Planetside servers closed on Friday in the most epic way ever for a multiplayer online shooter game. After 13 years of offering multiplayer combat to gamers, Daybreak Game Company finally ended the game’s run. The closing of the Planetside servers was not a surprise. According to Eurogamer, the company had informed players that servers would be shutting down.
“PlanetSide 1 has a very important history with Daybreak Games and a special place in the hearts of those who work on its successor. While we have run the game for free since 2014, due to evolving business needs and technical requirements it has become necessary to conclude this service.”
However, it was how they shut the game down that was a surprise.
Multiplayer online (MMO) games come and go. If they are popular, they hang around for quite a while, but eventually, there comes a time when the game comes to an end. Server closures are usually due to a sequel, waning popularity, or the hosting company going out of business.
Often, the closing MMO is shut down without any fanfare. Sometimes, the players will hold an in-game party, rally or protest as they did at the end of City of Heroes (Kotaku). Often developers or moderators of the game will have a character participating in the closing minutes to thank all of the players personally. When the deadline arrives, the servers are just shut down, and players are disconnected. Daybreak decided they wanted to do something a little bit different.
Planetside servers were closed with an apocalyptic meteor shower that destroyed the game world. It marks the first time since Final Fantasy XIV that an MMO was ended by actually ending the game with a spectacular cataclysm (Dorkly). Typically, game worlds just popped out of existence when the server plugs are pulled. Daybreak Games decided to destroy the world and then pull the plug. Planetside players were impressed, surprised, and saddened, all at the same time as they watched their world destroyed around them.
Even though the destruction was not visually realistic, the impact was the same for the longtime players of the game. It was more of a fireworks show than an actual hell-on-earth display, but it still resulted in cheers and applause as can be seen in the video of the last few minutes of the game.
This video contains adult language.
It is evident in the video that the closing of the Planetside servers made an impression on the community of players who were there to witness it. As with any good MMO, players recalled their favorite moments and things to do. Memories were made over the years and remembered in the end.
Planetside was released in 2003 and was one of the first MMO first-person shooters (FPS). It was also one of the few MMOs where battles took place on an enormous scale.
Most multiplayer games are limited to small maps with just a handful of players per battle. Planetside battles occurred on huge maps with hundreds of players participating in an all out war for territory. It was not your typical deathmatch formula that most FPS games employ in their multiplayer element. Players chose one of three factions to fight for and then joined the war for territory. Planetside was similar to a live-action version of the board game Risk. The object was to take and hold enemy territories.
While the game was classified as a first-person shooter, combat did not solely rely on running around on foot shooting other players. Vehicles could be piloted and used in the fighting as well. In fact, with over 30 different vehicles to operate from aircraft to tanks and other ground vehicles, vehicular combat was a crucial element of the game.
The Planetside server closure may have been sad for longtime players of the game, but they still have Planetside 2 to migrate to if they haven’t already. According to VG24/7, Planetside 2 holds the world record for “Most Players Online in an FPS Battle,” with 1,158 players participating in a single battle. The previous record was 999, set by the game, Man vs. Machine.
The closing of the Planetside servers will be remembered, both by the Planetside community and in the gaming community as a whole. It will be interesting to see if this does not spark a new trend of MMOs going out with a logical and spectacular conclusion rather than the standard, “You have been logged out. Thanks for playing.”
[Image via Daybreak Games]