The Foundry is one of the neatest feature in Cryptic's MMOs, Star Trek Online (opens in new tab) and Neverwinter (opens in new tab). It allows players to use game assets and tools to create their own scripted quests to share with fellow captains and adventurers. Inside these MMOs, an unlikely community of modders sprang up. Unfortunately, Cryptic has announced that the Foundry will be closing its doors (opens in new tab) for good next month.
While the Foundry has been kept alive by player imagination, it still requires resources and maintenance from Cryptic, and sadly the developer has decided that it can't give the Foundry the attention it deserves while still creating new features.
Star Trek Online and Neverwinter continue to receive regular, meaningful updates, with the former currently taking advantage of finally running concurrently with a show through the free Age of Discovery expansion. There's clearly plenty of life left in them, then, but they've both been around for a long time, and MMOs don't seem to draw in the sort of crowds they used to, so it looks like some cuts have to be made to keep the new stuff flowing.
I'll miss the Foundry, but I confess I can't remember the last time I used it. It's got nothing to do with the quality of the custom missions, but Star Trek Online, which I still pop back into, has so many missions and activities that I never have any time to look for more. But it was nice to know it was around if I wanted to mix things up.
You could hunt down some story-rich diversions, solving murder mysteries in country mansions outside Neverwinter, or you could just blow off some steam by shooting the crap out of 1,000 terrans. In Neverwinter especially, the Foundry was evocative of the brilliant modding community that sprouted around BioWare's Neverwinter Nights, which had the best modding support of any BioWare game then or since.
Players will receive some rewards for participating in the Foundry. In Star Trek Online, everyone who has played a Foundry mission will get a badge, authors will get a Botany Bay space pet and anyone who created a spotlit mission will earn a Genesis Torpedo ground device. Things are a bit more stingy over in Neverwinter, though. You'll get a title of you've played at least ten missions, while creating at least ten will net you a cape.
The good news is that if, like me, you've not browsed the Foundry for a long time, you still have time to play a whole bunch of missions. The lights will stay on until April 11.