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NCSoft To Close North American Lineage Servers 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the end-of-an-era dept.
NCSoft announced yesterday that they plan to shut down all North American servers for their long-running Lineage MMORPG on June 29th. The game came out in 1998 and gradually became one of the most successful MMOs of all time, reporting over a million subscribers as much as a decade after launch. Account creation on North American servers has been disabled, subscriptions for coming months have been refunded, and existing accounts have been reactivated for free. "We will not be making any additional content updates, but we do have US Ruleset changes and lots of great events planned for the next two months. We want to give you every opportunity to make all of your remaining Lineage dreams come true. We hope that everyone will stick around to have fun with the game you love in the time we have left. We know that we have incredibly loyal fans that have stood by us for the past ten years. As painful as it was, as a business, we had to make a very difficult, but necessary, decision."
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NCSoft To Close North American Lineage Servers

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  • by atari2600a (1892574) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @04:41AM (#36103992)
    I say any MMO operator should freeware the servers once the game becomes abandonware like this. I mean, it's like you have an entire universe in these old optical discs but you're locked out of it because you can't log on...
    • by Cimexus (1355033) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @05:01AM (#36104064)

      Agreed. Private server software does exist for most MMOs but it's usually not as functional or stable as the real thing (unsurprising given that the software was essentially reverse engineered by fans). They should just release the official server software into the public domain.

      As an aside I've always wondered about the hardware and OS requirements for major MMO server software. Perhaps they can't release it because the hardware and environment requirements are so specific that the average Joe simply couldn't get a server running if they wanted to...

      • by Exitar (809068) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @05:28AM (#36104160)

        They should just release the official server software into the public domain.

        They're shutting NA servers only, not all of them.

        • by Cimexus (1355033)

          Ahh good point! Didn't think about that.

          So yeah they couldn't really do that in this case.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 12, 2011 @07:10AM (#36104528)

        I have no idea for Lineage, but EVE Online make their server specs public. The database for their economy... well, you can't afford it. RAM. Lots and lots of RAM, in nice rackmount enclosures and linked by infiniband. They run it on a colossal ramdrive, because not even flash could handle the IOPS.

        • by dcl (680528)

          Is that due to the sheer number of users on a single server or perhaps bad coding causing so many perhaps unneeded requests?

          I wonder what sort of specs the highly populated WoW servers are running?

          • by jthill (303417)

            Is that due to the sheer number of users on a single server

            Combine the Stormwinds on every WoW server into one, likewise with every other city. Just one Stormwind auction house for all of WoW. Same with all the territory, all the economic and PvP, all one server image. PvE raids are sharded but they're newb tuts and farms, they're like playing PvZ when you want a brainless break.

        • The database for their economy... well, you can't afford it. RAM. Lots and lots of RAM, in nice rackmount enclosures and linked by infiniband. They run it on a colossal ramdrive, because not even flash could handle the IOPS.

          you can't afford it...today. But wait six months and now you suddenly have a use for your 48 core desktop with fiber raid and 1024 gigs of RAM. Steep hardware specs are no reason not to release something. When quake was released Id was using something like a quad proc pentium 200 pro
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Doesn't matter. Once the official servers are shut down, the specs required to maintain the leftover group that wants to play on a private server would be so much smaller than even if it required high end hardware before, low end might work just fine still.

        Even if EVE Online had a huge RAM disk, perhaps a modern SSD is needed if you reduce the number of players down to 1% or so.

        And yes, a lot of it is in configuration, but mostly because it's easier to throw hardware at the problem - it's far easier to spin

      • by Xest (935314)

        "As an aside I've always wondered about the hardware and OS requirements for major MMO server software. Perhaps they can't release it because the hardware and environment requirements are so specific that the average Joe simply couldn't get a server running if they wanted to..."

        That's rarely, if ever the case. Dark Age of Camelot for example ran on plain old commodity hardware and used MySQL for it's persistent storage, there's an article somewhere on the net about it, probably at Gamasutra I believe. There

    • Lineage (I) was 29% of ncsoft sales in Q4 2010 according to their financial report.

      • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @05:26AM (#36104154) Homepage

        For comparison, North America is 5% is the ncsoft's market for *all* their games (lineage, city of heroes/villains, aion, guild wars). They are not going to base any decision on releasing code on how the game is doing on the North American market.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        NCSoft is a company that wouldn't take my money when I was interested in Aion. They required a PayPal account that was linked to a checking account. There's no chance in hell I'm trusting PayPal with banking information so they can take whatever they want from my account with no recourse. Aion looks pretty, but NCSoft management sucks.

        • There's no chance in hell I'm trusting PayPal with banking information so they can take whatever they want from my account with no recourse.

          Yeah because your bank would offer no recourse. That's how it works.

        • by Kalriath (849904)

          It's not their fault your banking system is so screwed up you can withdraw from arbitrary accounts with nothing more than the account numbers.

        • by a61sun (1787888)
          Two words for ya, Game Cards. You can buy them online or at most Target, Walmart or even 7-11's.
    • It should, but it will never happen as long as people keeping voting the Business Party into power.

      Copyright law needs to be seriously reformed, if not done away with altogether -- and, yes, serious study [ucla.edu] has been done in that direction, and not only is it feasible, but it is actually more beneficial to society overall.

    • The game isn't abandoneware. They are still running the game. Just not in North America.

    • And create a free directly competing game to their newer titles? They'd become their own competitor in an already crowded market. Not sure they'd like that idea.
      • by wjousts (1529427)
        Somebody mod the parent up. This is exactly why it would be stupid for NCSoft to release their server code. Some people seem to think publishers exist purely to entertain them.
        • Whatever publishers may think they exist for the, the fact is that people pay money to be entertained, and thus, that is the only reason that the publisher in question actually exists.

