5 Logical Reasons to Save City of Heroes

Many who are outside the recent City of Heroes hoopla may not understand why some players are kicking up such a fuss. After all, it’s just a game, right? And nobody really plays it anymore since Champions Online came out, right? And it’s just like WoW except with superheroes, right?

Wrong, times three. Today, I will prove why City of Heroes deserves to stay around, with five logical reasons that I think even Spock would be proud of.

It Has a Growing Loyal (And Paying) Playerbase

Many people are under the impression that City of Heroes transformed into a completely “free-to-play” game within the last year. That is simply not true. While there is a free-to-play option within the game, it does not allow for the complete game experience–you must be VIP, or paying about $15 a month, to experience the full game.

That said, most people who were VIP members before Free-To-Play released have maintained their VIP membership, and many who started as Free-To-Play players ended up buying VIP subscriptions, so City of Heroes was still pulling in money when NCSoft announced the November 30th closure date unexpectedly on August 31st. I don’t know exactly how much money, but I do know City of Heroes was earning more than NCSoft’s other games (Lineage II, Aion, and Guild Wars).

If the current “Save CoH” Change.org petition with over 20,000 signatures represents all currently paying players, that could potentially mean an income of over $3,600,000 per year. That may not be big chunks of change to a large company, but it’s definitely something! And with the Free-to-Play system tempting more and more customers into the game, that could mean potentially even more customers who will want to buy full game access.

It’s Unlike Any MMO Out There Today

And yes, this reasoning does count Champions Online and DC Online. City of Heroes, despite these other two MMOs named, is still the only superhero MMO to have its own specific series of comic books, with rich backstory lore, a highly-detailed and much-lauded costume creator, and yet fairly simple game mechanics (as I’ll refer to in my next reason).

Its main competitor, Champions Online, was created by the people who originally spearheaded City of Heroes in the first place, and is linked to the Champions paper RPG game. DC Online, as the name might imply, is based on the DC Comics universe.

Champions Online Differences

  • Not as good a costume creator
  • Less flexible archetypes/harder to customize
  • Based more on a Dungeons & Dragons-esque stat system (more stats, more calculations, etc.)

DC Online Differences

  • Generally have to play along the lines of an established DC hero/villain
  • DCO has no “in-between” alignments like Vigilante and Rogue–only Hero and Villain
  • Can only make 16 characters per server, as opposed to CoH’s unlimited unlockable character slots

In addition, City of Heroes is the only MMO, to my knowledge, which allows players to create their own playable content within the game engine itself. Not only is CoH a haven of original heroes, but it encourages creativity in its players!

There are many players out there who have tried Champions Online and DC Online in place of City of Heroes, and most if not all have returned to City of Heroes, often citing the very reasons stated above. I believe that speaks for itself, and establishes City of Heroes’ credibility and originality within the sphere of available MMOs.

It’s Easier to Learn

From personal experience observing other MMO playstyles versus City of Heroes’ style, I can definitively say that City of Heroes is much easier to learn, and thus quicker to enjoy. There are simply less bars and graphs and things to monitor on screen; it feels like a game rather than hard work to try to play successfully. Not only that, but the customization and amount of creativity allowed makes it more personal, more of a platform for one’s own imagination rather than just playing within a strict “mold” of “what wins PvP battles.”

Many of my fellow gamers have noted this as well, saying that playing CoH is more relaxing and therefore more fun to continue playing. After all, if a game is not fun, who wants to pay to play it month after month? Even former WoW players have noticed the positive difference, and have enjoyed it.

It’s Already a Well-Established, Well-Loved Game

Many people who do not play City of Heroes currently have said that it’s well past time for City of Heroes to be put out to pasture, since the game began “way back” in 2004.

It’s interesting to note that the people who are saying this have no idea of the updates and new features that have been added. If they have any experience with the game at all, their information is several years old at best–they quit playing and have not kept up with all the amazing changes (especially recent changes). In fact, a new issue (ironically titled “Resurgence”) was going to be released in early September, fixing many bugs and introducing more new content–or, at least, it was going to be released until the unexpected closure announcement.

This game is already well-established with players as a familiar and welcome respite from other MMOs. It’s not World of Warcraft or League of Legends, nor is it trying to be. It’s got its own little niche, and most of the players who are on now have been playing a long time and plan to be playing as long as the game exists. This is not a game you beat one time and sell back; it’s a long-term experience, with hundreds of hours of effort put in, and just as many hours of enjoyment received.

And as for the “it’s an old game, it needs to end” argument, let me give an apt comparison: would any gamer want to see his or her collection of old console video games burned, just because they’re considered “old games?” That is essentially what the City of Heroes community is being threatened with–the total annihilation of painstakingly-created characters, and permanent loss of access to a rich gaming world.

It Has Tons of Features AND Room to Grow, Too

Building on my previous points, I will conclude with this reasoning: the game is already a well-rendered world with hundreds of stories to play through and dozens of ways to diversify characters. Yet it still has much detail that can be explored through future game expansions, not least the post-level 50 content which is still in its infancy.

This “city of heroes” has room to expand, room to build new areas and construct new stories. It even has the ability for players to create their own playable stories, as I referenced earlier. There’s plenty of opportunity and plenty of future in City of Heroes; why must it be razed to the ground?

That is our point, as City of Heroes players: it does not need to be.

