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Motor City Online Officially Closes Doors 21

Thanks to MCO Stratics for pointing to EA's official Motor City Online site, which has a message announcing the closure of this MMO PC racing title: "We at Electronic Arts and MCO Staff both past and present would like to say thank you for being a part of a great online racing game experience. Motor City Online service ends today, but it will live on forever in the hearts of the racers who loved the game." The closing announcement was originally made in February, citing popularity problems after "the game was quickly dominated by skilled players", but the servers finally shut down on August 29th.
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Motor City Online Officially Closes Doors

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  • It's a shame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Graelin ( 309958 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @06:39PM (#6835290)
    the game was quickly dominated by skilled players

    This happens everywhere. Have you played CS lately? It's the same thing. These types of games, those which require reflexes and map-study, will always be dominated in this manner. I think MMO RPGs fare better in this regard, as these skills are much less important.

    America's Army has a good approach, requiring you to advance to a certain level before playing some missons. Too bad they don't enforce some kind of noob-only rules on the lower maps.

    In the end this is just a hurdle all MMO games will have to face.
    • Re:It's a shame (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Babbster ( 107076 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (bbabnoraa)> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:19PM (#6835430) Homepage
      Everything you say is true to a point, though I think the biggest obstacle is that a game has to reach a "critical mass" in terms of its player population so that there are enough players of every skill level to make the game fun for everyone. While Counterstrike definitely has a lot of skilled players who can wipe out the inexperienced easily, it's a small matter to drop out of a game where you're outclassed and hunt down a game where people are closer to your level. This is because there are enough people playing the game to ensure said variety of skills, and because the game is popular enough that there are still new (or at least less experienced) people coming on.

      Motor City Online, OTOH, never picked up enough people to develop a synergy where new people are always coming in, and the total population was never large enough to always have that special rainbow of ability.

      Of course, another aspect is that most "twitch" games (Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, etc.) are going to be static in terms of the skills and equipment of the avatars being used - even in Counterstrike, a couple of lucky kills could earn you enough money to acquire the good equipment. In games where you earn your avatar's skills and equipment over time (MCO fits this because you could improve your cars and get new ones), the new people are at a serious disadvantage if there aren't enough other new people around to play with.

      • A nice few points to blizzard on the concept of their "skill-based autoassignment." As you get bumped up in skill levels (based on wins vs losses, etc), it autoassigns you against similar skill levels. I've found that while it's not 100% effective, after playing for awhile I've managed to get to a level where I avoid being teams with a lot of newbs (but meanwhile newbs end up teamed with other newbs).
    • Re:It's a shame (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DJayC ( 595440 )
      This happens everywhere. Have you played CS lately?

      Not only that, but CS is ridden with cheaters. It seems like on every public server you have kids with wall hacks and aimbots and stuff. Valve has been trying to block the cheating server side, but the design of the game makes it hard to detect certain scripting techniques. I would go as far to say that there are more people that seem to be "skilled players" (who are actually cheaters) than people who are actually skilled. A lot of the CS "elite" don
    • Re:It's a shame (Score:3, Informative)

      by Suicide ( 45320 )
      America's Army kept track of game progress with a text file. All you have to do is open the file in notepad, and you can play any and all missions.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sure its fun while it last, but when the servers are closed, unless soemone managed to make an unofficial server, the game becomes useless.
    • If anyone is interested in such a project then I would suggest politely asking EA if they could open source any code that is not encumbered by other license agreements. Alternatively, it may or may not be possible for them to privide some documentation that could aid in reverse engineering a clean room implemention for those extream diehards out there.

      At least it can't hurt to ask.

    • Oh no ! You would've lost a 40$ game after only 2 years of fun !

      Go to the movies and get a 20$ popcorn, that'll last you for long.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        So can I smash your computer games and DVDs after two years, as you must've had all the fun you'd ever want out of them?

        "Look at me, I'm a child of the early 1900s. I can pick up games I played as a child and play with them again until I die if I desire to do so."

        "Well look at me, I'm a child of the early 1990s. I can pick up games I played as a child, and do nothing but stare at my reflection on the CD, because it's FUCKING WORTHLESS otherwise."

        Hence...the fact that I've never purchased an online-only
      • Oh no ! You would've lost a 40$ game after only 2 years of fun!

        Count me among the MMO non-buyers. The reason isn't that you only get ~2 years of fun out of the game, but that once the company shuts down the server, you can never experience the fun again. Imagine publishers not just taking Lord of the Rings out of print after two years, but tracking down every copy and making them unreadable.

        Not only will I not buy entertainment that can be turned off at the publisher/distributor's whims, but I honestl

  • One other problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by luekj ( 692478 )
    Was that they forgot that they were missing some key elements of the actually succsessfull online games. Methinks that MCO just lacked that 'person' connection having you run around as a car all the time and nonesuch.

    Obviously, it's important in any communication game to have an avatar you can relate too.

    • For what it's worth, the car was your avatar. I prefer that to the gorgeous looking but rather superflous humanoid avatars in games like EVE - of course, in EVE, your starship is your avatar, too.
  • I remember hearing about the game before they had any betas available. I was very interested. Then, I didn't hear anytihng until after they had it in stores. Nothing, no advertising, nothing at all.

    Now I don't get all the game magazines, but I visit the major online retailers regularly. I try to keep up on new games comming out, and I never heard anything. If htey really wanted it to do well, and wanted people to play it, then people need to nkow about it. Half the people I mentioned it to asked, "there'
    • I recall marketing (not much but some) after the game came out, but it played up the gearhead aspect as opposed to having fun racing. While this might have appealed to people who were already into cars, especially in terms of customization, it didn't play to the more general audience just looking for some entertaining gameplay. I know that I shied away from it because I have little to no interest in power/weight ratios, torque and the like.

      The other reason it probably suffered is because it wasn't attac

    • Isn't the tradition to complain about the "hype" surrounding a game before its release?

      Once again, on slashdot, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
    • i was one of the people betaing MCO back in the day. a big part of the problem was that, after we had been betaing for quite a while, we found out that the version that went gold was like three patches older than what we had been betaing. between that, and it actually shipping with no features that weren't in beta but were said to be (custom paint, etc), most of the people in beta who SHOULD have been shoe-in customers, said they'd had enough.

      it also didnt help that there was nothing in the final game that
  • Well, I guess I won't be getting that Mac client I wanted, then. It's sort of a shame -- this looked like a good game, too.

    (Who is a computer geek _and_ a gearhead, a combination that's more common than people think.)

Forty two.