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Myst Online: URU Live

Myst Online goes open source (again)

Fantasy, Myst Online: URU Live, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous

If a dictionary entry for the phrase "long, strange road" existed, it likely would feature an image from Myst Online. The fantasy MMORPG began its checkered life as the multiplayer component of 2003's Uru: Ages Beyond Mist before being scrapped and subsequently revived by GameTap in 2007.

Cyan Worlds then acquired the title and released it as a free-to-play MMO, a strange move considering that the company also open-sourced Myst Online assets in 2008 but continued to support a commercial-grade centralized shard.

This morning, Rock, Paper Shotgun tipped us to the fact that Cyan is once again fanning the flames of open source by announcing that the game's MOULA client engine and associated development tools (as well as a MOULA server replacement called MOSS) will be made available and hosted on OpenUru.org. "The goal of the open source CyanWorlds.com Engine and the MOSS server is to provide a playground where new writers can learn their craft, and new maintainers can inspect it, and new cartographers can map it. The Cyan Worlds MOULA servers will continue to provide a (relatively) safe environment for the D'ni faithful to mingle and share," explains Cyan's Rand Miller.

Mysterium calls the Myst Online faithful

Puzzle, Myst Online: URU Live, Events (Real-World)

Shorah, Myst faithful! It's time once again to make your plans to attend this year's Mysterium, the gathering for devoted D'ni scholars and fans of Cyan Worlds' Myst -- including, of course, Myst Online: URU Live. This year's event will be held August 5th through the 8th in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with tickets currently going for the low price of $20.

As with previous years, the team behind Mysterium are soliciting designs for a convention logo as well as submissions of stories and other original works based on the worlds of Myst for inclusion in the convention book. (Mind you, all submissions must fit Cyan Worlds' guidelines for fan-created content.) The events are still in the early stages of planning, but they currently show live quests, puzzle challenges, and we'd bet there will be some bevin meetups for Myst Online: URU Live cavern-dwellers in the mix.

Considering CAVCON (or "cavern condition" for those unfamiliar) is currently standing at 4 (read: good) in regards to the current funding for Myst Online: URU Live, perhaps we'll see some official representatives from Cyan sign up to host a panel or two this year as well. Either way, it should be fun for all the D'ni devotees!

Myst Online roars back to life with a Welcome Back block party

Myst Online: URU Live, Events (In-Game), News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play

This is the Myst that doesn't end, yes it goes on and on my friends... All jokes about the amazing resilience of Myst Online: URU Live aside, it appears that things are going well since Cyan Worlds brought the game back online. In a post on the official forums, it appears that the CAVCON (or Cavern Condition) is standing at 4, which -- unlike DEFCON -- is a good thing. CAVCON 4 indicates that they've gotten enough donations to cover the current operating expenses and are able to put a little to the side for the future. There have also been 13,997 accounts created, and 46,881 logins during the week ending Feb. 24th -- very good news!

To celebrate the resurrection of MO:UL, the Guild of Messengers is reporting that there is going to be an enormous "Return to URU Block Party" held this upcoming weekend: March 5-7. The party is being thrown by the Guild of Maintainers, and is open for everyone to attend -- from the old-school cavern-crawling D'ni scholars to brand new seekers fresh from the desert!

If you've ever wanted to try out Myst Online: URU Live but didn't know anyone in the game, this is a great way to meet some new friends and fellow adventurers. So check out Sera's great new player guide, strap on your Ki, and we'll see you in the caverns!

An introduction to Myst Online for newbies

Fantasy, Myst Online: URU Live, Game Mechanics, Guides

Shorah! Many years have passed since Myst was released to game stores everywhere, conquering the sales charts and mystifying anyone with a CD-ROM drive. Since then, the game has pretty much been the defining jewel of the adventure/puzzle genre, releasing four more titles in the series and creating a spinoff that we here at Massively have always been interested in: Myst Online.

However, its been years since an adventure game has captivated audiences. Some of you have played Myst long ago but were stumped by the onslaught of difficult puzzles while others have never even touched the game. But, with the re-opening of Myst Online and Cyan's servers getting slammed with people, you're interested. You want to know what Myst offers, but there's so much to learn, right? Today I want to guide you through what makes Myst so beautiful, and give you some tips on how to get your foot in the door with Myst Online (sans spoilers, of course.)

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Myst Online is alive... again... for the, um, we lost count how many times it died

Fantasy, Myst Online: URU Live, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

Myst fans, rejoice one more time.

The game that gives Lazarus a run for his money, Myst Online: URU Live, is kicking once more. Cyan Worlds has gotten enough money together again to start up a brand new Myst server as the first phase of making Myst Online an open source project. The cavern that's online now is mostly the same cavern that GameTap had right as the game went offline.

