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Role Playing (Games)

Auto Assault Goes Sunset Tonight 39

Mytob writes "Today is the last day of service for NCSoft / Net Devil's Auto Assault. The game, which has never proved that popular, will have its service terminated at midnight central time. Refund emails have already been sent out, and end-of game events have been happening since last week. From the Auto Assault Website: 'We are now in the final week of Auto Assault and to mark this occasion on Friday night we'll be doing all sorts of nutty things in-game — whatever you request, we'll try to make happen. Most of the fun will be in and around Ground Zero (don't worry if you don't have a high-level character, we'll boost you), but we'll be doing other stuff all around the game. We plan on starting around 9PM CDT (if not before) and should last right to midnight when the servers are shut down for the final time.'"
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Auto Assault Goes Sunset Tonight

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  • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:47AM (#20423315)
    I've played in the beta, and AA had a few nice aspects that almost made me buy it.

    The good things were
    -halfway decent driving physics (albeit not perfect)
    -innovative and interesting crafting system
    -nice graphics

    and the bad:
    -Absolutely no death penalty, making combat somewhat meaningless
    -got quite repetitive after level 20
    -combat way too dependent on level: a mob 5 levels below you could hardly hurt you and vice versa...
    In the end it was fun for three months of beta but by the release time I had grown somewhat tired of it. Now playing EVE which is still fun after 8 months :-)
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I must have tried it too early in the beta. I remember the graphics being awful, especially in "town" where your person looked incredibly stiff and unnatural. I don't remember being too impressed by the crafting system, but I don't remember exactly why. I like the highly level dependence of combat. It bothered me a lot in WoW and EQ that you could constantly be bothered by things that gave you no experience if you took the time to deal with them. If you're going to go with the explosive gains in power, you

      • I was in the beta, too. Uninstalled it after about a week, then reinstalled it when a Netdevil shill swore up and down that things were different and vastly improved and... yes. Play was just as dire, the engine issues were still in evidence, and as much as I wanted a Car Wars Online, AA was definitely not going to be it.

        I still wince when I recall the adolescent writing for the background and the quests. It was like they tried to parley their earlier vehicle-based MMO, Jumpgate, into a new setting... min

      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        I'd rather say those smaller things flee and don't try to attack you when you're powerful enough.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree. I got a preorder so I could get into the Beta. I spent a few weeks with it, and came to the same decision as you. In addition to your reasons, I had the following:

      - Far too much of it was geared toward single-player. There wasn't a whole lot of multi-player content involved (at the low end, at least), and what was there was often something that could still be beaten alone with some persistance. (The non-penalty for death factored into this. Go in, survive for a bit, attack for as long as possible,
    • Ironically, the bad points you mention are fairly representative of WoW, except possibly the one about repetitiveness. I guess I don't know if you mean repetitive in that the mechanics don't ever change (like WoW, which is fine with me), or that the content stays the same (ugh). Weird that if those are the bad points, that AA isn't doing as well as WoW.

      At any rate, no death penalty is the best thing to ever happen to MMOs. I wish every game did that.

  • Poor auto assault (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:48AM (#20423331) Homepage
    I found Auto Assault to be a SUPER fun game...except for the fact that there was hardly anyone around.

    Unfortunately, it was a vicious circle that caused things to get to this one wanted to play it because the world was so empty, thus causing the world to STAY empty.

    Shame...I loved it.
    • Re:Poor auto assault (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:25AM (#20423625) Homepage
      This can really kill any online game. It's a chicken-and-egg problem, although even if that problem gets solved, it can really kill a game if subscriber count dips for any reason.

      For example, this is a basic VERY concise history of Dark Age of Camelot:

      Game launches successfully (I've heard that it is still regarded as the least buggy MMOG launch ever. This is sad since DAoC still had lots of annoying bugs.

      First game expansion is well received

      Not realizing that the reasons most of the DAoC subscriber base were playing DAoC instead of Everquest was because they hated certain aspects of EQ such as sitting around camping a rare mob spawn for hours on end, Mythic decided to try and capitalize on EQ's popularity by releasing a new expansion (Trials of Atlantis) which had very EQ-like mechanics. (Super-rare mob spawns as opposed to the previous DAoC model of super-rare drops off of mobs or drops off of super-hard mobs requiring lots of teamwork to beat.)

