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Vendetta Online 10-year Anniversary!

It was 10 years ago that Penny Arcade first linked to us as we began the completely-public stage of our game's never-ending development. For us, this was a huge transition, marking the moment when we had our first influx of users, and when we ceased to be a "theoretical" game and became an actual live service with a vibrant audience. Some of those players from 2002 are still here with us today, sometimes indicated with their special character badges. It has been an incredible and humbling experience to come to know many of our players, watching young teenagers become adults, seeing entire families playing together across three generations (grandparents, parents, grandkids). Since the launch of Vendetta Online for Android last March, we've had users playing from their bus commute through the jungles of Thailand (where, apparently, they have great cell coverage). We have come this far thanks largely to the unflagging support and dedication of our player base, always pushing us to make the game a little better with each passing week, and for this we are very grateful. To our players, past and present: thank you, this anniversary is really about you.

The landscape of the MMO market has changed vastly since our initial public release in 2002, and even more since we started on this journey. I first posted about our game's development on our early website back in February of 1997. By then we already had an engine and a prototype game in internal testing, with which we had been tinkering in spare time since 1996; but we had never even heard the term "MMORPG", coined shortly thereafter by Origin's Richard Garriott. Ultima Online, the game whose widespread popularity arguably launched the modern MMO genre, wouldn't even be released for another half a year. I had only the idea that I wanted to make this "huge, online space game", where people would fly around in a persistent world and share in much of the gameplay I associated with classic single-player titles, like Tie Fighter or Wing Commander. We knew this was technically possible, but no one was around to tell us how hilariously difficult or lengthy the process would be, especially with a development team of only four people building such a game and engine from scratch. Perhaps that's just as well, as they might have dissuaded us from the pursuit, which has definitely been an amazing and educational experience.

There have been definite challenges in bringing an indie MMO to market with such a small development team, then maintaining and expanding a live product throughout the years; but this makes us all the more proud to be where we are today, and to have seen such a wonderful community grow up around our title. I don't think any MMO is ever really "finished", and ours is no exception; but our plans for the coming year and the eventual launch of Vendetta Online 2.0 are intended to finally fulfill much of the original game vision from the late 1990s. Of course, the original vision never included things like our current playability on now-common smartphones, which will make this all the sweeter.

By way of a small thanks to our userbase, this weekend will offer free play to all previously subscribed players, along with a number of special Events, starting with a special developer-hosted event this evening. For those interested, we also shipped a press release, which has also been picked up by our friends over at Massively. You can expect some other cool promotions to launch in the coming week.

Thank you, and Happy Anniversary Everyone!

John "Incarnate" Bergman
Guild Software, Inc.