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SOE Shuttering Vanguard, Free Realms, Wizardry, More

The dragon is upset because he will miss you all very much and also because people are killing him right now

All good things must come to an end. Even MMOs, and – at least, these days – especially MMOs. Between shifting business models and “there ain’t room enough in this town for the six thousand of us” syndrome, niche standouts are finding it harder and harder to keep their heads above water. That sorry truth curling up like a cold, uncaring cat on our hearts and minds, let’s bid farewell to Vanguard, Wizardry Online, Free Realms, and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures.

Star Wars and Free Realms will be getting their cords snipped first, with servers coming down on March 31st. Vanguard and Wizardry Online, meanwhile, will be stuffed into flaming coffins and set off to sea on July 31st. It’s all being done in the name of “refocusing resources,” but Vanguard’s developers were especially upfront about it:

“Here’s the deal… player population numbers have decreased making it difficult to justify the resources needed to support and update this game. This is an older game and we’re experiencing more and more technical challenges to continue running and updating it in a way you deserve. Simply put, these are issues that cannot be fixed in the long term and as a player, we would be doing you a disservice and going against our company commitment to provide the best gameplay experiences. So given this information, sunsetting the game later this year is the inevitable conclusion.”

“Again, this is not a decision that we approached lightly or without serious thought and examination. We’ve grown with you and the community throughout the years and shutting down the game is certainly not ideal, but necessary regardless.”

Bummer, but that seems to be the way of the (massively multiplayer online) world these days. Did you spend any particularly memorable days, months, years, or centuries with these games? Were they homes away from home, or just brief vacation spots that you mostly forgot about after a few too many fruit-engorged tiki drinks? Do you regularly down big-gulp-sized tiki drinks while playing MMOs, or is that just me?

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Nathan Grayson


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