(Update: As of the 19th of January, the website seems to have returned to life. I guess someone finally remembered to pay their domain registration fee!)
This won’t come as any great surprise to those who followed my posts on Lordcraft:
To recap, it was an Evony-clone (I believe by the same people who make Evony) that “borrowed” liberally from World of Warcraft. I strongly recommend reading those old posts to see quite how hilariously shameless the entire business was. I’ll just repost the original trailer, mostly so that the title of this article doesn’t look quite so random!
A couple of days ago, its game servers went down without warning, which caused a great deal of dismay amongst the people that were still playing. Its website has also become unavailable. After a little investigation it turns out there’s a great reason for that. This is from the registration records for the domain worldoflordcraft.com:
Expiration Date: 2011-01-15 06:50:50
Creation Date: 2010-01-15 06:50:50
They let the domain expire. That’s either incompetence on a massive scale (especially given how many pestering emails I receive when my domains are getting towards renewal time), or it was deliberate. It would not surprise me if they felt they’d got as much out of their players as they were going to, and it was a good time to move on. Given how obviously dodgy the entire enterprise was I’m mostly amazed Lordcraft has lasted as long as it has without Blizzard’s lawyers coming down upon them with a righteous fury and a whole lot of paperwork.
If you played Lordcraft it is VERY important that, if you used the same password elsewhere, that you go and change it. If you ever gave Lordcraft money then you might want to keep an eye on the creditcard or Paypal account that you used. I know I go on about it a lot, but this shows how important it is to be careful when dealing with mysterious F2P companies that you can’t find any solid information about.
Update: OK, some weirdness. It appears that World of Lordcraft has reappeared (or perhaps always had a presence at) at Lordcraft.com, an entirely different address to the one they normally use. The site does not appear to be fully functional as yet, with little content and no way to log in to the game. What will happen to existing players of the old Lordcraft version remains to be seen.
When trying to use the Lordcraft.com site it has a tendency to redirect you to the broken domain, so I’m wondering if this is just some vestigial remnant, rather than a new start.
Update: I’m not sure whether some links got fixed, or I just had a burst of luck, but I managed to log in briefly with my old review account. The game does seem to still exist. Google remains pointing at the broken domain, so I would guess it’ll take a little while for the players to find their way back. There’s no mention of any of this on the site’s news page.
A very strange business indeed. I would dearly love to know what string of events could have lead to them not renewing their domain. It’s going to really mess up their search engine ratings.
Comfortingly, their terms and conditions are still just WoW’s old terms and conditions, with any mention of “Blizzard” find/replaced with “Thunderstorm”.