Thursday, September 6, 2012

We Will Not Go Quietly..


Last friday, quite unexpectedly, Paragon Studios announced that NCSoft had made the decision to terminate the MMO City of Heroes, with servers being shut down by November of this year.  It's hard to express the outright emotional response I felt at learning this news.  Don't get me wrong, any MMO closing down is never a good thing, but over the years plenty of games I've played in, and enjoyed, have come and gone.  But when I learned of this I felt a sense of outright loss.  It made me sit back and really think, and I realized the reason this game's closure is affected me so was that more than any other game, City of Heroes was a part of my family.

Back in '07 or so, my brother-in-law and his wife discovered the game, quite outside of my influence.  They asked if I played, and I told them well of course! My son and I had already been playing, and my daughter - eight at the time - loved to make costumes and played some as well, so we all decided to get together and play.  Even my wife, whom is a complete non-gamer, was cajoled by the rest of us to join in.  So for the better part of a year, every Teusday night, I would make sure that vent was working properly on all four computers in our office, and the four of us would get online, and then be joined by my brother-in-law and his wife over vent - whom lived in Houston some 200 miles away - and the six of us would play together.  Quite often my wife and my sister-in-law would use the time to catch up, chatting away over vent like it was a phone call, completely immune to the seriousness of fight mechanics, or drawing too much aggro - and often making fun of me whenever I tried to admonish anyone into focusing on the fight!  And.. it was okay.  Because City of Heroes was the perfect game for that.  The exact right blend of allowance for casual play, and serious tactics.  We could get on, we play play for an hour or two, the six of us, knock out some missions, and then send the kids to bed.

Even to this day it remained the one game my daughter would regularely ask me to play with her, a request I did my best to accomodate whenever I could.  Even though we didn't play all the time, it's presence was a comfort.  And so when I realized that after November I would never again be able to stand side-by-side with my daughter knee deep in the sewers of Paragon City, battling Circle of Thorns and Vahzilok.. the loss I felt was genuine.  I, and I think many others, had always assumed City of Heroes would be there for us to come back too whenever we wanted.  Well Friday NCSoft reminded us that City of Heroes is a business.  And like any business, subject to being closed immediately and without much warning.

Quite clearly though, I wasn't the only one shocked, and more than a bit upset.  Across the blogosphere there was at first a sense of stunned loss, and then a call to action.  And by today, that call to action has grown, and is continuing to pick up steam.

I don't usually participate in fan or community organized movements.  I'm keenly aware that businesses are businesses, and once a decision has been made, most of the time no amount of fan outcry will change that.  But this is important to me.  And there are some cases where the community did make a difference.  Perhaps this time it's different - perhaps we can show that are making this decision that it does matter, and that there is still money to be made here.  So I'm getting involved, and I hope that perhaps you will too.

Yeah.. but how?

Well you'll be happy to know that it's already extraordinarily well organized!


At the very least, drop over to this location and sign the fan petition showing your support for keeping the gates to the city open!

If you're so inclined, I would encourage you to write to the good folks at NCSoft.  As always, tact and professionalism will be far more effective than nerd rage.  Remember this is a business decision. You can find an extraordinary amount of information in this forum thread.

And this Saturday, the 8th, there's going to be a massive thing in-game, in Atlas Park, at around 4:00pm central.  There's going to be a huge costume contest, and in general I think they just want as many people as possible to show up and show their support.  Details are here, but the short version is come by Atlas Park on Saturday the 8th on the Virtue server.  And remember, if you haven't been by City of Heroes in a few years, the game has a free to play model.  All it will cost you is the time to download the client, and the time to show up in game.

There is a official press release from the Titan Network, and you can check it here.

I'm going to be there.  And I'm signing the petition, and may even write a letter.  It's not much, but I want to be involved in this.  I hope some of you do as well.