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We Were Heroes, Its What We Did
November 30, 2012 12:35 PM   Subscribe

After 8 years and over 23 Issues released, City Of Heroes, the first Super-Hero MMO, will be shutting down for good at midnight tonight. Heroes has seen a tremendous amount of support not only from it's fan base, but from the industry as well, it's unique position as the only major Non-Fantasy MMO in the market helping to keep it standing out among the Goblins and the Panda Kung-Fu Fighters. But if the game is so beloved by its customers, why is the game shutting down tonight, even with the newest issue all but released in the Beta Server? Well that's where things get interesting.

City Of Heroes, originally developed by Cryptic Studios, was bought by NCSoft in early 2007. At the time, most considered this nothing but Amazing News, and Heroes would go on to develop systems like A Crafting System That Didn't Suck, an Enemy Invasion that could appear at any time (until some hardcore gamers figured out the trigger), a Flashback System that could allow you play any content in the game, and was justified In The Canon, and a Create-Your-Content System that was so god-damn revolutionary that most players could only think of using it to near permanently Break The Game.

However, things weren't so rosy inside as they appeared. NCSoft was a Korean company, and a large portion of its workers seemed to think that the Head CEO's didn't give a damn about their North American Divisions. They were just slammed with a $25 Million lawsuit settlement from Richard Garriott who, among other Lawful Evil accusations, said that NCSoft wrote the Farewell Lettter under his name while he was busy going through decontamination from being In Space. Meanwhile, every game they had that didn't have Superheroes in them were contributing to a massive loss in The 2nd Quarter of this year. Clearly, something had to be done to save face.

So they shut down Heroes with no warning. Paragon Studios came in on a Friday morning to find they were all fired. No End-Game Event will officially happen. NCSoft seem to have turned down every chance they had to sell the game outright, and starting December 1st the world of Paragon City, will be No More. So if you've still got a cape waiting somewhere within Paragon City for his Day Job to be over, log in and play. You'll never see them again.
posted by WeX Majors (74 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for making this excellent post. I worked at NCsoft for a while (right around the Villains launch) and I will be delighted to share some stories and mourn with everyone, in a little while.

First, though, I need to go say goodbye.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:45 PM on November 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


NCSoft was a Korean company, and a large portion of its workers seemed to think that the Head CEO's didn't give a damn about their North American Divisions.

I don't really follow this argument. NCSoft's American subsidiary ArenaNet created Guild Wars, a huge hit, and Guild Wars 2, a gargantuan hit. ArenaNet is continuing to thrive while City of Heroes' Paragon Studios is being closed.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:47 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well that's a shame. When I play games I don't like being social, so I'm not a big MMO fan. But I tried out City of Heroes a few times and enjoyed it quite a bit. It definitely appealed to me in a way that the sword and sorcery stuff doesn't.

I created a leather-clad hero with an exposed brain who shot electricity at people. And a villain named "Disco Dinosaur" who looked exactly like what you would expect.
posted by brundlefly at 1:00 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is insane. Will no one archive this?!
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:01 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had an account from beta to now, straight through. Even when I wasn't actively playing I kept paying. I wanted to support what I considered the best MMO ever. This came a a shock to me when I first heard it. So very sad.

RIP CoH.
posted by Splunge at 1:09 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I played City of Heroes off and on pretty much since launch for.. oh.. 3-4 years? And every now and then after that I'd come back - especially once they released the (buggy) OSX port - but I'd lost the MMO spark. Wrote a casual guide for Broadsword/Regeneration scrappers in the early-issue days, written as an attempt to make a no-Stamina, no-other-"mandatory"-powers character. Ran with a few supergroups on Freedom from time to time. Came up with some characters I'm still pretty fond of.

CoH had some definite issues, and some of that stemmed from the medium, and some stemmed from either rote or bizarre design decisions. But it had a lot of character (har), stood out for not needing a healing character on the team (although trying to convince people that non-empathy defenders/controllers were useful was a chore even in the late years), and was generally a pretty fun way to just go around beatin' up bad guys.
posted by curious nu at 1:13 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Darn. When TV shows that I meant to get around to get cancelled, at least, these days, I can eventually pick them up online. The more technology changes, the more new reasons for disappointment, I guess.

But, from a less narcissistic p.o.v., I'm more sorry for those that have - and still are - enjoyed it. Bummer.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:15 PM on November 30, 2012


unique position as the only major Non-Fantasy MMO in the market

Surely EVE Online counts as a major non-fantasy MMO?
posted by justkevin at 1:25 PM on November 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is insane. Will no one archive this?!

Upon hearing this, we at Archive Team went to the site and the sites forums and grabbed a Web ARChive copy of the website as well as a Web ARChive copy of the Forums. While that doesn't rescue the game itself, it rescues hundreds of gigabytes of lore and writing that were on the site, which at least allows something to live on.

This was a fundamentally terrible situation, and I hope it changes the ways that MMOs are regulated.
posted by jscott at 1:27 PM on November 30, 2012 [41 favorites]


I'm a little confused here because I can't tell what's going on from the post. Why exactly is City of Heroes shutting down?

The post seems to imply that the Korean NCSoft just didn't care for its American divisions, but as East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 notes the Guild Wars series, its main cash cows (and according to the article on NCSoft's massive second quarter loss its sole hope for profit this year), is American-made. Literally the only things making the company any money are from its American divisions.

So NCSoft hates the success of its American subsidiaries so much that it will shut down one of its only profitable properties? That's just bizarre. Does anyone have any more information on the reasons for the shut down?
posted by Sangermaine at 1:29 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Will no one archive this?!

I would not be at all surprised if some of the employees managed to yoink the server code at some point. That doesn't mean it's possible (and it's definitely illegal) to make it available to anyone, and the character data is almost certainly beyond saving.

ArenaNet is continuing to thrive while City of Heroes' Paragon Studios is being closed.

ArenaNet has always been treated as a separate entity from NCsoft North America. When Tabula Rasa failed, ArenaNet executives were promoted and promptly shuttered all development at the Austin studio and moved most of the operation to Seattle. Paragon Studios (which consisted of a fair chunk of the CoH developers from Cryptic, minus some of the more... difficult personalities) had always been the reliable, although not flashy, moneymaker, and was at least somewhat insulated from the internecine politics. When the conversion from subscription to free-to-play failed to make buckets and buckets of money, well... NCsoft corporate has never been known to make decisions based on PR or customer satisfaction reasons.

Meanwhile, every game they had that didn't have Superheroes in them were contributing to a massive loss in The 2nd Quarter of this year.

This is a little misleading. NCsoft is a publicly-held company - you can see the quarterly financials here. NC Interactive (the North American operations not counting ArenaNet) was a tiny tiny fraction of the pie, and it was losing money. CoH was, I believe, the only shipped game still being developed here (Aion and the Lineages are developed in Korea, so the development costs aren't part of NCI's accounting.) That's where the headcount to cut would be.

That said, I will never give NCsoft a dime again. This is not a sentimental decision - it is a practical one. They shut down MMOs at the drop of a hat. Why on earth would I sink time and effort into an MMO if the character - and the world - isn't going to persist? At least with single-player games I have a savegame. (This is also part of the reason people are so not thrilled when single-player games are launched as always-on networked games, like Diablo 3.)

Farewell, Sgt. Preacher and Suspect. Paragon City and the Rogue Isles will do just fine without us, somewhere in the multiverse.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:31 PM on November 30, 2012 [15 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. I remember getting excellent response to a plaintive AskMe about how to get this game to run on my semi-old laptop. I eventually gave up and started using an older desktop system whose graphics card played well with the game.

I had a lot of fun. I ran a Ice/Axe tank named SubXena (think Pygmalion born from an ice sculpture at a convention). The nerd references were amazing. This was clearly a game made by fans of the genre and in this world of Marvel an DC IP farms, I think we are less for its loss.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:34 PM on November 30, 2012


Glad to see that some people came in to double-check the financial facts. I've never fully understood the full details of it (and probably have a bit of bias standing in the way,admittedly) but the overall idea is "If any game should have been shuttered simply for not contributing enough to the bottom line of the company, it certainly isn't Heroes".

That said, there's a few other things I wanted to post. The Devs hosted an AMA about THE LORE, which can be found here. We were getting a Moon Base!

Also, a really super out-of-date-but-still-has-relevant-bits-in-it Story Bible got leaked AAAGES ago, and that can be found here. I find it interesting how despite being almost a joke In-Game, the Banished Pantheon are probably the most important group in the backstory.
posted by WeX Majors at 1:44 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is just devastating for a cultural artifact made with millions of hours of effort to just go poof. I think this is the worst aspect of digital systems: their inherent ephemerancy. Shudder.

Thanks, jscott, it's clear you guys get it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:44 PM on November 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, a really super out-of-date-but-still-has-relevant-bits-in-it Story Bible got leaked AAAGES ago, and that can be found here

I just want to state for the record that I had nothing to do with this leak, despite weaseling the Story Bible out of my friend years ago.

I do wish to hell I had a copy of the piece I wrote when I applied for the Villains web content job. Didn't get that job (ended up in a different role on a different project) but as I recall, it wasn't bad at all.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:46 PM on November 30, 2012


If I'm so "super," why did daddy leave?
posted by ostranenie at 2:03 PM on November 30, 2012


Why on earth would I sink time and effort into an MMO if the character - and the world - isn't going to persist?

The notion that your characters are temporary is a given in the MMO market. Every MMO will shut down eventually.

I played COH since beta, loved it and I am grieving its passing. I loved the community and it was one of the few games that my autistic son could play with minimal supervision because the community was so wonderful.

However, I do have to say that a great deal of the reaction from that community has crossed over into histrionics and downright nastiness.
posted by DWRoelands at 2:19 PM on November 30, 2012


However, I do have to say that a great deal of the reaction from that community has crossed over into histrionics and downright nastiness.

Having done some adjunct moderation in that community, I'd say "crossed over" isn't particularly accurate. Nice bunch of people on the whole, but more prone to histrionics than any other community I've worked with.

Every MMO will shut down eventually.

Still unproven. UO is still ticking along just fine. But I guess my point is more "NCsoft will not go to any lengths at all to keep a game up" rather than "NCsoft shuts down games," because everyone shuts down games. SOE, however, has a totally functional setup that keeps unprofitable games going very nearly forever. NCsoft was never interested in figuring this out. There was a window where they could have - it was actively under discussion during my tenure - but the political will was not there. This was partly a NA-vs-Korea priority and culture clash, and partly just a failure of imagination.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:30 PM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sure it's inferior in most other ways as an MMO, but DC Universe Online sure has nailed the feeling of moving around like a superhero. Flying around the city is almost as fun as swinging around in a good Spider-Man game, and the acrobatic characters are even more fun: jumping, climbing, gliding, grappling (no swinging, unfortunately).

Super-Speed is not quite as good and more fiddly, but it’s the most amusing, because your character goes fast in a straight line. If there’s a building in the way, you go straight up the building, over, and down the other side and keep going with no loss of speed. If there’s a car or box in the way, same thing – your character clings to almost any object in the world.

Which means that sometimes you hit a lamp post or something with a horizontal arm and your character just spins around the bar a dozen times before you can react and stop running. Annoying, but amusing. Also doing accidental hamster wheels inside a small room — you can go up the wall, back across the ceiling, down the wall that was behind you, back to where you started a couple times before you react and stop.

The combat is pretty dynamic too — for an MMO — lots of powers with knockback, melee moves where your character leaps to close the distance and connect rather than punching the air right in front of the enemy, ability for fliers to engage in melee from the air, swooping attacks, speedsters knocking enemies down in their wake, etc. It really feels more like an action game with RPG elements than a straight RPG.

And of course there's lots of fanservice if you're a DC fan (and fortunately, very little influence from the NU52 has seeped into it yet; it's all classic versions of the characters -- Superman still has red strongman trunks, Harlequin is wearing her clown suit rather than a bustier). Again, I'm sure it falls short of CoH in dozens of ways, but if this leaves you wishing for another superhero MMO, I've found DCUO surprisingly fun. It's free-to-play, but spending just $5 will bump you up a tier and make a pretty big difference in the variety of things you can do. I've felt no real need to bump up another level with a monthly subscription (but then I haven't even tried PvP stuff at all).
posted by straight at 2:32 PM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Back in 2004, I was writing for a local pop culture magazine called JIVE. None of us got paid, but one of the many benefits of contributing was beta access to upcoming MMOs, like World of Warcraft and City of Heroes. I was tagged to write a preview of the game in March 2004.

I interviewed Jack Emmert at the game's launch. He was an interesting fellow, with peculiar views on music (he doesn't like it), but the write-up turned out okay (Interview). A few months later, we did a two-part series of fan Qs&As called Letters to Statesman. (Part 1, Part 2)

In October 2005, I talked with Emmert once again, this time about the sequel, City of Villains.

I played City of Heroes from launch until about 2008 or so. Along the way, I made some of the best friends in unexpected places. From New Jersey, Florida, somewhere in Canada, there were some really good people in that game. So good, in fact, that my wife (who also played) and I traveled to visit these once-strangers, witnessed a wedding, went on vacation ... and one of those guys even lived with us while going through a life-changing stint in police academy before moving his entire family to a house about a mile away.

It's a damned shame this game isn't getting the send-off it deserves, but nothing can take away the positive effect this social experiment had on my life.
posted by grabbingsand at 2:33 PM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ohhhh, Jack Emmert.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:37 PM on November 30, 2012


The main thing that annoys me about the CoH shutdown is that I have friends acquaintances who insist I am a bad person for playing Guild Wars 2.

I interviewed Jack Emmert at the game's launch. He was an interesting fellow, with peculiar views on music (he doesn't like it)

I don't understand people who don't like music, except maybe for those rare people with psychological conditions that prevent them from perceiving melody and rhythm. Not liking music is like not liking food, or not liking sex. What the hell?

...no, actually i do understand people who don't like sex, or who have so many negative associations with food that they resent eating it. But not people who don't like music.
posted by Foosnark at 2:37 PM on November 30, 2012


.
posted by trunk muffins at 2:44 PM on November 30, 2012


Playing as Angela Mercy was some of the most fun I ever had in an online game.

This is so sad.
posted by trunk muffins at 2:47 PM on November 30, 2012


One thing that always struck me about the CoH community, now that I've snarked at it, was how, well, community-minded it was. This is best illustrated by the story of the Taxi-bots.

In the early days of the game, when the community was active and growing, there were many noobs. Now, different MMOs react differently to noobs - in some, they are treated as chew toys, in some, they are ignored. But in City of Heroes, they were treated with fond solicitousness.

Getting around in Paragon City was always part of the fun, but in the early game, you didn't get a travel power - the good stuff - until quite a few hours of play had passed. This meant that there was a fair amount of jogging through hostile neighborhoods to get to where the action was. (This was very common in MMOs of its time, and seems to be fading, as developers realize that jogging is not any more fun in-game than out.)

One of the travel power families was Teleportation, which I always found cool in theory but fiddly to use. But it had a power that allowed you to teleport anyone in your group to your location. This was super handy in a variety of situations, but I don't think anyone expected the rise of the Taxi-bots.

Taxi-bots were player characters that hung out in some particularly high-traffic areas - most commonly, the center of Atlas Park (the starting zone) and the entrance to The Hollows, which had no tram line and was the biggest pain to get to. They'd just hang out and broadcast their services in chat. Any player that wanted a ride would be invited to a group and teleported to their destination, entirely without cost or expectation of reciprocation.

This was one of the most pleasant examples of emergent behavior I've ever seen in an MMO, and exemplified the general spirit of the game. People came to City of Heroes to hang out, to chat, to make friends, at least as much as they came to punch thugs in the face. It was really a great community, tendency towards interpersonal drama aside.

Ave atque vale, Taxi-bots. You made the world a better place.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:01 PM on November 30, 2012 [32 favorites]


It seems like such a waste to not have an end-game event. I mean, how's this for simple: make a bunch of NPCs to shore up whichever side is less numerous, turn off safe zones and respawning, and let the two sides fight it out. Players with both kinds of character have to commit to a side. Then, it's Heroes vs. Villains for 24 hours, no mercy and death is final. Whichever side gets more kills or takes more territory becomes the final victors of the game.

Maybe have someone draw up a last issue showing the aftermath when it's all done.
posted by Mitrovarr at 3:19 PM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


When we started playing, I was, for reasons I can't really recall, intent on making a character that looked like Mystique. I think I was just interested in the actual mechanics of the character creation and wanted to see how close I could get - I'm not really obsessed with Mystique at all. Strange the things that get into your head. She was a martial arts/invulnerability scrapper, and good God did they make some decisions about power sets that messed with my world. But I played her through beta and rolled her all the way up to 50.

I don't think I will ever have the time again that it takes to do that, but as grabbingsand said above, we made a hell of a group of friends, and it was a hell of a good time.

We also made a subgroup of heroes called The Dairy Council. That was some hilarious shit.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:36 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to recycle a post I made elsewhere about this subject:

I'm going to miss City of Heroes. I've been playing MMORPGs since the days of EverQuest, and it was the first one I ever found where I felt like I was doing something more meaningful than camping one spawn of orcs or gnolls, or killing eight rats and skinning them so someone could make a belt. I was fighting crime, damn it.

One of my earliest COH memories is taking my first character, Onslaught (a martial arts/regen scrapper) across the rooftops of Kings Row and seeing a group of Circle of Thorns mages performing a human sacrifice on the next building over. I backed up, took a running start, leapt over to the next rooftop...

...and proceeded to lay the RIGHTEOUS FIST OF JUSTICE down on the entire group of about six evil bastards. I was a whirling, spinning, kicking DELUGE OF VENGEANCE. (That was another thing--you could actually be powerful enough to fight off groups.)

When the dust cleared, the NPC they'd been trying to sacrifice ran up to me and thanked me. It was one of the most rewarding MMORPG experiences ever.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:45 PM on November 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


FYI, Massively is going to have a stream tonight, The Goons from Something Awful are going to be out in as much full force as I can muster, and a few of the devs themselves have said they were going to be online tonight. SPEAKING OF
When the "Please Christ Dont Shut Down This Game" Protest was held in Atlas Park, SO FUCKING MANY PEOPLE showed up, that 33 different instances of Atlas wound up spawning that night. The AP33 as it would be known, became a sort of unofficial Silly Meet Up, and despite it only being created for an event that happened for one night over two months ago, it's still active in the game. So a bunch of fun tends to happen there. What kind of fun things?
A Whole
Bunch
Of
Things

As of Wednesday Night, It's been converted into Tentacle-Con
posted by WeX Majors at 3:48 PM on November 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


unique position as the only major Non-Fantasy MMO in the market

Surely EVE Online counts as a major non-fantasy MMO?


And Star Wars: The Old Republic, which only has the second largest subscription base next to WoW?

I suspect the closure is more a case of "we need to refocus on our core business" and they don't see a future in CoH, even if it may / may not be mildly profitable now and have a following.
posted by xdvesper at 3:48 PM on November 30, 2012


I haz a sad now...
posted by kuanes at 3:54 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


The main thing that annoys me about the CoH shutdown is that I have friends acquaintances who insist I am a bad person for playing Guild Wars 2.

Yeah, anyone on the COHTitan forums or the official forums who confesses to enjoying and continuing to play any NCSoft title quickly finds themselves a pariah.

xdvesper: You're right on the money. This is what they said in their public statements. The vocal members of the community refuse to accept this at face value and presume there must be some hidden/sinister motive.
posted by DWRoelands at 4:27 PM on November 30, 2012


This really is a pity. CoX had one of the best character creation systems in a video game. What a waste to lose it.
posted by happyroach at 4:31 PM on November 30, 2012


I love the costume creation system in CoH and CoV. On my Livejournal, i offered to design a character based on any friend who asked. This turned into two separate wicked fun long running contest things in my journal that tons of my friends - almost none of whom played CoH - participated. It ran for months and was one of the best times I've had on the Internet.

I also loved the game itself, but that the costume system could get a bunch of non-gamers excited enough to participate in a thing says something, I think.

My absolute favorite CoH memory was one of the most juvenile things I've ever done. For reasons that now escape me, a friend of mind and I decided we wanted to do a commode themed crime fighting duo. He was Jack Crapper and I was Drake Pupenschauer. Drake was a tank (rim shot) who I designed specifically to look like a giant, hulking toilet (using the Hulk body form and some of the robotic costume pieces). I used a power set that made it look like things were swirling around him, though I can no longer remember what that power set was. We had a great time tooling around the game, but the best moment came when we returned to Atlas Park and some dude broadcast "HEY EVERYONE HERE ARE THE TOILET GUYS I WAS TELLING YOU ABOUT."

I was still playing it as recently as three months ago and I'm hella-sorry to see it go.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:45 PM on November 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I played City of Heroes for a while, didn't know it had gone free to play I probably would have reinstalled it to mess around. But then, I barely even knew Glitch existed until the MeFi shutdown thread. Sigh.

I don't know if I'm remembering the terms right, but I played what I think was an Illusion Controller. At least at the time I was playing, I thought it was pretty cool how Invisibility worked. There were actually some missions you could perform where you could cloak, zoom to the end, complete the thing, and win, without having to fight at all. Not a lot of them, but still. And I also got this ability called Phantom Army, which were basically completely indestructable guys you could summon who would go out and beat up enemies. They were intended as decoys so they didn't do huge damage, and they disappeared after a few minutes, but with the right recharge enhancements you could just resummon them when they ran out, and so they were just viable in fights.

I didn't like the enhancement system, which was amazingly flavorless, at least when I played. Instead of finding items, you went and bought these icon things that were level-based. As you gained levels they would go obsolete and would have to buy new ones, what was a pain.

I liked the base creation system and the weird way you could use it to create a place where enemy teams could attack and you could defend, although it cost a special kind of currency beyond the "prestige" that was the main currency of the game, and to get enough of that to get a cool base you really had to have a lot of members, and then to have a *real* base you had to schedule periodic fights with villain groups. (The existence of that scheduling system was subtly hilarious; I'm reminded now of the Venture Bros' Guild of Calamitous Intent arranging for fights between heroes and villains.) I left before they did stuff like personal hideouts and such.

I liked the feeling, also, that you were in a real city, which despite the typically bizarre MMORPG backstory still had civic places and services. Most of the MMORPG functions like name changing, group formation and such were presented in the guise of city services, the quick transportation between regions was public transport, and so forth. I loved that aspect of the game, of just roaming around beating up bad guys in a park, a construction yard or on the sidewalk, sometimes encountering a group that was too strong for you and retreating to a nearby alley to rest up, just pushing the limits to what you could do. I've not tried DCU Online or whatever it's called, does anyone know if it has that same feeling to it?

I'd also like to echo what folk are saying about the game's costume creator, it really was something.

Oh, I've said this before but it bears repeating: jscott is awesome.

Offtopicland: I don't understand people who don't like music, except maybe for those rare people with psychological conditions that prevent them from perceiving melody and rhythm. Not liking music is like not liking food, or not liking sex. What the hell?

