[Dear GBX] End of Life (EOL) - Start Planning Now Please

I know, it’s weird to bring up EOL for a game that hasn’t even launched, but hopefully it’s early enough.

After just 1 weekend of Open Beta I already know this is a game that I’ll want to play for years to come. And I mean years.

Yes, I’m the kind of gamer that will still boot up Unreal Tournament GOTY, StarCraft, Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, and other oldies but goodies. Which isn’t a problem with those games, because they’re offline only… (Except for NWN multiplayer… sort of… it’s weird, you might know what I mean, it’s weird… anyway…)

Which is why I’m bringing up EOL now. See, there are other online only games that I still can (barely) boot up, and ones that are gone forever. I still play Dawn of War II: Retribution’s Last Stand Mode regularly for instance (best horde mode evar!), though it’ll never be as good as it was. And as badly as DoW II’s online play was affected, the 1st DoW suffered more. In fact, both only continue to limp along by the grace of Sega and Steam, benefactors that saved these games, but not others.

I’ve lost City of Heroes and Age of Empires Online entirely, and Neverwinter Nights Online play was all but absolutely crippled, all because they had online only, or portions of online only, play that relied on servers that were eventually shutdown. And those are just a few examples.

Why have I lost those games? Because they were online only, or so heavily relied on their servers just being there, like forever, that when the eventual happened, they just died. And as you may have noticed, Battleborn is also an online only game. Like, to play Single Player, you have to be online, type of online only. Really online only, is what I’m saying.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love all the great stuff I get with online connected games. Stat tracking, portable and persistent game state, easier multiplayer play, and I actually like knowing that the guys that worked so hard to bring me something so awesome, can feel somewhat secure that they’re getting paid for that awesome thing I enjoy, and so that they can make moar awesome things! Win-Win! But servers are not the pyramids, giant stone edifices meant to last millenia. They have short lives, usually 5 years, sometimes 7, a few have even been around longer than a decade, but eventually they go away.

Hence this topic now. Now that we’re on the eve of this release I’d like to ask Gearbox to learn from those other companies, the ones that built great games that just happened to always expect servers to be around. Companies that then poofed away before they could properly transition their games in to the hands of their fans.

My request is a humble but difficult one, to be sure: Please have a plan in place for your fans, in case of bankruptcy, in case of hostile takeover, in case of years passing and costs no longer being effective as they were. Have a plan to leave the legacy of this game in the hands of your fans, instead of letting it blow in to internet dust on the internet wind, because you didn’t have a plan, or even 12% of one.

Learn from the mistakes of others.

When the time is right and Battleborn no longer needs to be online only, because it no longer serves the purpose of your business to host it, have a plan to pass it on to the community. Be that in the form of server software that you can open source and / or freeware so the community can host it, or a patch to take it to offline / LAN code so that fans can still play it without servers.

But please have a plan.

So we can boot this (still awesome then) game up 10 years from now and shoot ISIC in the face (or leg, I guess legs?, anyway…) one more time, for good 'ol time’s sake.

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It would be very sad to see this disappear forever. Please, community, make enough noise for this to be noticed. I’d like this game to live on through LAN Play or local servers or whatever. Please help make sure this game lives on for as long as the classics.

League of legends is a great game to model after as far as EOL. League is going nowhere and quite possibly will end up being one of the longest living games ever created.

Now, Battleborn has that potential, and its not too far fetched at all. The second i played battleborn, i knew i was pre-ordering it ASAP.

Battleborn has filled a gap in my soul that was left open by Hi-Rez’s Global Agenda. The DEVs killed that game so hard ive never seen anything like it. Worse than planetside. Battleborn cant be that game that sputters out. I wont be able to handle another heartbreak of this magnitude.

Without trying to imply or assume there are issues, lets get the EOL issues out of the way now, if there are, because everyone knows the largest surge in players youll ever have, at least for the first couple years, is right after release. Having your game ready as far as EOL is concerned will keep your playerbase healthy and fat.

from a business view, a developer should always plan according to a lifecycle. a full cycle either ends (e.g. product X stops existing, won’t be produced anymore etc.) or they continue (re-launch, re-engineer blabla).

I have hopes that they can switch off the online only mode. But in case GBX did not prepare for this, indeed now is the time. We will get many patches and DLCs down the road, why not incrementally prepare for the event?

Thanks @Jythri if you see this :slight_smile:

I personally hope, IF the worst scenario happens, that they atleast make sure progression will be stored client side by then, so the game wont become unplayable.

Given the PVE element, I’m pretty certain GBX would patch out the online only requirement when they decide to either take the servers down or re-purpose them.

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If developers make great games, players will buy them and they will have nothing to worry about. Look at Diablo 2 - released over 15 years ago, the game is still being played online/offline and was even patched this year.

I think it’s dangerous to equivocate the quality of a game directly to its lifespan.

There are a number of factors outside of quality that can affect a game’s lifespan, including but not limited to how well the business is run, what IP conflicts and risks can / do arise, the security of the game system, the lifecycle and lifecycle management of the server hardware, and even just plain economic forces.

Blizzard is a company that has faired well with profit, and not from Diablo 2 mind you, but other sources, as well as business management and market forces.

Also quality is, by it’s very nature, a subjective measurement, and that means there are those that would argue that Diablo is not a quality game. There are even those that would argue that it’s lifespan, and Blizzard’s success, arises more from an almost predatory focus on the Skinner Box and Social / Peer Pressure than anything else.

Like These People

So just because Battleborn is a great game that doesn’t mean it’s immune to death.

Every Diablo game + expansion has profited for Blizzard. Diablo 3 alone has 30 million+ units sold. That’s well over a billion dollars which is well below what it cost to develop.
Diablo 2, which is still selling has 4-6 million units sold. The original Diablo is between 2.5-3 million units.

Diablo has profited from every one of them and Blizzard is currently hiring for the next Diablo project. But the original post is about BB. If BB sells enough units, nobody should worry about the games life span. It has been stated already that there will be several DLC packs to keep us busy for a while.

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From what I’ve heard, The always online bit was tacked on for the sake of keeping players honest. In Borderlands 1,2, and Presequel you’d see players geared up in nothing but oranges and purples, who had obviously used cheatengine to get the best gear in the game before it was even supposed to be possible to get that kind of gear. Because Borderlands was mostly PvE that was fine, but Battleborn is competitive multiplayer as much as it is PvE, so there neeeds to be a more serious crackdown on this kind of thing to keep Team Tutorial from getting blindsided by Team Orange.

I can understand why they’d do it. That being said I don’t think this always online should be a permanent solution so much as it is a band-aid. I would much prefer that Battleborn just monitors players’ progress so that those that get WAY more epic level gear than the game’s RNG allows, or manage to take on an entire horde while suffering no damage at all, should just get slotted with other cheaters, much like Titanfall did.

At some point they should be considering possible offline mode for whatever reason near the later stages of the game’s life cycle. Like if the active playerbase drops to a certain amount, because even now during the beta I’ve been screwed over by the always online thing. Anything from a hiccup in the network to a squirrel making the power transformer explode, there should be some means of staying in game when life happens.

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I concur. I have no problem with online only now, today, currently. But all things pass and I’d like the game to survive longer than the servers do. =)