The Daily Grind: Do shutdown fears influence your MMO play habits?

    
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MACE

It’s hard to ignore the long-term health of a game when it comes time to play an MMO. If one of the big elements of an MMO that contributes to the feel is a sense of persistence – and I would argue that it is – the thought that you may be starting to play just a month before an as-yet unannounced shutdown is going to temper any and all enjoyment you might feel in a game. Of course, that’s assuming you even start playing the game in that environment.

That having been said, I’m sure there are people out there who will start playing games that seem like they’re living on borrowed time, either to get a sense of the game before it disappears or just out of a desire to be contrary. And I imagine some people don’t really think about long-term health at all, preferring to just go where the fun is found. So do shutdown fears influence your MMO play habits? If so, how?

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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MasterOfPuppets
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MasterOfPuppets

Almost all the comments below seem to say no, they don’t fear it… I wonder how much of that is because the era when MMOs were new and young is now long past. I suspect we’ve all seen games we love go, and have learned now how impermanent they are; and also how, nudge nudge, they might quietly come back, wink wink.

For me the big one was City of Heroes. We were given a little warning, and so many came back to hold literal torch lit vigils to protest the game shutting down; there was a lot of weepy farewells and emotional confessions… and NCSoft shut down and deleted the forums the second the game went down, thus fracturing the community that had then built up.

And then, quietly, it was built up again in the background… cough, cough.

Once you’ve been through the closure of such an MMO, I think you gain perspective. You make the personal effort to keep that which matters to you, but know like anything else it can be suddenly gone all the same. It’s sad, but the rest of your gaming life goes on. Especially if those Yaarrgh Mateys have been active, hint hint.

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Sorenthaz

No because I don’t really tend to play games that are on their last leg unless it’s something I’m really fond of.

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jinarra

Absolutely. I didn’t play Wildstar towards the end because of it.

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Rndomuser

All online games eventually shut down, that does not bother me at all. If the online game is fun and still has large enough population – I’ll play for as long as it keeps being fun and the population will still be large. If I like some cosmetic item and how it looks in the game – I’ll gladly pay whatever amount I can afford for it in in-game store while being fully aware that I will lose access to it when the game will shut down.

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Anstalt

Doesn’t really influence myself directly.

I typically only play MMORPGs from launch. That is when the content and the community tend to be at their best and the game overall is best suited for my tastes. From then onwards it’s all downhill, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

So, if im playing a game, i’ll have been playing from launch and dont really care about shutdown fears. If I’m still enjoying it I’ll still be playing it. Chances are, I’ll quit before shutdown anyway, as expansions and patches will have changed the game into something i dont enjoy anymore.

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Schmidt.Capela

I really dislike impermanence; anyone who follows me knows how much I hate impermanent content and rewards in games, MMOs in particular.

For the most part I can push that out of my mind when playing a MMO; I know that some day it will end, but I can usually pretend that end will never arrive so as to play without dealing with the frustration of impermanence. But if there’s anything solid about the game’s days being numbered I can’t push that looming deadline out of my mind anymore, and thus I would not be able to actually enjoy the doomed game. Thus, if I ever feel like the game is in imminent danger of getting shut down, I will never be able to play it.

One caveat, though, this is only for the official servers. Playing on a rogue server, or even a self-hosted private server, is perfectly fine regardless of when I expect the game to end, or even whether it has already ended.

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Ironwu

Not so much ‘fear’ of a shutdown. More of concern regarding the red flags that companies tend to fly when things are not going well. Such as:

* Frequent server merges, hidden (such as WoW does) or open.

* Increased P2W / P2A cash shop shenanigans.

* Frequent and meaningless cookie cutter expansions.

* Rare and meaningless cookie cutter expansions.

* Veteran developer departures via firings, layoffs, and voluntary leavings.

* Lack of customer relations communications.

* Aggressive forum moderation against anyone that questions what is going on.

* A distinctly noticeable lack of players in what should be heavily populated areas.

* A distinctly noticeable lack of new players in starter areas.

There’s more. But I am sure the point is clear. When a number of these flags are flying, time for me to move on.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

* Aggressive forum moderation against anyone that questions what is going on.

That happened to me on a game that’s still running, but it’s more that they were busy silencing any dissent/people pointing stuff out/people pointing out corrupt mods, and the only way you could get around it was to make hints/put little bits in your posts that weren’t outright against the rules but that showed something was wrong…which eventually even turned into the community stepping up against the stuff, but still nothing changed. Ended up leaving after I got a one month forum ban (Not game ban) and just letting everything I’d worked on collapse/get destroyed (Game had a decay mechanic.) except that which I was able to carry on my person when I logged out. A perfectly good, mostly functional game, but the people were the problem. I’d still be playing it if not for those people/that behavior. It’s just kind of sad. What a waste of 4+ years to end like that.

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Eric Gray Jr.

An mmo closing down is one thing. Like the case with the mentioned Wildstar.

It’s a completely different story when that rug is pulled out from ya due to company backlash. Aka, Marvel Heroes Omega.

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Bruno Brito

Eh…depends. The problem with MMO culture is that the shutdown fear permeates some of the crowd that plays specific MMOs. A good example was Wildstar. You simply couldn’t walk around without feeling dread, and that did bother my enjoyment of the game.

That dread is all but inexistent in games like SWTOR, EQ2 or even Pservers, for instance. So, like i said, depends. Some cultures get overwhelmed by it, and it’s bigger than us.

jimthomasUS
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jimthomasUS

Even stars die. So no.