On a whim, I decided to go and look at how the end of the world might be like in MMOs, and took a quick trip to google to look for MMOs that have died.
For the most part, this brought up images, articles, and videos of Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa, which failed to really catch on with the demanding MMO populace. According to what I’ve understood, the end of Tabula Rasa was supposed to be a massive war against the enemy, leading finally to the huddling of the masses inside populated areas, dancing at the end of the world.
That’s not always the case though, as it happens. A good number of thriving MMOs these days have a story that begs an exploration of how the people in it would experience the end of days. While the end of every MMO will eventually come at the flicking of some hypothetical switch that kills servers dead, it’s the hours before the end that make everything interesting. Here are some of my ideas as to how certain MMOs will ramp up the story for the end of their runs.
And yes, there will be a lot of dancing in the streets.
World of Warcraft:
World of Warcraft’s run will probably end with a final battle against Sargeras, the head of the Burning Legion. However, I’m almost certain that Blizzard does not want the enmity between the horde and the alliance to end; as Fallout 3 would say it, “War. War never changes.”
To that end, it might be reminiscent of Ender’s Game, wherein once the final battle has been fought with the big baddie, the infighting will begin amongst the peoples for dominance. Servers will overflow with free accounts being made just to stress the servers one last time with people dancing in the streets rejoicing, all while some nefarious folk are scheming in the background to usurp the power of the many forces that now occupy Azeroth and Outland.
The servers will shut down, perhaps, but not before Blizzard sends one last patch with a time-release movie, that can only be unlocked after the servers close: The end of WoW and the beginning of Warcraft IV: Dawn of the New Age… or some other epic sounding name like that. *server blink*
City of Heroes and Champions Online:
Superhero MMOs have one glaring problem when it comes to actually ending their run. Everyone in the world is superpowered, and thus the main thing we can do to make an epic end to their existence would be to introduce the origin story of the one from whom the superpowers and super intelligence and whatnot originated from.
Imagine all the superheroes taking their stand against a final boss who is not only Legion, but also Origin? He could extinguish all their superpowers, and yet chooses not to, in order to give them a fair shot at stopping him. Origin wants to remake a world that has grown too used to power, and yet, the superheroes don’t know that defeating him will strip all of mankind of their powers anyway. When the dust settles, either the heroes of each server defeat the final boss or get stripped of their powers, forcing themselves to also become observers at the end of days.
Either way, the world ends not with the final battle, but with the realization that absolute power, whether it be the Origin’s own or the heroes’ own, can corrupt absolutely without making that corruption known. *server blink*
I honestly hope Fallen Earth lives for a very long time, but seeing as this is life after the apocalypse, it seems only fitting that there be redemption and rebirth in the final act, should it come to pass.
As I imagine it, I would want Fallen Earth to end with the rebirth of the entire world, with all the players choosing to combine all of their skills, from killing things to crafting, in an effort to either create a complete cure for the Shiva Virus, an end to the mutations, and a restarting of the rebirth of the world or to allow an evolved version of the virus to decimate all the clones in Fallen Earth and leave the Earth a lifeless shell.
Essentially, there is a race against the clock. While there is an active server shutdown time set for the end of Fallen Earth, that time would be variable depending on whether or not the players are able to fulfill an insanely high crafting skill requirement: 1 trillion batches of this supposed cure, spread out in a count across all the players in the server. People can create the item and drop it, allowing them to make even more of the stuff, which, story-wise, would kill the Shiva virus in its tracks.
With an additional 23 hours added to the server shutdown time, people could watch the game slowly change, with mutations dying out, being replaced by healthier and healthier spawns and plantlife. People would, as I can imagine, be dancing in the streets again, happy to know that the world has been saved and reborn.
Or the world could just end up being a lifeless hunk of rock floating around in space. *server blink*
Lord of the Rings Online:
I have no idea how this will end. Something about a ring falling into lava, perhaps… there will probably be people dancing too.
There are probably more MMOs out there that deserve an end times salute. Feel free to create your own dastardly scenarios in the comments. Till next time, I leave you with the End of Tabula Rasa.