Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Chimeraland: Still There, Still Weird

I saw a "Whatever Happened To...? post about Chimeraland on MassivelyOP yesterday and it made me wonder... whatever did happen to Chimeraland? 

I played it quite happily, even a little obsessively, for a while a couple of years ago, when it was only avialable on servers in South East Asia. I stopped for a bit and then after a while the game launched "globally" through Steam.

I ummed an aahed over whether to start afresh before deciding that yes, I would, because Steam is so convenient. I played my new character for a while but doing everything over again wasn't quite as compelling as doing it for the first time and I soon drifted away.

I dropped back in once or twice but mostly I forgot about the game. If I thought about it all, it was with a vague idea I might go back to the SEA server, where my character was a lot higher in level and I had a pretty nice house. Really, though, I had no particular plans to play again.

When I read the MOP piece, which all but says the game is in maintenance mode, I got a whiff of nostalgia that made me think I probably ought to stop by the old place one more time before it was too late. I didn't want to get the urge some day and find out I'd missed my chance. Been there, done that, got the emotional scar tissue to prove it.

This morning I jumped through the usual hoops (Resetting my password, patching the game, finding it still didn't work, uninstalling and re-installing, resetting my password a second time...) before I could log into the SEA servers. When I got there I was greeted with a very long message about a new version of the game, complete with extensive patch notes.

I wasn't entirely sure at first whether it was new information or legacy "news" from last year, when I knew there had been a major update that added a whole new continent. If the game was really in maintenance mode it wouldn't be surprising if no-one had bothered to change the login messages for twelve months.

As I scanned the details it became clear that no, this wasn't outdated information. There is a huge update coming and it arrives tomorrow! Here for your delight and approval are the full patch notes because I'm blowed if I can find them anywhere other than the in-game launcher.  The official website hasn't had an update since January and the Steam page hasn't been updated for nearly a year!

And that's where the notes end... right in the middle of a sentence. I'm guessing they were too massive for the buffer to handle. 

We'll get the rest of them tomorrow, when the update lands, no doubt. There's a downtime of just a couple of hous, after which you'll need to install the update to log in because "the old version will be discontinued".

The instructions only mention the iOS and Android versions but since the game is fully cross-play enabled and I just cut and pasted the notes from the Steam installation (That was fun, let me tell you...) I'm as confident as I can be that it will apply to the PC version as well.

I think it's safe to say that developer PixelSoft have not abandoned Chimeraland and that the game is not about to enter maintenance mode. As for whether anyone is still playing... as always with cross-platform games it's extremely hard to tell. 

There certainly aren't many people playing on Steam. Population has been in steady decline ever since the game arrived on the platform, with August seeing an average monthly population of around ninety. That sounds very small but the all-time high was only 2252. 

With a 30-day peak of 143, the game has lost about 93% of its audience, which honestly makes it much the same as New World, except that no-one's playing New World anywhere other than Steam, whereas you can play Chimerland on any number of devices.

With a big update coming, it would be a good time to return to Chimeraland. I might have done it myself if my characters had still been there. Unfortunately they're not.

I'm so used to MMORPGs never deleting characters that I never even thought to check what Chimeraland's policy on dormant accounts might be. You get three months' grace. If you don't log in after that, your characters are wiped. I hadn't logged into either Steam or my LevelInfinite account on the SEA cluster for a lot longer than three months so my characters on both platforms are long gone.

Surprisingly, I really don't mind. I had no plans to start playing again and I wasn't particularly attached to either of the characters I had. If I want to relive my adventures with them I can just read the many blog posts I wrote at the time. That will bring back fond memories far better than logging in to a game I no longer remember how to play.

What I might do is make a new character just to have a look at the two continents I've never seen. I'm more motivated by the thought of starting afresh than I would be to run an existing character around. 

Probably, though, I won't bother. Time moves on and I feel Chimeraland has had its turn. I have plenty of new games to tinker with. I'd rather go forwards than back.

Still, it's very good to see that the game hasn't been abandoned after all. It's a strange game. I've not played anything quite like it. It would be a shame to see it disappear. 

And even if I'm not playing any more I hope someone's enjoying it. I mean, where else can you play an adolescent jellyfish with legs, grafted onto the back end of a giraffe?


  1. That picture hurts to look at. Is this some Dr Moreau stuff??? I don't think I've ever heard of this game.

    1. That, believe it or not, is the character I made just before I wrote the post. There are a lot of playable "races", many of them non-human, and each race comes in three age ranges, child, adolescent and adult, some of which look radically different, any of which you can select at character creation.

      That's just the half of it, though, because a large part of the gameplay involves catching creatures and melding them together in ways that, yes, do bring Dr. Moreau to mind. Some of the combinations are very strange indeed.

      Honestly, I can't begin to describe the game in a comment. There are a lot of posts here about it if you're interested - I was fairly obsessed with it for a couple of months - but I'd suggest giving it a try after the update. I have a feeling it's the kind of thing you might find interesting.


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