I'm kind of that way. There is music that I like and will listen to, but music trends tend to be greatly unappealing to me, and that often gets called "music" by people. I've just given up trying to find anything interesting besides NPR on the radio.
posted by JHarris at 5:14 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder what happens to the players who are logged in when everything goes dark.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:51 PM on November 30, 2012


I like to think they'd all be sucked into a pocket universe where they become their CoH characters and they live forever in Paragon City.
posted by hippybear at 5:59 PM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nothing. There's no "end of the world" event planned. You'll just get a message that you were logged out.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:59 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


There will be a "The servers will be going down" message, and I would be surprised as hell if it's not customized, but then you'll just get a "you have lost connection with the server" message, and... that's it.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:04 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what happens to the players who are logged in when everything goes dark.

They'll migrate to Game Central Station and probably live on the streets homeless, unless they're glitches that is.
posted by JHarris at 6:27 PM on November 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Having just saw Ralph last night, thank you for that JHarris.
posted by WeX Majors at 6:30 PM on November 30, 2012


I loved the heck out of that game, and revisited it frequently. My favorite hero was named Dark Radiant - she was a dark melee scrapper and nothing got in her way.

.
posted by kimberussell at 6:54 PM on November 30, 2012


A lot of the CoH community were indeed drama queens/kings. But I spent most of my time on the Virtue server and in the part of the Virtue forum called The Rookery. My name there was Scooby_Dont. Rookery denizens please come out and represent!
posted by Splunge at 6:57 PM on November 30, 2012


she was a dark melee scrapper and nothing got in her way.

One of the best things about the game was that characters really felt super - my Broadsword/Regen scrapper could kick the living shit out of everyone in a viscerally satisfying way - being able to take on multiple enemies, the sheer glory of knockback, really fluid and powerful movement... so great. I had a hell of a time playing WoW at first because I felt like such a piddly little vermin hunter for, basically, ever.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:58 PM on November 30, 2012


City of Heroes seemed really cool, I never had the time to get properly addicted. Also, forgive the pedantry, but Star Wars, CoH, EVE Online -these are all fantasy settings, just not of the the quasi-mediaeval "high fantasy" swords and sorcery ilk.
posted by Mister_A at 7:23 PM on November 30, 2012


My favorite memory was the first time I got Super Jump on a character. I literally spent hours jumping all over every map. No fighting, nothing but jumping. I eventually got characters with every travel power. But nothing gave me the same thrill as jumping everywhere.
posted by Splunge at 7:44 PM on November 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Farewell, Spammer and his army of spambots. Farewell, Lux Amperes, the first character I played enough to earn a cape and the power of flight. Farewell, Samurai Accountant. Farewell, Sgt Peppermint and the Breath Brigade: Listerina, Cinnamant, Ginger Snap, The Altoid-5000. Farewell, The League of Above-Average Gentlemen (75th Percentile or Fight!) which was the best supergroup I ever ran around with. Farewell, Bowery Bill and Boss McGee and Bad Influence, the B-List Villains. Farewell, Queen Bea Arthur and all the other alts I created and stopped playing in favor of other heroes or villains once the powerset was no longer as fun as the gimmick. You all will live on in screenshots.

Farewell, the only AE mission I ever created, entitled "THE PRESIDENT'S PANTS ARE MISSING". (It involved the Tsoo running a laundry front. Don't ask.) Farewell, mayhem missions, one of my most favorite things ever in an MMO.

Goodbye, Atlas Park and Steel Canyon and Grandville and Galaxy City and Independence Port and Skyway City and Boomtown and Kings Row and Cap Au Diable. I got to know their streets and buildings as well as any actual city. (Good riddance, Perez Park and The Hollows.)

I never maxed out a character. Never got to the highest level available. I didn't need to. I was simply having fun with them all. This was the MMO which afforded me the most creativity possible. Nothing will ever come close. I hadn't played in at least a year and a half and I regret not having a chance to go back and say goodbye personally. But I just couldn't.
posted by Spatch at 9:13 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Splunge, the best way to play around with that is to sing to yourself the theme song to The Tick while you do it, that is "Dut Dweeeee Dut Dut Dut Dwee Dow."
posted by JHarris at 9:15 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


My first real job after college was working as a programmer on City of Heroes, right before City of Villains launched. I did a bunch of work on the Base editor, if anyone remembers that sadly underused feature. At the end of City of Villains beta, I played one of the signature heroes and slaughtered hundreds of players. Closest I've felt to being a god, albeit one running at about 4 fps.

Even before that, I played City of Heroes for months during college, and I was struck by the imagination and creativity on display throughout the game. Once I started working at Cryptic, I was flabbergasted that the entire game was made by a tiny team of around 20 (which helps explains why all the missions feel so repetitive). I used to love super-jumping around the city, trying to avoid much higher-level enemies than myself.