          • by Machtyn (759119)
            Whatever the consumer may think, a publisher is in the business of making money. If there is no money, there is no product to be produced and delivered to the consumer.

            In the case of NCSoft, why would they freeware a product that would directly compete with their existing titles? I think, in the case of MMOs, the consumer should be aware that they do not own the game in question. They really do not own their characters. They are essentially renting space for entertainment purposes. When you go to the
            • by hitmark (640295)

              The basic problem is not money, there will always be money. The problem is that as corporations grow the minimum level of income projected before a project gets the green light increases.

              Just consider "micro-loans". The sums involved there are small in western eyes, but a very big deal to those that can get them. But ordinary banks will not bother as the ROI is not up to their inflated standards.

          • by wjousts (1529427)
            You live in a fantasy world. Companies exist to make money. Nothing else. If they can make money by entertaining you, then they will. As soon as they stop making money entertaining you, they will do something else instead (or go broke).
        • by hitmark (640295)

          Huh, why else do they exist?

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Who cares if they like the idea, nobody has a god given right to earning money into infinity. This is the same shitty argument that was used against the first public libraries back in the day.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I say any MMO operator should freeware the servers once the game becomes abandonware like this. I mean, it's like you have an entire universe in these old optical discs but you're locked out of it because you can't log on...

      I say anyone who was willing to pay for a client and then pay for monthly access fees for something that was designed to be retired and unplayable when it was no longer profitable got precisely what they asked for. You literally funded this move. You have no right whatsoever to complain, you asked them to do this with the only clear voice in capitalism... your wallet.

    • by Saxerman (253676) * on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:55AM (#36105318) Homepage

      Actually, this was was part of the entire point behind the creation of copyright law. In the US, the 'for a limited' clause was there so that the author could benefit by monetizing a short term monopoly on their work, and then the copyright would expire and it would revert into the public domain.

      Of course, this was in the days of hand written scribes and latter of movable type presses. The concept of digital information transmission did not yet exist, nor with it the idea that information could be shared near instantly at a fraction of the cost.

      Since then, copyright laws have increased in duration from the original 'Statute of Anne' which provided 14 years, with an additional 14 years of the copyright was renewed. Compared to the current US version which protects from 70 years after the death of the author, or for corporate owned works, 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication.

      We've also moved away from the publication of plain text works, to the new age of computer binary code. So even if the copyright on a computer program would expire, there are no provisions that the author need also provide the original source code. So the US copyright on Lineage should expire in 2093 (should no further extensions be added, and NCSoft is South Korean, so foreign copyrights can get even tricker) then we would be freely able to distribute the compiled client code... but without access to the never published source code or server software... well, doubtless 95 year old software would only be of any interest to historians anyways. Who could freely view the copyright code all that wanted, even during the duration of the copyright... just as long as they didn't distribute it amongst themselves for study.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Dude, the US never had hand scribes! The Gutenberg bible was more than a generation before Columbus set sail, in fact without movable type there's little need for copyright because there's no cheap way to copy a work.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Although Lineage is still played in Asia I don't think it's much played in the western world.

    • by Cimexus (1355033)

      Apparently not, since they're shutting down the servers. Still thirteen years is not a bad run for a pay-to-play online game!

      I still have an active Lineage II account myself, but almost never log in. Never played the original Lineage though (the one they are shutting down).

  • It is sad, but I never got into the first game. However, I did enjoy Lineage II. At least until Chinna wouldn't stop killing me. I wasn't able to level up any longer, so lost all interest in it. P.S. Chinna was the person's name. I remember because by the end, I had a macro to do "/target Chinna" to make sure i didn't have to try in vain to run.
    • by xhrit (915936)
      I play Aion, which is pretty much Lineage III with an original setting. I was never into generic fantasy but the lore and art style in Aion were unique enough to catch my interest. The game has some of the most ruthlessly brutal pvp I have ever see tho, and it is definitely a deterrent to all but the most hardcore players.
  • by augi01 (1209002)
    Shame. The original Lineage was my first MMO-RPG. And I think it is still the best online game I have ever played. Even though it is remarkably simple when compared to current online games, that not only worked, but was a strength. In addition, there is a level of secrecy unmatched by other online games; your appearance does not change when you equip different armor or weapons (minus a different, generic graphic for swords vs. axes vs. bows, and so forth), nor is there an online armory (e.g., World of Warcr
  • ... to murder lowbies who are just trying to go in or out of the main hub towns?
  • by Aereus (1042228) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:10AM (#36105462)

    Did they really have a million subscribers to the North American servers? I remember playing the English alpha/beta test for Lineage1 way back when, and the game felt dated even back then. There was a steep learning curve, pointless grinding, and not all that much to do.

    That said, the game met large success in SE Asia at least, with something like 4million+ accounts there alone. At the same time that North America was considering Everquest1 a huge success with 500k subscribers.

  • ...is why I don't play MMO games.

    Sure playing games is inherently pointless, but things like this really ram it down your throat.

  • I did play City of Heroes for life half a year. But the realization is that no matter how much you like a game it's going to die and you won't be able to play it anymore unlike traditional lan games. I will not invest any of my money or invest my time in anything so ephemeral. I do consider games art and like a good book I want to be able to come back to it again 20 years later.

    • by xhrit (915936)
      Most software bitrots. The number of games that I think of as good that will not play anymore on modern OS is astounding. Knights of the Old Republic does not work on widescreen monitors and randomly locks on windows 7. System Shock 2 wont run on any windows after 98. Mechwarrior 3 won't run on any windows after XP. Mechwarrior 2 will run in a dos emulator, but won't be hardware accelerated because 3d only worked with 3dfx voodoo drivers.

      I played a phenomenally awesome Atari arcade game in the 90s called

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