Friday, 4 April 2014

Question Time: How would you end an MMO?

Most of the time we read about how MMO's are going and what stuff they can do better. Well, what about shutting down? Alas that is a function that happens sooner or later to many of our online games. If you were in charge of one such game, an MMORPG in this instance, what would you do? Would you add more events or celebrations leading up to the final hour? Spawn enemies in safe zones as the time draws to an end? Unlock all the zones for people to visit (if your game has that sort of thing)?

Perhaps let loose a big blue demon to eat everyone?

Or would you simply switch off the box at the alloted time and think nothing more of it? I thought that this was the path SOE was going to take with its four sunset games, but, in Wizardry Online at least, thanks to player and GM cooperation they still manage to pull off some pretty cool events: another example of good user generated "content". I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, and how you would go about as a player and/or an owner of an MMO during its end days.


  1. I would try to ensure that people who bought the game, can still access it after the servers are shut down. Although it would be offline, they would be alone in the world and all the operations would be done on their own machines, they could still play it. I think that this is much better than trying to put a brave face and entertain people in the last hours of your game.

    1. That's a path I didn't even think of, and one of the best ones I would think! Thank you for replying Astalnar. :)

    2. Back in the dim mists of time (about 2001-2003) there was an unauthorized 3rd party program called ZoneViewer that allowed you to do just this with EQ. The world was empty, of course, because mobs and NPCs are all controlled server-side, but you could explore Norrath even without an internet connection.

      Or so I read. I never had a copy of ZoneViewer. When SOE desecrated Freeport many years later I decided I wanted one so I could go back to the old version of Freeport and take some screenshots. I've been looking for a download link ever since, but with no success.

      Big software houses are understandably wary of relaxing their grip on their IPs so I accept that we won't see the full source code for many MMOs released into the community the way Ryzom was, but I don't think it would be beyond them to put together some kind of official solo/co-op play package using the existing assets.

    3. And of course, having just written that reply, out of curiosity I googled ZoneViewer again, just like I have a dozen times without success, and lo and behold, up pops a live link!.

      Now I just have to move it onto another PC that's not connected to the internet, re-install EQ from the original discs, and Bob, we hope, is my uncle!