I just heard that Shadowbane was being closed. This game had already had the problem of switching from a pay-to-play model to an advertisement model. I'm sort of glad. Sorry, but this game bothered me.
I think it is the tone of the game. I don't mind the idea of a PvP centric game, though a game with only PvP would be very dull for me after a while. However, it had this idea that PvP was the end-all and be-all of gameplay. When it first came out it used this advertisement:
“We don’t play games to bake bread, we play them to crush!”
This was an attack on the game Ultima Online which has a cooking skill that provides almost no mechanical benefit to the game. I play UO and have a chef character. I trained the skill to make named bags of flour for my evil company, a completely roleplay reason which served no tangible benefit. I have a lot of fun with my roleplay groups in UO, telling stories, getting into fights, being put on trial, etc. I enjoy a little bit of PvP from time to time, but it bothers me that the hardcore PvPers basically denigrate any other playstyle.
Then there was Shadowbane's rampant sexism. Certain fantasy races were male only (minotaurs and dwarves) in part because the dev team for the game wanted female avatars to be attractive. Their version of attractive was basically scantily clad succubus characters. While this is true for a lot of MMOs, Shadowbane pretty much took it a step further with this action.
I think the sexism and "grr...crush" tone are related. Shadowbane tried to be a very "masculine" game. I put "masculine" in quotes because it is a bullshit version. If the end all and be all of being male was war, death, violence, and only liking women when they are half naked, I'd fucking kill myself. I enjoy a good war game (Twilight Imperium!) and in-game combat (PvP in UO can be a lot of fun) and women in all states of dress. I'm attracted to women physically, but I don't think that has ever defined my friendships with them.
One of my best friends in Ultima Online is an woman who has a son older than I am and who refers to herself as "old lady." We've talked about real life stuff (job, family, moving,etc.) , game-related stuff, and really random stuff over the years. I'm not sure such a friendship could exist in a game which is entirely "I beat you up and take your stuff."
Shadowbane's gone. Good riddance!