Phantasy Star Online will never die

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    From PC Gamer:

    Phantasy Star Online will never die: how the nicest fans in gaming keep a 16-year-old MMO alive
    Inside a community driven by more than nostalgia: a true love for a groundbreaking game and the people who play it.

    Nine years ago, Sega killed Phantasy Star Online for good, shutting down its last remaining servers for Windows and Xbox in the United States. That was PSO’s third death. The year before, Sega unplugged the GameCube and Dreamcast PSO Ver.2 servers. Its first death was all the way back in 2004, when the servers for the Dreamcast’s rickety version 1.0—a groundbreaking online console game infested with hackers who learned how to kill others players in a co-op MMO—went dark.

    But Phantasy Star Online refused to die. In 2017 I can still step onto the deck of the Pioneer II and beam down to the surface of Ragol, clumsily fighting the keyboard controls of a game designed 17 years and half a world away from me. I can make a new HUnewearl, a lithe hunter with low HP but a penchant for knives and specialty skills, and find a party of players happy to walk a beginner through an opening mission they’ve done a thousand times before. What’s really remarkable is that I can do all of those things and have options. Where many of today’s derelict MMOs like The Matrix Online and Planetside struggle to sustain a single fan-emulated server, nine years after its third death Phantasy Star Online has at least four communities of active players, often with anywhere between 50 and 100 people idling in a lobby or grinding a 16-year-old grind.

    Phantasy Star Online didn’t just refuse to die. It’s alive and well, and everyone has a story about how PSO fits into their lives. That’s especially true of the people who run the servers keeping the Pioneer II in orbit.


    “You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene Kranz

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