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LEGO Universe To Shut Down

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the it-never-worked-with-my-knockoff-building-blocks-anyway dept.

Games 121

CmdrStone writes "The Universe is ending in the eyes of LEGO. (Cheap pun, I know.) From the announcement: 'We are very sad to announce that LEGO Universe will be closing on January 31, 2012. This was a very difficult decision to make, but unfortunately LEGO Universe has not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open.' It's too bad; I enjoyed playing this game with my kids. Open sourcing the game would be nice."

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121 comments

Open Source an MMO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020510)

Seriously... ??!?!

Re:Open Source an MMO? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020598)

Why not? As much as I would like to see it, I doubt it's going to happen. At the very least, they should allow you to export your models into the Lego Designer tool. Some people really made some elaborate models. My kids were devastated by this announcement.

Re:Open Source an MMO? (4, Insightful)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021286)

Open sourcing the game would be nice.

Why not?

This would never happen, LEGO are not going to open source a game that is entirely based around their central brand and IP. This isn't comparable to an MMO with an original IP being open sourced, LEGO is a worldwide and very tightly controlled brand. They aren't about to hand control of part of that brand to all and sundry to do what they want with.

Re:Open Source an MMO? (1)

Zhiroc (909773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020602)

I don't know the particulars of LEGO Universe, but the issue is very likely that they license a number of core technologies that sit at the center of their architecture (e.g. Big World, which I recall Stargate Worlds used). This and other packages would all have to be re-engineered, I imagine.

Re:Open Source an MMO? (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020772)

If Lego freed the client and server this would not be the first time an MMO was freed [ryzom.com] . Freeing the complete source code to play the game and build upon the game is the best way to treat the users.

Re:Open Source an MMO? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021404)

But it would mean giving up a lot of control over their brand, and the brand is everything to a company like Lego. Any cheap injection-moulding factory could turn out compatible bricks - without the lego brand, they are nothing.

Re:Open Source an MMO? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021566)

Riiight, because after Lego gave up control some douchebag wouldn't be making giant Lego Goatse statues and 40 foot Lego dicks to go into it.

This isn't just some original IP friend, lego has built that brand up for decades as this ultra kid friendly imagination toy. And if it is one thing the Internet should have taught everyone by now its that there is NEVER a shortage of douchebags.

Re:Open Source an MMO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38024364)

Riiight, because after Lego gave up control some douchebag wouldn't be making giant Lego Goatse statues and 40 foot Lego dicks to go into it.

That reminds me, I haven't played Minecraft in a while now ... :)

Re:Open Source an MMO? (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025786)

Cool Lego protected it's brand so much they never released a line of sets based on a movie based on a game that was completely inappropriate for children 7-10 years old.

Re:Open Source an MMO? (2)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027020)

Cool Lego protected it's brand so much they never released a line of sets based on a movie based on a game that was completely inappropriate for children 7-10 years old.

Debbie Does Duplo?

Re:Open Source an MMO? (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025760)

Because the code is a tiny little part of an MMO and is almost entirely worthless by itself.

The artwork and continuing work that goes into MMOs is what makes them stay alive. Once you take that out of the equation, they turn into just big bugger less impressive versions of existing games.

MMOs require constant work, once it goes OSS you'll have 18 forks, all of which have 1 and a half guys working on it in their spare time, none of which have a large user base and they odds on the server being around on any given day are 50/50.

Simply put, without financial motivation, running an MMO is far too much work for the OSS community to handle. OSS people do things for their own enjoyment and suck at polishing things enough to be used in a game. Sorry to break it to you, but the OSS community can't do this sort of thing.

poopies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020528)

omg no more lego fun!

Whore! Slut! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020534)

The sandwich that never knew bread!

Pun? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020552)

"The Universe is ending in the eyes of LEGO. (Cheap pun, I know.)"

Er, where's the pun?

Re:Pun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020630)

My sentiments exactly.

Marketing fail? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020556)

I for one have never heard of this game, and if I did I would gladly play it...

