Nosgoth is shutting down, less than three years after it initially entered closed beta. I have to admit that I saw this coming, and it’s one of the reasons why I stopped both playing the game and investing in it. They’re citing lack of audience growth and engagement behind the scenes which, frankly, was to be expected. But what wasn’t expected was that it was going to happen so soon.
Nosgoth originally came out of the multiplayer component of another cancelled Legacy of Kain game called Dark Sun. Psyonix (the team behind Rocket League) took it on under Square Enix as their publisher. I was lucky enough to be a part of the closed beta because of my interest in the LoK games as a whole and finding the alpha forums for it out of the blue to register before the majority of players knew about it.
As the game is shuttered, I can’t help but think it was inevitable. The game was nicely paced in my opinion; the deliberate movement and speed of both attacks and abilities made the game more strategic than instinct based. I love the lore; I’ve been a fan of Legacy of Kain since the Soul Reaver demo disc on Official Playstation Magazine. The game took place in the space between Raziel’s death in the Lake of the Dead and rebirth as a wraith; a huge span of half a millennium with no canonical conflicts.
But the game itself was buggy. Just as the game itself was slow and methodical, the matchmaking was slower. I have made dinner, sat and eaten it and still had the matchmaking screen on returning to my computer. Some of the abilities of the Vampires didn’t feel right, or lagged behind the animation. The lag became an issue especially when playing human, as the hit detection was client side despite the game having a central server. You think you dodged the Vampire attack that was coming? Too bad, the Vamp player is on a laggy connection and his game says he hit you.
I stopped playing just before the New Year because I had grown bored with it. It was repetitive, but not in the fun way. You didn’t refine your craft, you repeated it until it became muscle memory. The forge system, that gave trinket-esque perks and flaws to players’ abilities and weapons was essentially a d20 roll. I had bought the Founders’ pack way back when, as Square Enix had an ‘unlock everything’ option akin to Smite, so I had a leg-up on everyone else in terms of progress but even then progress was painstaking.
The game had great potential had the companies involved handled it right. They had eSports backing, ran their own leagues and such, and integrated twitch support that just worked. But the game was buggy, the matchmaking was poor and the updates were few and far between.
“Any future Legacy of Kain project will be considered independently of Nosgoth and on the merits of the proposals alone.”
I honestly doubt it. LoK was a franchise of (now) two generations ago. It has a fervent player base that just wants the series to succeed and come to a grand climax that sets everything right. A sizeable group in the forums is pointing the finger at Square Enix, blaming them for unreasonable expectations of growth. I have to admit that I can believe it. It’s not surprising; Square Enix has a history of sales targets far beyond what they should be.
So here we are again almost akin to the Wheel of Fate in Nosgoth itself; dreams turned sour at the prospect of yet another Legacy of Kain property laid to rest before it even breaks free from beta.
But the last words at the end of LoK: Defiance still ring true, perhaps even more so now as Nosgoth is consigned to the developmental Wheel.