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Friday, August 12, 2005

I've unplugged from The Matrix Online

After previously extolling the strengths and virtues of this game, I sadly and reluctantly was led to cancel my account with The Matrix Online a short while ago.

I really, really hated doing this, because The Matrix Online (a) has one heckuva beautiful graphics engine (b) has the most compelling premise of any online game to date and (c) is intended to give players a real part to play in the ongoing Matrix storyline. It's just simply a gorgeous landscape to run around in... and I'm having to leave it.

Why? 'Cuz sad to say, there's just no new content being created for this game, and there hasn't been for some time. They did some gutsy things like killing off Morpheus and introducing a few compelling story arcs, but for the past three months there's not been anything substantial added to this game. The "grind" of leveling-up characters has become long, monotonous and just plain boring: it's the worst of any online multiplayer role-playing game that I know of. I'm not the only one feeling this way right now: account memberships have dropped so sharply that they actually combined all the previously existing servers into three new servers. Otherwise it was looking like an empty shell of a city all across the board. Well, the drop-off in the quality of the game is only one reason why so many are leaving: the real one during the past month or so has been the takeover of The Matrix Online by Sony Online Entertainment... the same company that took Star Wars Galaxies and turned it into Star Wars Costume Party. They wrecked what should have been a winning game from the start, and there's no sign that they've learned any of their lessons now that they have The Matrix Online.

I called an 800 number to cancel my account and talked to a friendly customer service rep named Steven. He was extremely courteous, didn't try to pressure me into staying on, but he did ask me a question or two about why I was leaving. I told him that I couldn't justify paying $15 a month for a game that has become, for all intents and purposes, boring. But I also told him that I'm a huge Matrix fan, that I do like the ideas behind this game and that if it gets its act together then I would definitely reconsider reactivating my account. Maybe it will... who knows? But in the meantime, although I'm going to keep an eye on things with The Matrix Online I won't be one of the "toons" dodging bullets in the streets of the mega city.


Jon said...

Morpheus is dead?! First they blind Neo and then they impale Trinity. Now they kill Morpheus? I sure hope the action and drama leading up to that in the game was worth sacrificing his character. I just hope they didn't do it out of a desperate attempt to forge a storyline. Shame because I read pretty good reviews on the game.

Chris Knight said...

I've no idea what went wrong with this game, 'cuz it had EVERYTHING going for it... including the full input of the Wachowski brothers themselves. It really did feel like you were running around and fighting in the cityscape of the Matrix. The combat system is one of the most innovative I've ever seen.

And the game introduced a LOT of neat Matrix lore: like the archive constructs, new factions like the General and the N30 agents, good stuff about the previous versions of the Matrix including the vampires and werewolves.

Yup, they killed off Morpheus. He was taken out by "the Assassin": a masked killer whose body is composed of a humanoid-shaped swarm of houseflies... no I ain't making that up :-\