Pretty good run for a game, overall. I was proud to be part of something that obviously affected so many people, and I know the game has a lasting legacy to leave behind. Goodbye, paragon city.
posted by JZig at 9:20 PM on November 30, 2012 [5 favorites]


At the end of City of Villains beta, I played one of the signature heroes and slaughtered hundreds of players. Closest I've felt to being a god, albeit one running at about 4 fps.

Oh, hey, that was a freaking blast. We (the community team, in the Austin office) got a shitload of barbeque and about five bottles of assorted hard liquor and got out aaaaalll our frustrations. One of the best in-game events I've been part of.

(Oh, that poor base editor. Did that feature ever really go anywhere?)
posted by restless_nomad at 9:30 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had altitis. But I did finally get Professor Aether to level 50. So there is that. He was a fire/ice blaster. Magic guy. I'll miss him a lot. And he goes into limbo with close to 2 bn Inf. I was pretty good at playing the market near the end. obviously not as good as some. All characters though, maybe 10 bn inf.
posted by Splunge at 9:39 PM on November 30, 2012


I joined CoH in beta. It was my first MMO -- classic fantasy had never interested me, but I read the hell out of some comic books as a kid (70s - 80s Marvel, mostly). At once I latched onto the RP possibilities, mostly in playing a Soviet Russia era Communist hero named Red Saviour, who spouted off Marx and criticized other characters for the evils of capitalism; i.e. the sort of communist depicted in anti-soviet propaganda. Those gamers who were not roleplayers found her deeply annoying, which was fun. Those who were -- and got the joke -- became my circle of RP buddies.

Taking the joke further, I founded the CCCP (Coalition of Communist Crusaders for the Proletariat... took a moment to remember that) in the hopes of having friendly, creative and mature roleplayers around me, who also liked the gimmick. It worked. . I played quite a bit in 2004 - 2006. I was even on G4TV for it, which I am somewhat embarrassed about, but proud that I posed in front of my roommate's '56 Les Paul Gold Top. Also my hair was awesome. However, it includes footage of my long lost dog that i can't bear to watch again.

A lot of other very interesting things happened, which I won't go into, but suffice it to say that CoH played a lot larger role in my life than I expected a video game to. I'm sad to see it end, not because I have interest in MMOs, but because I know a lot of folks on there who enjoyed the chance to hang out, talk, pretend, and blow stuff up. People tout the community aspect of MMOs, but don't talk much about what happens when you destroy that community. Would make an interesting article.
posted by cheekycheeky at 9:54 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I loved the Base Editor. Big ups!
posted by cheekycheeky at 9:55 PM on November 30, 2012


Red Saviour! How awesome! Great to have you here. The CCCP - and the roleplaying community in general - were always one of my favorite bits about the game, although I heard about most of it secondhand. (I never really got over my jealousy at CuppaJo getting to do a scene with you folks in full god-client mode, no pun intended.)
posted by restless_nomad at 10:02 PM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


They were just slammed with a $25 Million lawsuit settlement from Richard Garriott who, among other Lawful Evil accusations, said that NCSoft wrote the Farewell Lettter under his name while he was busy going through decontamination from being In Space.

Is this with a real world point of view or in game? I like that it's hard to tell.
posted by dhartung at 10:03 PM on November 30, 2012


Is this with a real world point of view or in game? I like that it's hard to tell.

That is absolutely real world.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:04 PM on November 30, 2012


.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:29 PM on November 30, 2012


I've never played an MMORPG, and this thread is making me at the same time glad and a little wistful of this fact.

On the one hand, I can pop in a 15-year-old Playstation disc into my PS3 and play it without problems (a lot of them, anyway - or I could go and buy a used PS2 and have no problems at all). With a little effort, I can similarly play old PC games. A massive library of games I used to play are available to me today, and I often enjoy popping back in to games for old times' sake. Once an MMO is gone, it's gone.

On the other hand, I love reading about the communities and unpredictable nature of the MMOs. Stuff like the Taxi-bots and Atlas Park gathering mentioned upthread, or that plague in WoW. While it's a sort of comfort to know that the worlds of my games will always be the same as when I first played them however many years ago, this is the kind of stuff you just can't replicate in an offline game. An MMO has a life of its own, and with it, I guess, a death.
posted by Gordafarin at 12:06 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Riot Nrrd, Dirty Black Summer, Lady Shillelagh, Kid Shillelagh, Nuclear Error, Too Punk for Paragon, Halloweve, Mary Armageddon, High Plains Thunder, Jenny-99, Moonspider, and too many others to mention.

I'll never forget you.

