Author Topic: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft  (Read 34174 times)

TonyV

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Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« on: September 02, 2012, 05:39:11 pm »
Heya all, it's time for the next Call to Action!  I know that some of you have already started with this one, but I want to make sure everyone is on board, to offer some guidelines, and to incorporate an idea that I really hope will get their attention in a positive way.



I want to make sure that everyone at NCsoft Corporate understands how important this game is to us.  I want them to see the human cost to shuttering the servers and burying the IP and code base.  The goal here is to recognize that the people at NCsoft are people too, all the way up to the CEO.  Working with us to make sure that Paragon City still exists would foster a lot of goodwill with the community, which is quite large, active, and committed.

I don't want you to sit down and churn out a form letter, though, so I'm not going to post something you can just cut and paste.  Remember, we are heroes.  Thinking of some original thoughts to put down on paper in your own words is but a trivial challenge!  Here are some guidelines, though, that I think would be very helpful to our cause.

  • Be respectful.  While you're writing, please remember that if we alienate NCsoft, it is literally game over.  We must have them on our side in order to succeed.  The more they like us, the more chance of success we will have.  I know that a lot of you are hurt, angry, and ready to go in with both barrels fighting.  But this is not a brute force mission, it is a diplomatic one.  When you feel the urge to start getting snarky, take a break.  Come back later.  This is a timed mission, but the clock is still set pretty high.
  • Be personal.  I want to make sure they understand how what they built affects us, the City of Heroes players, on a personal level.  In the business world, it is really easy to make cold, calculated decisions when you don't have human beings and their stories associated with what you're doing.  Tell them how City of Heroes has made a positive difference in your life!  Tell them about that time you really felt heroic!  Tell them how close you felt to your fellow players when you pulled together to beat that impossible mission!  Tell them about how your made a real-life friend through the power of Paragon City!  Put some feeling into the letter and let them see us not as a nameless, faceless group of fans, but as people with thoughts and feelings and emotions.
  • Hand-write your letter instead of typing it.  This goes along with the above guideline.  If you really can't produce anything better than chicken scratch handwriting, then this one is flexible.  Still, there's a lot to be said for a personally handwritten letter in neat, legible handwriting.  It says to them that you are going out of your way to make a personal appeal to them.
  • Don't write a book.  Having said what I said above, please don't send a 10-page short story unless you have a really compelling story to tell, such as if you met your spouse through City of Heroes, you were friends with another player who passed away, or that kind of thing.  Try to keep it to a page or two at the most.
  • Make sure they quickly understand the purpose of your letter.  Right at the very top, make it explicitly clear why you're writing.  "I am a City of Heroes player for eight and a half years, and I am writing to ask that you please take whatever steps are necessary to avoid shutting down the greatest game I have ever played."  Something along those lines would be nice, but please do paraphrase.
  • Make them want to read your letter.  After stating your purpose for writing, avoid this.  "I really like City of Heroes a lot.  Please don't end the game.  It's really great and there are still a lot of players."  Avoid sounding like a form letter.  Throw in a funny or interesting anecdote close to the top to keep them hooked and wanting to continue.
  • You are not their accountant.  I know a lot of you are under the impression that if we could just convince them that there's some financial reason to keep City of Heroes alive, they would do so.  They are businessmen, right?  All we have to do is show them the dollars and cents of the matter.  The problem with this is that they have their own paid professional accountants and financial gurus who are informing their decisions, and financial advice from random Internet strangers is probably not going to go very far.  You can mention that we have a strong player base, but please avoid sending your financial analysis of the decision, as thorough and well-thought-out as I'm sure it is.
  • Be flexible.  Remember our goal is to Save Paragon City!.  Don't get tied down to one particular solution.  Don't assume that they won't change their mind.  Don't presume that if they don't, they're going to stingily hold on to the IP and code base.  When you ask for what you want to ask for, make sure that you word it in such a way that the end goal is stated: keeping the game running.  The exact details of how that goal is reached are still up in the air.  Let them know that you would like for all options to be considered.
  • Tell us!  This step is totally optional.  If you're up to it, though, send an e-mail to ParagonCity@cohtitan.com and tell us when you've mailed your letter and what you said.  (Please note that this e-mail address is not our main address to communicate with our team, you can contact me at tonyv@cohtitan.com for that.)  I'd like to be able to track how we're doing and use some of the content you are generating to put together some kind of site or scrapbook that brings this effort home in the stretch, and this is your chance to be a part of that.

There's one more thing that I think you can do that would add a special touch to your letter and really help connect the powers-that-be at NCsoft to you and the game.  Back when I started playing City of Heroes in 2004, one of the coolest aspects of the game to me was that I could take perfect screenshots in the game.  One of the first things I did after creating my first character, King Skippus, was to take a bunch of postcard-like screenshots and print them out on heavy card stock paper.  I cut the printouts out and actually hung them on my wall at work.  "What is that?" people would ask.  "That's me.  I'm a superhero in Paragon City."  I was really proud of my postcards.

When you write, I suggest printing your character's photo or, better yet if you have anything, a piece of art of your character, on a piece of paper that will fit in the envelope without being folded.  If possible, try to print it on heavy card stock paper (go to your local office supply store and buy a pack of 110 lb. paper) or if your printer supports it, photographic paper, as that really will make it stand out, it will be something they might even like to hang on their wall.  Make it creative, write your character's name on the back.  If it's an old photo to express how long you've been playing, write the date the photo was taken.  Really make it pop.  You don't have to send more than one; the goal isn't to irritate them.  The goal, once again, is to show them what the game means to us, to help them understand that there is a lot of creative time, effort, and work that has gone into the game.

For example, I plan on sending this photo of Taxibot Belle in 2005, a day after I created the character:



(And for those whose mind I just blew with, "Whoa, TonyV is Taxibot Belle?" I used to be.  I created the character based on the personality of a good friend and ran Taxibot Belle until sometime around 2007.  Around that time, the real Belle moved in with me and I gave the account--and more importantly, the character--to her and she's been running her ever since.)

Once you've composed your letter, send two copies to the following addresses:

Mr. Taek Jin Kim, Chief Executive Officer
NCsoft Corporation
1501 4th Avenue, Suite 2050
Seattle, WA 98101
UNITED STATES

In Korea:

Mr. Taek Jin Kim, Chief Executive Officer
NCsoft Corporation
157-37 Samsung-dong
Kangnamu-gu, Seoul 135-090
KOREA

As Dasher, who initiated this campaign, points out, you might be more likely to get it actually in the hands of the CEO if you send it certified.  I'll just copy verbatim what he said here:

Send all letters via "Certified Mail/Addresseeís Signature Required/Return Receipt Requested". This takes a little more effort and costs a little more, but it is well worth it. According to US Federal postal laws, a letter so marked must be signed for by the address or their legal representative, which in the case of CEOs is usually their personal administrative assistants; usually it's not the receptionist or security guards. This is your best shot at getting your letters directly to where they will do the most good.

Okay heroes, you have your mission, start writing those letters!
« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 07:04:51 pm by TonyV »

neonphysalis

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 06:52:29 pm »
One step ahead of you. :P

Altoholic Monkey

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 09:16:50 pm »
Cross posted on the RO forums.

frostcoh

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 10:23:29 pm »
Dear Sir,
Thank you for supporting financially, administratively and logistically a game I have come to love for years. I have made friends, and become closer to friends I already had through this game.  City of Heroes was more than a hobby to me, it was a community, and a place to go to unwind after a hard day.  Needless to say I was shocked and dismayed when I learned that the development staff had been fired and the game would completely shut down within three months.  I was shocked for two reasons.  First, I, like many others were under the impression the game was doing well.  The game had just released a large amount of exciting new content and was getting ready to release more.  Secondly, games like this typically stop making new content before they go dark, it's highly irregular for a game of this caliber to shut down right in the middle of new content production. 
Pondering this causes me great concerns about your company.  Either your company just made a rash decision and was willing to not only anger a community of well over 100 thousand, and destroy the lives of 80 employees due to intra-company fights and politicking, or your company has committed a cardinal sin in business by shutting down a profitable venture to save flailing projects.  Both of these possibilities are completely unacceptable in a business environment.
When City of Heroes became a hybrid subscription game I remained a paying subscriber, while also spending more money on micro-transactions; so, why would I as a consumer, choose to play any of your other products when I know that such a brash decision with such short notice is acceptable in your corporation.  Why would I as a potential stockholder purchase stock from your company on the Korean Stock Exchange based on your current actions.
This mistake can be rectified.  Reconsider, and rehire the team running Paragon Studios, or make the shrewd business decision to sell them off to another company, or spin them off into another division. 
Either of these options would do a great deal to heal the damage that has already been done to NcSoft's name.
I leave you with this thought, no great river refuses any small stream.

Thank you for your time,

Dave Babler

frostcoh

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 10:27:45 pm »
My only question is should I call it "the Korean Stock Exchange" or by it's native name?

CursedSorcerer

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 10:30:50 pm »
Question: Could email also work? Probably no, but worth asking, right?

