I’m sure you folks all remember Astellia Online: It was a South Korean import that launched here in 2019; we called it a “solidly average MMO,” but of course, that’s seldom enough for success in this genre. It quickly sunsetted in its native country, rushed to Steam (which didn’t save it), got offloaded to a blockchain company, and tried a battle royale spinoff (which also didn’t go anywhere). The whole conglomeration of titles has long since sunsetted, and the only reason it’s not the go-to poster child for “temports” is that it’s overshadowed by the better-known Bless franchise, which made identical blunders in a much more high-profile way.
I was reminded of all this today thanks to a PR missive in my inbox from Studio8, the blockchain company that picked up the title and was holding the bag when the sunsets became inevitable. Apparently, Studio8 has relaunched the game as a blockchain game, now, calling it Astel of Atra, “a global NFT game in genre of MMORPG.” According to the Twitter chronology, the company opened its doors last spring with a presale of “an attractive Astel” NFT, then spent all summer demoing Astels. As of October, the studio began pushing the public sale of what it’s calling Gelixier Coin, which is used throughout the title. There’s even a whole roadmap for how this studio is aiming to integrate these blockchain systems well into next year.
We’re not going to get too deep into the game here; frankly, the western MMORPG playerbase already soundly rejected this game, twice, when it wasn’t even a crypto boondoggle, so it’s not going to be worth your time a third round even if you did like the game. But we will certainly note that Studio8 is based in South Korea, which has cracked down heavily on pay-to-earn and NFT-driven titles over the last year, meaning Korean NFT companies are looking for their marks in other countries with little oversight and regulation of crypto – such as the United States. But even if you’re comfortable with crypto, there’s no good reason to make yourself a future dupe of a temport, with or without the concomitant blockchain scheme. These are not the MMOs our genre wants or needs, and we’re glad to reiterate why: