As it was said numerous times and in many threads, the (freeshard) server lifecycle is rather predictable, the most recent daoc examples would be Uthgard -> Genesis -> Uthgard 2 -> Phoenix. All with wildly different settings, change policies or approaches to moderation. Here once more the basic summary of the lifecycle for (freeshard) servers for games without advertisement or major expansions:
Week 0 - 2: Launch + hype = huge number of players, some caught up in the hype realize they don't like the game but that's still offset by "stragglers" who somehow missed the launch hype
Starting in Week 3 - 6: Honey moon phase is over. The majority of the leavers just realize the game / setting isn't for them, a few are already bored, influx of new players still about covers the loss.
Week 7-20: Player loss exceeds influx of new players. The majority of the leavers are now starting to be those that are getting bored. This will be rather slow at first but has the chance to accelerate once a critical point is reached.
Week 20+: If the server is still alive it should have a rather healthy and stable population that very slowly bleeds those that get bored until a critical point is reached where the number of players can't sustain the gameplay anymore at which point the leaving accelerates, it can take months or even years until that point is reached but eventually it will be.
We were pretty close to reaching said critical point in March 2020 but with the Corona lockdown there was a quite persistent influx of new and returning players, however, once the restrictions were lifted the decline picked up pace again and we basically reached the critical point a while ago. This is further exacerbated by a new server on the horizon, even if it's still a while off, there is pretty much no point for us to compete with their launch given the dynamics of the launch hype and the grass always being greener on the other side: the most we could achieve by some elusive magical change is splitting the already rather small daoc freeshard community.
For these reasons and under the assumption that the new server project stays on track and doesn't implode from common freeshard drama, we will close down on the 31st of August and at a later point make good use of our name.
The all cap gloves and free respecs will remain active. Starting today and until we close down, we'll disable the realm timer and run a number of events:
July 24th - July 31st: 5vs5 Arena
July 31st- August 7th: 1vs1 Arena
August 7th - August 31st: Arena, any group size, cross realm
We'd like to thank (almost) everyone who played here over the last 4 years and especially those who gave their input. The server would not have been possible without you and we look forward to welcoming you back at said later point.
We will use the downtime to reevaluate a couple systems / changes and especially work on some long term projects like supporting dynamic path finding obstacles to allow for destructible keeps and towers as well as the surrounding utilities that have been somewhat neglected, like the herald, web app and this forum. On that note, we'd like to emphasize that any features of the new server project that seem "inspired" by our setting are absolutely welcome, taking what works and improving upon it is the way the game industry at large and the mmo genre in particular has always evolved and moved forward.