Re:Marketing fail? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021142)

Same here. For a moment I thought the article was about a Lego theme park or something like that.

Re:Marketing fail? (2)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025014)

I remember when it was announced, and it was big news then. In fact, I actually had intended to buy it when it came out.

When it did come out, I never even heard of it, and I read a lot of game magazines. I completely had forgotten about it until now.

Minecraft? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020558)

I wonder if this has anything to do with Minecraft... Too bad Lego didn't think to sue...

Re:Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38023940)

Too bad Lego didn't think to sue...

Really hope you're joking.

Re:Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38024716)

Lego has no standing to sue Minecraft. If Lego did go after MInecraft all they have to do is say they got the idea from MegaBloks and not Lego...

Re:Minecraft? (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026140)

I can't see any reason why LEGO would have standing to sue Minecraft. They're not that similar. It actually takes quite a bit to successfully sue someone for infringing on their IP. I've also seen a lot of clones of games that seem to manage not getting sued. Heck, I play "Words With Friends", and that's pretty much a complete copy of Scrabble.

Re:Minecraft? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027208)

Game rules cannot be copyrighted (though their presentation can be). Earlier Scrabble knock-offs were sued to oblivion because they copied the game board. Does "Words With Friends" use the same layout of bonus squares, or did they do something original?

failed due to staying pay (0)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020578)

with every mmo switching expect wow to f2p or shutting down due to lack of players lego is suffering from this. even when they announced there f2p version it wasent real f2p more like a unlimited trial most of the game and feature where locked off to subscribers only. and really i think maybe late 2012 we will hear of wow going free because even its steam is starting to run out.it just pay per month for a game is a failed tactic in this new trend of gaming and mmos.

Re:failed due to staying pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020670)

EVE is not f2p. But then again f2p eve with paid for ships would suck donkey balls and no one would play. There are other successful games that are not f2p either.

Re:failed due to staying pay (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020702)

Well, EVE can be f2p if you earn enough isk, but PLEX prices are very high right now, so that's not an option for some(granted it's only an hour more time spent farming incursions)

Re:failed due to staying pay (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021282)

eve also has a very small number of subscribers that has fallen off big time due to the fact they did add a stupid cash shop. it used to be around 300k of very loyal subs and they are used to being a small game. but now ccp has been failing at making 2 other games and spent most of there money on failed projects. hench the stupid attempt at a money grab and a huge falloff of subcribers in protest me being one of them i will never pay for eve with a cash-shop just like i wont pay for wow. you eyther f2p witha shop or your not. wow might get away with it and ccp is to small care but most games its pretty much f2p or death. and yes rift is on the list of going f2p soon.

Re:failed due to staying pay (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021418)

The players wern't driven off by the cash shop, they were driven off by concerns about what the cash shop might indicate about CCP's future intentions for the business.

Re:failed due to staying pay (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021442)

EVE is not f2p. But then again f2p eve with paid for ships would suck donkey balls and no one would play. There are other successful games that are not f2p either.

EVE could go f2p in much the same way as other games have made the transition. e.g. by offering a core experience & beginner stuff for free and la carte access to particular missions, ships, skills, materials or whatever. If you paid it would be no different to the way it is now, except of course an a la carte pay model might suit a lot of people than a subscription. e.g. someone who only has time to play a few hours a week is going to find things cheaper than they are under a sub.

The biggest issue with f2p is not the payments but the play model. A la carte probably is cheaper than a sub, but that means the game has to attract more players to compensate and entice them with new content. If you look at games like Lord of the Rings Online which have gone f2p, they've had to become more casual to encourage people to get to the premium content faster. That means levelling is faster and upkeep, drops, cost of travel, penalty for death are all modified. I imagine EVE would have to do likewise if it went f2p and in doing so I could see the hardcore getting severely pissed off.

But at the end of the day the universe is a big place. I'm quite certain that they could accommodate the hardcore and the casuals within the same game. It seems inevitable to me that even EVE and World of Warcraft will have to contemplate f2p models soon enough.

