Myst Offline II: The Offlinening

By Jim Rossignol on February 5th, 2008 at 2:32 pm.

Gone. All gone.
There’s a document on my desktop that is entitled “Myst Online Adventures” and it contains a few lines about my first few steps in the famously underwhelming MMO. I was going to go back and do a bit of investigative playtesting for RPS japes, but sadly that document’s completion would be useless for anything other than historical record: Myst Online will close in 59 days time. Sniff.

This forum post has the details.

Many of you have made good friends while playing Myst Online, so here is the bittersweet part. Although Myst Online: Uru Live will be completely shut down in the near future, the game servers will remain live for the next 60 days. During that time, both newcomers and existing players can continue to experience the amazing world of Myst Online, explore the game’s many Ages, and interact with other players in the game and on the MystOnline.com website and forums. After 60 days, the title will be removed from the GameTap service, though MystOnline.com will remain live and active for fans to continue to share their passion for this important game franchise.

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31 Comments »

  1. John Walker says:

    That’s twice it’s been switched off now. URU IS A ZOMBIE! Can it be stopped?

  2. Phil says:

    A shotgun blast to the headland might do it.

  3. Nallen says:

    COMMENCE CARE BAG CHECKING OPERATIONS.

    STANDBY.

    CARE BAG EMPTINESS CONFIRMED.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    You know, I lasted nearly 45 seconds in URU before I realised that my repeated headbutting of my monitor was about to cause unconsciousness to ensue.

    MYST: NO

    I’m sorry. I mean, I know there are people out there that like the Myst games, but there are also people out there that like having sex with dolphins. DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.

    Maybe this time it’ll stay dead.

  5. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Ha, I agree, Meat. Myst is an obnoxious franchise. Now, a Secret of Monkey Island MMO on the other hand…

    Also, it’s not like the game is really dead… people will make private servers; in fact, they probably have already.

  6. Meat Circus says:

    I’m sure with a bit of prodding, we can lure Mr Walker into rather more Myst venom.

    Maybe something pointing out that POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS ARE NOT GAMES YOU CRETINS, or similar.

  7. Flint says:

    “_Important_ game franchise”?

  8. Okami says:

    @Meat Circus: To loosely quote Crooked Little Vein, ‘there are many working and consensual human animal relationships in america’..

    I do agree that Myst is a bit boring though..

  9. Meat Circus says:

    Dolphins are not backwards about coming forwards with their tummy-bananas.

  10. RiptoR says:

    I wonder if the games department in my local supermarket will still continue to sell the game in 2 months. Each time I walk into the store, I’m greeted by a couple of AutoAssault boxes, one of the MMO’s that got closed last year. And AutoAssault isn’t the only “closed” mmo they still keep selling to unsuspecting customers…

    Nice note: that store has a no-return policy, so you’re screwed if you buy one of those games.

  11. AndrewA says:

    No returns policy is fail in the face of your statutory rights (assuming you live in the UK). Selling an MMO which doesn’t exisit anymore could be seen as goods not fit for the purpose they are intended for?

  12. John Walker says:

    Why would I say anything negative about Myst?

    I’ve never had a bad word to say about them!

  13. Plonk says:

    Well from a site called rock-paper-shotgun, you’d expect a little myst-bashing every now and then…

  14. Kieron Gillen says:

    You know, I’ve got an enormous breakdown of why Myst is actually great and fuck everyone else a mate of mine wrote a while back. I wish I could talk him into letting me publish it.

    Talking from someone who never played ‘em: there must be a reason why the first one was so enormous. I’m kind of at the point where I’m all too aware why I hate a mass of games – like, say, most final fantasy ones or whatever, but am interested in people talking about those experiences. Myst has never had its champions to do so.

    Which is a bit of a shame.

    KG

  15. Flint says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t a rather big reason for the success of the first Myst that it was one of the very first CD-ROM games and thus attracted a lot of people who were getting their first CD-ROM drives because it promised such awesome new depths to gaming or something?

  16. Andrew Farrell says:

    Everything in it looks different to everything else in it. Which is a feature of adventure games in general, but it’s done so lushly and without any of the stretching and blurring that you get when you stretch a CDROM’s worth of textures over lots of smaller polygonal models. I think that perhaps the violence that 3-D does to textures is something gamer just get used to, and I think it’s why John’s wrong about how bad it looks, compared to what was out there at the time.

  17. Andrew Farrell says:

    (In particular for a non-gamer, I think even now the effect you get when you see a HL2 zombie the first time and it’s terrifying and semi-real is completely lost when you see another one and it looks the same)

  18. Nick says:

    It was the first OOOH SHINEY! game. It also appeared to appeal to the “non gamer” market as they didn’t know any better. Fair enough I suppose.

  19. Cycle says:

    I like Myst :( Well, I enjoyed the first game despite some idiotic design choices, and Riven is rather brilliant and fixes pretty much everything wrong with the first game.

    I’ve played most of the other games in the series… but they all went downhill after Riven. They weren’t terrible, just not nearly as well-crafted. Partly because Presto Studios made most of them, I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, their Journeyman trilogy is awesome and a half, but they didn’t seem to understand Myst.

    I had lots of fun with Uru Live, mainly because I hadn’t played Uru Offline and I had a friend join with me. It really was fun solving puzzles together. I see the axing as no surprise, though. Once you finished the ages, there really wasn’t much to do and it became a very pretty chatroom. They tried to fix this by creating different sorts of multiplayer modes, but none could match actual worlds to explore.

    So ultimately, I dressed my character entirely in black, gave him a shifty beard and started vandalising other people’s neighbourhoods and generally acted like a jackass until my GameTap subscription ran out later that month.