Optimism Penguin

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 11:26:26 pm »
Frost,

Calling it the Korean Stock Exchange should work since that's what it gets referred to as in the US, and in the English version of Korean newspapers.  You could also call it the KRX and he should know what you are talking about, but I find absolute clarity is often the best solution when dealing with people. 

Otherwise a decent letter.  Best of luck  :)

frostcoh

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 11:29:56 pm »
Only "decent" :(  damn it.

I was hoping for stellar.


You can call me Dave, since I posted my real name anyway

Pheadora

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2012, 12:35:43 am »
Good letter.  Now I got to think of one. 

Darth Delicious

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2012, 05:49:21 am »
I'm on it and will have it ready asap. Am in the middle of a big move so not all I need is always in one place just yet, unfortunately. But I'll make it work, no worries.

@CursedSorcerer: e-mail won't do alas. E-mails will go to a random callcenter agent and be dealt with there. None of the CEO's will even know the excistence of your e-mail.
Check out my DeviantART page.
--Don't say everything you know, but do know everything you say.--

jordanhb

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2012, 11:52:56 am »
Got my letter written and will send it soon.  Text is below if anyone wants to use it for inspiration.


Dear Mr. Kim,
I was shocked today when I logged onto the City of Heroes forums and found the announcement that the game is being shut down.  As vibrant and active as the development for the game has been since it went free to play, the announcement that it would be coming to an end came as a huge and unpleasant surprise.
As a player since the summer of 2005, Iíve spent thousands of hours playing the game that your company made.  With the exception of my friends and family, this game has brought me more joy over the years than almost anything in my life.  In the past 3 years, I had even convinced my wife to give it a try, and gotten her hooked as well.  We have spent many Saturdays together sitting side by side at our computers playing our paired characters together.  After a hard day at work, the game provides a very welcome, if temporary, escape from reality much like an excellent movie or novel.  And while there are other games that can provide the same thing, there are none that have held my interest for years in the way that City of Heroes has.  I know that I am far from alone in feeling this way.
With that in mind, I urge you to reconsider the decision to end the game entirely.  The ideal solution would be to return to the status quo, and let Paragon Studios continue to develop the game with NCSoftís support.  I realize however that this is not a realistic wish.  Thatís why I hope you will consider other options.  The game could be sold to another entity, which could continue the development on its own terms.   Or perhaps a licensing agreement could be worked out.  Or at the very least, instead of shutting the game down completely, the servers could be kept live with a skeleton crew, with no further development taking place.  Iím sure youíll receive other suggestions, and I urge you to consider some sort of alternative.  Please donít let a game that means so much to so many people die completely.
Sincerely,

Jordan Hughes-Buckley

chelsealol

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2012, 04:41:53 pm »
Please dont shut city of heroes

Gilliam

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2012, 05:31:24 pm »
Got my letter written and will send it soon.  Text is below if anyone wants to use it for inspiration.


Dear Mr. Kim,
I was shocked today when I logged onto the City of Heroes forums and found the announcement that the game is being shut down.  As vibrant and active as the development for the game has been since it went free to play, the announcement that it would be coming to an end came as a huge and unpleasant surprise.
As a player since the summer of 2005, Iíve spent thousands of hours playing the game that your company made.  With the exception of my friends and family, this game has brought me more joy over the years than almost anything in my life.  In the past 3 years, I had even convinced my wife to give it a try, and gotten her hooked as well.  We have spent many Saturdays together sitting side by side at our computers playing our paired characters together.  After a hard day at work, the game provides a very welcome, if temporary, escape from reality much like an excellent movie or novel.  And while there are other games that can provide the same thing, there are none that have held my interest for years in the way that City of Heroes has.  I know that I am far from alone in feeling this way.
With that in mind, I urge you to reconsider the decision to end the game entirely.  The ideal solution would be to return to the status quo, and let Paragon Studios continue to develop the game with NCSoftís support.  I realize however that this is not a realistic wish.  Thatís why I hope you will consider other options.  The game could be sold to another entity, which could continue the development on its own terms.   Or perhaps a licensing agreement could be worked out.  Or at the very least, instead of shutting the game down completely, the servers could be kept live with a skeleton crew, with no further development taking place.  Iím sure youíll receive other suggestions, and I urge you to consider some sort of alternative.  Please donít let a game that means so much to so many people die completely.
Sincerely,

Jordan Hughes-Buckley


great letter i will steal most of that and send myself
Thank you
"Call it extreme if you like, but I propose we hit it hard and hit it fast with a major - and I mean major - leaflet campaign."

