With the start of the new year, I should be looking forward to new things. This is supposed to be the time for making resolutions and being optimistic about the future. Good riddance to 2012, hello 2013, right?
Instead, the coming year will probably involve some compromises. I cannot talk too much about my employment situation, in case a prospective hiring agent is reading this. You don’t need to hear about the details anyway. I’ve enjoyed my time at home this past year, living at a leisurely pace, but the time has come for me to find a new source of income. Change is coming, but I don’t know what form it will take.
Today was also the last day I could visit a particular virtual world. I suppose it was classified as an MMORPG, in as much as it ran on a multi-player online platform and you role-played in the game. The audience was simply not massive enough to sustain its business model, and the servers were taken offline today. I would give you a link, but what would be the point? They removed all of the in-game images from the website, and I didn’t grab any screen captures myself.
The computer game was an online component meant to tie into a live action game called MagiQuest which is installed at a variety of family resorts. I played it because it was a virtual world built by Cyan Worlds and based on their engine for Myst Online: Uru Live — I might have mentioned that game in the past. I didn’t care about being a “magi” or earning points for my wand. I just enjoyed immersing myself in another 3-D environment.
The game itself could have run as a stand-alone offline game, but their business model was looking for subscribers. The initial chapter had a meager amount of content, and the price of entry was low, but the cost of running servers just to access the game was never going to be covered by any number of purchases. It was doomed, as so many of these worlds seem doomed. A month ago, a friend of mine mourned the loss of Glitch, a Flash-based MMO by Tiny Speck, a game which I had never even heard of. That’s the problem, isn’t it?
I spent some time today in the MagiQuest Online game, waiting to see other players join me for the vigil. No one did. (In all of the months that I had played the game, I never did encounter another player online.) I sat on a rock near the spawn point, and let the computer run while I did other things in the house. I returned to check the chat window, but only my own text had scrolled there. I listened to the sounds of birds chirping and the leaves rustling where I walked. Eventually I shut the game down, rather than wait for the system shut-down message. When I tried to connect to the server tonight, it simply never responded.
We knew this was coming. We had an official announcement months in advance, and players used forums to arrange some final gatherings in the game. Somehow I missed them, bad timing on my part. It shouldn’t have mattered so much to me now, because the community was not a big part of the game for me. I had completed all of the available tasks a year ago, December 2011, and had no reason to return until now. It just seemed important to show the company that we still cared.
I won’t compare the loss of a virtual world to real tragedies. This isn’t the death of a family member. This is like the cancellation of a TV show that you stopped watching a year ago. This is like the loss of Twinkies when you haven’t bought one since you were a kid. Life goes on. New snack cakes are produced, new shows air on television, new virtual worlds are launched. You get a new goldfish, and life goes on. I just wish I had taken a picture when I had the chance.