In the mid-2000’s, Cyan Worlds, creators of the massively popular adventure game Myst, released an ambitious online sequel that never caught on the way they'd hoped. Myst Online: Uru Live sought to translate the single-player puzzle-solving experience of the Myst series into a collaborative, massively multiplayer online game.
The game had a rocky reception and its online component was compromised from the beginning. It underwent a series of cancellations and relaunches, but in the end it only survived thanks to its dedicated player base. Players carried the game on their backs for years, hacking together fan servers to reimplement much of the online experience the way it was always meant to be. They even formed their own in-game governance structures to improve the player experience. These efforts were so successful that they eventually drew the support of the developers themselves.
We spoke with an ardent member of this player community about his time spent in Uru during its heyday and today.
- The Guild of Messengers has a very useful tutorial on how to start playing Uru today. You can connect to the official Cyan server, or one of a number of "shards" (the community's term for fan servers). We filmed on the Deep Island shard, because it contains the most complete collection of fan-created "ages" (areas). If you are looking to encounter other players, you're more likely to find them on the official Cyan server, which you can access here.
- Uru can be very unapproachable to a new player. Here is a walkthrough that will help you figure out how to access the online part of the game.
- The Guild of Writers is responsible for creating new Uru ages. They're one of the most active player groups in Uru, and they run the Deep Island shard. They maintain an active forum, and they run weekly expeditions into fan-created ages. They also maintain a helpful list of fan-created ages with very basic metadata and screenshots.
- The Guild of Archivists run what is essentially a wiki for the Myst series. It started as a fan project, but Cyan recently announced that they will be supporting it by providing server space. The section on Uru contains some interesting primary sources related to goings-on within the online side of the game, including logs of chats the developers hosted to advance the story, as well as their in-character forum posts.
Featured Fan-created Ages
This is a complete list of all fan-created areas we featured in this episode, in order of first appearance.
- Cathedral by DenDwaler (2016)
- Elodea by Dulcamara (2013)
- Ahra Pahts by Aloys, Hubby J'anim Paedet, Robert the Rebuilder (2006)
- Shell 129 by Marcello (2008)
- Shell 224 by Mar (2008)
- Shell 309 by Tinuviel (2008)
- Shell 415 by Dot (2010)
- Shell 427 by di gama (2008)
- Atlantis Outpost by MercAngel (2005)
- Tre'bivdil by Lontahv (2008)
- Veelay Tsahvahn by Doobes (2020)
- New Guild of Messengers Pub by Doobes (2014)
- Aquh by I.Brattin (2009)
- Relativity by Karkadann, Tachzusamm, and the Guild of Writers (2014)
- Rell-Too by the Guild of Writers (2012)
- Palamary Bay by Melvin (2019)
- Shinelight Manor by Justintime9 (2009)
- Tovaht Bay by Semjay (2020)
- Cretaceous by Metabasalt and Ametist (2009)
- Cretaceous Park by Ametist (2010)
- Fens by Whilyam (2008)
- Somewhere by denost2 (2012)
- Turtle Isle by DenDwaler (2010)
- Oolbahnneea by Wodan (2009)
- Zefora by Justintime9 (2010)
- Yinfara by Lontahv (2020)
- Chiso Preniv by Doobes (2020)
- Hayal by Corvus (2009)
- Paper Pagodas by Tikibear (2009)
- Galamay by Zib Redlektab (2005)
- Sprite Gallery by Tikibear (2008)
- Zephyr Cove by Andy Legate and GoMa (2008)
- Writers’ Niche by Jamey (2009)
- Eder Tomahn by Andy Legate (2010)
Music from this Episode
For this episode, we used music from the game's original soundtrack, composed by Tim Larkin.