As many of you have heard by know, Jagex recently announced their involvement in the hit Indie FPS game that we all know and love, Ace of Spades.
If you don’t know about Jagex, here’s a quick rundown. Jagex is most known for its work in the MMO genre, in the form of the absolutely massive multiplayer online role playing game called Runescape. They also own the website called Funorb, which contains a lot of Java games made by Jagex as well. Jagex is an unusual company in that its games (for the most part anyway) are F2P with P2P options available, such as the Runescape or Funorb memberships which you buy on a subscription.
A US Firm by the name of Insight Venture Partners recently upped its ownership of Jagex to 55% of the overall company, basically transferring control of the UK based developer to the US Firm.
Now let’s go through a brief history of Ace of Spades. The Ace of Spades public release was around 6 months after development began, on the date of April 4th, 2011. The game is developed by Ben Aksoy, and has received many updates and changes since its initial release. It’s built up quite a following, with over 2.5 million players having installed the game since its initial prototype release and hundreds of players online at all times.
Recently, Jagex announced their involvement in the project, and with that it became known that the Ace of Spades 1.0 version was going to be released exclusively on Steam for the price of $10. Before the 1.0 update, the game was entirely free, so it came as a bit of a shock to those hardcore veterans who had been playing since the initial release.
Since Jagex became involved as the publisher as Ace of Spades, the game direction has changed significantly. Remember those pixelated graphics that we all knew and loved? With the 1.0 update the art style is going to specifically feature smoothed corners on everything, so the old style will be phased out entirely. Also, the game appears to be changing game engines, with its new bullet and explosion designs being that glowing orange colour, as well as the addition of muzzle flash on the guns.
Now, up until this point, Ace of Spades was mainly community driven, with the encouragement of people to run their own servers, create their own maps and even create their own custom gun and player models, for those who would prefer a look different to the original. However, that is all changing with the addition of Jagex as the game’s publisher. Apparently they’ve made quite the controversial decision, in that they plan to phase out community content entirely. While they haven’t come out and said that exactly, what they have said is that players will no longer be able to run their own servers, and the modding+mapping sections have been removed from the Ace of Spades official forums. Jagex will be running all of the servers, with the reasoning that they wish to provide the best experience possible for its players.
However, is this really what’s best for the community? If you were looking at it from a pro-Jagex server running standpoint, you could argue that with with Jagex running the servers, there will likely be swift action taken against those who are using aimbots to cheat or those who harass other players. But if you were looking at it from a con-Jagex running standpoint, you would see that although this may help with keeping the experience fun for players without them having to deal with aimbots or harassment, it will also likely significantly damage the community in the process, as large server communities such as Aloha.pk or Jestservers will no longer exist, they will simply vanish overnight. Is this what Jagex wants?
If you asked me, this seems like quite a hostile action for Jagex to take, as he only reason Ace of Spades has so many players to begin with is because of these communities that they seem intent on destroying. Oh yeah, and if that’s not hostile seeming enough, they also plan to take the prototype offline on the 1st of December, 2012. They’re making excuses for it such as that it’s typical for a prototype to be taken offline before the full version releases, blah blah blah, but in reality the reason for it is so they can sell more copies of the game on Steam.
Is this reasonable? Jagex claims that they’re only trying to provide the best experience for its players and that it is in favour of supporting Ace of Spades communities, when it reality it seems intent on destroying them, as is clearly shown in the actions that they are taking.
And let me ask you this, if Jagex takes community run servers offline and is the sole server runner, what happens if the Jagex servers go down? Oh yeah, there’s no more Ace of Spades until they have their servers back online. With the way that it is currently, since the servers are hosted throughout multiple communities in dozens of locations, even if the Ace of Spades website was down you could still play on your favourite servers.
Is this right? Is this how you want Ace of Spades to be? Will you be buying the full version of the game when it’s out? Let us know by leaving us a comment!