      Playerbase almost universally hates ToA and constantly bitches about it to Mythic. Mythic ignores the bitching because people aren't quitting. Mythic does not realize that most of the complainers are just waiting for another place to go - While they like DAoC far less than they used to, there still aren't better options.

      Eventually, Blizzard Entertainment provides just the option that over half of DAoC's playerbase is waiting for.
      DAoC's subscriber count drops rapidly over the period of only a few months

      Mythic finally realizes just how much ToA was hurting them, and starts fixing it

      While the game is vastly improved (and in my opinion, is far better than WoW in terms of game mechanics), the fact that the playerbase is totally skewed towards hardcore players shifts RvR (Realm vs. Realm) mechanics in such a way that casual players can't compete. As a result, despite the reason for people originally leaving for WoW being gone, the reduced playerbase of DAoC makes people stay with WoW (or other games - EVE in my case).

      DAoC is stuck in a chicken-and-egg situation in which they can't gain new/casual players until they gain more casual players.

      Game mechanics-wise, I would rather be playing DAoC than EVE. But the decimated playerbase means DAoC is no longer fun, despite good game mechanics.
      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
        I don't think any game ever elicited more trash talking at the weekly LAN party I attended than when we were RvR fighting in DAoC...good times, good times.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by swordgeek ( 112599 )
        Interesting history. I had played DAoC from fairly early on, and had brought two characters up to level 50 by the time ToA was released. I had also become a Legendary Grandmaster armourcrafter, which took twice as much time as leveling two characters. At first the rule and game changes looked like they were designed for better balance, but then they started to get silly and frustrating. Then there was the cheating: I worked with a guy who got up to the same crafting level as me in a week, by using an auto-c
        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )
          You think Blizzard isn't out to soak their customers for as much money as possible?
          The only difference is that Blizzard realizes you can soak much more money from them if you manage to keep your customers happy enough to keep paying.
          • First of all, I didn't mention Blizzard at all--I'm not paying for ANY online games anymore.

            Secondly, if a company can provide a good enough gaming environment for me to willingly pay, then so be it. Encouraging cheating and forced upgrades ain't the way, though.
        • I had also become a Legendary Grandmaster armourcrafter, which took twice as much time as leveling two characters. At first the rule and game changes looked like they were designed for better balance, but then they started to get silly and frustrating. Then there was the cheating: I worked with a guy who got up to the same crafting level as me in a week, by using an auto-crafting program, which were explicitly forbidden. I complained to the powers that be, and got no response. I appealed to the in-game supp

      • Auto Assault was never going to be a huge hit. I just couldn't see myself playing it, and I beta a lot of MMOs. This game couldn't generate any interest for me.

        Part of that was PlayNC being at the controls. I really liked CoH/CoV initially. The character generation is STILL the best ever, and just about everyone lost an hour or more on their first character design. But all of their games tend to devolve into a redundancy that hurts them in the long run. You can only do so many missions in CoH/CoV befo
        • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )
          "EVE has really hit the spot for folks that like PvP, but to me the learning curve and the need for a good friend-base is a real limiting factor. Unless I knew a group of folks that played and were looking for me to join, I wouldn't go there. It's not for soloing or cutting your teeth without friends. It just sounds too daunting to take on by yourself without knowing folks. Unless you want to join BoB, that is."

          Well, to go join BoB you're going to need to know a lot of people.

          That said - I started playing E
        • EQ2 has been given many a facelift, and I personally feel that unless you are looking for PvP, it is the best MMO going. The playerbase tends to be a little more mature than the typical WoW crowd, and no raid requires more than 24 persons max, and many are 12 person raids. If you played it at launch and were disgusted, take a look at it now. I've had many WoW fanatics burn out, and come try EQ2 with those of us that are playing. Only one has not stayed with EQ2, and he left due to not having enough RAM to run EQ2 and Skype at the same time. Most of them have been simply stunned at how different a game it is.

          To be fair, since it seems like you're trying to compare it to WoW (the de facto PvE MMO out there), no raid in WoW requires more than 25 people, and there are a couple of 10-mans. They're pretty similar in that regard.

