shutdown

LawBreakers is free-to-play for now, then gone in September

We all knew it was coming, but now it’s official: LawBreakers is now free-to-play on Steam, so you can dive right in and play if you want. That’s the good news; the bad news is that the game is indeed going away for good on September 14th. The servers will remain open until then, but all in-game purchases have been disabled and no refunds will be processed for the game from this point onward.

There’s no word on turning any of the code or server-hosting options over to the community, although it’s entirely possible that it would be out of the question due to agreements with Nexon. If you want to give the game a spin and either mourn its loss or find out why it didn’t gain traction, you can do just that now; just know that it’s all going away sooner rather than later.

Source: Steam page via Polygon; thanks to Kyler and Pepperzine for the tip!

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Radical Heights’ CliffyB posts some ‘what could’ve been’ concepts

Alas, poor Cliff Bleszinski, forced to give up on so many game ideas after the closure of Boss Key Productions. If you’re interested in Bleszinski’s various early concepts, he’s posted a few on Twitter: DragonFlies (a dragon-riding air combat game), DogWalkers (a VR mech shooter with multiple people playing different parts of a mech), and Donuts (described as “Mario Kart with animals on water in VR”). You can choose for yourself whether or not these games would have likely been successful, although the term “VR” is showing up there an awful lot; these are still the very early stages of concept design, so it’s impossible to know.

If only we hadn’t all collectively decided to play other games instead of LawBreakers and Radical Heights!

Meanwhile, CliffyB’s staff took to Twitter to discuss the way the studio’s closure was handled. Here’s lead producer Ron LaJoie.

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Echo of Soul closes its Classic servers on May 23

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about Echo of Soul, but it turns out that a lot has been happening with the game since then. The last time we talked about the game was when it was preparing for its Phoenix update, but since that happened it looks like the game has moved into having both its classic version and a Phoenix version. But not for much longer, as the game’s Classic servers are shutting down on May 23rd.

The reason given is just that the Classic option was no longer financially viable, although players on Classic servers can expect nice welcome packages if they choose to hop to the Phoenix version of the game. No word on any cash shop closures or refunds, although those may simply transfer laterally. Our condolences go out to the players affected by this shutdown.

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Demon’s Souls servers turn off tomorrow

There’s been a trend over the past several years of games that are not MMOs but still have a pretty robust suite of online functions. Demon’s Souls, which is either the first installment in the Dark Souls series or a precursor to same depending on who you ask, is one of the many games with online functionality… until tomorrow, anyhow. The servers for the game are shutting off completely as of tomorrow, thus blocking out all online functionality.

Of course, the game remains playable, since the online components were always optional, but players who still enjoyed summoning helpful or harmful players into the game will be losing something in the process. One of the game’s bosses is also getting changed to no longer use the online functionality to summon aid, which made for a rather unique fight while it was in place. It’s a smaller sunset than that of a fully online game, but it’s a sunset nonetheless.

Source: VG24/7

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Cabal 2 calls it quits in the west

If you have any pressing business left in Cabal 2, don’t put it off for too long. ESTsoft announced last week that it will be sunsetting the fantasy MMO sometime in the coming months.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Cabal 2 will be closing its doors in the months ahead,” the studio said. “Unfortunately, Cabal 2 didn’t resonate with as many players as we had hoped, and its continued operation is no longer sustainable. We recognize that many of you will be disappointed by this news, and rightly so.”

ESTsoft said that it is working on further posts with more details of how the shutdown of the game in the west will unfold. As for right now, players can no longer refill eCoins and purchase duration-based items.

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The Daily Grind: Has the MOBA bubble burst?

The past few weeks have not been kind for fans of MOBAs. In a short span of time we’ve lost Paragon, Master x Master, and Gigantic; it wasn’t so long ago that the not-quite-a-MOBA-but-close-to-it Breakaway got put on indefinite hiatus by Amazon. Off the top of my head I can think of a lot of other MOBAs that arrived, failed to make any significant impact, and then shut their doors without a whole lot of fanfare.

Of course, this also prompts a question of whether or not the bubble has burst or if there was ever a bubble in the first place. I’ve always found it kind of odd that the genre exploded as it did in the first place, because it’s already fundamentally a genre based on a mod for one very specific game. There are only four titles that have really taken off in a significant fashion, and two of those are somewhat debatable depending on who you ask.

So what do you think, readers? Has the MOBA bubble burst? Was there never really a bubble in the first place, just a bunch of games rushed out with no real sustainable market? And how does it make you personally feel either way?

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Western gamers start petition to save Paragon while Chinese players await info

It shouldn’t really need to be said, but Paragon has fans. You may not love it yourself, but there are a lot of fans who are really upset about the shutdown announcement. So the fans have turned to that time-honored tradition in the wake of an unwanted shutdown, a petition for Epic Games to keep the lights on at the bare minimum.

The petition was aiming for 25,000 signatures and as of this writing has almost hit that number, so it’s clear that a lot of people are willing to write in to support the game at least remaining online even if the updates grind to a halt. Of course, petitions to avert shutdowns do not have the most positive track record; nevertheless, if you are sad about the game shuttering, we encourage you to throw your name onto the list.

