When worlds die: Last days of DDO??

As Syp mentioned a few days ago, Turbine is transitioning to development of mobile games, presumably providing less attention or focus to existing games. The recent layoffs at the game company leaves gamers wondering if this is a bad omen for DDO and for LOTRO, the two big IPs owned by Turbine.

So I took a break from leveling my undead warrior on vanilla wow and jumped back to DDO, which I had neglected for several months. I logged in to the Argonnessen server and my level 3 paladin was there patiently waiting for my return.

I really hope that DDO does not get phased out and added into the great scrap heap of mmos. This would be a real shame because there is no other game like it out there in the free to play market. Even though it is strictly not f2p, most of the advanced features and content are locked behind the V.I.P. subscription model, you can play enough of it for free to get started.

One thing I did notice is that there were a number of high level characters running around House J and House P in the game. Maybe it was the time I logged on, or maybe it was that players fear that the game may not get more updates and are trying to get through as much content as they can.

Whatever the case, it is sad to see that the devs are moving towards development of boring and cliche mobile games and possibly abandoning two great properties in DDO and LOTRO.

I remember playing Star Wars Galaxies in late 2010 and 11, prior to that game being shut down and the I.P. transferred to BioWare. Trading in Star Wars Galaxies for SWTOR (which is what happened) is like trading in a Porsche for a Ford Pinto. There was no comparison, though the latter game had voice acting and a lot of other frills, bells and whistles, it lacked the magic of the earlier game.

Even the death of an unofficial server such as the vanilla world of warcraft server Nostalrius in April brings with it a sense of loss to that game’s community. I wasn’t terribly affected by the closing of SWG. It was a great game by all accounts, but I didn’t get to play it in its prime before they tinkered with it and drove hordes of players away. The one mmo closing that did affect me was when the Warhammer Online servers were taken down in December of 2013.

I remember the immense hype in 2008 at launch for Warhammer. People were actually leaving wow to play it, so its eventual demise signaled not only a failure for its developers, but a sort of continuing stagnation in the genre that was palpable by all mmo gamers. The genre needed an infusion of creativity, but Warhammer could not deliver on the innovation. Terra, Rift, and a few other games delivered some new features, but they weren’t enough to advance the genre.

Personally I don’t want DDO or LOTRO to stagnate. The former is especially one of my favorites, but if the recent move by Turbine to mobile gaming development is any indication these great games are on their way out, it will be a devastating loss to the genre. I am going to experience DDO content in the days and months to come as an alternative to my vanilla wow excursions. I hope to document good results and I am hoping that Turbine’s foray into mobile game development does not spell doom for these great retro mmo games.

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