Re:failed due to staying pay (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027262)

WoW is unlikely to need to go FTP any time soon, but evidence is mounting that you actually make more money that way than with a subscription model. Blizzard is likely doing the math.

EVE seems perfectly suited - it's the only western game I can think of where the developes might actully get away with selling PvP performance enhancing items for cash (if worked into the universe cleverly), part because they're so very careful with balance, at least by MMO standards.

Minecraft. (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020668)

Mine. Craft.

Re:Minecraft. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020756)

Hah yes, Minecraft good sire. I love me some good ole fashion autistic fun. Playing a different game than Minecraft? Better kill yourself now because you're worthless. Let's set aside the fact that I was bored with that game two years ago before most people had even heard of it.

Re:Minecraft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025358)

Yeah, just like your favorite band. They were cool 2 years ago when no one knew about them. Now that they're popular, they suck.

Re:Minecraft. (1)

nysus (162232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38023400)

Yup. My kid loves Legos so I got him Lego Universe last year when it came out. He played it for a total of maybe 5 to 10 hours before getting bored with it.

I bought him Minecraft a few months ago and he absolutely loves it. He gets to build structures and use his imagination in a way LU never allowed him to.

Not Multi-User Enough (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38023884)

He needs to do a "World of Minecraft". Plus he can then get sued by TWO major gaming studios for trademark violations.

Pun (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020752)

"The Universe is ending in the eyes of LEGO. (Cheap pun, I know.)"

There is no pun here.

Re:Pun (-1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020828)

Are you trolling, or are you just being stupid? The name of the game is "LEGO Universe". The quoted statement can be interpreted in two ways based on the two meanings of "universe" in this context, one of them being a (very slightly) humorous exaggeration--it's a textbook pun [merriam-webster.com] : "the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound."

If you're going to nitpick something related to this story, go with the "wiith" from the announcement's second paragraph.

Re:Pun (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020934)

He's probably suggesting that since the person mentioned it was a pun, it suddenly wasn't a pun anymore. I dunno, half the crap I read from AC posts make no sense.

Re:Pun (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020980)

Sorry, that's not a pun. Suggesting that Lego believes "the universe is ending" (not in reference to the game) is a fucking retarded interpretation. Compare that with "seeing pigs on your farm was a real 'squeal'".

Please learn English.

Re:Pun (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021396)

So... you want to ignore the half of the statement that makes it a pun and therefore deem it not a pun? Alrighty then, moving along....

Re:Pun (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021622)

It's not really a pun. The reason it's not a pun is that the word "universe" which is being played off of, doesn't really have two disjoint meanings. Most of the humor (or disgust) value of puns is in the conflating of those disjoint meanings.

Re:Pun (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021828)

Actually, in context, it does have two disjointed meanings: 'universe' as in the product that Lego is discontinuing vs. 'universe' as in the aggregate of everything that is.

Not a great pun, mind you, but a pun nevertheless.

Re:Pun (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021852)

That's the problem, then. To me, and at least a couple others in the chain, the definitions are as follows:

Universe: Everything to infinity

LEGO Universe: Everything to infinity, just made of LEGO

Not very disjoint...

Re:Pun (0)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021942)

I find "universe" (standard usage) and "LEGO Universe" (the MMO) to be radically different. I don't think "LEGO Universe: Everything to infinity, just made of LEGO" was meant. I think "LEGO Universe: an online massively multiplayer game" was meant. In any case, thank you for at least giving your reasoning. I'm saddened by the moderation in this thread.

Re:Pun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021784)

It's not a pun. Not remotely. The Internet doofus standard for what constitutes a pun is so low it makes me weep.

Re:Pun (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38022242)

There are two meanings of the word "Universe" in this context that give the sentence two interpretations.

First: "[Everything that is and ever shall be] is ending in the eyes of LEGO."
Second: "[The MMO Lego Universe] is ending in the eyes of LEGO."

Two meanings of a word are being used for humorous effect. How is that *not* a pun, which is [reference.com] "the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications...."? The first interpretation is (slightly) funny, and not all definitions of "pun" even require humor [eg. "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son[/sun] of York"]. They aren't required to use homophones, either. Multiple meanings of the same word or phrase are fine.

Of all the AC's calling it not a pun, none have justified their view. I wish you would so I would see what common misconception you all have, or perhaps what I'm missing.

Re:Pun (1)

ulricr (2486278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38024246)

there has to be more to this sentence (ex: maybe there is an eye in lego universe, or this sentence paraphrases something else), because saying the "universe" is ending is not pun.

Re:Pun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026042)

Shit like this is why I hate to watch Family Guy. Seriously if you call that humour you lack a brain.

Man they screwed up! (5, Interesting)

LostMyBeaver (1226054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020820)

Lego made huge mistakes with this game. The game itself was fine enough... I liked it, but here's what went wrong :

- They released it with too little content in the beginning. This meant that all the early adopters (I was a beta tester) rushed out, bought it, installed it, started playing and in less than 2 days game play had, in the limited sized world capped out and decided ... I'll maybe come back when they release some more levels and content.
- No thottbot or anything else worth using. This meant people who were too lazy to find it themselves had no place to get help with the quests. Oh well.
- Chatting was impossible... if my son an I were in different rooms, we practically couldn't talk with each other. I had to yell across the house. Yes, I know there was chat, but it worked like hell.
- Maps were AWFUL!!!
- UI was extremely hard to figure out. It's pretty bad when people were comparing it to Everquest and Everquest was easier to figure out.
- No family accounts. At the prices they were charging, no parents would spend that kind of money per month on a game... certainly not on two copies of the game so that their two kids could play together. If we could have bought one copy of the game and had two or maybe even three players from the same IP address playing at a time, we would have paid.
- Game website including billing site was slower than hell.
- No groups (at least at first), guilds would have been nice too.
- No Scandinavian language support. This is a biggy... Scandinavians would buy a lump of cow poop if it said Lego on the side of it. But, Scandinavian children don't speak English. They would have sold 10 times as many copies and accounts if they had at least supported their native language (Danish) since even though Danish isn't the same as Norwegian and it's even harder for Swedish kids, it's still easier than English for them.
- Account costs were a huge issue. Yes, World of Warcraft costs like $12.99 a month.. but that's a game being paid for primarily by people that make substantially more than $12.99 a month. My son and daughter each get a total of $30 a month in allowance and they work hard for that. $12.99 a month is just too high an amount for them to pay on their own if they ever want anything else. My son has occasionally purchased a game time card with his allowance, but certainly couldn't justify an account. $4.99 a month would have gotten them much less per account, but would have gotten them far more accounts. And the free to play version was just a joke.
- They didn't sell the damn thing. I mean, really advertising for this game was dismal at best and the few advertisements they did make didn't have a focus. It was like they didn't know who to sell to so didn't sell to anyone.

I can go on for a long time, but to be honest they screwed up on a scale which was unimaginable. It's a real shame too since this will most likely be Lego's last attempt at this and we'll all suffer because they screwed up.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020912)

I didnt suffer. Sorry that you did, buddy.

Re:Man they screwed up! (5, Informative)

SurfMan (969573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020922)

You have summed it up quite nicely here. I also was a beta tester. After the game was released I quit playing it since I was done (end of content). Next my wife picked it up and my two boys (6 and 10) loved playing it too. I didn't have a problem slapping down the 80 euros for a year subscription. It's a small amount if three people enjoy the game. Although it's very unfortunate you can't play together.

From what I heard about it they have 2 million players, of which about 100.000 are paying ones. I have NO idea what it costs to run a service like this, but you would think that 100.000 paying subscribers would go a long way.

