Today we’re announcing some changes to our level of support for Highgrounds, our long-running web multiplayer CCG. While the good news is these changes allow us to keep the game website publicly accessible, it will mean a reduction in support and functionality for the game going forward.
We need to make these changes due to a variety of factors. First, as you may know support for Flash (the technology the game is built on) in most web browsers is ending after December 2020. Second, for many years now Heart Shaped Games has been paying more in server/hosting costs than we’ve made from in-game payments, just to avoid shutting the game down for players. Lastly, our development team is focused on developing our new game We Are The Caretakers, and we no longer have bandwidth or plans to support the game.
That said, Highgrounds and the player community we’ve built around it are important to us, and we feel the following changes are a good compromise to allow us to keep the game publicly accessible in some form in light of the changes to Flash.
Starting December 1st, you’ll see the following changes:
- Turning off the dedicated servers that have powered live multiplayer since 2012 and moving to our server provider’s basic, shared server clusters.
- Ending our official development and customer support of the game. This includes any and all changes to the client or services to support the end of life of Flash in browsers starting in 2021.
What To Expect After These Changes
Through the end of 2020, this means you can still log-in to the game on highgroundsgame.com or Newgrounds.com, view your collection, view your decks, buy packs with gems you have or earn from completing quests, play the single player campaign, single player daily events, and multiplayer ‘play-by-mail’ async games without much change beyond potentially slower/unreliable connections to servers. Through the end of the year, you should also be able to access the game in most browsers as usual.
Starting in 2021, the Flash client will be inaccessible in all major browsers due to the planned end of life for the Flash plugin by Adobe. Alternate ways to access Flash content and Highgrounds, such as the Newgrounds Player, may or may not be available from third-parties in the future, but Heart Shaped Games will offer no support, guidance, or changes to the game in order to make those paths of access work. You are welcome to join our Heart Shaped Games Discord channel and discuss with the player community what legal access options exist or become available in the future.
Live multiplayer (“Main Event — King of the Hill” games) will remain accessible as a mode, but you should expect Live games to have connection issues on the basic-tier of servers the game has been moved to. With small player populations connected to the game, you may be able to play live games without interruption, however we definitely expect with even modest live player populations that live multiplayer will be unreliable. We aren’t able to modify the game to close access to the mode, but please “play at your own risk” so to speak. We recommend instead using the play-by-mail (“Untimed Match”) feature to play with friends, as the games are more likely to stay saved even if there are issues with submitting moves due to slow servers. We’ve added a new disclaimer at the bottom of the highgroundsgame.com page to make these changes in service clear to the player community.
We really appreciate your understanding as we move the game into this new phase. Highgrounds is a game design we’re very proud of, and we appreciate everyone that played over the years. We’re happy to answer any of your questions over the next few weeks in our Discord, and we hope you’ll join us on our development journey as we work to release our next game We Are The Caretakers and future games at Heart Shaped Games.
Scott Brodie, Heart Shaped Games