do with the game in question. Also, fansite shutdowns happen after the fact. They are not a leading indicator.

Actually, the reverse is true. I’m going to feel really bad if Dulfy.net doesn’t survive SWTORs mismanagement. Really bad. What a great site.

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kalech

Depends. If its something like, one person running a single blog, then it doesnt worry me. If its a big community project like, say, icy-veins for WoW or a database site, then it would worry me. But mostly I think it depends on how many there are that shuts down. If just 1 website shuts down, then I don’t think I’d be too worried. If they all started dying off, that would certainly be telling when it comes to the state of the game.

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Toy Clown

I think it’s a reflection of the state of the game in some cases when a site shuts down, and the state of the emotional well-being of the ownership in other cases when it doesn’t get passed to new owners. In a way, I look at content creators in this light as well. When sites fall with no one to carry the flame and when content creators leave a game faster than they’re getting replenished, it’s a sign to me that maybe the game isn’t in bad shape sometimes, but the game may have garnered a playership that doesn’t care about content outside of PvP (where those games have that feature).

For example, I watched that happen in BDO for awhile. I feel like the game teetered on many edges and it goes through phases where fan sites and content creators pick up, then it heads down a slippery slope and loses many more. There are more content creators popping up and I see a new fan site here and there, but it’s nowhere near as active as it once was, and that’s telling to me about the community more than the success of the game.

I remember when EQ2 lost the biggest fan sites that covered the news about the game. It felt like a hit there, like the guy hung in there as long as he could before he tossed the towel in, and it felt a little like a nail in coffin.