Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning closed down on Wednesday when the licensing agreement Electronic Arts had with Games Workshop ended. A developer who worked on the game says there is a way to preserve its world in a kind of museum-exhibit way, should EA choose to release it.
Andrew Meggs, who was the lead client engineer for Warhammer Online when he was at Mythic Entertainment, says there was an option to run the game without a server in an unreleased, developer-only build of the Warhammer Online client. If EA released this, then fans could run around in the virtual world, explore it and remember the good times.
"There were no login or character selection screens," Meggs wrote on his blog. "There were no NPCs or other players. There was no gameplay of any kind. It was just you and the entire world spread out before you. You could fly around like Superman, or teleport anywhere at will."
An MMO without other players or quests is not an MMO, and Meggs isn't pretending this would be one. He's more suggesting it as a memorial to Warhammer Online's five year run. "It's a double-clickable museum exhibiting much of what WAR was, so it won't be forgotten completely. It's an effort by all of us, as developers, to preserve a living record as our transient medium is created and destroyed. I can't do this; I left behind the code when I left EA. But there are people inside EA who can easily make this happen."
It's a nice thought but it leaves me feeling like the mere suggestion creates a no-win situation to crap all over EA, as if that's not a forum pastime already. First, they'd have to release it for free, because otherwise, the story becomes "EA Wants Warhammer Fans to Pay for an MMO with No Quests or NPCs." Secondly, this is a licensed game, which means the licensor would have to consent to all of this, and the agreement has expired. I'm guessing that contract is pretty absolute on proscribing EA from continuing this game in any form past the expiration date.
Closing an MMO is always painful to those who played it. Sometimes it's best to just say goodbye and move on, rather than dredge up another reason to be disappointed by the company shutting things down.