First off, if you still haven\’e2\’80\’99t heard, Funcom\’e2\’80\’99s last major patch, 12.6, self-destructed their game. You don\’e2\’80\’99t really need to know more than that, but if you\’e2\’80\’99re ignorant to this turn of events and are curious, look here and here.

Secondly, although its not a major sticking point, the company which hosted the US servers for Anarchy Online recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy (shout out to Shepherd for the linkage). Note that while chapter 11 bankruptcy technically isn\’e2\’80\’99t bad at all, just the fact that the phrases \’e2\’80\’98Anarchy Online\’e2\’80\’99 and \’e2\’80\’98bankruptcy\’e2\’80\’99 are in the same sentence works out to be some pretty somber foreshadowing to me.

Finally, like Mys pointed out in an earlier update, Funcom nerfed its boards today, throwing them into a state of 100% moderation. Now, there are many reasons why this course of action was chosen by FC. In the end, however, it\’e2\’80\’99s never a good thing when anything is censored. I myself have read the official AO boards many times, and there were always more well written posts than mindless ones.

Which all lead me to speculate\’e2\’80\’a6

Remember when you were a teenager, and your mother or father would ask you to clean your room up before you could go out, or watch TV, or play video games? Remember how sometimes they\’e2\’80\’99d just do that to be bastards (or good parents, it\’e2\’80\’99s debatable)? But do you also remember how most of the time they wanted your room spotless because relatives or guests were coming over and they didn\’e2\’80\’99t want anyone to see your bedroom in its natural state?

Mm-hmm. Do you remember how most of the time you just ended up putting away the big stuff and shoving the rest of it under the bed and into the closet?

Mm-hmm. Well, guess what, kids?

Funcom just shoved us under the bed.

Do they not think the European gaming audience can handle an official message board with OPINIONS on it? I\’e2\’80\’99ve met a few Europeans in my time, and they all seemed reasonably intelligent enough to form their OWN opinions, let alone listen to someone else\’e2\’80\’99s without snapping and killing someone with a wiffle bat, or whatever it is European kids play with.

Funcom\’e2\’80\’99s last stand is Europe. If they can\’e2\’80\’99t win over Europe, they\’e2\’80\’99re finished. Period. You can quote me on that. I have full faith in that statement.

But how do they expect to win over a new audience with a broken product? Easy. Same way you get $10,000 more for that house you\’e2\’80\’99ve had since the Dark Ages. Fill in most of the cracks with a caulking gun, slap a new coat of paint on, give the nudist next-door neighbors a free week\’e2\’80\’99s vacation somewhere, and pray for a miracle.

The more I think about it lately, the more my mind drifts back to the same conspiracy theory-like conclusion\’e2\’80\’a6

\’e2\’80\’a6Were we all just another beta test for Europe? Were all the bugs supposed to be worked out by now, thanks to the hours of \’e2\’80\’98testing\’e2\’80\’99 we North Americans put into our beloved (and unbalanced) characters? Did Funcom even want our money? Or was it just supposed to keep them around long enough to spring their \’e2\’80\’98surprise\’e2\’80\’99 on the unsuspecting European public?

This would explain why they released the \’e2\’80\’98R.I.P. Patch\’e2\’80\’99 (12.6) on a God damned FRIDAY.

This would explain why they never really cared about any of the major requests of the current community.

This would explain the lack of customer service.

Speaking of which\’e2\’80\’a6 Hey. Funcom just hurled their boards into 100% moderation. Isn\’e2\’80\’99t their CS staff already lacking?

Huh. Then who the hell\’e2\’80\’99s left to moderate the boards?

I looked into it. Apparently Funcom is turning (literally) to their farm team of staff, and are promoting the guy who feeds the goats which power the servers to a customer service position, specifically to Lead Bulletin Board Moderator.

\’e2\’80\’a6Sad. Now handfuls on innocent goats are going to starve and die just because YOU people couldn\’e2\’80\’99t behave and use the AO boards as intended. I hope you all rot.

So, here we are, nearing the end of what may be the beginning of a new end; the first major shutdown of a retail MMORPG. Did we expect this? Maybe, maybe not. Is it a sure thing? No, not yet.

Still, I\’e2\’80\’99m never one to miss out on a shining opportunity.

I\’e2\’80\’99m starting a pool. Whoever correctly guesses what day Anarchy Online finally sputters out and dies, wins half the pot, a pony and a year\’e2\’80\’99s supply of lemons.

\’e2\’80\’a6And I know what you\’e2\’80\’99re thinking, so forget it.

I get first dibs on whatever day DaoC comes out.