sunset

MMOs, unfortunately, do not last forever. When they sunset and close down for good, the whole genre mourns.

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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The Stream Team: Farewell, Master X Master

It is never a happy day to see a game end. Perhaps inevitable in the grand scheme of life, but never happy. Today Massively OP’s MJ will be with MXM until its servers blink off for the very last time. Tune in live at 4:00 p.m. to share stories and say goodbye as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you the final hour of…

What: Master X Master
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

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PWE will sunset MOBA Gigantic in July because it couldn’t ‘break through in a crowded market’

Gigantic is on the short road to sunset, I’m sorry to report.

The move by publisher PWE won’t surprise many players, as the development studio behind the game, Motiga, was shuttered back in November. At the time, PWE said it would keep the game itself online; it even pushed out a patch a few weeks atfer that.

But today, PWE has called it quits. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the January Update is the final content update for Gigantic, and the game servers will be discontinued on July 31, 2018,” says the company, thanking players for giving the game a chance.

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Linkrealms is sunsetting today

Sad news this morning: Linkrealms is sunsetting, today if our read of the letter sent to players yesterday is correct, since today is the end of the month. Players posted the email up on the Steam forums:

“Here we are at the end. I suppose everyone had a sense that this announcement was coming: the Linkrealms servers will be shutting down at the end of the month. Linkrealms was the result of endless hours of hard work and investment, creativity and dedication, but it never achieved any traction in the real world market. The game has been coasting down for a year and now there’s nothing left to fund the servers – reality has caught up with us all. We developers have truly enjoyed working on the game and hope you all had fun in the Linkrealms world. Below you can find a couple games that we think you might like now that Linkrealms is gone. Goodbye, and thank you for being with us in this long, exciting journey!”

Linkrealms was an isometric, indie sandbox plainly inspired in part by Ultima Online; it first hit beta in 2011 and made its way to Steam in 2016.

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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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Epic shutters Paragon over playerbase size woes, declaring it ‘unsustainable’

When Epic Games admitted last week that Paragon’s playerbase just couldn’t seem to push past its core, many fans all but expected this announcement, and now it’s come.

“It’s with heavy hearts we’ve decided to close down Paragon. We truly appreciate everything you’ve put into Paragon. We received many passionate ideas for where to take the game; the outpouring of thoughtful suggestions is another testament to this incredible community. After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable.”

Epic has taken the unusual step of offering refunds to all Paragon players for all purchases on every platform ever. The servers will close on April 26, 2018.

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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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Fragmented is ‘more or less in maintenance mode’ due to lack of revenue

Over the weekend, we added a new entry to our “whatever happened to X” series with a quick note about Fragmented, the survival sandbox that Above & Beyond put together in its attempt to raise enough funds to save The Repopulation. While we quoted the formal statement that A&B wasn’t abandoning updates for the game at launch, an awesome tipster dug up a forum thread from just last week where the devs effectively admit defeat.

“The game hasn’t been abandoned but it is more or less in maintenance and bug fix mode only at this point,” A&B’s J.C. Smith says in response to players asking whether it’s worth $3 from the latest sale. “It just doesn’t bring in enough revenue for anyone to support it full time at this point. Josh are I still around to fix emergency issues and issue the occasional bug patch but the team has moved on to other projects at this point and we don’t foresee any major additions to the game in the future. Future patches will likely be similar to the last couple patches, focusing on streamlining and bug fixes.”

Just one more casualty of The Repopulation’s sad story.

Source: Steam. Cheers, Emmanuel.

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Hell freezes over: Devilian to sunset in March

Two-year-old Devilian will not make it to its third birthday, we are sorry to report. Trion Worlds announced on Friday that it will be shuttering the Diablo-style MMO on March 5th. This makes sense following developer Bluehole’s decision late last year to discontinue work on the game.

