Tag Archives: Farewells

The Demise of BattleClinic

One of the notable thing about EVE Online is its dependence on its community to make the game accessible.  If all the web sites, podcasts, forums, addons, and what not related to WoW suddenly disappeared, you could still play the game pretty well.  There are probably a couple of addons you would really miss (Healium and Master Plan for me), but I would wager that a lot of subscribers have none installed anyway.

But if you took away the EVE Online ecosystem… I think we’d have to recreate it to carry on.  DOTLAN EVE Maps and zKillboard and EVE Fitting Tool and Pyfa and EVE Mon and all manner of sites and forums carry information that a lot of us feel we NEED to play the game.  And so you have to ponder what it means when a bit of that ecosystem fades away.

In this case BattleClinic, long a part of that ecosystem, has shut down.  The site is still there, but its functionality has effectively been put in standby mode.  You can poke at bits of it and see things, but there are bits that are clearly powered down.  The kill board stops at December 19 and you can no longer look up pilots and such.

BattleClinic

Most of us probably know the site mostly from its association with the indispensable EVEMon utility, which it has hosted for years now.  On of my first posts back in 2006 was about EVEMon, and it linked to BattleClinic.

But BattleClinic, which supported various other games since its launch in 2001, including the remaining Star Fleet Command community back when I first saw the site, was also a source of information.  It hosted a forum, had a section for ship fitting where you could propose fits and people would rate and comment on them, and ran its own kill board.

They actually did a big revamp of the site about a year back which added some nice touches.  It allowed me to write a post about which ships I had gotten on the most kill mails with.  Their kill board, which in some ways seemed to be the odd duck amongst the big three, had a number of cool features.

Back in November though it was announced they were going to throw in the towel.

November 29, 2015

We are closing the site in December 2015 and will archive it and Griefwatch for 6 months.
BattleClinic was run, designed, maintained and staffed by 2 part time people: SghnDubh and MrCue, with volunteer support from many fantastic moderators over the years.

It’s been a fun and occasionally frustrating time, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed our offerings. We were the first and most innovative major killboard for Eve, and the first site to allow players to share Eve loadouts. We provided Evemon a permanent home and assisted many other projects. We were the first fansite to display a booth at Fanfest.

We hope you continue to enjoy Eve Online and we wish the founders, staff, and of course the players well. Fight smart, fly safe.

And so it goes.  I did not see anything about why they decided to shut down, but one can make a few easy guesses, not the least of which is that the world, the internet, online gaming, and no doubt the founders themselves, have all changed a lot over the last 15 years.

As noted above, the site itself aligned itself with a number of games over the years.  The archivist completionist me would like to create a definitive list, but then lazy me steps in and mentions effort and how we could be doing something else.

BattleClinic banner circa 2011

BattleClinic banner circa 2011

But poking through the site itself and shuffling through the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, I can at least list out the following:

I had to look up some of those games… and some I looked up and couldn’t find anything about them.  I am still not sure what Galaxy Online was, only that there is a Galaxy Online 2.

It looks like things started out with Freelancer and Star Fleet Command, but once down the EVE Online path they went, forever did it dominate their destiny.  Consume them, it did, until the site itself was left only with EVE Online. save for a few mentions about copyrights and trademarks.

Not that being an EVE Online site was a bad thing.  As I noted, it is a game that requires… almost demands… an ecosystem of support sites.  There was room for a lot of people in that pool.  And with its API and the ability for sites to make a little money through selling Time Codes, there was clear support from CCP for the EVE Online ecosystem.

It also helped that, from 2003 into 2013 or so, EVE Online was a growing game, bringing in a steady stream of new players who would set out on the internet in search of something to help them figure out what in the hell was going on in New Eden.

It just isn’t that time any more.  And it certainly isn’t 1999 or 2001 or 2005 any more, when you could throw together a half-assed site like the original Alakazam site for EverQuest and become a sensation and sell your site for a mint.  We are in a different age.

I’d like to thank SghnDubh and MrCue for doing what they did over the years and sticking with it as long as they did.  I think I may have even said hello to one or both of them at GDC one year… 2007 or 2008 I think… when they setup a booth to try and attract some dev attention in order to support more games.  I just wish I had found the site back when Star Fleet Command was still a viable thing, as I used to love that game back in the day.

As for EVEMon, I read somewhere… and I cannot find it now, which is typical me and explains why I write stuff down and bookmark things… that so long as you have the current version, which is 2.2.2, it will update correctly with the next change.  Development of EVEMon will go on.

So that is my post.  BattleClinic, 2001-2015.  It was originally going to be part of a Friday bullet point post, and then I hit the 500 word mark and decided just to run with it.

Is there anything special you remember about the site?

On Departures from Our Corner of the Web

MMOs are a strange sub-genre of video games.  As noted this month… and just about every month… it is tough to even define what an MMO is.  People claim some things are MMOs that meet almost none of what I would consider the baseline requirements, while Smed was trying to tell us that H1Z1 wasn’t an MMO despite the fact that it seems to meet nearly all the criteria I would use to make that determination.

