"Fighting with the same two hundred people we’ve known all our lives"
October 23, 2016 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Meridian 59 is one of the longest running original online role-playing games. Launched in 1996, the game was a commercial venture until 2009 and the game files were open sourced in 2012. The once massively multiplayer online game now is rarely hosting more than twenty people at a time, the last survivors of Meridian 59. [via]
posted by jessamyn (9 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
There's something really sad about empty video game worlds. I sometimes poke my head into a minecraft server run by a mefite. Haven't seen anyone online there for a while, but someone left me cookies in a chest at the front door to my castle and a note next to some rough repairs apologizing for unintentional creeper damage. It made me smile.
posted by dazed_one at 8:56 AM on October 23, 2016 [13 favorites]

Not going to spoil it, but I found the last line of this article such a relief.

(And if you don't see a parallel between Meridian 59 and the games that replaced it and a certain online community we all know and the rest of them, I don't know what to tell you.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:59 AM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

I would love to see someone write a piece like this for A Tale in the Desert. It's "only" been up for 13 years compared to Meridian 59's 17, but I feel like the state of its community is similar, though ATITD is still a commercial enterprise and I think? its player base is bigger. Apparently they had a player meetup recently with the current developer of the game, and looking at the attendees list I see a lot of names I recognize from back when I played it in 2005/6.

I also hope that one day that game, too, makes it to Steam and sees its own renaissance. It deserves one.
posted by chrominance at 9:47 AM on October 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Heck; I'd forgotten all about Meridian 59 for years now. Both interesting, and useful for a part of the work I do. Thanks for the post!
posted by Wordshore at 12:25 PM on October 23, 2016

Yes WoW is still thriving, but there are some very lonely areas of the world. Areas with daily quest givers, with plot lines and characters that someone put a lot of effort into. It seems like if they just installed better rewards, they could keep traffic up in these places.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:43 PM on October 23, 2016

The improbable continued existence of this just makes me a little more bitter that NCSoft wouldn't keep City of Heroes running as a F2P/freemium game, or sell it to someone who would.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:39 PM on October 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

I don't really want to do the footwork myself, but what about the Simultronics games like Gemstone? Had some good time playing those. I remember when they were getting 2000+ people on at time. Some of the in game events were really gripping.

Oh man, MUDs were loads of fun. People actually tried roleplaying and maintaining character. Game mechanics were punishing. When your character died, there were real repercussions.

I've definitely considered logging on from time to time, but I think it'd be a sad experience.
posted by Telf at 5:20 AM on October 24, 2016

The Simutronics games are still around... Dragonrealms, at least, went F2P and I've logged in a couple times, mostly out of a strong sense of nostalgia. I never played Gemstone but it is also still up and running. Honestly -- Federation is still running, and that's been around in some form or another since 1988!

Well, hell, I don't want to do the footwork either, but let me log in to Dragonrealms... click click... 402 players currently online on a Monday morning. I mean, I assume most of them are -- I don't remember what we used to say, AFK script zombies or something? But still.
posted by cacophony at 6:54 AM on October 24, 2016

402! That's not bad at all. I wouldn't even know how to go back and check my old accounts. Probably for the best.
posted by Telf at 1:05 AM on October 25, 2016

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