Monday, 7 November 2011

Where's My Tiger? : Neo Steam



In theory I play a lot of MMOs. I have nearly two dozen on my desktop and a few more tucked away out of sight. I say in theory because as you may have noticed there are only so many hours in the day and much though I'd like to spend all of those hours playing games there's working and sleeping and eating and what-all to fit in somewhere.

I have my focus games, usually just two or three at most. Currently that would be EQ2X, Rift and Allods. Then I have my background games, where I have characters I'm still interested in developing. LotRO, Fallen Earth, Everquest, Vanguard or Ryzom all fit in there. I try to pop in every few days for at least a short session here or there just to keep the plates spinning.

No boars? That can't be right.
Beyond that comes a whole raft of titles that I'm either pretty much done with, never really got started on or just haven't gotten around to yet. And right at the end of the list is a small group of MMOs that I only ever play last thing at night, when I finish a session on my focus game but don't quite feel ready to stop altogether.

Eden Eternal and Dragon Nest are my current go-to late-nighters but last night I got the urge to pop into NeoSteam, a game I've played on and off for years. Apparently it's been quite a while since I last got the urge because it turns out NeoSteam isn't there any more. The server closed down last May. I don't remember reading anything about that on Massively.

It was the third time it's happened to me. Two other MMOs I played sporadically decided to shut their doors while I had my back turned: Rubies of Eventide and Ferentus. They and NeoSteam were all MMOs I had a great deal of time for. Metaphorically. Unfortunately.

Small dwarf, big world

Rubies is the one I miss the most. It was a  first-class MMO with tons of potential and I did put in quite a few hours there over the years. Mrs Bhagpuss and I played it regularly for a while. I'd play it still if I could. We both played Ferentus for quite a time too and although it never came out of beta it was more finished than a lot of games I've payed to play.

NeoSteam was the oddest of the three. It was nominally Steampunk in setting but it seemed more like a dreamscape. My character was a giant tiger who carried a hammer bigger than he was. Something that looked like a flying turnip used to follow him around offering advice. I never saw much of the world. Mostly I ran around enjoying the music and marveling at all the bizarre creatures. I think I only got to level 10 but I wasn't finished yet, dammit!.

I knew I shouldn't have kicked that puffball
The most galling thing of all is that NeoSteam is still online in the U.S.A. where by all accounts it has been much better managed and developed by Atlus. The rights for Europe including the U.K. went to Gamigo, who never seemed to do anything with it at all. I can't remember ever having to patch when I logged in and nothing ever seemed to change.

So, NeoSteam joins the list of lost MMOs. It also joins the shorter but infinitely more annoying list of MMOs lost specifically to me due to I.P. blocking or regionalization. EQOA keeps it company there. Will I learn the lesson this time and remember to log into the games I like more often? Probably not.

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