What I really liked was the fact that you could win real Lego prizes. They had some fun contests that, if you were #1 after a week, would get you one or more real boxes of Lego in the mail. Our Lego collection has been updated with a few nice additions :)

I really liked the idea of introducing the MMO(RPG) concept to my children using Lego Universe. They see me playing LotRO so they have a good idea of how an MMO works. With Lego Universe they had a chance of doing the same on their own level. I am really sorry to see it go.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021118)

I had no idea about the real-world lego rewards. That sounds awesome. One of the reasons I was in the Lego Club when I was a wee nipper.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

ad1217 (2418196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021686)

beta tester here as well. I could not justify a subscription or even game cards because I could only play about half an hour a week! Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021368)

Short version: a building blocks social game where you could neither build nor socialise.

Kiddo took a look at the free version, yawned, then went back to playing Lego Star Wars, and with actual Lego.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021464)

The saddest part is other LEGO games fly like shit off a shovel. And you only have to look at the likes of Club Penguin or Moshi Monsters to imagine the possibilities for a LEGO MMO game done properly for kids.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021646)

If Scandinavian children don't speak English, why is it that almost everyone Swedish or Finnish I have met speaks the language fluently? Are they learning it in high school?

It's so rare to run across a non-English speaker from Scandinavia that I note it more than I note those who do not.

Re:Man they screwed up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021660)

They don't dub english movies. That makes a huge difference for English language proficiency, compared to e.g. Germany.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021666)

Youi start to learn it at aprox age 9 but of course it will take some time before you start to learn enough to be able to read english comfortable. And children start to play with Lego way before their 9th birthday :)

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

laird (2705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38022398)

I'll second that about the lack of marketing. I'm a HUGE Lego fan (I have my VIP card, went to Lego Florida on opening day, bought the T-Shirt, etc.) and I only saw Lego Universe promoted once - at CES a year before it launched! And then the next time I saw it, it was a random, abandoned-looking box in a Game Stop's PC software section. No posters, no online marketing (other than it being discussed on fan sites), nothing. And if they can't sell ME a copy of Lego Universe, a lego-loving geek with disposable income, they can't sell it to anyone.

Re:Man they screwed up! (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027084)

They should've gone with a micropayment scheme that maxes out at a certain (parent-specified) amount. That would draw in children (or really, their parents) more than a monthly fee for "unlimited" play time. The idea of having unlimited play time discourages parents from purchasing it and subscribing, because they're already unhappy their kids are playing video games all the time.

It seems like they did some market research about MMORPG players, and made their business decisions based on existing MMORPGs. They completely ignored the fact that LEGO is primarily a children's toy for family play. Unfortunately, I see that kind of square-peg-round-hole thing all the time when companies don't actually know what they're doing.

Now, Minecraft is an example of a successful block world. A lot of LEGO fans (children and adults) I know also enjoy playing Minecraft, and like the two for the very same reasons (full disclosure: this population includes myself). But Minecraft's business model is more suited to that type of play, i.e. anyone can start a Minecraft server and make their own sandbox world, just pay once and continue to get updates, single-player offline play, etc.

But if Mojang decided to run their own official servers in the future, and ended up running it like The LEGO Group did with Universe, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't see nearly the same level of success as they currently are seeing (and there'd be a community revolt if they nixed the individual server software on top of that, but that's highly unlikely).

In both cases, it's the nature of the gameplay and the players that makes a WoW-style business plan impractical.

Not totally suprised (0)

mlush (620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020826)

As a parent the subscription shouted "MMO money sink avoid". I'd guess my son would play furiously in the first month, heavily in second, then sporadically after that. It was the final phase that worried me. "Oh Dad I'm still playing it and if you pull the plug I'll lose all the virtual toys that I've built up". I think he has a point he has worked for it(1) why can't he keep it? Basically it would become a White elephant [wikipedia.org] in the purest sense...

Much better to buy him one of the excellent LEGO <Movie Title>: The Video Game series, which can be kept and played more or less indefinitely.

(1) in some way shape or form at the very least the investment of time.

