The official name Myst Online: Uru Live™ is a game that started about the time of Second Life™, 2004±. Both are multi-player, persistent games. By 2007-8 Second Life was peaking and Uru Live was closing. Those that played Uru were enchanted by the game. For many playing it was a parent and child time of bonding.
Fans saved the game by paying for the servers to run it and the original authors, Cyan Worlds, Inc., accepted and have kept a playable version online. The game moderators that kept the game safe for children are no longer around. So, it isn’t the kid-friendly game it was.
Uru has been called the game that ‘would not die’. Many have predicted its demise. If you click here in CATEGORIES (in the right-hand column), Myst-Uru, you can see my writing about the game over the years. The game has lots of history and exo-drama, drama outside the game. But, while it has survived the drama, it has taken a toll.
The interesting part is the number of people that moved from Myst to Second Life. It is hard to get a solid, objective number. I used to watch the number of people in the SL groups; D’ni Myst (263), Myst/D’ni Community (143), Myst Dancers Fans (19), Myst Online Explorers (415), Myst Inhabitants (4), Myst-Uru Community (16), Myst and UrU Rembered (3), Devokan Friends (24), Uru – The Meeting Place (190), D’ni (84), D’ni Refugees (788), D’ni Healers’ Guild Outreach (53), Dni Village Land Owners (29), and a few others if you search on Uru and Eder. But, there is a good number of these people in multiple groups creating duplicates in the group memberships. So, the group D’ni Refugees is probably the more representative count. Some of those people have left SL and others from Myst have come in and don’t know about the Refugees group.
A quick check shows more than half of the Refugee group hasn’t logged into SL in the last 3 months. Maybe as much as two-thirds. So, it is reasonable to say only 250± are active now. The Myst-Uru actives 4 or 5 years ago was in the range of 200. I would be surprised if even a couple dozen regularly post now.
Another interesting thing and a difference between Myst and SL is the number of people making enough money from their activity in SL to pay for the regions they have leased. A region is about US$300 a month per region. It is hard to say how many Myst-Uru players have full regions or rent shops and homes in SL. I know 2 people that have regions and several of us that have shops.
My website advertising and SL sales pay for the site and most of my play in SL.
In Myst, they have a CAVCON Meter that gives an indication of how well the donations are keeping up with costs. I can’t find any recent updates in CAVCON status. Uru has always had a hard time paying its way. That doesn’t seem to have changed.
The Myst Forum had been a busy place with dozens of posts daily. I have the forum feed into my Feedly. So, I see the daily list of new posts. That number of new posts has been decreasing for some time. Now it is mostly considerably less than a dozen a day, 3 today.
There are some fan run servers. They vary in what content they provide. There are fan-made additions to Uru. Some high quality on a par with Cyan’s parts. Others are of far less quality. For most fans, the fan-run servers are invisible and unknown.
I’ve expected someone to start building Myst-Uru in Sansar. This would seem to be the ideal location for a financially challenged game. In SL there is a high land cost. In Sansar, there is a ridiculously low land cost. In both smart use of the system allows one to keep costs down to something a single hobbyist could afford. But, someone building Uru in Sansar hasn’t happened, AFAIK. If you know someone building Uru in Sansar, I would like to know.
When Uru started the graphics in it were beyond anything we could achieve in Second Life. That has changed. Second Life has advanced every year. While the quality of graphics in SL is dependent on your computer, a decent mid-range machine with a dedicated graphics card makes Uru look way old.
If you have been in Sansar, any Unreal or Unity game, or Star Citizen, you know how far the tech has come since work on the Uru game engine, Plasma, stopped in 2008±. The Cyan game Obduction shows what Cyan can do with the new game engines and their first (?) attempt at VR. A gorgeous game but some VR problems.
A new Cyan game in the works is Firmament. Which you see in the video at the top of the article.
Cyan has given up developing the graphics engines and focuses on building their amazing imaginary worlds. So, there is no hope they will ever upgrade Plasma.
In general, it seems Myst-Uru is being forgotten. People that played it, love it and a few hobbyists will build new areas and maintain fan-servers. But, we are not seeing the fans that used to take fond memories of Uru with them wherever they played and build parts of Uru in other platforms.