MMO emulators fascinate me from a fan and academic standpoint. I’ve never had much interest in engaging with them, not just because of their shady relationship with the law, but also because of the sheer amount of bugs, workarounds, and potential to up and disappear if the property owner decides to levy the boom on them.
However, part of me thinks it’s cool that fans love these games so much that when an MMO is canned, dedicated players band together to keep it alive via emulators. Again, I don’t condone it, but this is just something that fans do across all forms of entertainment — fan fiction, fan-made films and TV projects, restoring vaporware, remaking old games with new specs, mods, and so on.
So I was curious how many deceased MMOs have emulator clones out there that are keeping the spirit of these games alive.
Yeah, so the Star Wars Galaxies crowd did not take to the abrupt cancellation of their favorite sandbox calmly, and several fled to the notion of emulators for salvation. SWGEmu didn’t start up because of the game’s sunset, but came about because fans were dissatisfied with the combat upgrade patch (this emulator attempts to recreate a pre-CU environment). The team claims that it does not use any of SOE’s code, but has rebuilt the game from scratch. It also claims that the project is 100% legal because of this.
From hearsay accounts, SWGEmu going pretty strong, with a lively RP community. You can read up more on the basics of the emulator’s history and goals in the FAQ.
Earth and Beyond has been closed since 2004, but I guess that there are players out there who thought this was the absolute cat’s pajamas when it comes to space MMOs or something, because there’s been a lot of work done to get up this emulator. The team has even put in new and restored content, such as three classes that never made it to the original game.
EA is aware of the project, but is either ignoring it or (according to some accounts) has given it its blessing, making it one of the only emulators I know of that has gotten a thumbs-up from the previous/current owner of the property.
Yes, there is an MxO emulator, although it doesn’t seem like it’s been getting a lot of attention since last year. As it stands, it’s an unfinished project, although some can apparently play it. There’s another emulator called Hardline Dreams which looks equally shaky.
This is the Tabula Rasa emulator, although I don’t know much about it other than it’s moved sites and changed names at least once. The info is behind a message board registration process and I’m not going to register just to see what’s there.
Shadowbane’s fans (there are fans? I guess there are!) have a slick site up and a massive project underway to reverse engineer this puppy and get it out to players. I’m pretty impressed how often the dev team is reporting on their progress.