While many old-school MMORPG players came from MUDs, I didn’t: I didn’t even know they existed until several years into playing Ultima Online and EverQuest, so when I did, I went a little bit nuts digging through piles of ideas that had predated everything I knew. And one of the MUD groups I found was Skotos, a collection of detailed online text games that spanned genres from fantasy to to horror to sci-fi. I didn’t actually play the MUDs themselves seriously, to my memory, but I distinctly remember reading and absorbing every essay about roleplaying and storytelling on the site and taking it all back with me into MMORPGs. I think I even forced my poor guildies to read up too!
I bring all this up because Skotos just turned 20 years old, and to celebrate the occasion, it’s retiring. Founder Christopher Allen announced the news on Twitter earlier this week, celebrating and mourning in turns, and best of all handing the games over to the public to build on.
“We’ve now reached the twentieth anniversary of Skotos, and it’s a time of change — and just as we’ve long promised in Castle Marrach, we hope this marks a New Spring. We are closing the Skotos the company & website, but in doing so we are also releasing our games to the world. Four of Skotos’ past games have been running independently for a few months now. We invite you to visit them, and become a part of their stories. Castle Marrach (https://marrach.com), The Eternal City (https://eternalcitygame.com), Allegory of Empires (https://allegoryofempires.com), and Multiverse Revelations (http://multirev.net). Finally, we’ll be maintaining an archives of our popular articles and history.”
If you’re curious, you can still check out the site and its endless archives of columns and ideas. (There’s quite of bit of classic MMO discussion in those pages too! I was skimming one and reminded of how Asheron’s Call’s launch was one of the few clean launches in those early years.) Thank you, Skotos folks – you were genuinely foundational.