Tuesday, February 14, 2012

At Ease, Soldier - Metal Gear Online is Retiring

As is always the case with online offerings for video games, they go up and eventually are taken down when the playerbase is small enough that they can't really justify keeping the servers up any longer.  The period of time between release and ending is always different, and for Metal Gear Online, the multiplayer experience that came packaged with Metal Gear Solid 4:  Guns of the Patriots, that end date is July 12th, 2012, exactly four years to the day that it first came out.  Or....July 21st, 2012 if you'd rather believe Joystiq over Siliconera.  (Protip:  Joystiq is sourcing from Kotaku, thus, don't believe Joystiq.)  Although, perhaps it's something different between the Japanese and North American versions of the game or some such shennanigans.  Whatever, I'm going with the 12th because that's much more thematic, okay?

This is a shame, in all reality, since Metal Gear Online had the potential to be really, really really fun, provided the perfect storm of things happened.  Either you played a game with all your friends (and indeed, managed to get in the same game with them) so you could just dick around, or you could find the one game out of dozens that wasn't hard-trenched into styles of play that you would never know exist unless you frequented Message Boards where these types gathered and launched into games from.  At least, that's what I'm assuming why there was a particular dearth of information on this 'Prison Escape" game type that I found myself playing on one of the few occasions that I actually loaded up MGO.  It was apparently more of an Role-Playing focused gametype in which you had a certain amount of the people be 'guards' who were allowed to use guns and stuff, and the rest were 'prisoners' who were relegated to being in a particular location and only allowed to use CQC.

All of the above was inter-personally mandated, of course, and as such was completely unenforceable, so you had to demand compliance to these rules or kick the people who didn't want to indulge from the game which, of course, required a vote.  It was a really, really simple matter to just really inconvenience these games and while I never did that myself, it happened in the game I was in, further confusing me as to what in the world was going on.  I left, obviously, to find a game that played Metal Gear Online as if it were Metal Gear Online, and while I'm not adverse to trying different types of things in MP games, really playing with the limitations put in place or the lack there of, I wasn't really too fussed to get shot to death yet again by a 'guard' after very nearly escaping the arbitrary building we were relegated to.

Regardless, there was some real fun to be found when you actually played Metal Gear Online as intended, and I do have quite a few fond memories of playing it.  No real stand-out times, really, just generally all the times I didn't suck at the game which were few and far between because, as I quickly learned, the people that played MGO played it because they were good at it.  While I'm not going to say it was prohibitive, it wasn't the easiest community to jump in and play with either and, being rather new to the online scene as I was (and still kind of am), it made it that much more difficult.  Though I suppose in retrospect, it makes my victories that much grander now, since not only was I overcoming the newness of it, but I was overcoming people who weren't as green as I was.  Though I guess the majority of it could be contributed to luck, namely of the beginner's variety, but still.

Regardless, there is apparently going to be some incentive to play up until you can't if you go by Siliconera's information.  According to them, the expansion packs and such that have been released for cost will be unlocked for free on April 24th, allowing for about a full month and a half of playing with these free toys before they're locked to you forever.  I'm not really clear on exactly what Expansion packs will be unlocked, but I would suspect all of them, unless some of them are simply taken down, rather than being sold or handed out for free which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  So perhaps playing as Raiden, Vamp, Ocelot or the other premium characters will be possible, or perhaps not, I guess we'll just see.  I'll probably keep an eye out for it, but likely won't join in the festivities myself; the community update downloads will likely be far too much for me.  Still, I hope everyone that wants to has a good ol' time with Metal Gear Online 2.0 while it lasts and we eagerly wait for Metal Gear Online 3.0, whenever that comes out.

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