Join the “Save CoH” Effort

Even though NCSoft doesn’t want us to write letters anymore (according to yesterday’s press release, anyway), there are still things we can do to make noise about this.

  • Communicate with any game company you can think of who might even remotely be interested in buying CoH, or starting up a game that uses the same character files so we don’t all lose our hard work
  • Sign the Change.org petition
  • Email local news stations, internet news channels, and anyone else who might be able to further publicize the need to save this game

Stay Updated on “Save CoH” News

15 thoughts on “5 Logical Reasons to Save City of Heroes”

  1. Your first statement is incorrect.

    City of makes around $10mm per year. It is around 10% of the revenues of the other game titles at best. NCSoft earnings reports are available with the revenues broken out. Search the forums and you will find them. Trend graphs from the past 8 years show a steady trend downward in revenues with a short spike during the Going Rogue release time frame. CoH has not been gaining players since that date. The revenue numbers reflect this loss in playerbase.

    In short, CoH was possibly making money. With 80 employees, a $10mm dollar company would be marginally profitable once physical , data and server costs are figured in. Add in that NCSoft was needing a martyr to feed to the shareholders and the decision from a business standpoint is pretty plain.

    Don’t get me wrong; I love CoH and it pains me greatly that my last 7 years in game is coming to an end, but when you break it down to pure business any right minded CEO would have made the same decision. The decision that was made on how it was handled was the only bad part of the business decision.

  2. Okay. I’m going to refute this points

    1. It Has a Growing Loyal (And Paying) Playerbase
    No it doesn’t. There was a petition to save the game & that only garnered 20,000 sigs…. golbally… An whats the bet not all htose people were players. Fact is that its user base has plummeted & F2P was its last hope of survival… An that failed too.

    Once you take into account the cost of server up time, bandwidth, salaried technical staff, programmers, designers, space & every other aspect of overhead & i can assure you 3 mill is not a lot of money.

    2. It’s Unlike Any MMO Out There Today
    Not in any realy way its not. Itsa one of 3 super hero MMO’s, with almost identical play features to one of them. An its vaunted “rich backstory lore” & 20 cents could by you a 20 cent soft serve cone at maca’s.

    As for its series of comic books, they were in a word terrible. An don’t forget that both WoW & DC Universe Online also had a comic series, an DDO has a novel series. So on that account its not nearly unique.

    As for your points regarding the games in specific

    Champions Online Differences
    •The costume creator may not be as good, but the costume creator for COX was hacked before the game was released & is online if you know where to look
    • Its actually easier to customize in CO
    • While it may be based more on a Dungeons & Dragons-esque stat system; more stats, more calculations, etc., it doesn’t require you to learn them.

    DC Online Differences
    •DCO has no “in-between” alignments like Vigilante and Rogue–only Hero and Villain…. But neither did COX for 3 years.
    •Can actually unlock an unlimited amount of character slots

    In fact the only thing COX had going for it was the architect, which promises to allow players to make there own content, but in truth randomly generated a map & allowed players to pick dialogue & make the villain… Thats not the same as creating content, thats randomly creating themed content. An even that was done as a way to try and recapture the interest of a vanishing player base, due to how dull the actual content was.

    “There are many players out there who have tried Champions Online and DC Online in place of City of Heroes, and most if not all have returned to City of Heroes, often citing the very reasons stated above”

    I’m sorry but no. Had this been the truth then DCUO & CO would be closing, rather then COX. An to be fair, thats a serious bit of validation bias: The only people you’d be hearing that from would be the ones who came back to tell you… Its unlikely that youd’ hear the ones who left & didn’t come back, on the basis that they didn’t come back.

    3. It’s Easier to Learn

    Of course it is… There is so little to the system. Thats a negative, not a positive.

    4. It’s Already a Well-Established, Well-Loved Game

    “Many people who do not play City of Heroes currently have said that it’s well past time for City of Heroes to be put out to pasture, since the game began “way back” in 2004.”

    Mate to be fair, these people are right. Even in 2004 COX was not the most up to date game. It was using a graphic engine from a generation before & it looks n plays like it. Its blocky, its to simplistic, its combat system is the least engaging cool down timer style game of that generation of gaming. It was a relic when it was new… Now 4 years on, its showing its age really badly.

    An i’m sorry, but nothing in the patches have fixed those fundemental problems.

    “That is essentially what the City of Heroes community is being threatened with–the total annihilation of painstakingly-created characters, and permanent loss of access to a rich gaming world.”

    Mate its an MMO, you had to know it had a finite shelf life. Your time would have been better spent on something productive: Something you could make last. Yes its sad that your game is being shut down, but if you’ve invested that much time into this character, then i think you may have larger problems then a game closing down… Like getting that fixated on a game.

    5. It Has Tons of Features AND Room to Grow, Too

    Sure, but what it lacked was “tons of interest.” Its player base numbers were plummeting & it wasn’t making the money necessary for the company to justify keeping it operational. It could have trillionty bazillion features, but it doesn’t matter if there just aren’t enough people to keep it operaitonal. But the fact is that the extra features were just a bandaid over the giant issues the game had, the major one being that the base system for the game was just not a lot of funny (cool down timers are not fun guys, they just aren’t).

    I’m sorry the game is being shut off, but lets not pretend this game was brillaint and magical: It was medicore when it was new & it did not age well. It is time for it to gracefully step off the stage & be retired… Maybe one day someone will make a new version, but until that day, this is “game over”.

