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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.

Field Journal: A strong CoHmmunity

Super-hero, City of Heroes, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Sunsets, MMORPG, Field Journal

It can never be the same, but it can be good.
Last week a package arrived for me, sent by the incomparable Beau Hindman. He had been clearing out some of his old gaming paraphernalia, and when he happened on his old City of Heroes disks, something spurred him to offer them freely to anyone in the team who wanted them. I gratefully accepted. Ever since they arrived, they've dominated my thoughts, despite some highly dramatic events in the time since, weighty and uplifting alike. It's a game that just keeps inspiring acts of generosity and kindness.

I started playing CoH on the very day it went free-to-play, but it struck a chord with me nearly instantly. I soon found it had an amazing community on top of everything the developers were responsible for, and that's when I fell in love. It went from "that old game probably no one plays anymore" to "the best MMO I have ever played" to "the cancellation that broke my heart" in all too short a time. Fortunately, the example set by the incredible community and its determination to carry the torch helped to mend my coronary fractures. As much as there is to learn from all aspects of MMOs, the single most important element will always be community. I can think of no finer example to look to than CoH.

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The Stream Team: Rockin' it out in Free Realms

Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Free Realms, Kids, Livestream, The Stream Team, Sunsets

The Stream Team: Rockin' it out in Free Realms
Massively's Larry Everett and his son Zach want to get some time into Free Realms before it shuts down. Join them at 7:00 p.m. EST as they tour their favorite places and play their favorite minigames in SOE's kid-focused MMORPG. Hop in the game with them if you'd like; maybe they can get a full demolition derby team together!

Game: Free Realms
Host: Larry Everett
Date: Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Lord of Ultima shutting down in May

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, MMORTS, Sunsets

Lord of Ultima shutting down in May
The land of Caledonia will soon be swallowed up by the sea of game closures. On Monday, May 12th at 2:00 a.m. EST, Lord of Ultima services will be stopped permanently. Announcing the closure, the developers of Lord of Ultima thanked players for their continued support over the years. Starting now, the ability to buy Play4Free Funds is disabled, but players who currently have the in-game currency are encouraged to spend it before the shutdown. New account creation has also been disabled; those who are already in the game, however, can continue their quest to be one of the final lords ruling over the land.

[Thanks to all who sent in tips!]

Some Assembly Required: Your home is your castle on Vanguard's Thestra

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Some Assembly Required, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Sunsets

Some Assembly Required:  Your home is your castle on Vanguard's Thestra
In a painful twist of fate, this week's scheduled Some Assembly Required wraps up the trilogy on Vanguard: Saga of Heroes housing that began with my first piece for this column highlighting Kojani homes way back in 2011. I say painful because we now know that Vanguard will be closing its doors forever come July 31st. But that leaves us six more months to enjoy what's there, and since we've already seen the oriental homes of Kojan and the desert dwellings of Qalia, it's time to take a tour of Thestra.

The European-flavored continent was the final of the three to visit not because it is somehow less than the other two but because it is more -- as in more land to cover! The main reason I left Thestra for last is because of the sheer size of the continent. The amount of time required to visit just a fraction of the housing settlements scattered throughout this land is daunting. The other reason is that I wanted to end on a bang with my favorite style of guild housing: the castles!

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Field Journal: Making peace with Vanguard

Fantasy, Lore, PvE, Opinion, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Roleplaying, Sunsets, MMORPG, Field Journal

Always, I wanna chat with you, and make a pact with you, and live in diplomacy! Diplomacy! Oh mobs!
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is a weird game. It seems almost purposefully to have been designed to turn away players before they can get a chance to see any of the good in it. Although I've tried it before, I've only recently been able to find some of that good, much to my even more recent dismay.

One of those good things I've found is the Diplomacy system. There's nothing revolutionary about it, but it is a solid and interesting minigame that stands apart from anything most MMOs offer. It's more than just a minigame, though; it's integrated with other systems to create a distinct and worthwhile approach to playing the game apart from adventuring. What makes a simple, card-based tug-of-war all that? I'll try to explain.

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MMO Week in Review: Quadruple sunsets

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

Vanguard
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

With less than a week to go before the presumptive launch of EverQuest Next Landmark's alpha, SOE dropped a bomb on its core fans with the news that the studio will be shuttering four of its MMOs, making its all-access pass that much more unattractive. Vanguard, Wizardry Online, Free Realms, and Clone Wars Adventures are all slated for execution in the coming months. SOE CEO John Smedley told Reddit followers that he believed his company has "watered down [its] gaming a little too much" and "no longer [had] the resources to dedicate" to keeping the games secure and in-sync with SOE's overall gaming platform. He also promised Star Wars Galaxies fans, still smarting from their own sunset two years ago, that SOE's next (unannounced) game is dedicated to them.

Massively's MJ made her farewells to Vanguard in yesterday's column, but stay tuned for more sunset coverage from our team. And in the meantime, read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories. Most of them are happy, even.

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Norrathian Notebook: Saying goodbye to EQ 2.5 aka Vanguard

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Opinion, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Sunsets, Norrathian Notebook

Norrathian Notebook:  Saying goodbye to EQ 2.5 aka Vanguard
No, your eyes are not deceiving you: The title and picture do both say Vanguard. Although I had other thoughts poised on the end of my pen for today, they've all been scattered to the winds by the unexpected announcement of the closing of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. In fact, I really can't seem to think of anything else right now, so I am giving up trying and giving in to my Telon thoughts. Besides, ruminating on this topic in Norrathian Notebook is not as far-fetched as you might think. Vanguard's world may be Telon instead of Norrath, but there is a special connection between the realms; there are those who have called Vanguard the true successor to the original EverQuest game. And it is from that vantage that I take this time to look back on what was, enjoy what is (while I can), and mourn for what could have been.

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SOE shuttering Vanguard, Clone Wars, Free Realms, and Wizardry [Updated]

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Free Realms, Wizardry Online, Sunsets

SOE logo
SOE is closing down four of its MMOs. Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures and Free Realms will close on March 31st. Vanguard and Wizardry Online will bow out on July 31st.

"At Sony Online Entertainment, we are always evaluating our portfolio to ensure we're providing players with the best gameplay experiences," the company said via press release. "At times, as part of this commitment, we have to make the difficult decision to sunset a game so we can refocus our resources on other areas in the best interest of our company and player community."

SOE CEO John Smedley will be fielding questions on Reddit at 6:00 p.m. EST. We'll update you with the link when it's live.

[Update]: Smedley's Reddit AMA

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