shutdowns

The Daily Grind: How much does fear of an MMO shutdown affect your playtime?

There are two basic reactions I’ve seen to people who fear that their favorite MMO is going to shut down. Not people who know, people who fear it. People who see the writing that seems to be upon the wall, but with no official word. Some people fall into hardcore evangelist mode, pushing the game to everyone and trying to play as much of it as possible while the game is still alive. Others basically write the game off ahead of time and warn friends not already playing to not start, because it’s going to die in five months.

I’ve seen it happen with games from Final Fantasy XIV to WildStar, and the only game that I’ve played intensely that seems to have avoided this is City of Heroes (which actually did shut down, but absolutely no players saw it coming until it was happening). And I think it’s interesting in that situation whether you tend to do your best to push the game’s number’s up or just try to accept the death preemptively. So what about you, dear readers? How much does fear of an MMO shutdown affect your playtime?

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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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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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Battleborn’s updates come to an end after its next patch

The only really good news for Battleborn fans is that the end of updates does not mean the end of everything for the game. The servers will still be up, you can still play the game, all of that stuff is still there. But the game’s update stream is dropping out altogether following the game’s fall update, so you had best hope everything you want out of the game is in there, because there will be no more.

For those of you who have forgotten, Battleborn was a team-based hero shooter that happened to launch very close to another team-based hero shooter just over a year ago. The public chose the victor in that particular contest rather emphatically, and it never managed to pick up the traction or critical mass to avoid its slow slump. Our condolences to any fans who had hopes that were never realized for the title.

Source: Official site via Polygon; thanks to Pepperzine for the tip!

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Raptr is shutting down on September 30th

Do you remember Raptr? You can see a screenshot from our own memories of it right there in the header. Yes, there was a time when Raptr provided us plenty of information about which games were most popular among Raptr users. But no longer; the service is officially shutting down on September 30th, with the option for existing users to download their user data and overall usage history for the past decade of tracking.

The stated rationale for the shutdown is simply that the world is a different place from when it launched, and at this point there’s just no need to keep it around any longer. There are several first-party optimization clients for game settings already available, which does render the original purpose of the Raptr service fairly redundant. Our condolences go out to those affected by the shutdown.

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The Soapbox: Your favorite MMO is going to die

Your favorite MMO is going to die. Don’t take it personally, though; every other MMO is going to shut down, too. That includes my favorites and everyone else’s favorites.

Do you like Final Fantasy XIV? It’s going to shut down. WildStar? It’ll shut down. Ultima Online? Oh, yes, the shutdown is coming. The Secret World? Guild Wars 2? The Elder Scrolls Online? Destiny (yes, I meant to leave off the 2, I mean the original)? RIFT, Trove, Black Desert, Revelation Online, Crowfall? All of the above will shut down.

But don’t get up in arms about this. Seriously, relax, take a deep breath, maybe hum a little William Shatner tune. All of these games are going to shut down, but that’s just because every single MMO exists in one of three states: not yet launched, shut down, or waiting to be shut down. And as cynical as that may seem, I think accepting that truth is going to do wonders for all of us when it comes time for the next unexpected shutdown. Because it’s going to happen.

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Landmark is shutting down on February 21

Sad news for fans of Landmark who were happy to see it have its own life after the closure of EverQuest Next; Daybreak has announced that the Landmark servers will be shutting down on February 21st of this year. The game only formally launched in June of 2016 after a prolonged testing period, so it didn’t even quite make it to a full year of operation.

The FAQ accompanying the shutdown also torpedoes any hopes players might have regarding private servers, as Daybreak will not be releasing the source code or reimbursing players who have purchased Daybreak Cash for use with the title. The game’s site and forums will also be shuttered along with the game, so if you want to keep in touch with friends afterward, make sure to get contact information sooner rather than later. It’s a sad day for the last part of a project, and our condolences go out to fans and staff members affected by the sudden and unexpected shutdown.

Source: Official announcement, Forum announcement; thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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The Daily Grind: Which 2016 MMO shutdown affected you the most?

Every game is someone’s favorite. It might be for silly reasons, but even when games that you barely think of get shuttered, someone is losing a treasured game. And last year saw a lot of shutdowns; we posted yesterday our roundup of everything we lost over the course of 2016, and it’s pretty extensive.

Some of the losses are just for ports, of course; Star Trek Online shuttering its Mac client, for example, or Final Fantasy XI ending console support. And several of the titles lost were ones that have already been discussed in great detail, like the shutdowns of EverQuest Next and Revival. Some of the titles we lost were never even released here, like the somewhat bizarre Civilization Online.

But every shutdown title affects someone, and today, we want to hear from you. Which 2016 MMO shutdown affected you the most? Was it a game you personally liked, one you were happy to see still running, or just something you still had hopes for in the future?

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Take a look behind the curtain at The Matrix Online’s emulation history

The last message from The Matrix Online servers came back in 2009. The game is dead and gone. And yet there are still people working to bring the game back around, first as a careful rebuilding of what already existed, then as an adaptation of the best parts of the game. A piece on Waypoint details the efforts of Rajko, a programmer working on salvaging the game since its original shutdown and now trying to rebuild the game in a new and more robust engine.

The article follows Rajko’s journey to recreate the game’s servers in their most basic format along to the present day, when he’s working on adapting the game into the Unreal Engine 4 to solve software issues with more modern machines. As you’d expect, it doesn’t have a proper ending so much as it just has an end; there’s no assurance that the game will ever really be back in a recognizable form. But it’s interesting to look behind the scenes at trying to make the game continue along even as the years wear on.

Source: Waypoint; thanks to Agemyth for the tip!

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Need for Speed World is shutting down on July 14th

Need for Speed World has entered its final lap. After five years of operation, the game is shutting down on July 14th, with purchases of speed boosts already disabled for current players. New accounts cannot be registered, but existing players will be able to still log in and play until the shutdown date; no reimbursements for cash shop currency are mentioned, just a note that you should probably spend it if you have any left.

The shutdown notice explains that what ultimately killed the game was a lack of feature development to accompany the game’s ongoing content updates, which means that bringing the game up to par with more modern racers would require an overhaul that just isn’t possible. Our condolences both to any players losing their favorite game and to the developers affected by this shutdown.

[Source: Official site. Thanks to Hadden for the tip.]

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Allods Online is shutting down in China

So long, Allods Online; you will be remembered. The Russian-made fantasy MMO is shutting down… in China. The English servers are still just fine. We probably should have specified that. Yes, the game is going away after three years of operation, with the shutdown planned for late August and a slow shutdown along the way.

The end of August coincides with the end of the contract that Chinese publisher Giant Interactive held with Allods Team, so it may be more accurate to say that the publisher simply declined to renew that contract for another period of time. Western games have a tendency to not last very long in China, but still, our sympathies to any players in the country losing their preferred game.

[Source: MMOCulture]

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Online shooter Dizzel is shutting down in April

Fans of Dizzel are going to be sad to hear that the game is shutting down in April, but it might be reassuring to know that it wasn’t for lack of fans or profits. No, according to the official announcement, the explanation is far simpler: the Korean studio that developed the game shut down, and the publisher couldn’t support the game without the developer, which sort of neatly kneecaps the question of whether or not anyone was playing.

All in-game cash shop purchases are disabled, and players will be eligible for a refund for any items bought in the game on or after December 10th, 2014. Our condolences to the fans affected by this closure.

[Source: Official Site. Thanks to Exthalion for the tip!]

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