The end was nigh...

I‘ve never been much of an MMO player, so I’ve been mostly spared the melancholic feeling of impending oblivion that comes with their eventual shuttering. I've heard stories, seen streams, lived vicariously, but I did not truly live this experience until the untimely death last year of a little unremarkable mobile game called SEGA Heroes.

I say unremarkable because, truthfully, I'm just too self conscious to admit that I thought it was actually a really well-designed game that I legitimately and unironically enjoyed. The mechanics were a very solid take on the Puzzle Quest concept, with more of an emphasis on party design and balance. The gameplay loop was quick and satisfying and I never felt particularly constrained by the omnipresent "energy" systems that are designed to manage players' engagement. The writing (such as it was) was surprisingly playful without indulging in too much cringe-inducing hyper-irony. It was mainly limited to little quips between unlikely allies between rounds, but really how many times will you see Death Adder and Cream the Rabbit engage in officially sanctioned banter?

[URL=https://i.imgur.com/PGylDKM.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/PGylDKM.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

I had picked this up on a whim years ago and just popped in for a round or two during idle moments on the bus or in bed, though the game became a surprisingly comforting refuge during those early especially uncertain days of the pandemic in 2020. Lacking the mental fortitude to engage in anything terribly deep, I often found myself supine on the couch absent mindedly grinding away with my motley little party of paper-doll-animated Sega friends.

I was not exactly plugged into the wider awareness of this game, so it came of a bit of a surprise to me when, suddenly, micro-transactions were gone...I was getting absurd amounts of money/resources for basically nothing...I was suddenly unlocking all of these aspirational characters at an alarming rate (Kiryu!). My enjoyment and engagement were supercharged as I suddenly found my party similarly supercharged--my most prized combatant, Selvaria Bles, can be observed here _vaporizing_ Knuckles with six-digit elemental damage:

[URL=https://i.imgur.com/9VXQlmZ.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/9VXQlmZ.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

I realized something must be "up," and mere seconds of internet searching later (I'm sure I missed some obvious banner explaining this in-game, but such was my degree of mental wherewithal) the sad truth was known: the servers (and thus the entire game) would be shutting down on 5/21/2020.

And thus, we come to ***_THE POINT_***. This was a feeling I had never really experienced with a game. Sure, I had played Ultima Online, but I put that down well before its own apocalyptic world ending event. As a matter of course I try to avoid games that rely on a, perhaps tenuous, life-sustaining umbilical-cord to ensure their continued existence. Surely, some such games will likely outlive me (WoW comes to mind), but the fragility of existence is not a factor I need manifested in an entertainment product.

With these odd feelings swimming in my mind (intermixed with the very real life-endangering maelstrom slowly enveloping the world) I nevertheless trudged on. I completed every quest there was. I unlocked every bonus, character, skill...anything I could get my hands on. I filleted the formerly formidable final foe repeatedly and meticulously. I competed with similarly XP engorged player parties in the competitive arena. This whole time, the Titanic was sinking, but the band continued to play, and it continued to play while injected with fatal levels of adrenaline.

Sure enough, on the appointed day the servers shuttered. The app icon, of course, remained, and the pitiful little software client would dutifully and futilely try to connect, like someone uttering their last words for eternity, not knowing they are already dead. I leave the app installed, not out of any sort of active respect or protest, but because the act of deleting it would require effort, and that effort seems like a mercy killing I haven't quite steeled myself for.

Well...that got _dark_ didn't it!! I wasn't totally sure where I was going with this when I started writing this down, but I am curious if anyone else lived through the final days of a game they perhaps were not quite ready to say goodbye to. Was it unexpected? Was it glorious? Was it a whimper?

@“kory”#p33617 this was like… shockingly touching and well written.

Also a six digit damage output is hilarious to me!

i don’t believe I’ve ever had the privilege myself, but these stories are always fascinating to me. the people still there at the end are the ones who really truly cared (usually, your case maybe being an exception!) and the bittersweetness of knowing a major part of your life has been deemed unprofitable by a soulless corp but you get one last no holds barred party with people you may never meet again who maybe you grew to really love and appreciate, that’s something special.

RIP Sega Heroes. You paid me $75 to participate in a focus group for you, where I told you that everything you were planning was wrong. I’ll never know if you took my advice.

Cream and Cheese would never say that

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@“CidNight”#p33643

I feel like this is a thread topic in itself but mobile game damage values always make me laugh, I saw a friend playing Dokkan Battle (A Dragon Ball mobile game) and the numbers are in the billions - how does anyone parse that sensibly?

@“Syzygy”#p33719 Yeah I guess that makes sense, shortening stuff down to the appropriate characters is sensible. In English I just go “lol big number go brrrrrrr”

@“esper”#p33677 Yeah, you really touched on two of the most interesting facets of doomed MMOs. It‘s depressing to imagine a meaningful social structure filled with meaningful relationships simply blinking out of existence, and doubly so to imagine that it’s only because the construct is ultimately just a failed (or completed) business experiment. I was going to say that I was completely spared this in the case of this dumb mobile game, but when I thought about it there were a few hints of genuine human interaction buried in there. Toward the end of my tenure in the world of sega heroes I dipped my toes into the raid or guild system or whatever it was called (the memories have all but faded at this point), randomly joining some sort of team working toward a weekly point goal. There was a little message/leader board buried deep in there, where I noticed some of the more dedicated members would post short and entirely genuine messages of encouragement, rallying our little band of troops each week. Sometimes I would even join in, inspired by the good nature of these erstwhile teammates (who seemed mainly to originate from the Indian subcontinent) who I would have otherwise never had even the briefest of contact with.

@"Syzygy"#p33679 What an interesting way of putting this--really highlights the dire necessity for preservation efforts like those Frank has been spearheading

@"Jaffe"#p33704 I can't guarantee that they took any of your advice, but I will say that I found the actual gameplay to be subjectively fun and well-designed. Either way, I guess history will reflect that everything they were planning was, in fact, wrong.

@"treefroggy"#p33711 Ha, yeah, this was not the best example by a long shot--I only included this screenshot because it was [this tweet](https://twitter.com/Stupacabra/status/1403711597521031171?s=20) specifically that reminded me of this game and brought these memories flooding back

@"Auberji"#p33712 Disgaea was my previous watermark for obscene numbers, but I'm sure that this has been eclipsed by mobile games entirely. I haven't played it, but I can only imagine what googolplexian shenanigans the disgaea mobile RPG gets up to.