Hello Friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve written a letter to you all. I would like to say that I bring joyous news for all, but sadly, this is not one of those times. I’m about to say some things that I truly don’t want to say, but it’s become painfully evident at this point that these words are necessary. Instead of beating around the bush, I will come right out and say this: After a strong 1 year and 4 month run, An Corp will be formally closing its doors at the end of April (April 30th, 2016). There have been some speculations as to what has been going on with the shard. First, I would like to apologize for essentially going dark for the past two months. I made my intentions clear on the path we should take the shard around this time to the staff, but I have been holding out, searching for an alternate path to take, because I really did not want to shut down the shard. Unfortunately, with how things currently stand, it would be impossible to continue as we have been doing so. I know things have been hard trying to keep the population of our shard up and the community going. With the rerelease of Rel Por and subsequently Angel Island, we saw all-time lows with active players within the community. While this certainly bummed the staff out, most of us on staff were still in the game and were hinging on Luthius’s upcoming expansion content to draw back interest once more. Unfortunately, Luthius left the project around two months ago for reasons I will not specify. Without his development support, An Corp has essentially become dead in the water. Over the past few months, Jimmy, Saboo, and myself have become extremely busy with real life. While I am currently single and living alone, I am caught up with college full time now. My free time, while more limited, still exists to an extent. However, this is no longer the case for our other developers. On top of Jimmy and Saboo both working full time and taking on a lot of extra projects from work, they both have families to take care of and their free time has been drawn away from the shard almost entirely at this point. I have always stressed that real life takes priority from the get go of starting this project over two years ago. The fact that the majority of the core dev/admin team was able to stay together for so long is a tribute to our developer’s dedication. Alas, all good things eventually run their course and it has now come our turn to pass on into obscurity. You guys probably have questions as to what will happen from here on out. AC1 was largely a learning experience and we took a lot away from that to go on and make AC2 with all of the improvements. AC2 is where we shined. While AC1 was essentially IPY3 delivered to the masses, we came back with AC2 as our own product. Was everything perfect? Of course not, but it was ours and we had a strong showing for the longest time. I can safely say that we created one of the best PvM environments out of any free shard to date, and I would be so bold to say that any freeshard will ever come up with without totally alienating the masses. What will we do with the code? At this time, we will not be making our shard code open source. Call me vain, but I would rather not allow other less reputable free shards to rat-fuck our code and claim all of our hard work for themselves. Also, Luthius expressed the interest of opening up his own free shard down the road; I would not deny him the right to use the An Corp code for that. After all, by this point the majority of the code is now his own work anyways. Why not wipe and relaunch? This was actually something we discussed pretty heavily in the months leading up to Luthius leaving the project. Most of the staff were in favor of it, but Jimmy and I were not. I swore at the start of AC2 that we would not wipe and relaunch the shard again. Launches are stressful and they take up a lot of free time, time that we simply didn’t have to commit any longer. I also didn’t want to go back on my word after assuring everyone multiple times that we would not take the shard down for another wipe and relaunch. There is also the fact that our brand of UO simply just does not work anymore. I am utterly convinced now that after seeing multiple iterations of Angel Island, IPY, Rel Por, and An Corp go through the launch and relaunch process and ultimately fail, that the unmounted, niche gameplay is a flawed design system. They always start out with strong population bursts, and I do mean strong, but after 2-3 months, every single last one of them has dwindled down to sub 150 population. While I am not particularly worried about population numbers (we all know every single “big” shard inflates that number to a degree), peddling your product is always more fun when more people experience it. Honestly, if we were to ever try again, it would be with mounted UOR mechanics since that is what has remained consistently popular over the years. As much as I DESPISE mounts, the amount of work everyone put into the project deserves a larger audience. To the staff: Thank you all for being some of the best help that any volunteer force could ever ask for. The support staff has remained loyal and steadfast through the highs and lows and we could not have maintained our presence for as long as we did without all the hardwork they put. GM Mongbatman, GM Gustav, GM Delceri, and GM Dagon, you are the greatest! To the community: At this point, I think I am truly done with UO. I never once thought that I would become an Admin of such a wonderful and successful freeshard in my UO career. The past two years have been some of the greatest. I’ve met all sorts of people and have had meaningful interactions with a majority of the community. From AC1 to AC2, I have not regretted a single moment I’ve spent with you all. Have I been frustrated or exacerbated with some of you? Oh most certainly, but never once did I regret a single moment. I feel as if I can pass on from UO in peace at this point. I accomplished just about everything I wanted to do and I’m glad I was able to take you guys along for the ride as well. I would like to do a shout out for all of the players who had an impact upon the shard and with me personally, but the list would take another two pages at least and I’ve put off this announcement long enough as is. There is one, however, that I feel is necessary to say and that is great, big thank you to Papa Carl. Carl, you are the absolute ideal player. After watching all of your streams of An Corp and interacting with you and the Beard Brothers, you guys epitomized everything that the dev team wanted to see from the players. You came in essentially blind. Instead of making a fuss about the ruleset or X or Y mechanics, you simply jumped in with a general idea of what you wanted to do and ran with it. You explored the game and the world like a true gamer does without any prior preconceptions of how things should be. Watching you discover and play the game simply for the sake of playing and enjoying it for what it had to offer was very fulfilling for us. Without a doubt, the Beard Brothers kept the shard alive a lot longer than it should have and for that, you will always have my thanks. As for everyone else, we may be done with UO, but we just might be around for other things. A few months back, we invested into a Pre-Alpha package for Shards Online which has some potential for Indy Dev teams. Alas, they are still in Alpha so we don’t know whether the final product will be worth investing into or not. We will have to see what the future holds. Thank you all for a fulfilling two years. I wish each and every one of you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors!