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Can the City of Heroes save... itself?

Chas (5144) writes | about 2 years ago

1

Chas writes "As reported earlier, NCSoft has announced the impending closure of the City of Heroes superheroic MMO. So that's it. The end. Finis. Rocks fall, everyone dies.

Or is it?

Apparently they didn't reckon with a community that's spent the better part of a decade fighting evil and myriad world-ending threats. Now the citizens of Paragon City are stepping up to bat again. The stakes? The end of the world.

In a surprisingly civil and well coordinated effort, thousands of City of Heroes players have come together in a campaign to convince NCSoft that City of Heroes is worth saving. With online events, letter-writing campaigns, presence in social media and an online petition that's now in excess of 17,000 signatures. On top of that, they're seeing support from various people with some celebrity of their own such as Neil Gaiman, Felicia Day, and Mercedes Lackey.

So, while saving this game is still probably a long shot, many people, including those in the media, think that this group might just be able to save the day."

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It's not just a game guys. Seriously. (1)

Chas (5144) | about 2 years ago | (#41318033)

Yes, a lot of the cynical ones are probably going "Rent to pwn. You knew what you were getting into."

The game, while an outstanding one, and a benchmark for its genre, is secondary to the actual communities that have grown up in the game over the last eight-plus years. The fact that the still-profitable game was whacked in a bean-counting exercise just makes it hurt more.

And while, initially, there was a lot of anger and disappointment going in NCSoft's direction, it's generally understood that they did what they felt was best for their investors. As such, there may still be a way we can satisfy that need and still do right by the game and community.

NCSoft has been an excellent shepherd for the game in the last decade. They took a chance on a severely niche game. And, when the original studio was looking to move on to other projects, had the foresight to recognize the game still had legs. So they bought it outright, and founded a studio to not only support the game, but continue development. And, in the last five years have added massive amounts of content and stunning levels of quality of life enhancements to the game. It's almost a completely different animal from the product Cryptic Studios shipped in 2004.

As such, any ill feelings this closure engenders are tempered by gratitude for allowing the game to progress as far as it has.

What's more, those five years have taken what was ALREADY a very tight community and made it into something like a family. You hear about responsive devs and close communities. But I've yet to see ANYTHING remotely close to the relationship that existed between Paragon Studios and their players. We had numerous players move into development and consulting positions for the game. Essentially breaking them into the industry. We even have former developers who've hung around as regular players for years after they were let go from the game.

This is where we get together and mingle. Not in bars. Not in dance clubs. No, we get together and pummel/burn/stab/shoot/freeze/zap/etc bad guys. All the while, chatting, joking, and catching up with friends. Yeah, we're "wearing" funny spandex outfits. So what? You get in your car to go see friends. I get on my computer and fly over to see them.

I've been running meet and greets at various cons over the last four years and I've found everyone at these events every bit as nice and likeable in person as they are online (yeah, maybe we're not all eight feet tall and solid muscle, but hey, the social connection is what's really important). I want to be able to continue meeting these people on a daily or weekly basis. Not on Facebook, or Twitter, or in another game that makes me puke to look at it.

No, CoH isn't some huge, multi-million player fantasy grindfest/gear-quest with...what are they up to now? a hundred and thirty sevel levels? We also don't have players so rabidly attached to the game that they would literally DIE rather than get up and go out for a while. Maybe they might own seven or eight accounts. But at least they can get away from the computer and get a bit of fresh air now and again...So no, it's probably never going to be bringing in tens of millions of dollars a month. But, given the right situation, it can still be a profitable venture for someone willing to back it.

That's what we're trying to point out to NCSoft now. As politely and as earnestly as possible.

Are our chances good? No. NCSoft is known for locking the door and throwing away the room.
But we're going to try like hell to impress on them that it may, just may, be possible to do right by all parties involved.

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