We’re entering an era of MMO closures as the industry transitions and finds its footing once again. With those closures comes a lot of heartache. SOE’s recent announcement that Vanguard, Free Realms, and more, would be closing likely sent thousands of people into disarray. Despite the fact that the games didn’t make financial sense for the company, I’m sure plenty of people still loved them and would play them today.
Several MMO closures over the years have hurt more than others. SWG closing, despite being ruined years and years ago, was hard to watch. Vanguard still holds a place in my memory. EverQuest Online Adventures, though I didn’t play, meant a ton to Graev — he still considers it his favorite MMO (I think?).
I wish developers would release server code, source files, whatever — I’m not technical enough to use the right words — when they plan to close a game. I know there are legal issues with certain IPs, etc., etc., but in a perfect situation where it made sense, I think it would be an awesome gesture for a company like SOE to say, “We know you loved EQOA so much that we want to make these files available for someone to recreate the adventure.” People would do it!
I look at all the current options like SWG Emu (thousands on nightly) and Project 1999 (peaking at almost 1300 nightly) and I know there’s still a demand small enough for people to do something about it. Again I don’t know the legality surrounding such a thing, but what if the company handed it out with the agreement that you can’t make money on it, etc? I’m the type of person who believes strongly in companies making nice gestures like this. You’ll get the people who say things like, “They want those players to move on and buy their new products.” Let’s be real. The people who would play EQOA, SWG, and Vanguard aren’t the type of people who are going to buy your new products anyway — OR — they are the type who will buy everything and it’s a moot point.
The idea of playing on a player-run server isn’t perfect. I lamented early last year about this very subject. Given the wrong administration, a player-run server is trash. Cheating, favoritism, etc., can ruin them but if the files were available I think people could easily find more options than jus the one person who managed to get it working.
Thoughts? Am I alone in my desire to see EQOA or Vanguard surface with player-driven servers at least operating under the blessing of SOE?