          Blizzard needs to release more than 1 expansion every 2 years to keep the attention of players. Their working towards their second expansion, while SoE is working on the 4th for EQ2.

          I'd like to see that, but it'll never happen. You and I both know it. Blizzard development moves at a slow pace, and they probably wouldn't even try to put a game out in a hurry. If we're lucky, we'll see WotLK early next year, and we'll be up to 1 a year, which is fairly reasonable, imo. T

  • Open Source it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paganizer ( 566360 ) <[thegrove1] [at] []> on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:09AM (#20423479) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully, the company will release the server & client code as open source; they can then watch in frustration as dozens of servers & tens of thousands of players jump on it.
    I guess if it was me I would just open source the client, and release the server as a binary; that way you could still, in theory, make money by providing new material while getting away from hosting, hardware & advertising costs.
    • by Barny ( 103770 )
      Frustration? I don't know about anyone else, but having a game you have sweated over to get produced and then die like this.... I would be ecstatic if it got taken up in the foss community and had something big made of it. /me lowers a flag to half mast and puts on a black armband
    • Re:Open Source it. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:22AM (#20423599)
      Every time some commercial MMO gets the sunsetting treatment someone has to drag out the, "I hope they release the code" rallying cry.

      It's not going to happen. AA is but one MMO title that NetDevil produces. They would be pointing a gigantic gun at their collective feet if they were to release the networking code that, presumably, is used within their other commercial games. On top of that, within the realm of the client, there are possible middleware licensing issues with the 3D engine, video playback, physics system, etc.. that would prevent any opening of the code.

      • Ok. then just release the binaries.
        That would, i'm sure, be a MASSIVE bitch when it comes to the server side of things.
        • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )
          Or how about just offering free clients before this final event?

          The code needs to be preserved somehow. It must eventually enter the public domain. Opening the source is an easy and mutually beneficial way to satisfy a copyright holder's obligation to society for receiving their temporary monopoly over the work.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GrayNimic ( 1051532 )
      That's what many people were hoping for following the shutdown of the Earth & Beyond MMO. However, EA pointed out how much of an investment a MMO engine is and what a significant asset it represents to the company - it'd be easier to upgrade/revamp their existing engine than create a new one from scratch if they were to make a new MMO, for example. Plus, releasing the engine would give an enormous boost to their competition in later MMOs, which is of special concern since the subscription MMO client b
    • by vishbar ( 862440 )
      Perhaps it would even provide a very fertile ground to try out in-game advertising? The first(?) totally ad-supported MMO...
    • Hopefully, the company will release the server & client code as open source; they can then watch in frustration as dozens of servers & tens of thousands of players jump on it.

      You can pick any commercially made game title, and I can tell you for certainty that this will almost never happen. The reason? Third-party libraries. Every game company uses tons of 3rd party libraries, especially MMOs. They don't want to develop an engine and all of the technical stuff when they also have to spend so much

  • I really liked this games concept, but I didn't get it to work on wine.

    Oh well, its nice that they've realized its time to close down, nothing is more pathetic than MMO's that keep on trying even though they were outdated in 2003 or something.
  • This was the first time I'd even heard of this game. It looks really cool. But I wouldn't have played it, since there's a monthly fee, and I really can't scrape up the cast for that most months.
  • I just hate to see something diffirent die..
  • When I first heard of Auto Assault, I thought someone had finally remade AutoDuel [], still my single favorite video game of all time. Then I found out there was no single-player experience, just a MMORPG. Bleah.

    Please re-release Auto Assault with a deep single-player experience! Granted, I'll never leave the house again, but I didn't really want to anyway.

  • What would be a great gesture now is to release the server application to the game community.

    Let people run their own hobby servers.

    • Can we get the client open, too? I really like the shiny graphics upgrade they made. Oh, shiny stuff... Shiny.
  • When I first heard of Auto Assault I envisioned it as something like the Car Wars RPG. Instead, the game was a fairly straightforward RPG action game with cars as avatars. I think the game would have held my interest longer if there had been more customization options, more complex missions (multi-player 'convoy' escort quests, infiltration quests involving both time in and out of the vehicle, etc), and a way to get out of the darn vehicle. In short: I don't want to be a car, I just want to drive one.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter