Death of a Virtual World

Zyngor | Sunday, August 03, 2014
I just got through reading Roger's When MMOs Die post, and it made me think about my own experience with MMOs. While I'd consider myself fairly casual in my gameplay style, my current allotment of time I put into some may toss me into that "casual hardcore" pile. I may not put too much actual $$$ into my gaming habits, but that doesn't stop me from trying to suck as much of the content (that I enjoy) from an MMO.

Take LOTRO for example. I started playing the game about a month after the game transitioned to a free-
to-play (F2P) mode in fall of 2010. A couple months later, after getting the basic handle of the game, I decided to join a kinship (the game's version of a guild). This provided me the opportunity to meet a whole new group of people, several of which I still keep in contact with either in game or via voice server.

Naturally, times changed a bit. At one point, some kin drama erupted, severing the guild's fairly tight relationship. Myself, along with several old kinship members, were lucky enough to drift toward another friendly kinship - and have been there since. However, as of late, there have been some changes in the game that really drove away a swath of players. The game has had some expansions that have been received well, and others not so much.  Paired with the multitude of other MMOs out there, what used to be a fairly active kinship has dwindled to a much smaller population.

Long story short, I'm still playing LOTRO (and enjoying it). I have branched out from my main server to additionally play on two others, often with my kinships on those. I certainly didn't expect to meet as many new people as I have, and am certainly glad I've been given the opportunity to do so. All this makes me wonder what would happen should/when it comes time for Turbine to close shop with LOTRO and shut down the servers (note: their license has been extended to 2017).

Sure, I have other MMOs I can fall back on, so I'm not worried about my gaming habits being quashed quite yet. It's just the feeling that everything I've done in LOTRO has been for naught. All those hours spent leveling on all my characters, simply wiped away by a single yank of the cord (so to speak). All those times logging in to be greeted by my guildmates, no longer to experience. All those occurrences of glancing over at the global channel, facepalming at all the...unique conversations.

I wish I could have the same preparedness and "degree of emotional detachment" that Roger is able to convey toward a particular MMO of choice. Up until now, I cannot think of any MMO that I have played that ultimately shut down its server during the same period I played it, but I'm sure it will eventually occur. I am not looking forward to that initial shock when I wake up one day and read that one of my digital universes is going supernova.

I suppose the best I can do is be happy there are worlds like there that allow us to immerse ourselves within, reflect upon the good times to be had, and don't forget the individuals I've met along the way. If friendships can go beyond physical boundaries, they can certainly go beyond a single virtual world.


Are there any MMOs you have played that have been shut down? How did you feel on the final day? Feel free to comment below!

I have done a little maintenance work on the blog, trying to expand the width a bit (the old one seemed way too skinny to be readable). I also added a couple of gidgets and gadgets and whatnot, so hopefully it's a bit more usable now. Feel free to comment below, though I'm not super techy when it comes to HTML stuff, so it's probably going to remain a pretty simple-looking blog for now. Thanks!

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