DUST 514 Will Shut Down In May


CCP Games has announced that their console shooter DUST 514 will be shutting down later this year. Initially launched on the Playstation 3 in 2013, DUST never really caught on with either the Eve Online community or the console community. The idea was pretty unique, players in DUST would form corporations that would fight over territory control on planets in the Eve universe, contracted by players in the MMO. Unfortunately the game failed to catch on with shooter fans, who had numerous other well-established console shooters, and Eve players who heavily criticized the game only being available on consoles.

We are very proud of what we’ve learned and accomplished with DUST 514 on PlayStation 3 over the past three years and it is an honor to be a part of such a dedicated community. We consider DUST 514 one of the best free-to-play offerings on the platform, but the years have caught up with us. It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that DUST 514 will be shutting down on May 30th, 2016.

The forum post announcing the sunsetting also mentions a new PC shooter set in the Eve universe, to be given more detail at Eve Fanfest in April. The most loyal DUST players can expect some sort of recognition when this game comes around.

(Source: DUST 514)

Soldier Front 2: Highly Reviewed, On Steam, Also Defunct


Soldier Front 2 is one of many free to play first person shooters on Steam and, if you’re anything like me, you may have stumbled upon it while browsing your recommended queue during the holiday sale. It may have even caught your eye, being a free to play shooter with a “very positive” community rating, and you may have downloaded it only to find that the game doesn’t launch. Instead, you get an error mentioning issues connecting to the server.

You see, Soldier Front 2 shut down months ago, yet the game is still available to download from Steam. The store page for SF2 no longer lists extra DLC packs, however they are still available for purchase for anyone unlucky enough to stumble upon and ignorant enough to buy without attempting to launch the game first. And should anyone get that far down the rabbit hole, the booster-nature of the DLC packs means that they are all ineligible for a refund.

(Source: Steam)

MMO Fallout Says Goodbye To 2015’s Dearly Departed


2015 is over and that means paying respect to the recently departed, games with no servers and developers without jobs. While the year brought with it plenty of new games, it also marked the end of others and whether or not those games continue to live on through unofficial, community-run private servers is another story.

Let’s reminisce on a few of them.

1. Face of Mankind

Seeing games like Face of Mankind never become truly popular and then die out due to the venom of its own design is disappointing, but alas 2015 was the year that the crowd funded reboot to the sandbox title was finally put to rest and given its proper burial: Six feet under. In theory, it was a great idea: Factions made up entirely of players that would function as a working society with police, miners, terrorists, etc. In practice, however, the game quickly devolved into a free for all deathmatch with no limit to the drama of “you broke the ceasefire,” “no you broke it first” on the forums.

Games like this tend to work, in theory, until you enter the troll factor and compensate for the idea that player vs player deathmatch is the easiest form of emergent gameplay in a sandbox environment. Combine it with a system that both allows players to endlessly respawn and try to take out as many people as they can before they are killed, and the inability of players tasked with enforcing the peace to have any real stopping power, and you have a title that new players could log into, find little more than random grenade spam, and subsequently log out and uninstall.

Ultimately, Face of Mankind was an old game with a niche audience. Not even Steam could change that.

2. Dragon’s Prophet (North America)

This is one of a few on our list this year that shut down not due to the game itself but because of the publisher. Dragon’s Prophet is still alive and not-exactly kicking in Europe and Asia, however when Sony Online Entertainment transitioned into Daybreak Game Company and refused to place Dragon’s Prophet on the All Access list, it was pretty obvious that the publisher was looking to cut ties. As part of its cost cutting measures, Daybreak brought everything in house, laid off a bunch of employees, and fired Storybricks. Later on we learned that the two companies would be cutting ties and that Dragon’s Prophet would be shutting down in North America.

So by that measure, Dragon’s Prophet is the only one of this list that can still be played in an official capacity. Creating an account and playing on the European servers is feasible and, in my experience, doesn’t come with any lag.

3. RaiderZ

Again, a victim of corporate play. In this case, Perfect World Entertainment was unable to do anything with the game due to the closure of the game’s developer MAIET. Rather than go through the process of hiring another studio or bringing some people on board to continue development, costs that would have likely outweighed any potential income that the game might receive due to the extra attention, Perfect World decided to call it a day and shut the game down.

