If you've got an itch to run through some dungeons, you better scratch it quick: NCsoft is pulling the plug on the free-to-play MMOG Dungeon Runners on January 1.
In a letter posted on the official forums, Dungeon Runners Producer and Lead Programmer Stephen Nichols delivered what he called a "crap sandwich" to players, squeezing the stinky mess of bad news between two figurative slices of happier, upbeat bread. He called his time on Dungeon Runners the best in his 20-year career in game development, but said the game just isn't sustainable any longer.
"If she were a ship, she'd be taking on water. Yeah, she's been taking on water for a long time now. Are my cryptic references too hard to decipher?" he wrote. "The game just isn't profitable. And, the first rule of business is to be profitable! Man, I must have missed that day in business school."
He said the Dungeon Runners team has some ideas about how to turn things around but they're "expensive to implement and pretty risky." He also noted that the five-man team recently lost two key members, making success "pretty much out of the question." As a result, the game will be closing its doors on New Year's Eve.
But not without a bang! Anyone with a paid membership will be given free digital copies of City of Heroes Architect Edition and Guild Wars Prophecies along with a 30-day game time code, while multiple-month memberships extending past the closure date will be refunded. Changes are also being made to give players a little more bang for their buck over the game's final few months: Mythic-level loot will drop much more frequently, prices at the King's Coin vendors will be cut drastically and experience rate gains have been quintupled. Quintupled, people!
Other changes are planned, although Nichols said he didn't want to spoil all the surprises just yet, but he did say that a "huge nuke" set to detonate on New Year's Eve is being added to Townston, which will take the entire game with it when it blows up. Sounds like a pretty memorable way to go; I've never been to an MMOG shutdown but I think I'll make a point of getting to this one.
"So, try not to be sad. It may be the end of Dungeon Runners, but it's not the end of the world!" Nichols wrote. "I'll still be working on the game until the very end. We can chat, reminisce and play DR until the lights go out."