  3. @icky812: You may be forgetting that a good chunk (half, if I recall correctly) of those 80 developers were working on a “secret project” that was not CoH. The money required to fund continued development on CoH was far less than what it was costing to develop both games.

    @Matthew R Lane: OK, point by point.

    1) When was the last time an online petition actually garnered signatures for more than about 10% of the group that actually cared about what the petition was trying to change? The number of signatures on the petition is in no way representative of the number of CoH players. It also doesn’t take into account the fact that not only were there still a lot of players who were not only subscribers, but multiple subscribers. It isn’t hard to find people who had two or three accounts in the same household. (I have two myself.) Some people had as many as five. One signature does not necessarily equate to only one subscription.

    2) As you’ve already pointed out, there are currently three MMOs that focus on the superhero genre. That’s a pretty small segment of the overall MMO market to begin with. One of those MMOs was designed for console play and is difficult at best to play without a game controller. The other has its own combat style and unique mission structure. Each of the three games plays differently and draws in different audiences.

    The offline CoH costume creator you mention was released to promote the City of Hero release in Korea and was only available very briefly. The in-game costume creator has evolved so drastically since then that the offline costume creator has been entirely incompatible with it for a very long time.

    I’ve never had any issues with personalizing a costume in CoH. It’s actually more difficult to copy another look because of all the options you have available to select from. And more options have been added every few months for quite some time. Even more were on the way in the next update that won’t make it live.

    If CO plays anything at all like DDO, you’d better understand those numbers or you’re going to be hard pressed to survive anything. I’ve been playing DDO casually for years now and I still find that it’s very easy to screw up a character so bad that it’s almost unplayable if you aren’t careful to plan ahead and constantly be on the lookout for upgrades to your gear. While understanding the underlying mechanics in CoH may make it more interesting for some people, it’s far easier to just pick powers and slots at random as you level up and still end up with a character that fairly well. (And if you’re having trouble, you can always adjust your notoriety settings to make it easier to get through a mission.)

    Not everyone took part in the Architect system, but some people really got into it and found there were a lot of things they could do in the system that let them create some fantastic user-generated content. At least one player became so proficient that their work caught the notice of Paragon Studios and got them a job offer. The system may not have been perfect, but it was quite capable if you knew what you were doing. (And if memory serves, there was some talk of making some more improvements to the system in the near future.)

    3) Depends on who you ask. For casual gamers who like to just log in, run a few missions and log out (some people work 65 hour weeks and still have to mow the lawn, pick kids up from soccer practice, take the dog for a walk…), not having to spend too much time thinking about the system is great. For parents who like playing a game that they can sit and play with their kids, it’s also beneficial to have an easy system to learn. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people posting that their kids started playing the game with them when they were little and years later now have their own accounts so that they can spend a night a week playing together as a family. And some of us just don’t care for games with complicated systems because we’re just looking to unwind after we get home from work between eating dinner and going to bed for the night.

    4) If age is such a factor, I’ll start preparing myself now for the wailing and gnashing of teeth that we’re all going to experience when WoW closes its doors in seven months.

    I bought a new PC last year that supports the Ultra Mode graphics in CoH. With those settings turned on, CoH’s graphics easily hold their own against DDO and SWTOR.

    And if you’re implying that the cooldown timers in newer games is better, I would beg to differ. There’s nothing less entertaining that sitting there waiting for cooldown timers when I’m trying to refresh buffs for my party in the middle of a dungeon with my bard.

    A finite shelf life can be dealt with given sufficient warning. If a game is losing money, people can see the writing on the walls. If content updates are sitting on the beta test server ready to go live within the next two weeks and the developers had known it was coming more than a couple of hours before we found out, maybe we would have had time to deal with the end of the game, do whatever we wanted to do before the end came, and just shuffle off quietly. But that’s not how NCsoft chose to handle this. The blindsided us. They blindsided their own developers. The slapped us across the face, turned around, and left the room.

    5) The playerbase numbers for CoH have been pretty stable for a while now. They may not have been climbing, but they weren’t falling either. The money that was coming in was pretty steady, and it was enough to more than pay the bills.

    If that weren’t the case, the developers that were laid off wouldn’t have been able to find investors to take to the table to attempt to negotiate buying the IP from NCsoft.

    The game aged very well with time. It’s still the only game that really holds my interest. Yes, I play DDO, but only on Saturdays and only with friends I made in CoH that I like to keep in touch with. Yes, I played SWTOR, but again, only one night a week, and only with those same friends. Now that they are no longer playing SWTOR, I’ve cancelled my account on that game and haven’t logged into it in weeks. I’ve been beta testing MWO since the first round of testing, and it’s mildly entertaining, but again, I’m only playing that since the same friends are interested in it. And I only give it a few hours a week. CoH represented the majority of my gaming time – so much so that I have a stack of PS2 games I still haven’t peeled out of their cellophane because I just stopped playing console games after I got into CoH. I play at least a couple of hours of CoH every night during the week and when I have the time I spend upwards of 20 more hours in the game on the weekends.

    While CoH may not be in your wheelhouse, it’s not because the game isn’t good and doesn’t deserve to keep going. I’m pretty sure based on the criteria you seem to be laying out for what makes a good game above, I’d hate playing the games you love.

