Dungeon Runners To End, In Style

By John Walker on September 18th, 2009 at 10:54 am.

Blub.

Here’s a bit of sad news. The free MMO Dungeon Runners is to close down this New Year. Here’s a bit of personal guilty news. I haven’t played it for so long. Which is a shame, because amongst the seventy three trillion free MMOs currently available online, Dungeons Runners was the one taking the piss. The producer and lead programmer of the NC Soft project, Stephen Nichols, wrote a post on the game’s site explaining that due to not making enough money the game will cease to be. But it’s going to go out having fun.

Nichols explains (“explains” is a strong word),

“Dungeon Runners just isn’t cutting the mustard. If she were a ship, she’d be taking on water. Yeah, she’s been taking on water for a long time now. Are my cryptic references too hard to decipher? The game just isn’t profitable. And, the first rule of business is to be profitable! Man, I must have missed that day in business school… but I digress.”

Ideas to save the game are considered too costly, and the team lost a couple of key members recently (team of five running an MMO becomes team of three running an MMO), meaning they’ve decided the best solution is to have it put down.

Which is a genuine shame, as Dungeon Runners was genuinely funny. Primarily spoofing WoW, it takes shots at the most common MMO clichés while being genuinely fun to play. Drop names like “Sphincter’s People’s Pick of Unending Taint” make me happy. But it seems that not enough people were willing to pay for the premium membership that scored you the better loot and no ads. Which is surprisingly, at only $5 a month. In fact, when reviewing it for EG I paid the premium because I was enjoying it so much. Check out that review for a long list of reasons why the game was special.

Which leaves me feeling super-guilty for having pretty much forgotten to keep shouting about it. I’m sorry, Dungeon Runners.

However, those who were wise enough to pay their monthly sub are being given a splendid farewell. Those who already had them in place (there’s no sneaky getting one now) will receive the following:

“You’ll be getting a 30 day game time serial code and digital copies of City of Heroes Architect Edition and Guild Wars Prophecies. FREE games FTW! I know, it’s not Dungeon Runners… but it’s still frigging nice! Of course, any of you guys that need refunds for multiple-month membership purchases will be taken care of. And, as always, our helpful support staff will be available to help you with any issues you have.”

And the game itself will be enjoying its last few months.

“While we may be going out, we’re going out in style, with a few changes to the game for the coming “End Time”. Mythic loot will drop much more frequently. We’re significantly reducing the cost of expensive King’s Coin vendors. We’re also quintupling the rate of XP gain to help you finish the game before year’s end!”

And here’s the best bit. And here’s why Dungeon Runners was bloody brilliant. How they’re going to end it all:

“Finally, we’re adding a huge nuke to Townston that will blow up on New Year’s and take the game down with it. There’s more, but what fun is there in spilling all the beans? Oh, its gonna be a fun time till the end of the year! Loot finding, leveling madness. I may finally make it to level 100 myself now…”

Goodbye Dungeon Runners. You were ace. Enjoy the last three months. (Via Eurogamer)

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25 Comments »

  1. CakeAddict says:

    Another one hits the dirt.
    Never played it myself but this is most certainly the way to end a mmo and rather nice of them to give those serial codes to subscribers .

  2. Dominic White says:

    The main problem with Dungeon Runners is that while it WAS silly, it also wasn’t a very good game, and the humor just wasn’t strong enough to carry it. It felt like a flimsy parody of Diablo, rather than a true Diablo clone that happens to be funny.

    On the plus side, Torchlight isn’t far off, and Mythos is being revived, so we lose one, gain two.

    • malkav11 says:

      I agree. Dungeon Runners was mildly amusing, but it forgot that humor is not a substitute for gameplay, especially if one wants this money stuff in exchange for play. I also thought that they had some terrible ideas about what should be behind the money gate. I mean, seriously, reserving basic conveniences like stacking potions in a high-potion-use genre like the Diablo clone? That doesn’t convince me to fork over cash, it irritates me and lowers my opinion of the designers, which is exactly the -opposite- of what you want.

      Of course, I’m not sold on the whole idea of treating Diablo clones as MMOs, even free ones. I think they lend themselves to a solo or very small group style of play that’s more appropriately priced with the traditional buy-once-and-then-pay-nothing-extra-for-multiplayer model.

  3. Psychopomp says:

    More MMO’s should end with nukes.

    EVE should end with umpteenmillion Titan’s doomsdaying everything.

  4. RiptoR says:

    When it first came out, I was about to fork out the 5 bucks a month, but then another game took up most of my time… Damn you, Call of Duty 4!

  5. Mike says:

    MMO death is so compelling to watch. This sounds great, though.

  6. Mithrandir0x says:

    Rest in peace, DR.

    I feel somehow guilty for spending my money on AoC. Still, it’s very impressive that they were only 5 persons to do all server-side stuff. I hope they can find another good project to stay with.

  7. The Hammer says:

    Awww, I played this, and I think it was the interface lag that put me off. It did seem great, but with the slight sluggishness, I just couldn’t be bothered to progress. Always sad to see an MMO end, but that’s one fantastic way to do it.

  8. _Nocturnal says:

    Would someone remind me why it was that MMO developers feel the need to provide that “fun” thing only when their games are about to die? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  9. Stick says:

    Yep. This thing had the best unofficial quest line ever:
    Find all the shoddy Sean Connery impersonators.
    (“Shtay a while, and lishten. I’m shaken, not shtirred.”)

  10. Kwanchu says:

    Really, Mythos is being revived? I loved that game, it was fun as all get out and I am also looking forward to torchlight.

  11. Joe says:

    RIP Dungeon Runners. You had the best equipment names of any RPG, ever.

  12. Dave says:

    Godspeed, Dungeon Runners… which is damn fast.

  13. Low Quality Beard says:

    That’ll do Dungeon Runners, that’ll do.

  14. Carli Lee says:

    well the end for them is near.

  15. Heliocentric says:

    Downloaded the client about 3 times, never actually installed it… Eh.

  16. airtekh says:

    I’ve never played Dungeon runners. In fact I’d never even heard of it until I read this post. Yet, I am saddened.

    There’s just something about the finality of the end of an MMO, free or otherwise, that gets to me. I felt the same way about the Matrix Online ending despite never playing that either.

    Makes me wonder what the end of World of Warcraft will be like; if it ever does.

  17. Mike says:

    Dungeon Runners would have made an awesome and fun multiplayer (4-8 players) game that you could play online or solo (hmm.. Like Diablo2?). I played it for a few months and then stopped because I’d had fun and was done.

    This game would have been a (small)hit, if it hadn’t been MMO-ified.

  18. Zeus says:

    F@#$!

    Well at least those decent gents gave us a good long while to say goodbye, instead of dropping some two-week notice like so many others.

  19. kafka7 says:

    In these times when the big question for every MMO is how to make a decent endgame, it seems that the only way to make it interesting is to go out in the most crazy way possible. Are MMOs emulating the single player endgame, finally?

  20. Heliocentric says:

    The best way to end an mmo is to open source it, give out the files for dedicated servers and update the client one last time to add a join to server ip window on the front page of the gui.

    Then you live forever and your fans will thank you for it.

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