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Working As Intended: The MMOs we lost in 2014

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Miscellaneous, Sunsets, Working As Intended

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about how Vanguard's early stumbles foreshadowed the changing MMORPG industry. In January 2007, when Vanguard lurched its way to launch, the genre was barely a decade old; it was booming, and it had never suffered hardship on a massive scale. In the west, we'd seen only three "major" MMOs sunset (Motor City Online, Earth and Beyond, and Asheron's Call 2), and only one MMO, Anarchy Online, had "gone F2P," though we hadn't yet thought to call it yet because it was such a rare and new thing. In fact, it wasn't until 2008's first big wave of AAA, post-World of Warcraft MMOs launched and mostly flopped that MMORPG players gave much thought to the future of the genre and how WoW had reshaped (and possibly broken) it. Maybe not even then.

Here in 2015, sunsets are commonplace, and the vast majority of modern MMOs have adopted some sort of subscriptionless model. Last year, we lost more than a dozen MMOs, including Vanguard itself, all of them wiped from the face of the earth (at least until someone decides to resurrect them), and several more under development were canceled, leading to concern among industry watchers like those of us who pen for Massively. Let's try to get some perspective and revisit the MMOs we lost in 2014.

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Legend of Silkroad shuts down today

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

2014 hadn't finished its bodycount yet.  More onto the pile!
On this final day of 2014, the year apparently cannot resist dragging one last body into the abyss. Legend of Silkroad's operation is ceasing as of today, following an announcement made back on December 24th. The forums and website will also be closed, so if you made friends on the boards, they've already given you alternative contact information.

The shutdown announcement cites difficulties on the developer's end, thought whether it means that the studio behind the game shut down altogether or there's simply a lack of communication is unclear. Our condolences to fans of the game affected by the shutdown; hopefully you made some good memories in the game. At least it'll be difficult for any other games to shut down in 2014.

The Transformers Universe MOBA is shutting down

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous, Transformers Universe, MOBA, Sunsets

Bad news today, folks: MOBA Transformers Universe will close before it even leaves beta as part of Jagex's and Hasbro's efforts to "realign their plans and focuses for 2015." UK developer Jagex had posted about impending layoffs for the TU team back in November, but it appears that it's really game over now:
The shutdown period will begin from today. As part of the winding down we will be refunding all those that have purchased a Founders Pack, as well as anyone that has purchased relic bundles and starter packs. These refunds should be all processed in the next 30 days. In addition we will be closing the ability for new players to make accounts, those of you that already have accounts will continue to be able to use them until the closure date. [...] We will also be pushing an update live today that will switch off the ability for players to buy any more relic packs, or starter bundles.

[O]n 31st Jan 2015 @ 10am GMT we will be shutting down all servers and forums and will freeze all Transformers Universe related accounts. These accounts will then be live for another 60 days (approx.) for any final queries before deletion on 31st March 2015. Between now and the date of closure the Jagex CM team will continue to operate on the forums and we will provide relevant updates on the website as necessary.
Jagex asks players to contact the customer services team if they have not received their refunds by January 16th. Our hearts go out to the players and developers who hoped to see the title succeed.

Warface quitting the Xbox 360 in February

MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Sunsets

Warface has a sad face, at least on the Xbox 360. Crytek announced today that it is closing its free-to-play shooter on Microsoft's last-gen console. New players will no longer be allowed, but existing players may continue to shoot each other until the February 1st closing date.

Warface isn't dead, apparently, as Crytek's statement alluded to a "vibrant community enjoying regular new content and co-op and versus action" on the PC.

Dawngate shutting down in 90 days

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, MOBA, Sunsets

We hope you haven't pinned your future MOBA hopes on Dawngate, as EA has decided to take this title out of the running completely. Dawngate, which has been in beta most of this year, said today that it will be shutting down service in 90 days and is refunding testers any money they have spent thus far.

"Today, I have the unenviable task of announcing that we've decided to stop development of Dawngate," Group General Manager Matt Bromberg posted. "Dawngate has been in beta for almost 18 months, including a full open beta for the past six months. Through that time, we've taken a lot of feedback from players and delivered lots of new features and innovations. And although the game has grown, we're not seeing the progress we'd hoped for."

You can read Massively's hands-on experience with Dawngate as well as our interview with Composer Jeff Broadbent.

The Otherland MMO has returned from the dead

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Otherland, Crowdfunding, Sunsets

It appears that the Tad Williams-inspired cyberpunk Otherland MMO has a new lease on life.

The first version of Otherland was still in production back in March 2013, when developer RealU laid off most of its staff and work on the title ground to a halt. Now it seems Drago-Entertainment, a Polish outfit, has taken over the project and its assets, having launched a new website and Facebook page earlier in October with the declaration, "Otherland the MMO is back!" Drago-Entertainment was last in MMO news in April 2013 when it, perhaps not coincidentally, canceled its Kickstarter for a Grimlands MMO in favor of working with other investors. Both games were set to be published by Gamigo at the time.

According to posts on the forums, Otherland's closed beta has not yet begun, though a registration link is prominently displayed on the website.

[Many thanks to tipster Joe.]

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Suba Games is bringing Dream of Mirror Online back

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

Now fall.
It's always sad when you lose a game that meant a lot to you. Dream of Mirror Online made a pretty big impact on a number of players, and it's been gone for a while. Yet sometimes it turns out that the game is less gone than you had previously thought, which is also the case with Dream of Mirror Online. It's coming roaring back under the aegis of Suba Games.

When? Where? How? Who can say? The team behind this unexpected revival certainly can't, as the official post states that there are no more details to be announced at this time. Still, there's a very quick trailer past the break, and if you've been missing the game, you can take some joy in the fact that it is happening after all. So isn't that enough?