    Well, it was actually this one specific neighbourhood that rubbed me the wrong way… I bet they regretted it when they saw their once carefully placed witches’ hats strewn all over the place, as if a meteor had struck their precious little home.

    That’s right; don’t fuck with me.

    Also, Myst was far from the first CD game released, but it did come out when CD-ROMs were starting to become affordable and was one of the first games (along with 7th Guest) that actually made real use of the medium. Interestingly, Cyan actually DID release the first CD game ever, back in 1989.

  20. malkav11 says:

    Er, Presto Studios only made Myst III. Everything before and after that has been Cyan. Perhaps not coincidentally, Myst III has been the only one not to bash my brain against sharp rocks repeatedly in the name of “puzzles”.

  21. Cycle says:

    Oops, my mistake. I don’t know how I got that mixed up!

    I didn’t really dig the third game. It just didn’t feel like a Myst game… so I guess that’s why you and other people may have enjoyed it the most, eh.

    Then again, the games released later weren’t much of an improvement. Again, none were really that terrible in my opinion, but just seemed to lack that magic the first two games had.

    Oh, I just noticed that the fourth one wasn’t made by Cyan too, I think I must have thought that was a Presto one. It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal. The final one was made by Cyan/Cyan Worlds, as with Uru though I don’t really see that as part of the series.

  22. Adam says:

    I really think that the shame here is that the ability for the company, Cyan, to explore the universe they have created here is all but gone. If you think about it the premise of Myst, and all of the books and game is as follows:

    “An ancient dead civilization came up with the means to create any type of fantastic world they could think up and then travel instantly to that place to explore it- And you can too”

    How do you go wrong with that? I remember looking forward to this game because of the above, not the community aspect, which boiled down to an oversize chatroom. Want to explore with your friends? Fine, keep the instanced ages, but they should have made an episodic game that could be played at any pace. They could have churned out a series of fantastic puzzle worlds (and they always had the best in the genre) in installments like half-life and expanded the story through journals like Bioshock did. Instead they tried to go all out and do an interactive story with no interaction. They should have realized that they weren’t meant to be in the same market as Warcraft.

    I speak as someone who was/is a real fan of the series, and waited for the game to come out for three years. I felt bitterly let down when the game shut down after just a month or so, mainly because I wanted nothing more than to shell out a fee and explore. After Cyan’s struggle to make Mudpie/URU/Myst Online work, I am saddened to think that I’ll likely never see a new addition to the amazing world they took so long to craft.

  23. LSNDuck says:

    Never having played a Myst game, I rather joined in with the Myst bashing as a ‘serious’ gamer. Now, I am somewhat intrigued by what I missed. Is it still possible to buy the original games? I know there is a DS version kicking around somewhere, but the original PC ones?

  24. Cycle says:

    You can find collections of the first few games pretty easily, LSNDuck. I think a new collection was released recently? I’m not sure. Also, the DS port is a bit rubbish. Avoid!

    Adam, I’m a bit confused… each new “episode” usually added a new age, or some kind of new content that could be explored at any pace you wished, no matter when you joined. While some things were “right place, right time”, it was mostly just “actors” making apperances and fleshing out the story in those cases, so you didn’t really miss much. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you’re trying to say?

  25. rob says:

    It’s gone but will it be Myst?

  26. nimble says:

    Looking through the thread of URU players angry at the hosts for refusing to continue paying server & bandwidth bills for an unsuccessful game, I’m surprised by one thing: they keep calling Myst & sequels “adventure” games. Is Myst really considered to be an adventure game by the world at large? I never really played it, but I always thought of it as a series of puzzles in a slideshow. I mean, my definition of an adventure game requires you to at least have to carry a banana around between puzzles.

  27. Dean says:

    I’ve been meaning to get around to writing something about the Myst series, it really is a series of ups and downs. The Amateria age in 3 was a piece of pure brilliant puzzling but the rest of the game was so turgid. Likewise Riven is probably the most elegantly designed puzzle in any game ever. The whole game is one puzzle, different bits feed in to it and you slowly put together all the bits and pieces until the entire system is in your head and you get how the world works. But the interface was AWFUL for presenting said puzzle: figuring how everything links together is bloody hard if you can’t look around properly and see well…how everything physically links together.

    I maintain that were Riven re-made with the Myst 5 real-time engine it would be a brilliant game. As would Myst 4, to a lesser degree.

  28. malkav11 says:

    Cyan is really great at building beautiful, interesting, otherworldly feeling settings and not too shabby at story. I expect that if you enjoy deciphering how alien machinery works and so forth (usually with little in the way of feedback) they’re probably not too bad at puzzles either, but that’s exactly the wrong sort of gameplay for me. I went through Riven with a walkthrough practically glued in front of my face. I never would have gotten off the first island otherwise.

  29. Beau Turkey says:

    “You know, I lasted nearly 45 seconds in URU before..”

    That’s right, we are supposed to believe that in 45 seconds you got a feel for the entire game. Seriously?
    So tell me you actually were just being silly right? You actually played for longer? So then you lied?
    I hear this SO Much in games now a days. “Yeh man, the screenshots are lame, looks like something some pussy carebears will love! Yeh man let’s go kill stuff YAH!!”
    C’mon, tell me you played it for longer?

  30. Al3xand3r says:

    Myst was good for its time, Riven was brilliant, Myst III pretty great also. The games have some pretty immersive atmosphere and dare I say storyline. I knew Uru would suck since it was announced though. Still, the Myst games remained faithful to their origins when other adventure franschises tried things like incorporating “ACTION” game elements. Then it went all MMO on us and lost us…