  4. @Matthew R Lane: I don’t doubt at all that “I’d hate playing the games you love,” as EB said.

    And yet, if your games were subject to cancellation, I would not be running about trying to “refute” points that I know jack-all about. You are, clearly, a busybody, and a scumbag.

    Perhaps you should discontinue yourself, and make the world a better place.

  5. @matthew r lane – You make some points – but they all discourage me from playing any of the other games. I do get it, though. CoH simply lost out a lot on issue 13 when they changed pvp rules – a lot of those players left and never looked back. Additionally, I had a few friends leave for SWTOR – they came back to visit, but for the most part, only played sporadically after SWTOR came out.
    Me, CoH was my first and only MMO. When it’s gone, I won’t play another – simply because I don’t want to relearn different game mechanics. 8 years of using the same keys on different characters to do the same things — (W for travel power, S for Sprint, z for hover/combat jumping, e for damage auras, etc…) I don’t even want to think how long it would take me to figure out a new game.
    NCSoft could easily have consolidated the remaining servers to just two or three, deprecated the forums, stopped coming out with new content and left the store open – they still would have generated profit with very little expenditure. For the most part, what’s really bugging the die-hard fans is the lack of clear, written communication from NCSoft as to the specific reason(s) why. It could be that it was making profit, just not enough profit. It could be a lot of different things. I’d just like to know what it is, and I’d like them to spell out exactly why they won’t sell the game to someone who would be willing to support it. I won’t hold my breath, though. Despite my time and money invested, those answers are really none of my business – unless I buy some NCSoft stock.

  6. @The Bastard You Don’t Know: Mate if i made an inaccurate point feel free to correct me, but if not comments like ” You are, clearly, a busybody, and a scumbag” just paint you in a poor light.

    @Ukase Rex: Oh don’t mistake me for trying to encourage you to play those other super hero MMO’s… They are all pretty terrible, all things considered. Heck if it wasn’t for the fact that DCUO is free to play, i honestly wouldn’t be playing it (its actually a pretty terrible game).

    As for NCsoft communicating why the servers are going down, all i’ve got to ask is why would it make any difference? NCsoft made it abundantly clear that they tried to find a solution including selling on the rights to no avail. So at this point does it really matter if its because its no longer generating a sustainable profit, or if NCsofts staff have all been abducted by aliens.

    Knowing why wouldn’t really change the fact that the servers will be soon turned off. Actually i can’t wait until it goes down, just so i can see what happens when it does. I remember when the Matrix MMO went down everyones characters got “trash compacted,” with a couple of seconds between batches.

    Fact is even consolodating it down to 1 server doesn’t save the game: There is still a shit load of overhead that goes into maintaining a server, an honestly an MMO is like a shark: If it doesn’t keep on moving forward, it dies. Look at Matrix Emulated, or the Myst MMO. Even though they were open sourced they both died anyway. Sure you can still get into them, but there’s no one in them.

    Its time the COX shut its doors, to make way for the next set of games. Every game has a shelf life, an MMO’s are no different. In time maybe you’ll find a new game, one thats actually good (see also above comments re;super hero MMO’s).

    Now i’m just waiting for a “Hitler Finds Out City of Heroes Is Shutting Down” video meme, to go with the “Hitler Finds Out The Matrix Online Is Shutting Down” video on youtube.

  7. Thank you all for commenting thus far! I look forward to seeing where this debate will go next, as the blog author.

    @icky812: I finally found the article that partially backs up my statement for my first point: http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/08/08/ncsoft-weathers-6m-loss-in-q2/ According to this article: “The company stated that it dipped into the red due to rising labor costs, an increased marketing budget for Blade & Soul’s Korean launch, and the acquisition of Ntreev. Aion was also blamed for the company’s financial woes, as revenues in that title sharply decreased due to fewer microtransaction sales.”

    City of Heroes was not even mentioned among possible causes for the company’s $6 million loss, but, I will admit, neither was it mentioned as one of its biggest sellers. Perhaps it’s not the biggest selling game ever, but it has a dedicated (and vocal) fanbase, one which has grown mainly by word of mouth outside the game. (Example: 2 of my friends recently picked up a F2P subscription and ended up going VIP after only a few days; they told a few other friends, who joined as F2P and bought VIP access as well, and so on.)

    I think more reasons for the sudden decision to cut CoH may be found within Nexon’s purchase of many shares in NCSoft. I believe it was only two weeks after Nexon bought stock that the fateful announcement came. http://www.nexon.net/

    @EB: Thank you for making what is possibly an even more “logical” post than my own! 🙂 I appreciate your feedback and strengthened arguments for each point–and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who knows about casual MMO playing. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one these days. 🙂

    @The Bastard You Don’t Know: You make an interesting point: many gamers who are outside CoH have been making a lot of vehement anti-CoH commentary from the peanut gallery. Makes me wonder what it is about CoH and its vocal playerbase that has offended them so greatly.

    @Ukase Rex: I’m right there with you when you say “CoH was my first and only MMO–when it’s gone, I won’t play another, simply because I don’t want to relearn different game mechanics.” However, I never knew that PvP was all that big on CoH–but since I didn’t play it, I wasn’t really part of that section of the game. Practically all of my game experiences come from playing PvE content with my supergroup and the wider network of friends I have on the game.

    I, too, would like to hear NCSoft’s specific reasoning behind this decision, as well as the reasoning behind their “shush and desist” press release of a few days ago.

