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The Daily Grind: Do you prize MMO stability?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

wow
Will your MMO be there tomorrow? How about next year? How about in five years?

As often as we consult the Massively office oracle about such matters, the answer is always, "Outlook hazy, ask later." Predicting whether or not a game is going to be around for a while yet to come isn't as easy to do, especially considering that we've witnessed a few surprise shutdowns over the past couple of years. But I've seen many gamers accept or reject the notion of playing an MMO based on how long those gamers perceives it lasting. In other words, they're trying to play the odds if they're going to sink time into a game.

I can sympathize and certainly relate. Do you do this? Is it a dealbreaker if you think an MMO is likely to go under within a few years? Is it an added incentive if a game's been around a while and probably will be around for a while yet?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Think Tank: Saying farewell to Vanguard

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Vanguard, Massively Meta, The Think Tank, Sunsets

Vanguard is being retired forever next week, and this time there won't be a studio waiting in the wings to rescue it from doom. Today, Massively's staff hopes to give it a fond farewell. Join us in sharing our thoughts about the world of Telon.

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The Stream Team: Visiting Vanguard before it's gone

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Livestream, The Stream Team, Sunsets

It's hard to see an old friend leave, so Massively's MJ is heading back into Vanguard to spend a little quality time with the title before it's gone. But don't think the visit will be all sadness and moping! There are still tons of dungeons to delve, landscapes to explore, and friends to reminisce with. Maybe there is a particular place you want to see or memories you want to share. Let us know! Join us live at 1:00 p.m. to be a part of this walk down memory lane that celebrates the world of Telon.

Game: Vanguard
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, July 19th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Age of Empires Online shuts down tomorrow

Historical, Free-to-Play, MMORTS, Sunsets

aoe
After tomorrow, Age of Empires Online will be no more. The online adaptation of the popular Microsoft RTS franchise will be shut down along with the PC Marketplace as of 7:00 p.m. EDT on July 1st.

"On July 01, 2014, Age of Empires Online will shut down permanently. We thank the loyal fans for their support and commitment and look forward to many more battles before Age of Empires Online is retired," the studio posted on Facebook last year.

This will come as a shock to no one, as Age of Empires' population decline was well-known and acknowledged by the dev team itself. The studio hasn't been developing new content for the game since January 2013.

The Daily Grind: What was your favorite Mythic memory?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

It's been a little over a week since Mythic Entertainment went out with a whimper, and as a former Warhammer Online fan, I'm still feeling a little sad about it. I appreciated the studio's enthusiasm and vision, even if I wasn't as much into PvP as some of those devs were.

But at least a couple of the studio's former charges live on -- as do our memories. So what was your favorite memory involving a Mythic game, the studio, or the dev team? Let's raise a virtual glass and give a fond toast to yesterday's tales.

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Mythic closes, 'end of an era' for former MMO studio

Fantasy, Dark Age of Camelot, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Ultima Online, Sunsets

Mythic
We saw this coming, but it doesn't make it any less regrettable: Long-time MMO studio Mythic Entertainment has been shut down by EA.

"We are closing the EA Mythic location in Fairfax, Virginia, as we concentrate mobile development in our other studio locations. We are working with all impacted employees to provide assistance in finding new opportunities, either within EA or with other companies via an upcoming job fair," EA told Kotaku.

Former Mythic lead Josh Drescher tweeted his reaction to the news: "Condolences to everyone at Mythic today. It's the end of an era, but you were all part of something amazing."

Mythic shuttered Warhammer Online last December, while Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and many Mythic developers moved over to Broadsword Online Games this past February.

Disney shutters Star Wars Attack Squadrons

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Miscellaneous, MOBA, Sunsets

Disney has just announced that Star Wars Attack Squadrons will cease operations in the wake of its closed beta test. A message on the official site reads, "We want to thank all of the fans who participated in the closed beta of Star Wars: Attack Squadrons. After much consideration, we have decided to cease development so that we can focus on other Star Wars game experiences. We truly appreciate the time you spent engaging in the beta."

The company first revealed the game in December 2013 as a Star Wars dogfighting space combat title set in pseudo-MMO-like 16-player environments.

