Mythic Entertainment announced on Wednesday that just after five years, the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning MMORPG is shutting its doors on December 18. Going forward, players will no longer be able to renew their subscriptions, and three-month game codes will no longer be sold. Mythic said that along with Warhammer IP owner Games Workshop, the studio has chosen not to renew the Warhammer licensing deal when it expires in December.
"Games Workshop has cultivated a world class IP. We were lucky enough to play in their universe for nearly a decade, with five great long years live," said game producer Carrie Gouskos in a letter to subscribers. "However, like all things – our contract has come to an end. Both Games Workshop and Mythic agreed to part ways, despite how hard it is emotionally on us to let the game go. It has been a tremendous honor to work with Games Workshop and even though we may be parting ways, our relationship with them remains strong."
The closure follows Mythic's move to shut down the free-to-play Wrath of Heroes Warhammer-based game back in March after it failed to sustain enough revenue to remain open for business. Warhammer Online is likely facing the same issue, as the subscription count has continuously dropped since shortly after the game's September 2008 launch. Subscription numbers reportedly peaked at 750K just three weeks after the doors opened, then dropped down to 300K in February 2009. A month later, Mythic pulled 63 servers offline.
"Warhammer, despite its flaws, was a valiant effort into the MMO space," Gouskos said. "I don't think any of its critics would ever call it boring. It struck out boldly, and some of the game's novel features are now considered industry standard for MMOs. The credit goes to far too many to list it out here, and it's almost irrelevant. The point is that some of the most talented people in gaming made Warhammer possible. They worked insanely long hours, and they put their heart and soul into trying to make this beautiful IP a living and breathing universe."
Back in June Mythic pulled the plug on Warhammer Online's 6-month codes and 6-month auto-renewals due to a lack of interest. Codes already purchased would be honored, but after June 18, these codes would no longer be offered to players. The studio also suggested that current subscribers change their account to 1-month or 3-month auto-renewals. Now starting September 18 (Wednesday), the 3-month codes and 3-month auto-renewals have also been removed to reflect the upcoming closure.
A similar fate came to Star Wars Galaxies at the end of 2011. Both Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts Entertainment decided not to renew their licensing deal, thus bringing the struggling MMORPG to a close after a good, long fight. SOE head John Smedley said the closure had nothing to do with subscription numbers, despite the drop in user numbers.