    @Matthew R Lane: First, may I say thank you for leavening this debate with a decidedly anti-CoH position. As much as I personally disagree with your opinions, I am glad that you felt free enough to express them here, and perhaps provide us with a little dose of harsh reality mixed in with our outrage, despair, and yes, hope.

    Based on your commentary, I am left wondering if you are yourself a CoH player (or ever have been). Some of your opinions seem like those of a disgruntled former player, while others seem like those of a gamer who has avoided CoH like the plague.

    Whatever the case, I acknowledge your MMO playing experience as being different from my own; I recognize that not every MMO is going to be everyone’s cup of tea. However, I would ask you to recognize that many people indeed do find CoH to be a “good” game. “Good” is a very subjective term, referencing one’s own personal enjoyment of a game in addition to its specs, mechanics, and graphics. [Heck, I still enjoy the original SimCity (from wayyyyy back in the mid-90s); even though it’s old as dirt and hardly anybody plays it anymore, I’m still looking for a way to port it to my new computer so that I can enjoy it again.]

    Not everyone is a “hardcore” MMO player, doing raids, PvP, and almost nothing else; not everybody wants to be cursed at all day through the chatbox or voice chat feature on a game. Believe me, I’ve watched my group of male friends play WoW for hours/days, and that’s pretty much what their gameplay is–raiding, PvPing, and cursing/getting cursed at.

    I had absolutely NO desire to play WoW, and I thought that’s what all MMOs were like, until my boyfriend told me about CoH and allowed me to play on his account, just to see if I liked it. To my surprise, I found that CoH was full of decent, lovely people who had jobs and lives outside the game, who had significant others and families to care about (sometimes even grandchildren!). It seems that CoH simply attracted a different kind of gamer, and engendered a gentler, much more FUN game experience.

    When you add that social experience to the kitschy charm of CoH’s storylines, graphics, and character creation, you get a powerfully optimistic virtual world, a world full of good, clean, comic-book heroics amid the horrific, graphic death and destruction we see on the nightly news. CoH is an escape from traditional MMOs as much as it is an escape from real life…and that makes it the unique game that it is. That is what I mourn for, more than anything, and that’s probably the one thing you won’t ever understand.

    Understand that I am not trying to put you or your opinions down, or say that you’re absolutely wrong; it’s just that this issue is much more subjective, more than you realize. We CoH players are likely not looking for the same game experience that you are, and so we see things much differently than you do. We would rather not see our old faithful steed be tied to a tree and shot, when there’s still life in the ol’ boy yet.

    Also, we definitely do not appreciate other gamers taking malicious glee in our sadness. If WoW ever shuts down–oh, wait, WHEN it shuts down, using your logic of “finite MMO shelf life”–I will not crow with joy and dance around yelling “I TOLD YA SO”. I will be sad with the players, for the loss of a community which I didn’t personally enjoy or understand, but which I deeply sympathize with. And if you’re part of that grieving community, or part of any MMO which happens to be shut down like ours is threatened to be, then I will be compassionate to you, as well. Please give us that same courtesy.

  8. @Robin: To naswer your question of

    “Based on your commentary, I am left wondering if you are yourself a CoH player (or ever have been). Some of your opinions seem like those of a disgruntled former player, while others seem like those of a gamer who has avoided CoH like the plague.”

    I would say this: You’ve given two options & there is a third. I’m just someone who played the game & then stopped playing the game when it became tedious. There is no “disgruntlement” involved. As a great scholar once said “The opposite of love is not hate, its disinterest”.

    Of course my personal stance on the qualities of the game makes no difference to the fact that its being closed down due to its quickly diminishing fanbase.

    “However, I would ask you to recognize that many people indeed do find CoH to be a “good” game. “Good” is a very subjective term, referencing one’s own personal enjoyment of a game in addition to its specs, mechanics, and graphics. ”

    That would be the “art is subjective” argument & just like that argument i’m afraid that you are wrong. We can in fact judge the quality of a game objectively. Thats not to say you personally can’t have fun in it, but thats not the same thing as it being a good game. Your ability to derive fun from something is purely subjective, but recognising that the graphics, gameplay & coding is not up to par is an objective observation.

    We can compare its technical qualities with those of other quality games produced during the same time period & compare it again to popular contemporary trends. The fact remains that the game just doesn’t stand up to any level of scrutiny… Which is more then likely why its fan base vanished & NC decided to pull the plug.

    “I had absolutely NO desire to play WoW, and I thought that’s what all MMOs were like, until my boyfriend told me about CoH and allowed me to play on his account, just to see if I liked it. To my surprise, I found that CoH was full of decent, lovely people who had jobs and lives outside the game, who had significant others and families to care about (sometimes even grandchildren!). It seems that CoH simply attracted a different kind of gamer, and engendered a gentler, much more FUN game experience.”

    No other MMO is WoW. The experience of finding an MMO full of helpful people is not unique to COX, nor is it a defense against server closure, or even an argument in defense of technical quality. I’m sorry to tell you, that your stance is a basic argument from ignorance.

    “CoH is an escape from traditional MMOs as much as it is an escape from real life”

    No its not. Pretty much everything that COX does is done by other MMO’s. The only thing its got thats remotely unique is the Mission Architect: an this is not all that unique, since players weren’t so much designing something as generating dialogue for a randomly generated dungeon.