Here's what CCP's World of Darkness looked like

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, World of Darkness, Sandbox, Sunsets

World of Darkness
CCP may have cancelled World of Darkness, but thanks to a leaker on Reddit you can get a look at some screenshots from the game as well as the lengthy manual from a March 2014 alpha playtest.

Eurogamer reports that WoD featured safe zones such as your haven and various Elysium areas near churches, but otherwise the game allowed for open PvP. CCP's take on the beloved White Wolf property also featured four clans: the Tremere, Brujah, Toreador, and Ventrue, each with different skills, abilities, and aspect buffs.

See the links below for the original Reddit post as well as the screenshot gallery and manual.

CCP is 'reviewing the status' of the World of Darkness IP

Horror, MMO Industry, World of Darkness, Sandbox, Sunsets

WoD
In the aftermath of World of Darkness' cancellation and the layoffs at its Atlanta studio, CCP said that it is taking time to "review" the White Wolf IP.

"We believe that the World of Darkness IP is very valuable and will be reviewing the status of it in the coming weeks and months, but we have no specific plans under consideration at this time," a CCP spokesperson said to CVG.

In the search to understand why World of Darkness got shuttered, players might turn to last December's financials for CCP. In these, the studio lodged a loss of $21 million for the year despite increasing revenue year-over-year. This was mostly due to a "massively increased R&D budget" that was feeding into projects such as WoD.

The Stream Team: Goodbye, Free Realms

Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Free Realms, Livestream, The Stream Team, Sunsets, MMORPG

The Stream Team: Good-bye, Free Realms
Since 2009, Free Realms has entertained children and adults with go-kart racing, playing trading card games, and of course, being a ninja. Unfortunately, even the good MMOs must end. Join Massively's Larry Everett and his son at 7:30 p.m. EDT as they take one more lap around Free Realms and maybe catch one more demolition derby.

Game: Free Realms
Host: Larry Everett
Date: Monday, March 31st, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Today's your last chance to play Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Free Realms, Kids, Clone Wars Adventures, Sunsets

Clone Wars Adventures main cast
Per SOE's announcement last January, today is your final opportunity to play its Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures MMOs. If you can't play, be sure to join Massively's Larry Everett for a farewell stream later tonight.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance to shut down on Playdom

Super-hero, Browser, Sunsets

Avengers Alliance
Playdom has announced that Marvel: Avengers Alliance will be shutting down for good on April 20th, 2014.

"Although it is a difficult decision to shut down a game," a note to the players states, "this decision will allow us to focus on building new, more engaging games."

This shutdown will affect only the Playdom version of the game, not the Facebook version. Playdom says that it will offer no refunds or credits for "virtual goods, game currency or other items purchased" once the game stops being offered on Playdom's platform.

Ten things to do in Free Realms before it's gone

Fantasy, Screenshots, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Virtual Worlds, Free Realms, Family, Guides, Sunsets

Free Realms
Free Realms is set to close down at the end of this month, and despite the fact that the game is aimed toward players much younger than I am, I'm going to miss it.

When the game first launched, my two oldest daughters and I played religiously. It was an easy way for us to interact and play together when I was away, and they spent a sizable chunk of their allowances on pets, mounts, and housing items over the years.

So I've decided to honor Free Realms with this article detailing a few things you can do in the game before it's gone forever.

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The Game Archaeologist: The care and feeding of older MMOs

Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest, Guild Wars, Meridian 59, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Free Realms, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

When an MMO has reached a certain age and dwindled to a certain player population, what do you do with it? Do you put it out to pasture, nurture it, or put it down?

With some of our older graphical MMOs approaching their 20th anniversaries, the question of what studios should do with aging titles is becoming very important. It's not just important for the games in question but as a precedent to the population of games that will one day become just as old.

Lately we've seen different studios act on this topic in a wide variety of ways, all of which I find fascinating. Some of these games have seen tragic ends, while others may be entering into the enjoyable golden years. If nothing else, it's shown me that there isn't just one set answer for this and that some devs are hoping to do the right thing by their companies and their players.

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Doctor Who Worlds in Time shutting down today

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

Doctor Who
In case you forgot, there was a Doctor Who pseudo-MMO. We say was because as of today Worlds in Time is shutting down. If this is the first you've heard of it, well, we're sorry.

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