“Trion Worlds and Bluehole Ginno have come to the mutual agreement to bring Devilian to a close,” the publisher posted. “In order to help with this transition, we want to ensure that you have time to say goodbye to your favorite haunts and to decide where your journeys will take you next. As Nala’s time nears its end, we want to offer you every opportunity to enjoy your remaining time there. While the servers are still on, we are turning on a 24/7 event with bonus experience, gold, gems, Enigma keys, and flower drops — making it easier for all to experience endgame content together.”

Devilian players are being compensated with a welcome package and credit transfer to one of Trion’s other titles. We recently checked in with the title, as you can see in the two-year birthday stream below.

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Perpetuum to shut down official servers next week

Time is running short for robotic MMO Perpetuum Online — but plans are moving forward to keep the game alive with a couple of jury-rigged solutions.

Last September we reported that due to low population numbers and income, Perpetuum Online was ending active development while the team worked on a community-run standalone server solution. Now, it looks like it’s the end of the line for the official server, as the studio announced today that it has to take the hardware offline on January 25th due to the ongoing costs.

Fortunately, one of the team members is committed to keeping Perpetuum’s database and its contents alive on a semi-official private server for the time being: “This won’t be the same as the current official server in terms of speed and availability and it’s strictly a ‘no promises made’ gig, but it’s something.”

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Radiant Worlds is rescued but SkySaga’s fate remains uncertain

Things looked very bleak for SkySaga and its parent company Radiant Worlds last August when the upcoming multiplayer game shut down production following Smilegate’s decision to pull out as publisher and leave Radiant without funds to finish the game. However, hope for the studio blossomed following a statement today by UK media developer and publisher Rebellion, in which it was announced that the company had acquired Radiant Worlds for an undisclosed sum.

The publisher said that Radiant Worlds will now become a sister studio called Rebellion Warwick and “will immediately transition on to current projects including the 1930s co-op adventure Strange Brigade.”

Unfortunately, this acquisition did not include SkySaga, so don’t put too much stock in a resurrection. “As much as we loved working on SkySaga, the game belongs to Smilegate, so any future development plans would be from them, not us,” Radiant tweeted.

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PWE is sunsetting both Battle of the Immortals and War of the Immortals next week

Add two more to the sunset list: Perfect World announced last month that it will sunset the international versions of six-year-old War of the Immortals and Battle of the Immortals next week.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the shutdown of all War of the Immortals (WOI) server on January 9th, 2018. On that day, your WOI character will no longer be accessible. All WOI payments from September 1st, 2017 through December 14th, 2017 @ 11 AM PT will be converted into Arc credit and allocated to your account. These credits can be used in any of the other PWE games. Arc Points between this same time period will also be refunded to your account. Your Arc credit and Arc points will be distributed before the end of next week. Thank you for your loyalty to War of the Immortals over the last six years.”

The Battle of the Immortals site has a similar message in regard to the closure and compensation. Neither gives an explanation for the cease in game operation.

Source: BOI, WOI. With thanks to Nicholas.

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Working As Intended: The MMOs we lost in 2017

It’s true that we lost a lot of MMOs in 2016 — bigger and more important ones than in 2014 and 2015. 2017, however, has been a different sort of beast. The list is long, and while it’s painful for those whose games are gone, the genre didn’t lose many major MMOs this past year. And that startles me.

Marvel Heroes was surely the most dramatic of all the sunsets, given that it shut down early without notice. Earlier in the year, we saw Daybreak put an end to Landmark after less than a year of live operation, while Turbine let the Asheron’s Call franchise go, Firefall formally closed, Club Penguin’s sunset broke the internet, and NCsoft called it quits with Master X Master. A number of other MMOs simply halted development – Perpetuum, Sword Coast Legends, and SkySaga being the most prominent of those. And on a more positive note, there were a few sunsetted MMOs that were revivified, including Otherland, Uncharted Waters Online, and RaiderZ.

Farewell, old friends.

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