    ” We would rather not see our old faithful steed be tied to a tree and shot, when there’s still life in the ol’ boy yet.”

    Dude, i hate to tell you this, but your faithful old steed is 102 years old, has no legs & happens to have died at the age of 12 & was stuffed & mounted a century ago. If someone were to tie it to a tree & shoot it, it wouldn’t notice, because its already dead.

    The fact is that NCsoft isn’t killing COX, the lack of paying players meant that your game was already dead. This is why the studio tried to go to a F2P model & even that didn’t bring in enough new players. In fact chances are good that the casual player base that you had who were willing to pay to play, actually were encouraged to stop paying when it went F2P, quickening its decline.

    “If WoW ever shuts down–oh, wait, WHEN it shuts down, using your logic of “finite MMO shelf life”–I will not crow with joy and dance around yelling “I TOLD YA SO”.”

    No ones crowing about it mate, we are just pointing out that its time for COX to pass into the nether realm of old MMO’s. Kind of like how i don’t crow when the sun comes up in the morning… I knew it was going to happen because it was inevitable… But if there are a group of people complaining because they thought the night time was going to last forever & they really had an invested interest in it lasting forever & they write a list of reasons for why nighttime should last forever, i am going to point out why they are wrong.

    An yes eventually WoW will go under: The difference between WoW & COX, is that WoW had a more future forward planning team of developers. The WoW developers left themselves places to build to, they also constantly updated the base coding, the graphics, continually built high quality content & entirely new sub systems, around a superior engine.

    Heck practically every area of WoW is a delight to look at. Oh sure they are made out of stock parts, but it was people who put these tock parts together for a specific effect, out of a gallery of thousands of pieces, all with differing options. The same can not be said about any map in CoX.

    An understand this is coming from someone with no invested interest in WoW whatsoever. In fact i’m not at all interested in playing WoW, but can appreciate what it did right.

    One of the biggest problems that COX could never overcome was just how dodgy the base game engine was & still is to this day. An thats why no company wants to buy it from NCsoft: Because it would need a complete overhaul from the ground up to become a viable property again & if a studio is going to do that, then there is no real reason to purchase the intellectual property rights.

  9. I am laughing a little to myself as I write this; I am not really a “logical” debater, as many who know me could attest. I defend things that are dear to my emotional heart, and thus my “argument structure” is not that of a lawyer or dispassionate observer. But I do tend to say things that inspire others to think. That thought process in the mind of the individual reader is just as valuable as any well-reasoned argument anybody could put forth, either for or against my beloved game. Who knows, one thought could begin to move mountains, even the mountain of NCSoft itself.

    Please know that I recognize your arguments have reasonable merit; I would just prefer not to “go gentle into that good night,” as Dylan Thomas wrote. This is about more than the threatened closure of a simple but lovely MMO now; it’s the principle of the thing, when something that many people enjoy is sacrificed on the altar of profit. I will never be okay with that ruthless mindset, and that is the bigger issue behind this. You have seen only the immediate conflict of “CoH players vs. NCSoft”, but there is a larger conflict of “little people vs. big corporations” that has a slightly different and more serious tone.

    I believe we shall agree to disagree on this point, though part of me wishes you could understand (or at least respect) my points without feeling the need to talk to me from a high pedestal of “real-gamer” virtues (the virtues of coding, graphics, all the technical specs, etc.). But, despite that, you have said your piece, you have made yourself understood; you do not see the value in something I enjoy. Thankfully, the fact that I enjoy CoH does not mean you must enjoy it as well; the reverse is also true, that the fact you think CoH is worth about as much as a square of toilet paper does not mean I must share your opinion.

    I gave an opinion about CoH, and now so have you. I never said my opinions were infallible; I simply wrote a piece to make people think more deeply about this issue, and to raise awareness about a section of gamers, however “small” and insignificant they may seem, who are upset about the threatened loss of something they have enjoyed. In that way, my article did what it was intended to do–it made you think, just as much as it’s made others think.

    I don’t expect this will calm your need to point out everything you think is wrong with my argument, like an English teacher with an infamous red pen, but I’d rather us not continue to nettle each other. You will never convince me that CoH is not worth heroic efforts to save it, and I will never convince you that it’s worth anybody’s time. Let us drop out of PvP mode for now, shall we? 🙂

  10. “Please know that I recognize your arguments have reasonable merit; I would just prefer not to “go gentle into that good night,” as Dylan Thomas wrote.”

    Actually Dylan Thomas poem is structured as a “villanelle”, which implies gayity, or happyness. This choice already alludes to the profound paradox: Death is unavoidable in the face of the perpetual rhythm of death & rebirth.

    So i general, you kind of missed the point of the poem, which was that you could rage at the inevitable all you like, its still inevitable & isn’t going to make a bit of difference.

    “This is about more than the threatened closure of a simple but lovely MMO now; it’s the principle of the thing, when something that many people enjoy is sacrificed on the altar of profit”

    Mate, don’t try and make this something its not. This is exactly about the closure of your MMO, just like countless MMO’s before yours & countless more after yours. To say otherwise is like me expecting $100 a day from you, till eventually you are broke, living in a cardboard box & i’m still expecting $100 a day from you, even though you don’t have it.

