Yes, Doc O is really, really dead. He will probably even stay that way.
Now, like it or not, I’m going to tell you why.
First, the observatory is gone due to simple financial considerations. I’ve recently taken a job that was a significant step down in pay, and I simply don’t have the spare cash to spend on land.
But that also got me reflecting on Doc’s IC position, and the general feel of Babbage lately. Realize this is all IMHO, so don’t hit me with any outraged rebuttals. :)
Babbage has gotten consistently grittier over the years, with most of the whimsical creations being replaced by narrow streets and well-crafted buildings that bore me to tears. The overall mood seems to me to be marching in step with that, with less spontoneity and goofiness, with an overall increase in ennui and gloom.
I also believe that it lost a lot due to over-expansion. It becomes a different crowd when plots are scarce enough that buy-in is necessary. Less builders, more people just putting up a house in a cool sim.
It used to be that once every few weeks, someone would come to me with some sort of plot idea to play out, and when I proposed one of my own, people made contributions and suggestions, and played along. That sort of thing hasn’t happened for a long time. Now, I float a plot idea out to people, and the responses either don’t exist, or say it would be too much effort.
What it boils down to, is that for a very long time, Doc O hasn’t actually been In-Character, so I’ve simply decided to stop trying to be. I will be around, but strictly in an OOC mode.