And how many video game sub-genres get this much focus?

If you want to find video game news sites, they are plentiful, as are sites that narrow that down to games on a specific platform.

Or, if you want to find a site that focuses on a specific title or series of games, that seems pretty doable.

But when you start talking about video-game subgenres… action RPGs or text adventures or turn-based strategy or simulations… the sites start to get a little niche.

MMOs though… MMOs are a little different.  We have had sites and magazines and columns in major publications dedicated to just our own favorite genre.

Michael Zenke's old column at 1Up.com

Michael Zenke’s old column at 1Up.com

I started this site at the height of what I would call the golden age of MMO blogging.  It was the VirginWorlds podcast era, a show that brought a lot of people together and was, in a way, emblematic of the time.  Brent could climb into the converted sauna that served as his recording studio and bang out about an hour of content once a week that would really cover all the important news we wanted to hear.

MMOs were all about success back then, they made lots of money, and the few oddball titles that got closed were clearly going down because of bad design or bad execution.  World of Warcraft, while already wildly distorting the measure of success in the genre, seemed to herald continued growth and endless possibilities.  People wanted to talk about them, argue over them, and most of all, hear about the next great thing that was sure to come.

And I think that all of this came about because MMOs are such a social video game genre.

A lot more people played FarmVille than any MMO, and a lot more probably play Candy Crush Saga.  But if you meet somebody else who plays one of those games, there generally isn’t a ton of excitement over it.

But if I meet somebody who plays an MMO that I play, it has to become “what server, what class, what level, do you know so-and-so, how about the next update/expansion they are talking about” and so on.  (And if I meet somebody who plays EVE Online, just go away for an hour or two, because we have to figure out how we are linked… and we always are in some odd way… in New Eden.)

And the social nature of our hobby has led us to have almost an over abundance of site covering MMOs.  We have MMORPG.com, Ten Ton Hammer, MMO Champion and Massively all trying to cover all aspects of the genre as well as a host of sites that drill down and concentrate of smaller aspects.  There is such an array of choices that I cut back the MMO news site feeds to what I considered the bare essentials.  The MMO news sites in my reader today are:

  • Massively – Nearly all things MMO
  • MMO Fallout – Filled in the corners for NCsoft and Jagex and a few other topics
  • WoW Insider – Everything I needed to know about WoW
  • EQ2 Wire – Everything anybody sane needs to know about EverQuest II
  • The Mittani and EVE News 24 – All EVE Online, with comedic juxtaposition

However, as we learned today, that list is getting the chopped by two very soon.

Rumors had already been floating around about how AOL was going to shut down Joystiq and all sites under the Joystiq domain, a domain that includes both Massively and WoW Insider.  (WoW Insider was WoW.com for a brief moment in time before AOL thought the domain was better off hosting a half-assed Groupon clone… which they later closed.)

MassivelyWoWInsiderLogosAnd so it goes.  Massively came on the scene towards the end of 2007 and was staffed by a lot of names familiar to me, like Michael Zenke and Mike Schramm… and other people not named “Mike.”

If you go back to the first snapshot of the site over at the Internet Archieve, it is fun to see what they opened up with; Tabula Rasa, Echoes of Faydwer for EQ2, EVE Online, whether or not there was going to be a Knights of the Old Republic based MMO, and, of course, Second Life!  I remember people complaining about there being too damn much Second Life coverage on Massively for the first year or so.  And, of course, the Welcome to Massively post, which laid out the intentions for the site.  The first paragraph:

This is it. The design is in place, our bloggers are trained and at the ready, and the password has been lifted from the site. Our brand new blog, Massively, is now live and ready for your perusal, your comments, your tips, and your eyeballs. Here, you’ll find breaking news about MMO games both upcoming and established, insightful and wisecracking commentary about your favorite worlds, tips on how to get all your characters in all those universes the best they can be, and the high level of quality you’ve come to expect from WoW Insider, Second Life Insider, Joystiq and the Fanboy network. This is Massively, and welcome to it.

That was still in the heyday of MMO blogs and for a couple of GDCs up in San Francisco, meeting up with Brent and a couple people from Massively and other members of our blogging circle would be something of a tradition. (pictures from 2008, 2009, 2010)

So it is a sad moment as we bid farewell to both Massively and WoW Insider.  But that is the nature of life and the web and blogging.  People show up for a season, we interact, and maybe they stay longer or maybe they move on… but we all move on eventually.  And so we remember two sites about to depart.  They will both go away on February 3rd… Tuesday… Patch day.

  • WoW Insider – November 2005 to February 2015
  • Massively – November 2007 to February 2015

Others in our little corner… and outside of it as well… are also writing about Massively and WoW Insider.

Now who is going to fix all my links to both sites so they hit the Internet Archive instead of whatever doubtless horrible site will end up in their place?

And who should be in my feed now?

And, finally, the only thing I am sure AOL will be remembered for.

Addendum: The farewell posts for Massively and WoW Insider are up.