Dragon’s Prophet Shutting Down In November


North American players will no longer have access to Dragon’s Prophet after November 16th, as Daybreak has announced that the service will be coming to an end. While the game will still be available in Europe and Asia, there are no plans to allow players to transfer their characters over to these other publishers. In the announcement, Daybreak thanked the community for their support.

We are extremely grateful to all the Dragon’s Prophet community members and appreciate the support we’ve received from each and every one of you. We plan to make additional seasonal content and items available during the final weeks of the game and hope you enjoy them.

If you look back at the past year or so, the signs of the demise of Dragon’s Prophet are likely written on the walls. Dragon’s Prophet was suspiciously left out of the Daybreak All Access pass, leading many to speculate that Daybreak would ultimately be parting ways with Runewaker.

(Source: Dragon’s Prophet)

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)

Top 5: Lessons We Should Learn From Infinite Crisis


This week Turbine Entertainment announced that Infinite Crisis is shutting down, news that shouldn’t have really been a big surprise given the game’s extended development period, stretched out beta, lack of promotion, and how Turbine was throwing $50 cash packs in with Nvidia graphics cards.

Infinite Crisis isn’t the only game I’m going to talk about here, so just imagine the title was “Lessons We Should Learn From The MOBA Industry”

1. Developers Face A Steep Uphill Climb

If earning a seat at the MMO table is about as hard as getting a reservation at Rao’s in New York City, then the MOBA industry is right up there with a gig at Carnegie Hall. There are a few dozen MOBAs on the market right now, only a small handful of which will dominate the rest while the industry graveyard continues to branch out and buy up more land for the recently deceased. We talk a lot here about how World of Warcraft clones fail because, for the most part, players aren’t willing to forego the time and money spent leveling their characters to go do the same thing over again.

The MOBA genre, with its hyper-competitive nature, has a lot of shortcomings that can kill it early. You’re going up against companies with established communities, years of work balancing each individual hero, and thriving eSports scene. In order to break into the industry, it seems that companies either need to bring something different to the table (ala Smite), be backed by a company with a massive community (ala Dota 2) or to have gotten into the industry at an early age (League of Legends/Heroes of Newerth).

2. Big IPs Still Mean Squat In Gaming

Isn’t it fitting that, out of all of the MOBAs, the ones that crashed and shut down happen to be based on very popular properties? Warhammer is a franchise that spans tabletop games, pen and paper role playing, video games, novels, and more, and yet none of that mattered when the MMO toppled and the MOBA couldn’t sustain itself through beta. The same goes for Transformers Universe, a popular IP with the backing of an established developer with a massive customer base.

Even Guardians of Middle Earth, with all the power of the Lord of the Rings, couldn’t avoid being critically panned (22% approval on Steam) with presently deserted servers on PC. The game came and went on PS3 so quietly that even Warner Bros. didn’t notice to update its website to stop directing people to buy the PS3 version on Amazon, or even acknowledge the game’s existence on PC. According to Steam Charts, Guardians of Middle Earth has a 30 day peak of 19 players on Steam.

3. The Perpetual Beta Is Tired And Pointless

The idea that a game should receive more lenient coverage when in beta became a thing of the past when developers started fully charging for products that were still in beta, and it would be irresponsible to not acknowledge this when MMOs/MOBAs are shutting down without ever launching, and many don’t even offer some form of refund to the customers that went out on a limb and spent their hard earned money to fund an unfinished project.

And while the unfinished state of the game is a great excuse to deflect criticism when reviewers tell you not to spend money, Turbine apparently has no problem using beta time played to justify denying a refund to their founders, which is the exact sentiment given by Turbine’s Community Manager.

That’s mostly it. Because Founders got to play for 2+ years, you guys were well outside our refund window. We really do thank you for supporting the game, as it was your support that kept us going. Make no mistake about that. But, they guys who just bought their elite pack or starter pack from Steam, they didn’t get to play for as long as you guys.

4. The MOBA Genre Is In The Middle Of A Soft Crash

Right now the genre is in a position where developers are looking at the success of the likes of League and Dota and saying to themselves “I can do that too.” What we’ve wound up with is three major players (League, Dota, and SMITE in that order) and a whole lot of stragglers. This isn’t the case of the MMO industry where we have one game to rule them all and a ton of other companies making much smaller, but still livable incomes. The MOBAs that are down on the bottom of the list are struggling to remain relevant, in a genre that is heavily favoring those few at the top.