As far its library was concerned, Perfect World had a lot higher quality games to invest its money into rather than pouring it into what was an enjoyable but otherwise generic Korean import with a lot of grind and not a big audience. At least they had the decency to reimburse players who’d spent money on it.

4. Archlord 2

If you haven’t noticed, this list every year has a majority stake of Korean imports, and is also severely incomplete. If I took the time to track down every MMO imported from China or Korea that shut down months after launch, I’d have to start this list in January and there would probably be closer to 100 titles. If I included every MMO in China and Korea that shut down this year, it’d probably be closer to a thousand. So instead, I keep the list confined to the games that were released westward, noteworthy enough to be covered here and on other major western gaming websites, meaning you won’t see any one of the numerous titles that R2 Games or Steparu quietly launched and just as quietly shut down.

So while Dragon’s Prophet is the result of publisher bailout and RaiderZ is the victim of developer absence, Archlord 2 went down due to the simple lack of community interest. We knew this was going to be an issue back when the game was still bound to Korea and was already merging servers during beta with players still having trouble forming public groups. The game wasn’t well received in Korea and it wasn’t well received here. Before they had the chance to bury Archlord, its successor was already on its death bed.

5. Transformers Universe

Not an MMO, but worthy of mention because it is Jagex and this is a game that I had marginally more optimism for than their usual new game announcements. The idea of Jagex working on a game based on a third party IP, ideally, meant that there would be an outside force pushing and prodding and ensuring that the game was being developed efficiently and without the waffling that usually ends up delaying and tanking Jagex’s other projects. Ultimately, however, it seems that the addition of a second player just meant one more hand to pull the plug.

But Transformers Universe is a perfect example of a popular game killer, when a title sees a dramatic turn in development focus and jumps genres halfway through development (or in this case less than a year before it was initially supposed to launch), forcing the team to scramble to effectively start over while still driving toward that initial launch date. It’s like being assigned to cook a lasagna with the expectation that it will be done before noon, only to be told at 11:30 when it’s already in the oven that instead the task is to make bolognese. You’ll get it done, late, and it won’t be as good as making it from scratch because all you have is the ingredients for lasagna, plus some half cooked lasagna, and some stuff left over in the cabinet.

6. Infinite Crisis

Again, not an MMO, but noteworthy regardless. Similar to Transformers Universe, the demise of Infinite Crisis is an important reminder on two fronts: First, that the MOBA market is saturated to the point where your game has to be something special or noteworthy on a design or monetary level in order to maintain the healthy userbase required to keep it going. Second, that big IPs mean absolutely nothing in the ‘games as a service’ genres of MOBA and MMO where you rely on long term revenue rather than the first month.

I wrote an editorial at the time of Infinite Crisis shutting down and its bullet points are still applicable today, probably even more so.

Archlord 2 Shutting Down


Webzen has announced the impending sunsetting of Archlord 2. The servers for the PVP-centric MMO will shut down in approximately two months, on November 24th. Archlord 2 initially launched in 2014, giving it a much shorter run than its predecessor which ran from 2005 until 2014. The sequel was heavily criticized during beta for poor server performance, bugs, and a heavy emphasis on pay to win cash shop mechanics.

Players are not fully without recourse, however, as plans to reimburse Wcoin spent since April are under way.

Depending on the amount of Wcoin spent, players will be reimbursed up to 100% of the Wcoin they spent during the last 6 months of Archlord 2, going back to April 1st 2015. The Wcoin reimbursement is currently scheduled to be completed by October 7th 2015.

To send players off in style, Webzen will be running game-wide buffs as well as reducing the cost of the cash shop goods to 0. These changes take place after Tuesday’s maintenance.

(Source: Webzen)

Because We Missed It: FEAR Online Is Already Dead


F.E.A.R Online is a free to play game set in the world of First Encounter Assault Recon, a horror franchise best known for introducing the world to Alma, a scary demon girl who comes back from the dead to seek revenge on those who caused harm to her. If you haven’t heard of the free to play game, it’s probably because Aeria Games didn’t do much in the form of publicizing its release. So little, in fact, that nobody took much notice to the fact that the game’s been down for a few months now.

Yep, FEAR Online shut down on May 13th, giving the game a life span of about seven months, having launched in October the previous year. I gave the game a look and found it to be a decent online shooter with dated graphics, based on a dated engine, with expensive cash shop items.

