Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Of Endings and Beginnings

I used to make you happy once upon a time. . .
~Bernie Taupin, "Mendocino County Line"
First, a semantics lesson. In Middle and Modern English, "Apocalypse" has primarily been understood to mean something like "the end of the world." But it comes from the Greek title for the last book of the New Testament, which gives the clue to another meaning: "a revealing."
They were given power to kill MMOs via trolling, nerdrage, apathy, and budgets.
Yesterday, Massively broke the news that Sony Online Entertainment has announced the closure of not just one, but four underperforming MMOs: Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, Free Realms (end date for both: 31 March), Vanguard, and Wizardry Online (31 July for both). Later in the day, SOE president John Smedley, got on Reddit to try to assuage the concerns of fans and gamers.

My fellow bloggers, Syp and Harbinger Zero have offered perspectives. But the most wrenching I have read is from Bhagpuss, as he describes what it was like to watch the lights go out on the EverQuest II beta. While Bhagpuss points out that he started playing the launch version of EQ2, it was bittersweet. He would never return to his former character, or his home in Baubleshire.
"I waited out the apocalypse, alone with my cat. There he is . . . just a few seconds before oblivion claimed us both."~Bhagpuss
I can't believe I'm actually crying right now, myself. I once watched a video of the last minutes of Star Wars Galaxies, that was cleared away apparently to make room for SWTOR. I cried then, too.

The ephemeral nature of the games we play has been a running theme of this blog of late. Unlike movies or books—or even offline games—that we can go back and experience again, the worlds of our favorite MMOs only there for as long as they keep the servers going. Life is full of endings. And we feel the loss. I talk a lot about the business side of MMOs. Unfortunately, business concerns are behind many, if not all of the decisions that affect our games. Business is cold, hard; but our hearts are warm and tender. If we are lucky, much like the Apocalypse of the Bible, the SOE-pocalypse will mean not only the tribulant end of an era, but also the beginning of a glorious new one.

Treasure your experiences, for all too soon they will only be memories. Now, if you are near your significant other, your child or your pet, gather them in your arms and tell them you love them for me. For I am far from all of mine.
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  1. Thanks, Rowan. The last hours in EQ2beta were strange. I've been in a lot of betas but I can't remember feeling that way any other time. When the Vanguard beta ended, for example, I just couldn't wait to get started on a permanent character - there was no sense of anything being lost.

    All things must come to an end and Vanguard has had a longer run than many ever thought it would back in those rocky early days. The internet has a long memory so there should be no shortage of reminders but of course nothing will ever feel quite like "being" there.

    1. Do you think your experiences in more recent betas are colored by your experience with EQ2? For example, have you not allowed yourself to become attached to beta characters?