So we're now a month into this ut2004stats breakdown situation, and, even as the thread Miauz linked to on Epic's UT forums where people have been pleading for its return has reached its third page now, there still has been no sign of acknowledgement of the problem by Epic, never mind any statement of intention to address it.
At this point I think there can be little doubt that the dev has been made aware of the issue, which leaves two possible remaining options: either they can't bring back the UT2004stats server (say, through loss of necessary code or hardware) or they simply don't care to, and I'm beginning to give more stock to the latter version, considering the former would likely see some PR/CM person make a statement of recognition to assuage the anxious community members and avoid the loss of good will.
As I've mused on previously, if leaving the still active UT2004 community without online tracked stats is what Epic really intends, I'd expect that to only be part of a plan to phase out support for the "old anchor" completely. Since I imagine it'd be a really bad look for them to do so in 2019 (i.e. during the game's 15th anniversary), any such plan would probably work better for them if it played out within this year, likely before the holiday period too - no need to sour the mood of older players we'd like to help mass migrate to Fortnite by twisting their arm during the November gaming bonanza, right? In other words, if Epic continues to show no signs of interest in fixing what's already broken soon (say, by end of March), thus lending further credence to these suspicions, there's a good chance they'll try to take out the Master Servers during the (late) summer lull. I do hope I'm proven wrong and just overly suspicious about all this, I really do, but if this turns out to be the way things go down, I'd rather be prepared than just find myself in a state of shock.
For awhile now I've tried to think of countermeasures the community could take to resist, or even repel, the prospect of UT2004's online umbilical cord being completely severed, but beyond each server starting their own stats collection initiative, as some have done in the past by using the existing software for that (
features such functionality, I believe; Edit
: it's UTStatsDB
, thanks Miauz) - or, better yet, coming together and agreeing to maintain a joint database as a whole, thus also sharing the technical n' financial burden - there's not much else we could realistically do. Maybe the remaining communities could begin circulating a common Favourites List to help any late newcomers find the existing servers and so compensate for an imminent loss of the MSes too, but either way, some kind of circling of the proverbial wagons will inevitably be necessary for all to survive in the wilderness if or when we're left to our own devices.
Raising hell and creating some bad PR optics for Epic online and on social media could probably yield some results, in case anyone's wondering about that, since I expect the wider gaming community does still harbour considerable nostalgic appreciation for UT2004 and the UT franchise up to a certain degree (thanks, UT3...), but IMO it's doubtful many would care to take Epic to task for intentionally rendering the best UT iteration ever made obsolete on purpose, so, all told, I wouldn't expect that on its own to be an effective means of reversing the current trend of apparent Epic disinterest in keeping this game going - and even if it were, it'd come at a cost.
Hate to be closing this on a dour note, but at this point it might be a more prudent use of our time n' effort if we curbed our expectations of Epic's support going forward, and started coming up with ideas of how to ween off it completely for the sake of UT's independent, ongoing survival instead.
[...]BTW, wasn't able to spot your post there, Peg. Your wording is great (as always, honestly), would be really helpful if you'd post there, too
A painful lesson I took from very early on in my online gaming "life" some 16 odd years ago was to never (again) render my game- and game community-related speech hostage to the whims of said game's producer; you never know when your views might be deemed inconvenient to the company's agenda and thus find them (or your account in general) subject to censure by their CMs, so you might as well have 'em hosted on a game-adjacent venue, operated by people whose views and priorities will be far more likely to align with yours. Such an arrangement, I've found, offers a more productive, earnest and far less headache-inducing environment in which one can focus on analysis and modding, so I continue to stick by it, while not begrudging anyone taking a different path. Hope that clears it up