[Thanks to Evan for the tip!]

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Blizzard officially cancels Titan

World of Warcraft, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

If you were holding onto hopes that Titan would be the next great thing from Blizzard, it's time to douse yourself with a cold bucket of reality. Polygon is reporting that Blizzard has officially canceled the Titan project, saying that it ultimately wasn't fun.

"We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs, so we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine," CEO Mike Morhaime commented. "And it didn't come together. We didn't find the fun. We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."

Senior Vice President Chris Metzen said that the decision was necessary as the studio goes forward: "We were losing perspective and getting lost in the weeds a little. We had to allow ourselves to take that step back and reassess why the hell we were doing that thing in the first place."

The studio didn't put out details on what Titan was going to be, except that it had "some cool hooks." Blizzard also said that it isn't going to be working on another MMO at this time, but won't rule out the possibility of a follow-up to World of Warcraft in the future. If you want to tease yourself with "what if," you can read Massively's summation of the Titan project.

Farewell to Rusty Hearts

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

Rusty Hearts
Back in August, Perfect World Entertainment announced that it planned to shut down story-driven action MMO Rusty Hearts come mid-September, and that date has now come and gone. Last night was the game's final evening, and players gathered to say farewell without much fanfare from PWE, which has not yet updated the website or forums to indicate that the game is now closed.

One forum-goer was kind enough to provide screenshots of the game's last 10 minutes, which another poster said featured "more people than the average population of the servers these days."

Farewell to you, Rusty Hearts.

[Thanks, Fakepants.]

Legend of Edda is returning September 24th

Fantasy, Launches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

it didn't work the first time, but something something second time around!
You could be completely forgiven for thinking that Legend of Edda had breathed its last when the game shut down at the beginning of this year. It was cute, but it just couldn't sustain itself. But the game is getting another lease on life starting on September 24th, when the game opens up under new publisher JC Planet. The opening will not feature any wipes or resets, apparently skipping public testing in favor of moving straight to launch.

Numerous launch events are planned, including bonuses for registering your account before the start of service and for reaching level 20 quickly after the 24th rolls around. If you'd always meant to take a look at the game but never quite managed to, you'll be getting another shot at it in just a little while, hopefully without the issues that made it shut its doors back in January.

[Thanks to Evan for the tip!]

Ragnarok Online 2 shutting down in Southeast Asia

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

Ragnarok Online 2 isn't exactly taking the world by storm as of late. Following the title's closure in Korea last year, Ragnarok Online 2 is closing its doors in Singapore and Malaysia on October 9th. There is a pretty bright spot to this story, however, as Asiasoft's version of the game will accept account transfers from affected players.

"Following the opening of Ragnarok 2's Odin Server to Philippine players last month, we are thrilled to be continuing the global expansion of Warpportal's Ragnarok Online 2 by welcoming all players from Southeast Asia regions!" Asiasoft posted.

Southeast Asian players will not be able to access their characters until October 9th, and none of their Kafra Points will make the leap over to the new server.

Rusty Hearts shutting down on September 15th

Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

rusty hearts
It's been going only for three years, but the action MMO Rusty Hearts is being brought to an early end. Perfect World Entertainment announced today that it will be ending the game's run on September 15th.

If you're not playing and were hoping to check Rusty Hearts out before it ends, you're already out of luck. PWE said that the game is no longer downloadable and won't will be accepting new ZEN deposits. It will remain playable until the 15th for current players, however, and PWE is refunding the past six months' worth of ZEN to use in the company's other titles.

"We would like to thank all the fans who helped bring life to all the characters in Rusty Hearts. Your loyalty, dedication, and countless hours crawling through dungeons is what made it all possible. Rusty Hearts was a unique experience and will be cherished forever," the studio wrote.

Wizardry Online is now... Wizardry Offline

Fantasy, Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Livestream, Wizardry Online, Sunsets

The MMO world mourned Vanguard's sunset yesterday, but as The Ancient Gaming Noob reminded us, Vanguard wasn't the only MMO SOE shuttered in July. Wizardry Online also closed its doors permanently last night, bringing to a end one of the stranger games SOE has published in its long career.

Over on the official forums, where players have been posting their goodbyes, a player named Dremlock published a video of the game's last moments. We've included it below (start at about 1:29:00 to see the final curtain call).

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The Stream Team: A final farewell to Vanguard as it sunsets

Fantasy, Screenshots, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, The Stream Team, Sunsets

It's finally here: The end of the world. And that world is Vanguard's Telon. Tonight the game sunsets, and Massively's MJ will be there to wish it a fond farewell while celebrating all that's unique about it. She'll be sharing different Vanguard memories and inviting you to do the same. On top of that, there will be an end-of-the-world party that sails from continent to continent, ending at Ahgram with the biggest barge party. Join us live at 7:00 p.m. for the two-hour final farewell.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Ultima Forever will sunset August 29th

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

Ultima Forever is unfortunately not so forever after all: EA/Mythic has just announced that its Ultima-flavored mobile MMO will be shutting down on August 29th. Forever.
Strangers, Seekers and Avatars all,

While the past year has certainly been quite the adventure – in Britannia and beyond! – that adventure is now drawing to a close, as the time has come for us to say goodbye. As of Aug 29th 2014 (11:00 AM EDT), Ultima Forever will be shutting down its online services, and will no longer be available to play.

This was a very difficult decision for us to make. We've seen the game through ups and downs, and hope that you've enjoyed playing it every bit as much as we had making it! Through it all, it's been players like you who've made it all worthwhile.
The team says that during this final month of operation, it will boost rewards and drops, halt equipment decay, and cease selling premium currency.

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