Playing MMORPGs is a personal thing. PCs and gaming laptops have lived and died through various adventures in their respective owners MMORPG experiences. All the adventures, all the stories, all the loot. Players dedicate long periods of time to make their characters; others reach years in building up who they are in the world that they play.
So, you can imagine that nothing breaks the heart of any dedicated MMORPG more than their game shutting down for the last time. It’s not only heartbreaking, but it’s also gut-wrenching. A lot of players from closed games still talk about their character and adventures to this day, like how one speaks of a lost friend.
Let’s take a look back at the amazing games that are gone but not forgotten.
Tabula Rasa (2007-2009)
This game was meant to reach great heights. Tabula Rasa was created by Richard Garriott (the man behind the iconic Ultima series and producer of City of Heroes). That alone made a lot of people interested in the project. It wanted to set itself apart by eschewing the standard MMORPG idea of endless swarms of enemies respawning and replacing it with dynamic war zones that would change based on the decisions and presence of players. The last update even lets the players use mechs to fight til the last day.
Tabula Rasa continued for two years. Problems plagued the game. The game had a hard time appealing to the Asian market. Technical issues were bogging it down. And finally, the growing tension between the publisher, NCSoft, and Richard Garriott that ended in litigation. It got messy towards the end.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (2008-2013)
This game was the dream of thousands of fans of the tabletop game and the lore. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (or WAR) had giants in their industry behind it. Games Workshop, for owning the license, providing the story and making all the artwork. Mythic Entertainment, on the other hand, brought in their experience in MMO with their success with the Dark Age of Camelot MMO. And EA was backing the whole thing.
When it first came out, people were claiming that it will dethrone the king of MMORPGs that time (World of Warcraft, WoW). Unlike WOW, which is still alive and kicking, WAR would shut down the game five years since it came out. When the time came for Games Workshop to renew the licensing agreement with EA, they decided to pass up on it.
The Matrix Online (2005-2009)
The Matrix Online MMORPG was a mixed bag of good and bad. The game was perfect for roleplayers as it generated events that made the players enmeshed into the seams of the game’s ongoing storyline. Every month, a new update would come out; updates inspired by what the players did in the month past. Some hardy guilds were even honored in the game’s lore for their dedication in the events.
That said, the game had a clunky combat system. It was terribly flawed but unique enough to be different. The Monolith developers tried their best to capture the Matrix experience, even with the lack of technology for it at the time.
The game would shut down due to only being a moderate success, not a stellar one. The developers promised the players a last hurrah in the form of giving them superpowers to play around with until the last moment. Unfortunately, the added superpowers was a burden for the system. It caused the anti-climactic but somehow thematic system lag that fizzled out the game to the end.
Final Fantasy XIV (2010-2012)
Final Fantasy XIV is the Rocky of MMORPGs. It was hailed as the next generation of MMORPGs with its then-advanced graphics and deep customization; it was also the spiritual sequel to Final Fantasy XI. It had a lot riding on it. The game was so poorly and universally panned that it damaged the reputation of Square Enix.
Square Enix shut the game down and remade it Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The new game is a great game. Imagine how bad the reception was the first game, the opposite held true for Realm Reborn. Making an incredible comeback and revitalizing the whole franchise almost immediately.
Star Wars Galaxies (2003-2011)
If there was one game that exemplified what an MMORPG could do, outside of combat, it was Star Wars Galaxies. There was so much one person could do in the game. You could run a city populated with players. You can be a geneticist that make creatures of your design. Even flying through space as a starfighter pilot. The game was also founded on interpersonal relations between other players. People have built lasting friendships because of this game. The in-game community became its most attractive feature.
What killed the game was the unusual decision to remove the unique professions that added to the experience of the game. The game also had a lot of its system simplified. Even dumbed down, according to long-time players.
If you’re playing an MMORPG, it’s almost sure that you love your main character as you would the best gaming laptop or PC ever. So cherish and enjoy that character while you can. You never know when the game might suddenly have to close down.