Posted Mon, Oct 28, 2013 by Xerin
Game sunsets are sad. Recently two games went defunct. First, City of Steam followed by RIFT in Russia. CoS’s closure is kind of an odd one, because the game went defunct and will be relaunching under the original developer with improvements and more. It reminds us dearly of the risk that comes with MMOs and why a lot of times it’s up to the players to make the choice if a game should truly live or die.
I’m not extremely familiar with City of Steam’s issues, but from my understanding most didn’t play for very long. It’s interesting that a browser based game didn’t last very long, there are many examples of browser based games going for quite a while, although they’re usually much simpler. A good example of a long running browser based game is Wartune and Fantasy Online and the such.
However, there have been a lot of MMOs to end over the long period of MMO history. Such as Auto Assault or Tabula Rasa. These games, once they end, end with the utter destruction of your ability to continue playing them. We all get very attached to our characters and I’ll just outright say it sucks to not be able to log in and play them whenever you want to.
It sucks so much that players of City of Heroes are now in the process of crowdfunding and developing their own City of Heroes so that they can jump back into the world and be super awesome super heroes once more. This is a great example of just how much it can hurt to see your favorite MMO close its doors forever.
The cool thing about City of Steam is that it's a 3D game in a web browser, which is really neat.
As I said previously though, there is a risk when you get involved in an MMO. You can work hard, build a character up, make friends, and then see all of your effort absolved into nothing whenever the announcement comes that a game is shutting down. Sometimes the writing is all over the walls and sometimes it’s abrupt. No game out there is immune from an immediate shutdown - a scandal or a lawsuit can bankrupt many developers and force their hand while investors may not see enough immediate profits and decide to refocus the company elsewhere.
Some games do continue to exist, like Dark Age of Camelot which is reaching its 12th anniversary while other games are gearing up to shut down, like Warhammer Online. Others, like Dungeons and Dragons Online were scheduled for termination but pulled through with smart business decisions (like going F2P).
I like to size up the odds of a game’s long term health whenever I play, because there is nothing worse then getting involved into a game and receiving the shutdown notice. This is fairly common with lesser known F2P titles, after all it costs money to run servers and keep support staff on. If I’m going to invest time and even more importantly money into something, then its long term prospects need to be healthy enough.
One thing, I think would be cool and this is a total blue sky thing here, but to have some kind of internet archive. Imagine if you will that when a game shuts down, all of its character information is ported into a permanent database where you can then access the character’s information at any time, so if nothing else you can at least prove that you really were a grand warlock of the high council in that now defunct MMO.
Ideas aside, I would like to say that I hope that Rift players from Russia get settled into their new home while I look forward to the new version of City of Steam coming soon.