MMOs go offline all the time. What’s less common is for them to come back.
You can’t have missed all the advertising for KOG Games’ HeroWarz that’s been popping up all over the internet (including this site) the past few months. All the marketing effort apparently hasn’t paid off, though, as KOG will be taking HeroWarz offline on March 26. The cash shop is already closed, and double XP and other bonuses have been implemented in the game.
But the shutdown will only be temporary. KOG intends to work on improving the game, to “become the game that we feel it needs to be” during the downtime, which it’s titled the “Pause of HeroWarz.” KOG lists balancing characters, improving PvP, and making the story more immersive as its primary reasons for the shutdown. The company intends to open the game up for business again in early 2018, though it can’t say how players’ progress will be impacted. Compensation for real money spent on items and VIP subscriptions are also up for debate, as detailed in the Pause FAQ.
A move like this for an MMORPG isn’t wholly without precedent; Final Fantasy XIV comes to mind. Still, that was a major property with Square Enix’s impressive coffers behind it. Maybe the next closest thing I could consider is something like Total War: Arena, which shut down its relatively polished closed beta for 10 months and counting, but that seemed like a planned maneuver and something you’d expect from a beta — and Creative Assembly was quick to tell players that their real-money investments would be protected, rather than making vague statements about “compensation.”
If this was planned, then HeroWarz has really been in a beta state since its launch, but KOG passed it off as finished to draw in players. If it wasn’t planned, then it has to be seen as a major setback that damages player confidence in the game’s future prospects. Neither possibility is inspiring.