    COX is a sinking intellectual property, with a constantly diminishing fanbase & bills to pay. Running a server costs money, as does staffing it & creating new content, etc etc. There just isn’t enough incoming money to keep it all going, as it becomes clear that not enough people are willingly spending money to keep it operational. Its got nothing to do with profit, its got to do with closing the server, while they are still in the black.

    “You have seen only the immediate conflict of “CoH players vs. NCSoft”, but there is a larger conflict of “little people vs. big corporations” that has a slightly different and more serious tone”

    Excpet its not. NCSoft is the epitome of “not a big corporation.” An frankly, not only did they purchase the rights to continue to run the game from Cryptic Studios who were looking to close it down due purely to profits, they also kept the game going long after it lost its fiscal vialbility, taking a shot on F2P to try to revitalise it. So please don’t try to turn this into a “we are the gaming 99%” style argument…. NCSoft is not Scrouge McDuck, swimming in a vault full of money.

    “my points without feeling the need to talk to me from a high pedestal of “real-gamer” virtues (the virtues of coding, graphics, all the technical specs, etc.).”

    By “the virtues of coding, graphics, all the technical specs” do you mean undeniable, demopnstrable reality? You can love a thing all you like, no ones stopping you, but never mistake your personal love of something for “objective properties.”

    “Thankfully, the fact that I enjoy CoH does not mean you must enjoy it as well; the reverse is also true, that the fact you think CoH is worth about as much as a square of toilet paper does not mean I must share your opinion.”

    Oh don’t mistake my objective statements for a preference: At the moment the game is completely worthless as sellable property. The only value its got is as an intellectual property & no one wants to spend a whole heap of money on one just to get the other.

    “however “small” and insignificant they may seem, who are upset about the threatened loss of something they have enjoyed. In that way, my article did what it was intended to do–it made you think, just as much as it’s made others think.”

    well fors starters NCSoft is not threatening to do anything. If i tell you “i’m going to put these keys down on the table” thats not a threat, its me telling you what i’m doing. Likewise NCSoft isn’t threatening to take the game away unless you do some particular act: They are telling you the servers are going to be turned off because they can no longer afford to keep them up and running.”

    There is no threat there.

    As for making people think, you even failed at that: The points you made essentially boil down to your personal arguments from ignorance on why you love the game. They don’t give any real reasons why it should stay open.

  11. This is a great article and a great discussion. I’ve just read an article that states that two separate investor groups approached NCSoft about buying COH/Paragon and were not only rejected but weren’t even allowed to make an offer/meet with anyone. http://mmofallout.com/2012/10/14/ncsoft-ignored-potential-buyers-says-report/ This infuriates me. Obviously, if COH were a money pit or “too old” or whatever else is being argued here, there would be no one trying to buy it and keep it going, but that’s not the case at all.

    So I ask @Matthew Why wouldn’t NCSoft sell a game that is, according to you, old, dated, boring, losing money, etc.? Why aren’t they happy to discuss (let alone accept) offers for the IP and Paragon? I do agree, of course, that “community” and “nostalgia” and “those big ebil corporations are the bane of the world” are not good reasons to keep a game going, not for the company anyway, but the bottom line is. This is where all the logic fails; you can make arguments against COH all day long (obviously, heh), but they just don’t hold water if there are buyers willing, ready, and able to buy it, put more money into it, and keep it going. Investors want it, so it has to look better on paper than you seem to think. That, frankly, is reason enough for the game to continue . . . by your own logic.

    Others have addressed your other points well, but one thing that puzzles me is your continued, repeated assertion that Mission Architect / Architect Entertainment (AE) consists only of plug-and-play dev-generated content. That’s simply not the case if you are creating your own, truly original and unique arcs. Yes, they are there, but they were added later and because players wanted them, but it is not required that you use them and they don’t fit most orginal, non-COX player-created content.

    For example, I have created two arcs in AE, and neither has one word of dialogue that I did not, myself, write. In both, I created the custom mobs, including their costumes, powersets, names, descriptions/history, and dialogue. The only things that I didn’t create, in short, were the maps, the glowies, powerset choices/animations/etc. (per se, I assigned my baddies existing COX powers, but in the combination/s that I wanted, combos players can’t even get), and the like. The only COX mobs I included were the Winter baddies and the Freaks because I like them and they fit my narrative in one of my arcs; in the other, I used only custom critters. There is no dialogue from either of the COX mobs, only from my own creations, and they say exactly what I wrote, how I wrote it (typos and all, I’m sure).

    In short, you’re just wrong about AE.

    I also suspect that it’s been a while since you logged on to COX. The graphics have been updated to amazing quality, complete with ripple effects in water, shadows that move as the sun (or your toon) moves, rustling leaves, you name it. In fact, as I was looking at other games to move to should COH shut down, I was pretty amazed at the lack of quality in some other games like The Secret World. It just launched, is lauded for its graphics, but it doesn’t hold a candle to COX in the graphics department (with the exception of the cutscenes, but I really don’t like those in an MMO, including the ones in COH. That’s personal preference, of cousre, many players love them.).

  12. @Tahliah: Mate the aforementioned groups of buyers don’t really exist. They are a fictional construct: Its like me saying i have proof that you are rapist… Two people i just made up saw you raping someone, so thats two eye witnessess.

    You have to learn what authority is. This article has none, its a speculation piece, based at the very best on chinese whsipers. After all there was no reason not to say what supposed two companies made an offer to buy the property. The only reason to restrict that information is because the companies don’t exist… An if they did openly declare who these companies are, the companies could refute the comment.

