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Behind the Curtain: This too shall pass

Craig Withers

And so we mark the passing of another MMO. I was going to add an adjective to that sentence, maybe 'great', 'fine' or even just 'good'. I couldn't decide, as I didn't play Tabula Rasa beyond the Open Beta. That's clearly not my fault though, obviously it's something to do with the developers not making exactly the game I wanted, needed or deserved at the time. Cry, whine, QQ, etc.

Don't worry, this won't be an obituary for TR. That would be silly; I'm not lying when I say I didn't play it beyond Open Beta. I liked it well enough, but it lacked the spark that drives me to log on, night after night.

The news of TR's demise however, has got me thinking. Like it or not, nothing lasts forever. MMOs are subject to the same financial rules as any other business, and sometimes those rules mean you lose. Regardless of how long we've been playing any particular game, how many alts you've raised up or how much of a home you've made for yourself in the community there, there's a chance your MMO will die eventually. Some games last longer than others; gaining enough momentum to garner a fair-sized and dedicated fanbase before they're shut down. Others barely get out of Beta testing before things go South, and the doors are closed before momentum really gets going.

Even large, successful MMOs are never going to be immune to this kind of thing. Eventually, World of Warcraft will no longer be economically for ActivVendiBlizzVision, or whoever owns the game at the time, to keep running. Perhaps they'll have outdone themselves, and most of the WoW players will be playing whatever double-extra-next-new-gen title is doing the rounds in the year 4000. If you happen to be a reader from the 41st century reading an archive of this on picometer-thin thought-transfer wafers, I have sad news for you – yes, the Internet really is this bad.

Trawling back through my previous posts, I find that I asked before what it would take to make you jump ship from your favorite MMO. Now I ask another, similar question – what would you do if your favorite MMO was shut down unexpectedly? If news came out of the blue that your game was going the way of the Dodo, what would you do?

Do you have a backup game? Probably – I think most players out there have at least on other game they're either playing concurrently, or are at least interested enough to join, should they have to. For myself, were WoW to shut down, I'd probably hit up Warhammer Online. I'm a 40K fan, so I don't play Warhammer Fantasy on the tabletop, I'm invested enough in the universe that I could slot myself into WAR without too many teething troubles.

What about you? Would the shutting down of your game turn you off of MMOs completely? Would you running screaming into the arms of single-player RPGs? Or, like the crazed survivalist who lives down the street, do you have a backup plan for every contingency, just waiting to be sprung into action? Hit the comments, and enlighten us all.

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