If we could bring MMOs back to life, what would it be like?

Since my head is stuck in MMO news, gaming, and discussion for a part of my day, I have been known to conjure up hypotheticals to keep me amused. After all, the news is often so weird and unexpected that my daydreams might one day happen — you never know!

One of those I’ve been pondering lately is what would happen, exactly, if a studio brought back online a rather popular long-deceased MMORPG. Say, City of Heroes or Star Wars Galaxies. Just out of the blue, “Hey guys, we’ll be reactivating the game next week, officially. See you then!”

While those two titles are almost certainly forever lost to us, it’s not the craziest of questions. We have seen dead MMOs revived (such as Asheron’s Call 2 coming back for a short run, or Shadowbane in other territories, or Hellgate: London). It all depends on whether the code is still out there, the servers capable, and the studio willing. Plus IP issues and all that. Anyway, it’s feasible, it’s possible, just not that likely.

But hey, who knows? I mean, we’re seeing an interesting surge of interest in classic servers, what with Old School RuneScape, World of Warcraft Classic, RIFT Prime, and the like. People miss what they used to have. They miss the old times. They want to go back. As a retro gamer, I get that. So maybe there are studios thinking that they could make a quick and relatively easy buck by flipping back on the switch to a game.

It would be the event of the year, I can tell you that. If City of Heroes came back next week? It’s all anyone would be talking about for a good month. Players still carry many torches for that game.

There would be a lot of questions and issues to work through. Who would handle it? Would old characters be available? Would it pick back up from the last patch? Would there need to be hardware and software improvements to handle the changes in the years that have since ensued? Maybe it wouldn’t be a “relatively easy” move to get some money, but still, this is my daydream.

People would rush in to play these games. Some would be coming back home while others just curious. And then there would be those players who never really got a chance to try out these titles but subsequently felt bad that they missed out back when it was operating. Not that that is me and SWG, oh no. Look elsewhere for your shame.

I think about this whenever Paragon Chat comes up in discussion or I log into that client. The second you’re in that program, you can believe that CoH never died. It’s still there, somewhere. Still online. And while it really is just a shell of the former game, it’s amazing how so little can trigger a wave of nostalgia and instant believe in its current operation.

I do wish, and not for the first time, that there was a place that old, unwanted, or unpopular MMOs could go to retire as an alternative to being shut down. A museum or a discount studio or something. It burns me that I can play an arcade-worthy Ms. Pac-Man on a keychain device these days but I can’t log in to, say, Marvel Heroes that shut down two years ago. (Speaking of which, can you imagine how much money Gazillion would be making from Infinity War tie-ins?)


7 thoughts on “If we could bring MMOs back to life, what would it be like?

  1. Sylow May 14, 2018 / 2:01 pm

    My top candidate would be TSW. I’d really like to continue experiencing its story, but FC doesn’t want me to. (The “new and improved” combat is a gamebreaker for me. ) But apparently the market thinks differently.

    After that, there would be nothing without a “but” for me.

    I appreciated pre-NGW SWG a lot. (And i actually liked the CU. It made the game much more accessible. ) But to really enjoy that game, you had to live in the world, so by now i wouldn’t have enough time on my hands any more to really get back to the old times feeling.

    I sometimes look back to Warhammer Online. Despite all of its failings it was a great game. Only years of developer neglection (resulting in more and more unfixed bugs, which really are not helpful in a PvP-oriented game) hurt it badly. But alas, there is an emulator and i tried it at some time. Unfortunately i had plenty of lag, making it a rather unpleasant experience. I guess the emulator server location and my location just are too far apart.

    Last not least, i wish old Firefall would’ve survived. One of the last versions before they decided to turn everything around, create a level based system and divide the already too small map into level-segregated zones. It really changed the experience from “roam the area, hunt the enemy” to “sit in this corner and shoot at targets till you level up”.

    But as mentioned, any of them comes with a big limitation, and that’s before mentioning the community. Each of them had a unique and rich community, which really in some cases was more important than the game itself. But while i appreciate higher quality communities, even if they are a bit smaller, managers seem to disagree there…

  2. Redbeard May 14, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    I occasionally think of Marvel Heroes and their last fateful year of 2017, and what might have been. But at the same time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was unable to keep Gazillion afloat in spite of turning Marvel Heroes into a rare FFXIV-esque success story of listening to their customers and rebuilding from the ground up.

    Still, Marvel Heroes is gone yet Age of Conan is still around. Go figure.

  3. Cutie DarkFae May 14, 2018 / 9:24 pm

    Old FireFall would be nice 🙂

    But oh for SMT:I

  4. Dolnor May 14, 2018 / 10:13 pm

    LEGO Universe Online: I loved testing & playing this one. The assets were complete, the music was fantastic (you can listen to it on YouTube), it had a storyline, it was grindy for those who like a bit of grind (I like a bit but not the whole game). But Gazillion/LEGO would never release the content so it will always be a pipe-dream.

    Tabula Rasa: I would love to see this game completed, it had potential. Unfortunately, disagreements between the devs and studios (and Personalities!) doomed the game. They were cranking out a lot of content Without Properly Testing It…and it all broke apart.

    Jumpgate Evolution: The way it was suppose to be made. It was going to be an updated version of Jumpgate but Gazillion decided to strip away 90% of the game and turn it into a spaceship-battle-arena (they took the lazy-road rather than the hard-road). Jumpgate Evolution, in the proper form, would have released before other current space games and would have been successful. But Gazillion listened to the “experts” who said “Space Games Are Dead!!!”. Those same experts were also saying “PC Gaming is Dead!!!”


  5. HarbingerZero May 15, 2018 / 3:44 pm

    I talked about this briefly a month ago, but I think the way to go would be to do what Wurm Online did – offer up the client and server settings as a package, and allow players to host their own servers. Essentially, places like GoG.com would handle the minor updating and take a portion of the proceeds, and the IP holder would see revenue and interest increase with little to no effort on their part.

    On the player side, you can do your thing solo, with your old gaming group or guild, or just throw open the doors to the public. You’ll be able to tweak the server and character settings to your liking, so recreating old characters is easy, as would be just rolling up max level characters for nostalgia runs and raids.

    For my two cents, I’d gladly pick up any of the MMO’s I previously played, but top of my list would definitely be Shadowbane, EQOA, and Vanguard.

  6. DDOCentral May 15, 2018 / 8:20 pm

    Asheron’s Call 2 has a truly unique game. Maybe Turbine will sell it to me so I can host my own server? 🙂

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