Funcom has unceremoniously axed Advisors of Rubi-Ka, Anarchy Online’s player volunteer program

Two weeks before the game's 22nd birthday


Unfortunately, we’ve got another blast of bad news out of Funcom this afternoon – a studio not exactly known for properly maintaining its old properties. This time, the victim is Anarchy Online – no, the game’s not going anywhere, but the ARK program is.

ARK aka Advisors of Rubi-Ka were basically a group of volunteer players who ran events, helped with gameplay questions, and tracked down bugs to help the community and Funcom. Veteran MMO players will know that especially in older MMOs, this was an extremely common system. Without explaining why, Funcom announced yesterday that it’s discontinuing the program.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to discontinue Funcom support of the ARK community program. The ARK program has been an unforgettable part of Rubi-Ka for many years, and we are grateful to the volunteers who have channeled their passion to help make this universe truly something wonderful. We appreciate the commitment and the efforts, and we are proud of everything ARK has accomplished together. We understand that seeing this chapter end may disappoint some of you, but the profound mark made on the community is everlasting.”

Needless to say, the small but very much active classic Anarchy Online playerbase is pretty pissed over the announcement, which apparently came without warning or consultation with the Advisors themselves. Funcom reps have apparently implied that it cost Funcom money and overhead and that the team didn’t want to see it shut down.

“I can only say that we can no longer support the ARK program and I understand the loss it is to the community,” Funcom’s Chris T. said. “We can’t support it internally. It costs a significant amount to maintain the program and we can no longer do that. […] Costs are more than money, folks.”

Discord leaders are currently asking players to email Funcom CEO Rui Casais directly to express “what the program means” to the community: “He won’t come talk to us, but he probably owes us an explanation.” The Discord is also discussing ways to continue the program without Funcom’s assistance.

Anarchy Online turns 22 years old in two weeks.

Source: Official site, Discord. Cheers, David!
A member of the ARK group reached out to us after publication to confirm that ARK members received no warning from Funcom, but they were greeted with the abrupt locking of their accounts! That’s because Funcom had apparently granted the volunteers lifetime accounts that were also canceled with the end of the program (also common with old-school MMOs with guide/counselor/etc. programs like this one). Funcom apparently followed up by granting those players 6000 Funcom points by way of compensation. Of course, the players weren’t volunteering for a comped sub, and they’d surely rather have their toolset than points.
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