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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Thursday, September 06, 2012

PUT AWAY YOUR CAPE

"The fight to save Paragon City has failed. The last hero has fallen. This is my last broadcast..."

City of Heroes
The Massively Multiplayer Online Game City of Heroes is closing up shop. NC Soft, which owns COH, is closing down Paragon Studios which runs the game and develops new content for it. As of November 30, City of Heroes is no more. The City of Heroes website has only this message:
In a realignment of company focus and publishing support, NCsoft has made the decision to close Paragon Studios. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease and we will begin preparations to sunset the world's first, and best, Super Hero MMORPG before the end of the year. As part of this, all recurring subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing will be discontinued effective immediately. We will have more information regarding a detailed timeline for the cessation of services and what you can expect in game in the coming weeks.

The team here at Paragon deserves special praise for all that we have accomplished over the last 5+ years. These developers are some of the most creative and talented people in the gaming industry. By now, we've all been given this news internally, but to anyone who may be reading this message after the fact; know that your hard work and dedication has not gone unappreciated or unnoticed. To any potential studios looking to grow your team; hire these people. You won't regret it.

To our Community,

Thank you. Thank you for your years of support. You've been with us every step of the way, sharing in our challenges, encouraging us to make City of Heroes better, more than everyone else thought it could be. We couldn't have come this far without you. I implore you all, focus on the good things of CoH and Paragon Studios. Don't dwell on the "how" or the "why", but rather join us in celebrating the legacy of an amazing partnership between the players and the development team.

Thank you, and I'll see you in the skies, one last time.

Andy Belford

Community Manager

Paragon Studios.
They have shut down the shop and no one can purchase an account. All current paid accounts have been locked open without charge. NC Soft apparently is shifting focus to their asian products such as Lineage II, and as they have lost money they are shutting off their smallest earner, which was City of Heroes.

COH lasted for about eight years, and was groundbreaking in a lot of its ideas. One of the best was "sidekicking" in which you could take anyone of any level in to any mission and the game would adjust all characters in the group to be 1 level separate from the team leader in terms of their damage and hit points. This let groups be of any composition and still work together.

City of Heroes recently went free to play with the best payment system I've ever seen, and had the best temptations and incentives to buy game content of any game I've ever played. The game had grown a great deal in content and design over the years, and I was truly enjoying it again after a long hiatus. Many players had been playing for the whole time and many have sunk a lot of money into the game. To have it suddenly die is very upsetting to many people.

City of Heroes was nearly dead before the free-to-play option started. I came back a couple times for the free weekends and I'd rarely see another PC anywhere. With the free play, the game was packed again, like it was when it first came out. It was phenomenal, it was a vital gaming community again. They were making money, just not enough money for NC Soft.

Now with the news of shutting down, the population is gutted again. Its not quite as low as it got, but its down considerably. The staff of Paragon Studios seemed unusually friendly, open to ideas, and excited by the game. I am sure this announcement hit them harder than it did the players, as it means their jobs are gone and they are losing their game.

Fans are fighting back. There's an effort ongoing to buy the license and servers from COH to start it up again with another company. Some are discussing a Kickstarter effort, and others are working on a similar game developed separate from City of Heroes. Another effort is underway by the Paragon Studios people to buy and run it on their own, or perhaps with another company backing them. How far this will get I do not know, as it takes many millions of dollars to really start up and run a MMOG. I'd love to see the game continue, but I don't expect it to.

Champions Online is around, and so is DC Universe and Marvel Universe. I've not played the two latter games, but I have played Champions Online. Its okay, the costume creator is insanely flexible, but the free to play option is so ridiculously limited it saps all the fun out of the game. Essentially there's no superhero game out there like City of Heroes and it will be sorely missed.

So good bye Tek-9, MeWow, Mr Gnee, Human Bastion, and all the rest. I have fond memories of the game and the world. Strange how sad it makes me feel to think I'll never see them again that day in November.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The game has roughly about a hundred thousand players, so I'd hardly call that dead. Which server and at what time (and where on that server) you played can make it appear it was dead though. The game was still bringing in cash too, about 3.5 Million a year iirc.

If you do did like it, sign the petition. :)

12:59 AM, September 07, 2012  

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