Re:Not totally suprised (2)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021324)

"Oh Dad I'm still playing it and if you pull the plug I'll lose all the virtual toys that I've built up"

I would be very surprised if cancelling an account deleted all progress. In every MMO I've ever played you can cancel your account and go back years later and pick up right where you left off. This is a big marketing tool for bringing players back, if you had to start from scratch every time then once players cancelled there would be pretty much no chance of getting them to resubscribe.

Re:Not totally suprised (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021578)

I keep getting emails from EVE saying my characters are still waiting to be revived, except that it's not such as big an incentive as CCP think because those characters were training for stealth bombers which have since had their mechanics changed and to get back into a ship with them would require extensive retraining.

Re:Not totally suprised (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021590)

"Oh Dad I'm still playing it and if you pull the plug I'll lose all the virtual toys that I've built up"

I would be very surprised if cancelling an account deleted all progress. In every MMO I've ever played you can cancel your account and go back years later and pick up right where you left off. This is a big marketing tool for bringing players back, if you had to start from scratch every time then once players cancelled there would be pretty much no chance of getting them to resubscribe.

Its not much better...

"So Son thanks to MrAngryForNoReason, You can keep your toys, but there locked up in that cupboard over there. If you want to play with them you will have to pay a week and a half's pocket money to get at them and you must give the key back after a month."

Bad Design Decisions All Around (4, Insightful)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020906)

All you had to do for this game is make LEGO Minecraft.

You could have been pooping in cat litter made of ground diamonds and wiping your filthy bum with Jacksons.

But no, you made a LEGO MMO where you can't build freely. ...

If you can't see how stupid that is, well, that's why your MMO is dead.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38020968)

I think the suggestion of whiping your ass with Jacksons is discriminatory the least !

Especially now he is dead and is doctor convicted!

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021326)

The MMO was finishing development at just about the time Minecraft was making a name for itself. It was too late for them to make an MC-like game.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021438)

The idea of making a LEGO MMO where you can build freely was obvious... there's no way they had to wait for minecraft to give them that idea.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021504)

True, but until Minecraft came along it wasn't quite so jaw-droppingly obvious how a game like that might work. I won't grudge them for not making the conceptual leap that the player character, rather than some omniscient Builder, should be doing the block-moving.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (3)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021630)

LEGO is all about the idea of the user building stuff from basic components. How can that concept not have been incorporated into a generic LEGO MMO (as opposed to LEGO Star Wars etc)

It's like having a Meccano MMO but only being able to allowed to see and chat to other users in a Meccano styled environment and not being allowed to build your own bridge just to see if it stays up.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38022754)

Ah, Meccano! My mind is rushed instantly with a flurry of memories from my childhood. The weird thing is that it's a strange mixture of metal parts with sharp edges, and of 1980s Spanish pop music.

I have a sudden urge to grab a screwdriver and my iPod.

        -dZ.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38023740)

Bullshit.

Anyone who has ever either been a kid with legos or been in the presence of a kid with legos should have known exately how to make a game like that.

You have: LEGO blocks, LEGO people, and tools for LEGO people in basically every lego set ever made. All you need to think is "hey how about you play as a lego dude who can build things out of lego". If this was not the first thought you had when you hear the words "LEGO" and "MMORPG" you are not capable of designing games. From there it's obvious to any good lazy designer, that if you allow the players to free-build in a persistent shared world you don't even need to develop your own quests/content. Just have an open beta and by the time you launch your testers will have built a world for you.

Frankly a LEGO MMO should have been a technology problem (can we build a game engine that allows free-building without killing mid range graphics cards when they try to render the blocks), not a game design problem.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 2 years ago | (#38022576)

Well, if Minecraft was able to do it, presumably other people would have been able to do it if they had thought of it.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38022854)

well, obviously.

I could probably pump out a minecraft clone in a few months by myself, it's not like the game is technically advanced. I don't know if this was your intent, but you're post feels to me of some sort of intent that notch is a god amongst programmers, when in fact, he's competent, but hasn't shown any true brilliance in any area other than the concept of the game itself. Hell, a lot of the bugs in the game seems to lend towards really bad software practices do to how obvious the bugs are. They really must have rather terrible testing methods out there.

I play WAY too much of that game myself, but at no point have I ever thought I couldn't write that game in a fairly short period of time, and I've always been baffled as to why people look at notch as some authority in the technical aspects of game implementation.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (3, Interesting)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38022986)

There's always Blockland:

http://blockland.us/Video.html [blockland.us]

I've only played the demo, but I've loved them ever since reading their IGF entry (http://www.igf.com/php-bin/entry2009.php?id=420):

Blockland is a non-competitive multiplayer online sandbox game where players can build with interconnecting plastic bricks which are similar to, but legally distinct from, legos.

Re:Bad Design Decisions All Around (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38024764)

But no, you made a LEGO MMO where you can't build freely. ...

If you can't see how stupid that is, well, that's why your MMO is dead.

the only way a Lego MMO with open building can even work in our modern, litigious world, is to have someone spying on all the users' creations at all times to see if anyone is making a gigantic penis or similar. Is that an economically viable model? I don't know, but they didn't go that way.

So many things wrong with the game. (3, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020916)

1) Lack of content
2) Creativity limited into nonexistance. I get it, they didn't want a bunch of people creating lego dicks and all that but honestly it is LEGO we're talking about here.
3) Communication in the game was virtually nonexistent. Again, this game was supposed to house young kids and they didn't want people shouting DICKS in the chat all day.
4) What you get for what you paid each month was not even close to acceptable.

I could go on. I was tantalized when I first heard about this, but when they started taking the focus into little kids which means no difficulty, no proper Lego creativity, no nothing a little kid could not accomplish, I knew the whole idea was not going to last. To be honest, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.

Sucks (1)

mick_S3 (871725) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021250)

Yea, my son is bummed they are closing it down. But I agree it would have been nice to have a "free build" area and some concept of a "family" account. Oh well. We have had a Minecraft server running on the LAN for the last few months, the graphics suck and the game is horribly buggy, but we all get to goof around together which is fun.

Hang on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021512)

I just received a mini-magazine thing thing with a 2 page promotion for it?!?

Re:Hang on... (1)

gorilla_au (912640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021788)

Magazines can have a two month lag time, even on advertisement bookings. Though the content of the advertisement can be finalised closer to the print date.

It's been done better by someone else (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021650)

Minecraft is what Lego Universe SHOULD have been. Simple as that.

It's a perfect example of a giant megacorp throwing money at an idea and getting a feeble copy of what's already out there already.

Want to rescue this? Lego could go to Notch and buy him out, BUT LEAVE HIM IN CONTROL. Give him the dream-amounts of money he needs to implement his fantasy-level of optimal features in Minecraft (and to remodel the blocks with the obligatory lego structure...).

Re:It's been done better by someone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38022372)

He already has dream-amounts of money, I think. It's basically just two guys working on the game proper, and they kinda just do stuff at their own pace.

Re:It's been done better by someone else (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027272)

Notch probably already has that kind of money. Over four million sales, averaging what, around $20? That's $80 million, and Mojang doesn't have hundreds of staff members to pay. They don't even run the multiplayer servers - those are run by the users! They do have an authentication service in Amazon's cloud, though that probably isn't costing millions per year.

Lego could market an MMO where you were allowed to build everything you wanted, as long as they aimed it at adults. A lot of us would love to try that. Sort of a c.nerd.nu only with legos, if you will.

It's not just LEGO (1)

Nanosphere (1867972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38022408)

A lot of MMOs now a days ship with not much content. The problem is the publishers only care about pushing boxes off the shelves, not maintaining the game world. Once 20-40 hours of content are made they pack it and ship with a cursory note that the game can always be patched later. They then migrate 98% of the developers to the next project and leave a skeleton crew to maintain it and on rare occasion toss a crumb of content like a new equipment model or recolored monster. The marketing department goes to town getting you to slap down $40-$60 for the shiny box and once you played it for a week that's all there is to do.

So the problem is many games that are marketing themselves as MMOs aren't growing evolving worlds, they are mediocre standalone games with multiplayer functionality tacked on almost as an afterthought.

To compound LEGOs problem they tried selling a subscription based model and their target demographic is children too young to have jobs and stable income. Most of them don't have enough allowance to pay a monthly fee. The whole game should have been free to play to begin with and make money off an item shop that way the kids can occasionally fork over cash for a shiny mount or costume.

open source is unlikely (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38023020)

I doubt they can go open source. Remember when John Carmack (id software) released their extremely successful game as open source less than a decade after it came out? DOOM had an impressive number of followers and it still does. But the Doom source code was missing something important: the sound routines were 3rd party, so they couldn't legally open the source to that.

I suspect Lego's software is mostly 3rd party stuff, so I doubt they can release more than a small fraction of the code which they actually wrote. The legal mumbo jumbo hassle is probably not worth it for them and the code would be useless anyway without the commercial libraries. -- this is my guess.

Re:open source is unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38024584)

Licensing Lego trademarks and copyrights would be the biggest ongoing cost. MMOs that use licensed properties tend shut down once they get unpopular. See Matrix Online, Star Wars Galaxies

cost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38023188)

My 9-year-old son loved the game, but neither of us could justify the recurring monthly cost to play ($10/month, if I remember right).
I guess it's a normal/reasonable/(cheap?) amount for most online games, but I'm sure most parents balked at the idea of paying for the game, then paying more every month to play it. Really, I don't want him to be sitting in front of his computer all the time anyway, so it's especially hard to justify the subscription.

Consoles (1)

ossuary (1532467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38023762)

Unless you are an already big name player like Blizzard, you need to look at having your MMO on at least one console to be able to keep up. If they would have had Lego Universe for a PS3 I would have been all over that.

Roblox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38023920)

My guess is they could not compete with Roblox. My kids discovered Roblox and are addicted. It uses a brick building type theme, but is more of a virtual world where the kids build their own realms to explore and turn into games. It reminds me of using the Quake level builder tools back in the day. What you can do in there is sometimes silly, but it doesn't matter to the kids, they love it, especially when they can see others exploring the world they just built. They can also chat with each other but it is tightly monitored and restricted to keep kid friendly.

Another "shoulda done minecraft" post (2)

mmalove (919245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38024376)

But seriously, they should have, and I'm glad that economically the poorer model flopped to make room for the superior game.

I'd love a commercial sized team supporting a project like minecraft or dwarf fortress, I'd love to see what a project like that could do where innovative, genre creating design were combined with a dedicated and quality graphics and art team. Perhaps the last decade of failed MMO projects and successful ventures like the above stated minecraft/dwarf fortress will lure more publisher support for more innovation and less sequel.

Regardless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38024380)

I still have to explain to a 6 year old why his favorite game is shutting down. Awesome....

LEGO Games Aren't Open Build (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025730)

All the other (successful) LEGO videogames are not open build... why does the MMO have to be LEGO Minecraft?

Pricing Model (1)

TheGiB (1165079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025732)

There cost model was off, I have two kids and both are playing online games, mostly club penginue. Sure it's a little kiddish but the content is forever changing and that keeps the kids intrested. My son however started to play the free version of LEGO universal and found that he liked that but having both subscriptions was not going to happen, one of the other. That's when cost comparison came in and lego universe was more per year then club penguine is. If your going to bring out a game for kids, either match the current cost of other games out there or you will be left out. Perhaps a new game model should be made instead, like being able to go everywhere and do everything but if you want that 'super axe' that makes the game easier, then you pay for that. Or speed bonus, kind of thing. This game would of been amazing 5 years ago. Lego yearly cost 89.99 Club penginue yearly 59.95 Take that and X2 for both my kids and well, it's gets expensive.

Where was i when this awesome was spawned???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026488)

I had no idea this even existed - Had i been in the right place to be targeted by any advertising of this I would have joined ages ago... I am far from a kid, but I would have been playing this right along side my daughters.
How disappointing to see it for the first time and then watch it die :(

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