Compare the 30 day peak of Infinite Crisis to Dota2 on Steam: 1,557 to 967,674. Or Super Monday Night Combat (152), or Demigod (27), or Guardians of Middle Earth (13).

5. Fully Funded Betas Are Still A Bad Place For Your Money

Paid betas have taken on one of the worst attitudes and practices by developers, as repeated by Turbine’s community manager. Developers like Turbine have no problem selling a beta as though it is a finished product, ending character wipes, opening up a fully functional cash shop, and pulling hundreds of dollars out of players, yet when push comes to shove and people start giving the game negative reviews because of bugs or unfinished features, they turn around and claim that it’s unfair because the game is not released and not a finished product.

And when games like Infinite Crisis shut down after a prolonged beta and short launch? Well then it’s considered a full experience, and when pushed on a refund? Deny the entire concept of a finished game.

I know some of you feel as though you only had a small amount of time to play a “finished” game, but Infinite Crisis is a game that was built to consistently change. Even after launch we were still going to produce new champions, add new features, and continue iterating the game as we went forward. As we posted during our launch announcement, launch was never going to be a stopping point in the eyes of our development cycle. We’re an online game, and we’ve changed a lot (and changed for the better) over the last two years.

Turbine’s CM knows as well as you or I do what the players mean by “finished,” that being when the game sheds its beta tags, but you have to hand it to Turbine. Infinite Crisis was finished enough to open up the cash shop, not finished enough to review as a final product, and when it shut down right after launch? Well what exactly does “finished” mean, really? Hold two sides of the same coin, and then deny that the coin exists.

We understand when indie developers can’t finish a game because it’s a couple of guys working out of a motel/office funding the game partially out of pocket and partially through donations/pledges. A company like Turbine, on the IP of DC Comics and the backing of a corporate hulk like Warner Bros. shouldn’t be dropping development of a game because it wasn’t making enough money during beta.

It’s PR spin, and people aren’t going to fall for it. Infinite Crisis shutting down right after launch is bad enough as it is, bridges will be burned and customers will be lost, it’s an unfortunate part of business. But burning founders can damage a brand, in the case Turbine’s future ability to put a game out in beta and ask people to join in early to fund you, as people will look back to when Infinite Crisis shut down and see that while those who jumped in late were refunded, the people who were there from the beginning were told “oh well, too bad.”

I feel that this is a bad sign for Turbine overall.

NCSoft Shuts Down Project HON


NCSoft Korea has shut down development of Project HON, allegedly due to a perceived lack of interest in giant mech games in the local market. Project HON is being shelved to allow NCSoft to focus on its other titles, including the upcoming launch of Lineage Eternal and further growth of Blade & Soul in foreign markets.

Project HON came up earlier this year when three employees were fired for embezzling funds.

(Source: Steparu)

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)

Final Fantasy XI Shutting Down On PS2/360


Square Enix’s Thursday Livestream has come and gone, and the announcements were not all great. Square unveiled the Vana’Diel Project, a three part strategy to continue support for the aging MMO. The first part, unfortunately, involves ending content updates. Following a three chapter scenario aimed for launch in May, August, and November, Final Fantasy XI will cease to receive content updates.

FINAL FANTASY XI’s major version updates will conclude with the implementation of the final chapter of Rhapsodies of Vana’diel, but there will continue to be minor version updates that address bugs and contain various balance adjustments.

Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 users will be sad to hear that services for those platforms will end in March 2016. Final Fantasy XI will be ported to be playable on mobile devices, alongside the launch of a mobile RPG in 2016.

(Source: FFXI)

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)

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)

Update: Microsoft To Blame For Warface Shuttering


Following up on the announcement that Warface would be shutting down its Xbox 360 services, Crytek has come forward to finger Microsoft as the culprit. A representative of Crytek told Game Informer in a statement that the decision to shut the servers down was made by Microsoft, acting publisher of Warface on the Xbox.

“With Microsoft acting as publisher for Warface on Xbox 360, we are bound by their decision to phase out the game on their console.”

The Warface server officially shuts down in February. The PC service remains unaffected.

(Source: Game Informer)

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