(Source: Steam)

RaiderZ Getting Shut Down In August


When I interviewed Perfect World Entertainment back in 2013, we were assured that despite servers shutting down in Europe and Korea, that business would continue as usual. That business, I assume was solely predicated on the continuing survival of MAIET Entertainment, the game’s developer. Well MAIET Entertainment as a company is dead and buried, and unfortunately that has lead to issues cropping up in the game that cannot be fixed.

As a result, Perfect World Entertainment has announced that the servers will go dark next month.

We have significant news to share regarding RaiderZ. Over the past weeks, RaiderZ has seen a few different instances where the game has had issues with the server. In the past, we have been working with MAIET, the developer of RaiderZ, in order to troubleshoot and solve issues to keep the game available for the players. Unfortunately, MAIET is no longer operating anymore.

Back in 2013, PWE expressed interest to me in a license similar to that of Neowiz in Japan, who were creating their own content. Whether that would have permitted the publisher to keep going should MAIET go out of business is unknown, especially since the Japanese server shut down earlier this year in March.

From my interview:

That’s a great question, but it’s not something that we’ve considered at this point. We’ve heard great things out of Japan, and are always open to new opportunities in order to ensure the continued success of the game, and making a positive experience for the players.

(Source: Perfect World Entertainment)

Lord of the Rings Online Says Dasvidaniya To Russia


Russian gamers will be sad to learn that the local Lord of the Rings Online servers will be shutting down on June 1st. Mail.ru, the publisher of Lord of the Rings in Russia, was either unable or unwilling to renew their license with Warner Bros. and as a result the service is coming to an end. To end the game on a high note, players will be able to visit a tavern where they can level up and obtain equipment, talents, and more.

In addition, everything in the cash shop has had its price reduced to one mark, although new player registration and adding money to accounts has already been disabled. Mail.ru is planning on offering bonuses for several of their other games: Allods Online, Perfect World, and Dragon Nest.

(Source: www.lotro-russia.com)

Storybricks Closing Down


Storybricks, the developer behind the AI platform created for Everquest Next, is no more. Last month we learned that Storybricks and Sony Online Entertainment were parting ways, a severance that CEO Rodolfo Rosini now states is of no fault of SOE’s.

It was our own decision and Sony Online Entertainment (now Daybreak Games) bears no fault for it. Sony Online Entertainment had been up for sale for a long time so our exit had no connection with the Columbus Nova acquisition.

Plans to sell the Storybricks tech went sour after a buyer was unable to be found and everyone involved is now working at other companies. Rosini still wants the AI platform to be widely available, and is planning on releasing a few side projects unrelated to Everquest Next in the hopes that those dreams can be realized.

At one point, Storybricks even attempted to buy Sony Online Entertainment, but the deal fell through with Sony Japan due to questionable terms.

Make no mistake the company needed cuts badly, and we would have cut and cut deeply. Possibly as deep as Columbus Nova did but maybe we would have cut more senior management and less game developers instead. It was our intention to try to acquire the 38 Studios assets and made them available to players in EQN. Moreover we would have probably changed the server infrastructure allowing people to run their own servers. It would not have been a very canonical EverQuest but we would have done the best to service our customers with the limited budget of an independent studio who wanted to punch above its weight.

(Source: Storybricks Email)

It’s Official: Massively Is Shutting Down


I owe a lot to Massively and the Joystiq network, seeing as they are one of the bigger news websites to regularly share my content with a wider audience, so it’s sad to see that they will be shutting down on February 3rd. With the small number of mainstream MMO news websites, Massively was the top source for news for myself and likely many of you. It was nice to see a big company like AOL funding the Joystiq network.

The decision, it appears, came from the top echelon of AOL.

We all suspected this was coming eventually a year ago when a VP whose name I don’t even know and who never read our site chose to reward our staggering, hard-won 40% year-over-year page view growth by… hacking our budget in half.

The post hints at the possibility of the Massively team striking out and self-funding their next endeavor. We wish them the best of luck, and by we I mean me.

(Source: Massively)

Transformers Universe Shutting Down January 2015


Jagex has announced that the servers for MOBA Transformers Universe will shut down on January 31st, 2015. The decision was made mutually between the UK developer and Hasbro, and comes on the hilt of both companies realigning their focus for the year ahead.

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.

Players who do not receive refunds after January 16th should email customer support.

(Source: Transformers Universe)

%d bloggers like this: