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Infinite Crisis’ Shutdown is Hardly Surprising, MOBA Genre Demands More
A couple of days ago Turbine, Inc. ‘regretfully’ announced that it would be shutting down the servers to Infinite Crisis in August. Having been in development since 2011, the game went into an extensive beta phase that lasted for more than a year, until finally launching in March.
Between now and August 14, the game will remain available to play completely free. This was an extremely difficult decision to make. On behalf of the entire Infinite Crisis team we want to thank all of you for your feedback, support and for joining together to create one of the best communities in gaming.
A major attraction of Infinite Crisis was its lore and characters that were all based on the fictional universe of DC Comics. Even those with waning interests in the MOBA genre were eventually intrigued to try out the game just to see the Dark Knight serving justice.
Compared to the more traditional concept of the genre, Turbine, Inc. did well with the design of Infinite Crisis, taking the best bits from popular rivals and mixing them with their own ingenuity.
Until now, the game looks to have a pretty solid foundation. So what went so wrong that the developer finally had to pull the plug?
Throughout its lifetime, Infinite Crisis struggled to capture a sizable audience. For a free-to-play MOBA that relies on microtransactions, the numbers of players playing the game matters a lot. Something went wrong in the advertisement sector in this regard.
Even with all the positives mentioned above, and the raving reviews given by players, Infinite Crisis was still a black dot on everybody’s radar.
Those who stayed back to play the game, also had to question everyday about whether to give the game a pass. This was mainly due to the negligence of the developer when it came to balancing the game.
One would think that Turbine would have actually acted on feedback during the game’s beta, and later on kept in close touch with the community.
To this day, Infinite Crisis remains an unbalanced game, with players complaining about the power spikes of the same characters. In a majority of ranked matches, you’ll come to see players banning the same set of names.
Compare this to League of Legends, which is constantly putting out tweaks and balances with monthly updates. A character that may now look to be too overpowered (specially with new releases) will eventually be toned down. This, however, was never to be seen with Infinite Crisis.
Perhaps this was also one of the major reasons that the game’s competitive aspect never received a good launch. The flag of eSports carries much importance in the longevity of a game, and increasing its player-base.
One of the major negative aspects of Infinite Crisis, though, was its punishment system. To be fair, the game had none.
It was normal to see players quitting in the early parts of games due to their team performing badly, the other team being just too good, and/or just because it was the weekend and they had to go out.
The outcome was a frustrating one for the effected players. Reporting someone was of little use, because the punishment system seldom dealt any justice. The request for an improved player-reporting system was made countless times by players.
Turbine, however, failed to act on it, leading to many players ultimately giving up on Infinite Crisis. It was a slow and deadly rot that had set in the game, and the alarm bells were already sounding since last year.
In October, Turbine, Inc. announced a wave of layoffs to “routinely look at the strategic alignment of our company.” In February, the studio suffered another round of undisclosed number of layoffs.
It was clear that the game was suffering. It’s never easy to enter a ring with contenders like League of Legends and Dota 2 already inside. To go against such giants, it’s important for you to successfully market your game.
Risks have to be made, but from the roadmap given to us, Infinite Crisis tried to play it safe with minimal investment and focus.
The remaining community hopes that the announcement of the shutdown will cause a boom in the player-base, which might cause Warner Bros. to think over the game’s closure. It sounds a tall task, but if it does make it, both the developer and publisher will have to fiercely think over a new strategy for Infinite Crisis.