One of the best things that Final Fantasy XI did was end. Not end updates, obviously, the game has a monthly release cadence that should shame other games that are more recent; it just ended the story and the major path of the game. It’s done. The current state of affairs is functional an extended epilogue in which all of the major happenings have happened, and in some way that’s great just because it means that the game went out on a high note without falling into meandering stagnation.
Well, at least if you ignore the game’s fourth expansion.
As I get older, I increasingly feel like this might be a good strategy, to have a plan in mind for your MMO not to necessarily go offline after a certain point but to have a starting, middle, an end rather than just going on until you’re cancelled. Of course, sometimes long-term planning is also a problem; the team behind WildStar definitely had a plan, but it unfortunately centered around an endgame that cut that plan real short. What do you think? Should MMOs have end dates and plans for their end of lifespans?