    “Others have addressed your other points well, but one thing that puzzles me is your continued, repeated assertion that Mission Architect / Architect Entertainment (AE) consists only of plug-and-play dev-generated content. That’s simply not the case if you are creating your own, truly original and unique arcs.”

    Excpet that i never once made a comment about dev generated content in AE. What i actually said was & i quote: “[…] the Mission Architect: an this is not all that unique, since players weren’t so much designing something as generating dialogue for a randomly generated dungeon.”

    In short, you just straw manned something that was never said.

    “I also suspect that it’s been a while since you logged on to COX. The graphics have been updated to amazing quality, complete with ripple effects in water, shadows that move as the sun (or your toon) moves, rustling leaves, you name it.”

    No they really haven’t. Sure it was updated, that doesn’t make the graphics up to date, it just makes them 6 years out of date, reather then 10. An i know, because i relogged back in with the Freedom Update.

    “I was pretty amazed at the lack of quality in some other games like The Secret World. It just launched, is lauded for its graphics, but it doesn’t hold a candle to COX in the graphics department ”

    Hahahahahahahahaha, no. I’m sorry, just no. Not only are the graphics better in Secret World, also significantly more time was put into the design & layout.

  13. @Matthew, sorry “mate,” but I know for a fact that at least two separate entities were trying to buy COH/Paragon (one of which was indeed a group of investors). Just because you don’t know about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    I find your mocking tone not only insulting and rude but incredibly off-putting. When you’re not being atypically annoying, you’re simply stating why you don’t like the game and why you think it should be shut down. There is nothing you’ve said that can’t be said about ten other games that are still up and running.

    How is that any different than what we are all saying? How is your opinion about the graphics, for one instance, more viable than my own? How is your opinion “objective” while ours are not?

    You have no idea what COH is worth on paper, and you have no idea how many people were (and are) actively trying to buy at least the IP. Because you have no idea, you simply state things that you believe or think or wish or dream as fact. That’s utter nonsense. And you may be bright enough to know it. That’s hard to tell from your ravings.

  14. ” sorry “mate,” but I know for a fact that at least two separate entities were trying to buy COH/Paragon (one of which was indeed a group of investors). ”

    Then you should have no trouble revealing who they are, so i can confirm the details personally.

    “When you’re not being atypically annoying, you’re simply stating why you don’t like the game and why you think it should be shut down.”

    Mate, it doesn’t matter if i like the game or not, it objectively is showing its age, which is why its had a decreasing fan base for the last 5 years. I could love the game to bits, but my ability to recognise that the property has essentially no resale value as a game, would have nothing to do with it.

    “There is nothing you’ve said that can’t be said about ten other games that are still up and running.”

    Then you should have no trouble naming ten MMO’s that have a user base of roughly 20,000, who also up until recently had a full staff of developers. Its okay, i’ll wait until you find them.

    “How is your opinion about the graphics, for one instance, more viable than my own? How is your opinion “objective” while ours are not?”

    The same way that i can tell you are wrong, if in the middle of the night, in a cave, with no illumination you were to say “boy its brighter then the brightest day down here.” Because, we can determine it not to be so, both with out own eyes, but also with technical data. Adding in shadow mapping, and reflection, is not the same thing as updating the texture mapping, fixing the refresh rate, and fixing the obvious alaysing issues. They didn’t update the graphics, they just added another texture, its still an 8 year old graphics engine, that had already been around for 3 years before that.

    “You have no idea what COH is worth on paper, and you have no idea how many people were (and are) actively trying to buy at least the IP”

    The game isn’t worth much of anything on paper: The real price of the game is in the Intellectual Property Rights (which are worth a boat load of mullah).

    As for knowing how many people are actively trying to buy it, who can also afford to, no i have no idea how many there are… But neither do you & given that NCSoft has told us that they’ve tried to find a way to save the game including selling it on, i have no reason not to believe them.

    “That’s hard to tell from your ravings.”

    Well written demonstrable data =/= raving.

  15. Matthew:

    Anybody trying to buy the game would have been subject to confidentiality clauses, but the generally accepted truth is that there was an “ex Paragon” bid and a couple of groups of venture capitalists and that basically NCSoft didn’t even talk to any of the people other than their ex-devs. One of the venture capital people indicated this on the Titan forums.

    There is the rumour of Trion having investigated too, but I guess nobody other than NCSoft/Trion know about that for sure.

    The fan base was pretty much static for a long time, whether less of them were paying subs is another matter, but at the time of the shutdown revenues hadn’t changed much for a while. It is waaaaay in excess of 20K, it’s reckoned that getting 10% of your fanbase out on a petition is pretty good, I suspect we got a much higher percentage of our maybe 50-80K subbed fanbase out, plus a smaller proportion of people who F2P occasionally.

    The IP rights are worth zero to NCSoft, as the way they’ve handled this means that nobody will touch any CoH2 that they’re involved with, and CoH was not the sort of game they could market in the East which is where they want to go. The reason for not selling is the prospective loss of face if somebody makes it succeed better than NCSoft had.

    Bear in mind not all the people at Paragon worked on CoH when considering costs, quite a number were involved with the “other secret project” which was known to be different IP.

    Brian Clayton has also said (I believe on the record) that CoH was substantially profitable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *