Just as I’m talking about the battle over the future of Dungeons and Dragons online, here comes news from another sector of the internet: Codemasters has lost their rights to operate the MMO Archlord in the United States and Europe. Instead, the servers will shut down on October 1st, only to be reopened a couple days later by the new host, Webzen.
As far as MMOs go, Archlord in the west was the MMO that never was, isn’t, and never will be. The game by itself received unfavorable reviews, with Gamespot summing it up in two words: Dull and repetitive. The title was smashed for its countless hours of dull grind, with little reward, in a world that often seemed to be populated only by yourself. It isn’t any surprise that it took only ten months after release for Archlord to ditch the subscription rate, and go completely free to play, ala Guild Wars. Nowadays Archlord is described as “empty and full of bots.”
What caught my attention was, in every location I found discussion on Archlord, the discussion regularly turned to one factor: Corruption from Codemasters. Shady bans and a response along the lines you would expect from your local Wal Mart or Mcdonalds. Players being conveniently banned after spending large sums of cash on the in-game currency (Archlord kept its microtransaction service), and more. According to some of my sources, this activity is almost a mirror image of RF Online, another MMO published by Codemasters in the west.
This may not be the end for Codemasters driving MMOs into the ground. According to several of my sources, Turbine is looking to bring their MMOs home, meaning Codemasters may lose its European publishing rights to Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online.
If you have any dealings with Codemasters on LOTRO, DDO, RF Online, or the soon to be murdered and then resurrected Archlord, please drop us a comment.