.

still kind of hoping that it's all just a Nemesis plot
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:16 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


.

Lemme post this here first, where it shouldn't be too big an issue.
There was a GM who seemingly had it out for the Something Awful heroes. Banned over silly shit, and other petty grievances. Well at about 2:30, all of the devs that were online showed up in our chat, including him. It was a forgive a thon and around 2:45, he asked for everyones current character name. He then proceeded to give anyone who asked for it in the channel EVERYTHING. All of it. All of the achievements, all of the temporary powers, even the new Incarnate Slots-That-Dont-Technically-Exist. For about 15 minutes a small group of very lucky players, got everything they could have ever wanted in the game.
Atlas Park was full on all instances. So rather than going to try and stare at a loading scren forever, we all went to Perez Park and had a brief dance-off before the game finally kicked us all out for good.

Goodbye Paragon City. Goodbye forever.
posted by WeX Majors at 12:29 AM on December 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'll miss it a lot. Haven't really played lately, been caught up in other things. Even so:

.
posted by Archelaus at 12:29 AM on December 1, 2012


mostly in playing a Soviet Russia era Communist hero named Red Saviour, who spouted off Marx and criticized other characters for the evils of capitalism

Hey, have you ever appeared in a novel included in a recent Humble Indie Bundle? Because I read that, and I was thinking I need to get in on this, and then I found out they are shutting it down.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:50 AM on December 1, 2012


restless_nomad:Nice bunch of people on the whole, but more prone to histrionics than any other community I've worked with.
Well that's a challenge.
posted by bystander at 3:34 AM on December 1, 2012


Another cool thing that the character creator produced were "theme" supergroups (i.e., guilds)

There was "Army Men" all assault rifle blisters with all-green outfits and skin. In "United Nations" each player took the name of a country and styled their costume after their nation's flag. There was also "Clones" where every member had identical costumes and appearances.

So much individuality. That character editor breathed so much life into that game. I will miss it.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:21 AM on December 1, 2012


Well that's a challenge.

Heh.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:02 AM on December 1, 2012


Aw shit. I loved COH. For three years I spent hours and hours there as a healer, either playing with my alliance or joining random missions with other teams working to keep them alive while they met their mission goals. Man, it was such great fun. And the world they created was gorgeous. The people who played were just awesome. I managed to meet a ton of gamers in that universe, who just wanted to help each other out. You could join pick-up groups with ease, advice flowed freely and people were genuinely altruistic.

Somehow, CoH and CoV managed to attract folks in large numbers whose philosophy of gaming was the exact opposite of EVE Online's griefers.

Gave up the game about a year after my kids were born. I still miss it. :(
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread is making me greatly regret not playing CoH while I had the chance.

Damn.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:46 PM on December 1, 2012


I was curious to see what would happen if I tried to log in to CoH right now. I hadn't played in about 100 days, so as I type this, the game is currently installing patches that can never be used.

This is creating a painful existential dilemma in my life.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:23 AM on December 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


After the patch finished, it took me to the login screen, but just said it couldn't connect to a server, just FYI.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:25 AM on December 2, 2012


After The End, some people reported that they could still get in on either the test or the beta server, can't remember which. I was tempted, but I'd said my goodbyes, and as Satchel Paige wisely suggested, don't look back--something might be gaining on you.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:20 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


xdvesper: "I suspect the closure is more a case of "we need to refocus on our core business" and they don't see a future in CoH, even if it may / may not be mildly profitable now and have a following."

So they were pulling in $2.76 million a quarter, apparently. I'm not a super powerhouse gaming publisher, but it seems like more than just "mildly profitable".
posted by boo_radley at 12:42 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That article doesn't make it entirely clear where that $2.76M/quarter (over $10M a year) is profit or just revenue, but it seems to strongly imply profit, which would be very interesting.

Lots of MMORPGs that aren't World of Warcraft have a tendency to go under, yet from what I hear City of Heroes was consistently profitable. To close it for "strategic reasons" seems obviously wrong-headed. What could their strategy possibly be that it wouldn't be helped by bringing them $2,760,000 every three months?
posted by JHarris at 1:06 PM on December 5, 2012


I am going to sound a little bit like a cynical asshole, but NC Korea was never very happy with the idea that the US division had independent artistic and business vision. As I think I mentioned, CoH was the last shipped Western-designed game under their umbrella that wasn't Guild Wars, and right now it'd be interesting to bet on whether the other product, Carbine's Wildstar, ever even ships.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:18 PM on December 5, 2012


And here's the other shoe: Parent NCsoft in Korea "will sell its entire 809 million shares of NC Interactive Inc." and also "will establish a new wholly owned subsidiary in the United States to establish an entity which can be in charge of the United States and Europe businesses."
posted by restless_nomad at 11:41 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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