Best news of all? Myst Online is free. Yes, you heard us right -- free. Free as in no subscription, no paying for the client, no nothing. They're welcoming all cavern dwellers, new and old, back to the depths of D'ni. Their account creation page is getting hammered right now, as everyone wants to get back in ASAP, so if you can't create an account just give it some time.

While the game is free, servers and running a business are not. Cyan has opened up a donation page on PayPal for anyone who wants to donate towards the game's bills, so if you're feeling generous then by all means show Uru some support. The game has been through hell and back, and some help would be much appreciated around the Cyan offices. They've even said they're working on a little present for those who donate...

So, readers of Massively, can I get a shorah?

Mysterium registration open for URU Live fans

Myst Online: URU Live, Events (Real-World), News Items

Shorah, followers of Myst Online: URU Live! We know you're waiting patiently to return to the cavern, and to add your own special contributions as part of the open-source Myst Online: URU Live project as promised back in December. However, if you're looking for something to keep your dreams alive in the meantime, there's some good news for you from the Guild of Messengers. News has come down that registration is now open for this year's Mysterium! This year's event celebrating all things Myst will be held in Spokane, WA from July 30th to August 2nd. Tickets are all very reasonably priced, with some special pricing options available for day-passes, families, and groups.

Admittedly, there's not a lot up on the site as of yet, but we're sure there will be all manner of Myst and Cyan Worlds goodness dreamed up by the community in no time. So if you love all things Myst and Myst Online, consider popping in to Mysterium this year for a good time with your fellow faithful Myst friends, both old and new.

The Daily Grind: Open source MMOs

Myst Online: URU Live, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, The Daily Grind

In an amazing bit of news yesterday, Cyan Worlds decided to fully open-source Myst Online: URU Live. When we say fully, we mean it - art, client code, server code, development engine, everything. It was a bold move for Cyan to take; essentially trusting in the fans and other MMO addicts to take their code and continue growing Myst Online: URU Live.
This morning we thought we'd ask - now that this first step has been taken, what other games would you like to see go open source? Which ones would you like to work on, purely as a fan contribution? What would you build into those worlds if you were given the chance?

Myst Online goes fully open-source

Puzzle, Myst Online: URU Live, MMO Industry, News Items

As many know, Myst Online: URU Live has had an incredibly rocky road throughout its history. First sunsetted by Ubisoft, then by GameTap, URU's fans agreed to trying MORE (Myst Online Restoration Experiment) after Cyan Worlds got their IP back. Most recently in October, Cyan posted word that due to financial difficulties, URU and the entire MORE project would be placed on indefinite hold. Since then, nothing - until now.

In a startling move, Cyan Worlds has decided to release all of URU Live's assets to the public as open source. This includes the client and server architecture. Amazingly, they aren't simply releasing it into the wild and leaving it alone; Cyan has decided to hold one Myst Online server shard open for players to have a centralized world, despite the fact that others can now freely put up their own Myst Online servers.

It's a bold and daring move to open source a project of this scale. We applaud Cyan Worlds' dedication to their fans and love of their game to take a brave step like this, and wish all the URU users the best as they develop their worlds as they see fit. It's going to be really interesting to see how this develops.

The Daily Grind: Would you help run your favorite MMOG?

Myst Online: URU Live, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

What would you do if your favorite MMOG were suddenly sunsetted? That's a dilemma that's faced several different communities recently, with the closure of Mythos, Hellgate: London (only just saved from the fire, apparently) and Myst Online: URU Live. However, in the case of the last one, the project is being opened up so that users are able to create content moving forward, and that is what is expected to propel the project for the next while.

So this morning we ask you -- if your favorite game were suddenly shut down, but re-opened so that you could create content on an unpaid basis to help it survive (and maybe even flourish) would you do it? Or would you just move on to the next game?

The reasons why you need to play Myst Online: Uru Live

At a glance, Fantasy, Puzzle, Myst Online: URU Live, Culture, Opinion, Hands-On

Shorah, readers! Kehnehn rahm b'yihm shehm!

Myst Online: Uru Live seems to be one game that not only continually gets the proverbial shaft, but also knows how to come back from the dead better than the Scourge of the Eastern Plaguelands. Ubisoft canned it, Cyan Worlds brought it back via a shard system in "Until Uru", GameTap brought it back officially, GameTap canned it after one season, and now Cyan Worlds is once again attempting to put life back into their only online Myst game thanks to the extremely active and vocal community.

Mike Fahey over at Kotaku might think Uru should die already
, but this blogger is currently squealing in glee in his computer chair. In an attempt to pass the glee on to you, loyal readers of Massively.com, I've compiled not only what Myst Online: Uru Live is all about, but why you should turn your attention to this massive online adventure game.

