Where do gaming communities go when they die?

All good things eventually come to an end. During this holiday season, remember to be thankful for everything and every moment you have and share with your friends. Tis the season to be thankful! Tis the season to also trample your fellow man for a deal on something that will be practically free by this time next year, but also to be THANKFUL! I’m thankful for a lot of things, my family, my friends, my health, blah, blah blah.. One of the more fringe things I’m thankful for is this relaxing hobby I’ve grown up with and the community with whom I share my many gaming & life experiences (Game-Revolution). Which is why it makes me sad when someone stops coming around to play or talk because, a change in staff is made, or the larger community’s activities starts to die down, or the occasional server gets taken offline in your favorite game. This kind of thing happens a lot more in MMORPGs games/communities than any other genre I would imagine (MOBAs are slowly creeping into the mix), but if you play games online then you’re used to the nomadic culture of online play.

If you’ve been gaming long enough and have played an online game or have been apart of a guild/clan then you know what I mean. We’ve all experienced it, and the longer you age and game the more likely it is that you will experience the loss of a cherished community again and again. These games and their release windows are snapshots in time, and some pictures fade more quickly than others. I’ve experienced the slow death of a game with both MAG and Matrix Online. Honestly, now this is also why I’m now skeptical of ANY newly released game that is entirely based online and whose success is measured by the amount of players in-game (and probably why Star Wars Battlefront will die violently after the Xmas holiday). Hype be damned! If its an online game you better show me a 10 yr plan if you want my money.

gif from Animation Domination HD

When a game your playing dies, the amount you’re impacted is probably directly related to the amount of time you’ve spent in the game itself. And even then, you’re not too disappointed because you expected this to happen at some level or some shiny new toy has caught your eye and is now eating up all your time. To combat this people in guilds will even open up new branches in new games, before the old ones die so that you can transition easily if you want to without missing a beat.

Is the protocol the same when your web-based hobby community dies? I mean, obviously a website is a slow death and the fight to keep the community alive is an ongoing war of attrition, but you guys know what I mean, I’m sure. People just disappear. Sometimes the loss means you miss out on snarky forum commentary or interesting perspectives, but sometimes a disintegrating community means you lose friends. Life happens, I get it. A game loses its appeal, servers get shut off, clan mates log on less frequently, you move on to a new stage in your life, marriage, kids, etc., but it doesn’t make the loss any less painful if you’re the sentimental type — like me. *sniff sniff*

Maybe its the holidays turning me into a sap, or maybe I’m getting nostalgic in my old age but what were some of your first or favorite online communities? What makes a strong in-game and out-of-game community in your opinion? At GR, we are a few more steps closer to each other than the anonymity of a chan, a sub-reddit, or the kotaku’s of the world (which is a bonus), but we also lack the contributions that go along with having those numbers. Have you been a part of other communities that have died (gaming or not) — what’d you do after? Stay in touch with the other members still or did you guys naturally part ways?