We’re not strictly sticking to F2P MMOs here (though most of the ones that weren’t did make the switch to F2P before dying). Also, games that still exist, even if it’s just in maintenance mode, are being left off. And yes, we’re also sticking to games that actually existed, so EverQuest Next is out. (Landmark might make this list for some folks as well, but for a lot of peeps it was just a gateway to EQN, and Magicman cries into a pillow anytime we bring up Landmark, so it’s not in our Top 5 either.)
There are plenty of other games to choose from, but we could only choose 5, so pull out your tissues. This one’s gonna be rough, boys and girls.
5. Glitch – Closed December 9, 2012
During its development, Glitch quickly became the darling of games media and fans. This adorable little browser MMO steered away from genre tropes and combat gameplay in order to encourage cooperative play and the sense of exploring a world where you could simply relax and unwind. Glitch was so totally adorable that even a cold-hearted, sarcastic, S.O.B. (such as myself) had his heart melted every time my little avatar began the day’s adventures.
While the Eleven fan project is trying to bring Glitch back to life, it was truly a sad day to see such a happy little game disappear.
4. Tabula Rasa – Closed February 28, 2009
If I were to pitch you a game that is being developed by Richard Garriott and other dev alums from Ultima Online and it would be published by NCsoft, you’d probably be clicking a link to check it out right now. If I told you said game would stray away from the overabundance of fantasy in our favorite genre for a sci-fi setting with shooter-style elements, you’d probably be overjoyed that something unique may be headed our way. Tabula Rasa was all of those things but, unfortunately, may have been a bit ahead of its time.
Asheron’s Call nearly took this spot on the list because there is indeed a player base who still loves the game, but at the end of the day it’s the unique direction of Tabula Rasa that makes the loss of this game sadder. In 2017, we NEED games to step outside of the box, even if just a little bit. In 2009, Tabula Rasa just couldn’t find the audience it needed, costing us an opportunity to play something besides elves with bows.
3. Firefall – Closed July 7, 2017
There are few MMORPG failures in history that can boast having more hype in the beginning than Firefall. It’s easy to forget just how big of a deal Firefall was in the early phases of development. The interest was through the roof. The hype train was rolling full speed ahead. And all for good reason. The game was poised to be a milestone in the history of MMORPGs, but instead, it wound up as a footnote.
Despite the insane levels of hype this game had, it’s tough to put Firefall any higher on this list because it changed course so drastically, so many times. Which version do we miss the most? The giant open-world PvP lobby? The PvE sandbox shooter? The on-rails themepark MMO it eventually became? Most players have their own favorite version (well, except for the last one, nobody wanted that crap), and given the game’s slow, painful death before quietly disappearing, many players still feel the pain of losing a promising game anytime someone utters the name Firefall.
2. City of Heroes – Closed November 30, 2012
With the impending loss of Marvel Heroes, the closure of City of Heroes hurts like a fresh wound once again. Widely considered to be the best superhero MMO we’ve ever had and an active player base at closing, it came as a shock to many when NCsoft decided it was time to insert a dose of kryptonite and shut the doors to everyone’s super powered fantasies.
Several fan projects are in the works as spiritual successors to City of Heroes, and the sheer number of the passion projects speak volumes for the love the community had for this game. There’s no doubt that City of Heroes would have made an excellent home for many feeling the sting of Gazillion’s woes, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
I guess there’s always Champions Online. That game seems to be unkillable.
1. Star Wars Galaxies – Closed December 5, 2011
It shouldn’t really come as a shock to longtime MMORPG fans that Star Wars Galaxies tops our list. While by today’s standards the game would be showing its age visually, the sandbox gameplay and immersion of living in a world where anything could happen was hands down the saddest loss we’ve suffered.
What makes the loss of Star Wars Galaxies even sadder is the feeling by many that the game was only closed down to make room for a newer, shinier MMO – Star Wars: The Old Republic. You can imagine how happy Star Wars and MMO fans were to lose a unique sandbox experience only to have it replaced by the typical tab-target, on-rails theme park we got with SWTOR. And in case you aren’t good at detecting sarcasm: they weren’t happy. At all.
So that’s our Top 5 Saddest MMORPG Closings of all time. We know you guys will have games not on this list that meant a lot to you when they were ripped from you, so sound off in the comments and let us know which MMO closing hurts your heart the most.