Don’t think a petition is going to work? You could always join the folks playing on the Tencent-backed Chinese version of the game, which reportedly either isn’t sunsetting – or hasn’t been told yet.

Source: Petition; thanks to Kinya for the tip!

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Hyperspace Beacon: No, Star Wars The Old Republic isn’t on the verge of sunset

I recently read a wild argument based on unsubstantiated rumor that Star War: The Old Republic is nearing its end of life, that BioWare is tired of it and is considering shutting it down. It’s just one among many I’ve read lately, and I don’t believe they are right. Instead, some appear to be repeating the same tired premise: “I don’t like it, and therefore no one should like it.”

Now, I don’t like many games, but I understand the merits and positive qualities of even some of the oldest, most shop-worn MMORPGs. First-person shooters make me disoriented because of the camera placement, but that doesn’t make them bad. In fact, one of my favorite series of games, Bioshock, was all told in first-person, but that didn’t affect the quality of the game. (Of course, I had to play it in super-easy mode just so that I could get through it without getting sick, but that’s beside the point.)

So in that vein, I would like to present my argument for why I believe the rumormongers are wrong about SWTOR.

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Dungeon & Fighter: Spirit shuts down in South Korea

Once one of the up-and-coming mobile MMOs on the scene, Dungeon & Fighter: Spirit is ending its short-lived run in South Korea.

The action MMO, which is a spin-off of Dungeon & Fighter (or Dungeon Fighter Online, if you’re nasty), was developed by Nexon and Tencent and had plans to release globally in 2017. Instead, MMO Culture is reporting that the title will shut down at the end of this month. The good news is that Spirit should be replaced soon by a 2-D Dungeon Fighter MMO on mobile.

Nexon released Dungeon & Fighter: Spirit in Korea in 2016. Pay your respects after the break.

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The Daily Grind: Is an MMO’s shutdown announcement better or worse than shutdown suspicions?

This is a post about Marvel Heroes. It’s also a post about Firefall. In fact, it’s a post about all of the games where there’s a period between “shutdown announcement” and “things are still humming along.” There’s a certain point where communication stops, where updates don’t happen, where sometimes the servers just go down without explanation and then come back up without explanation. And you play the game knowing, at that point, that things are not going to be all right, because there’s no possible world where things turn out fine after that.

Which is awful, yes, but part of me wonders if that’s worse or better than cases where you’re suddenly smacked in the face with a shutdown notice. As far as City of Heroes players knew, everything was fine before the shutdown; by contrast, Marvel Heroes players knew full well that something was up well before the announcement came down. So what do you think, dear readers? Is an MMO’s shutdown announcement better or worse than shutdown suspicions? Is it better to just know, however surprising it may be, or would you rather it starts slow?

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Marvel Heroes players seek refunds in the face of the game’s closure

With the shutdown of Marvel Heroes looming about a month and a half away, players are scrambling to see if they can obtain a refund for some of the funds they dropped on the game the past few months.

According to Kotaku, it has been a mixed bag so far, with many players reporting that they have not been able to get a refund within the 90 day grace period. However, there may be hope. One player reported (and screenshotted) a conversation with Xbox Live support during which the representative said that “all customers who purchased the game will be receiving a refund for it next week automatically.” The rep followed that up by saying that “we were initially waiting on approvals from the publisher to allow refunds to be processed for it.”

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Marvel Heroes dishes out a hefty daily allowance as the game counts down to extinction

Marvel Heroes players are dealing with the fallout of yesterday’s announcement that the superhero MMO is being shut down by Disney and will officially sunset on December 31st. At least before this happens, the community will have the opportunity to play or wear anything they want.

This is thanks to Gazillion’s decision to dish out 1,000 GsMarvel Heroes’ premium currency — every singe day from now to its closure. Even better, all store options are now 50Gs across the board. “This is the best current solution we have with limited resources and technical limitations of the PC, and wanted to make sure this got out to you,” the studio said.

Former Creative Director Jeff “Doomsaw” Donais popped back up on the forums yesterday to praise the work that the team did on the game and urge other studios to hire those laid off: “The actual people who worked in every department on Marvel Heroes were the definition of epic. They accomplished an amazing amount of work with a relatively small budget and an approval process that made everything a little tougher.”

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Asta Online prepares to shut its doors… again

Alas-ta, poor Asta Online. We were pretty surprised when the game got its third lease on life earlier this year, but it appears to have been sadly abortive, as it will be shutting down once again on December 8th of this year. Cash shop items have already been made unavailable for purchase, with no words on any sort of farewell celebration before the shutdown. (We would not hold our breath on that one.)

Players who have purchased cash shop items are directed to contact Steam support regarding any sort of refunds, which seems a little unexpected under the circumstances. Installation of the game is already disabled as well, but if you’ve already got it installed, you can continue to play until the servers go off. Our condolences to players affected by the closure, although we can’t help but wonder if it’s not going to come back yet again.

Source: Steam page; thanks to Gaz for the tip!

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