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Cyan acquires Myst Online, opens game development to fans

Myst Online: URU Live, Culture, News Items

We all felt for the Myst community a few months back when Myst Online: URU Live was shutdown. Yet there looks to be some light at the end of the dark tunnel for fans of the unique MMO experience, as Cyan Worlds has acquired the game back from GameTap and plans to re-open its worlds for fans to not only play in, but help develop as well. With a staff that equals less than ten people total, we can understand why the developers are opting for letting the fans help develop new content. Plus, it's a really interesting prospect to have people like the Restoration Engineers creating new content in their own beloved title.

We've seen a few games take on user-created content, with Pirates of the Burning Sea coming to mind. However, the type of content one would expect for Myst Online is entirely unique to any other MMO. This is literally a chance for players to see their own stories and puzzles featured in one of their most beloved franchises. Cyan has said that they're considering a $25 per six month fee purely to maintain in-house servers for the players to run on, which is a very small price to pay for the resurrection of an MMO like this.

[via Kotaku]

Behind the Curtain: Why bother?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Myst Online: URU Live, Crafting, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Exteel, Free-to-Play, Behind the Curtain, Warhammer 40k

What is it that keeps us playing, months and years after our first trip through the character generation screen?

The obvious answer is that we're still having fun. Maybe you've been playing World of Warcraft since release or earlier, you've got an alt of every class, epics to make a GM weep with envy, but you still get that little tingle of excitement every time you log on, that keeps you coming back for more.

What kind of enjoyment do you get from your MMO? Hopefully you are actually having fun with it. If not, I suggest you seek help, or go play Vanguard. Just kidding, maybe.

That being said, how do you quantify 'fun'? Exactly what is it about WoW or EVE Online or any other MMO that keeps you coming back for more? The steep climb to yet another epic flying mount in WoW has pushed me perilously close to burn out over the past few weeks (the impending release of the new 40K rulebook may also be a factor) so I've been thinking, more than usual, about what keeps us going in situations like this.

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The father of Myst weighs in on the closure of URU

Fantasy, Myst Online: URU Live, Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items

Rand Miller is probably one of the most influential game designers you've probably never heard of. He, along with his brother, co-founded the company Cyan Worlds. Cyan is the developer of the title Myst and subsequent titles in that series. With 12 million copies sold to date, the simple (but beautiful) point-and-click adventure game has impacted the public perception of videogames to an unprecedented degree. As you might imagine, Mr. Miller had a few things to say about the closure of the online version of Myst, URU Live.

The game ended its run earlier this week, with a touching farewell given by the Restoration Engineers. Julian Murdoch, of the Gamers with Jobs website, had a chance to chat with Mr. Miller to get his reaction on URU's closure. What resulted is a twenty minute conversation that touched on GameTap's decision to close the service, Miller's hopes for the MMO genre, and what the talented designer plans to do next with his life. If you're still looking for some closure about the closure, this is some of the best you're likely to get.

The Restoration Engineers say goodbye to Uru Live

Fantasy, Video, Myst Online: URU Live, Culture, Events (Real-World), Forums, Endgame, News Items, Opinion, Virtual Worlds

It's official: Myst Online: Uru Live is dead. It was a complex, beautiful world and those who had the opportunity to experience it have come away all the richer. This blogger didn't, but has always been a fan of the Cyan Worlds aesthetic, and regrets not jumping into it when the opportunity arose.

As a final farewell to its explorers, the Restoration Engineers (Uru Live's version of Greeters) have recorded their thoughts on what it was like to work for the community every day, and how much fun the whole thing was. When it came time to say goodbye, one of them was obviously too moved to say more than 'thank you', and that was enough. Here's hoping that the creative minds behind it all find something new to put their hands to -- in a world filled with knockoffs and retreads, the universe of Myst was a true original.

GameTap gets interviewed on Myst Online's untimely demise

Myst Online: URU Live, Interviews, News Items

Recently, Ten Ton Hammer sat down with GameTap's Creative Director and VP of Content to discuss the death of Myst Online: Uru Live. The interview itself covers a lot of ground on the why and how of the game. Subjects like the reason GameTap originally picked up the title are covered, as well as how satisfied the publisher was with Cyan Worlds' first season of content. It's a fairly short interview, but there is some knowledge to be gleaned from it for anybody interested.

It's not surprising to us that their biggest disappointment was a lack of subscriber interest. We have to wonder just how many people actually ended up playing the game, considering its alternative nature. Niche titles are loved by many of us here at Massively, so one thing we've been noticing is that some developers are still trying to figure out the exact cost-to-profit ratio when creating them. Hopefully GameTap learned something from this venture and doesn't shy away from other alternative MMOs in the future.

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