TonyV

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 06:07:15 pm »

great letter i will steal most of that and send myself
Thank you

Please don't, I don't want NCsoft to think we're barraging them with form letters.  Sometime this week or next, we might set up some sort of "Send X just as a show of unity," but for this stage of the operation, I really want you to come up with your own words to express what the game means to you.

exitium13

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2012, 06:55:42 pm »
Dear Sir,
   
          While I was a teenager in school I was considered, to put it mildly, an outcast. Not as a result of my actions, but merely for being different. I was treated horribly and bullied on an almost daily basis. This treatment gave me a very poor self-image and I didnít think I could amount to anything. Until the day I logged into City of Heroes. It was in the streets of Paragon City that I felt like I could amount to something. You see it is more than just a game for me, like it is for the thousands of other players. It was a place where we could fly away from the stresses and worries of daily life, if only for a few moments. I am proud to say I was even inspired to do some good in the real world. It breaks my heart to think that something with such potential to be force for good in the world could be ended so abruptly. That is why I am begging you to reconsider the termination of such a unique and wonderful game, not just a game but a community.

For Your Consideration

Jacob Wright aka Silent Sentry

I hope this fits the letter criteria

Rae

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2012, 08:03:35 pm »
Being posted from the UK tomorrow, to both Seattle and Korea:

--

Sir,

I am writing to add my voice to the thousands of others begging you not to destroy the City of.. games.

I really have no idea how to write this letter. I don't know whether to appeal to your humanity, or your business sense.

City of.. is a game like no other. Its players know it's not the flashiest, or the best looking game around. We know it's a bit dated. We know we can't rival the population of some of the other MMORPGs out there - but we're still here. We've been paying subscriptions for eight and a half years, we've been supporting the game and the company behind it, because we feel honoured to be a part of it. Because we've spent nearly a decade creating characters that we have come to love, poured time and money into making them as good as they can be, making bases for them to live in, creating and telling their stories, and making friendships that are so close that we have almost become family - despite the fact that a world separates us.

We are a community, and we love our game. We don't want to lose what we have worked for, we don't want to lose a world we love and we don't want to see our community scattered.

I understand you won't have taken this decision lightly. I understand that a company doesn't make 80 people redundant on a whim. But please, I urge you to work with the community, with the players. To give us a chance to keep the characters we have poured our time and money into, the bases we have spent weeks of our lives building, the friendships that have survived for years and the groups that have bought us all together.

Please stick us on a spare server somewhere, and allow the community to try and save itself. Put us up for sale, make us opensource, give us a chance to buy the IP rights and the engine from you. Closing us down is just vandalism.

Please give us the chance to take this game that you no longer want off your hands. Our petition to save the city has already seen over 10,000 people sign up, people who are volunteering their time and effort to try and keep the game running.

I'm not going to threaten never to buy another NC Soft game, but the fact is that currently, you don't have anything on offer I'm interested in playing. This is the same for many players - if anything they'll move to DC Universe, or Champions online, giving money to your competitors. It's got to be better walking away from this with a big wedge of money and a happy fanbase than just wiping out a whole online universe.

I know you've already received a number of letters like this. I'm sorry to send another one, but I can't help it. The heroes of Paragon City want to save their world, and the villains on the Rogue Isles want to take it over.

Please give us the opportunity to do it. We can't help it. We're heroes, and villains. It's in our nature.

Sincerely,

(me.)
@Vandellia, Virtue.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 08:53:55 pm by rae »
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JustJane

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2012, 09:36:45 pm »
Here is my letter which I plan to handwrite and send with signature confirmation. Took me awhile to find some actual writing paper around here, but I did!

Dear Mr. Kim,

I write to you today in regards to your companyís decision to shut down City of Heroes. The news has hit our close-knit community incredibly hard. We are not only disappointed and saddened at the loss of the game, but devastated by the loss of our family, which includes the staff at Paragon Studios.

No other MMO compares to the world we have created in City of Heroes. We want to know one another. We want to play together. We value our community of real people, going beyond the character and the world in which it is created. For nearly a decade, the players, developers, and myriad of others have worked together tirelessly to create a one-of-a-kind game, a home-away-from-home. Through thick and thin, no one has wavered. It is deeply personal to us, and our passion for this game shows.

Personally, I have been playing City of Heroes since i5ís release in 2005, currently a 6 year veteran. While my account lapsed shortly after having my son, I never forgot the game, returning as soon as I was able. More importantly, I never forgot the friends I made playing it. These arenít just people I interacted with inside the game. These are friends that I email, talk to, even allow into my elite circle on Facebook. We have shared weddings, births, moves, job changes, and so much more. Weíve been there for one another through the best and worst of times. Our friendships started because of CoH but endure outside of it.

The people who play City of Heroes, the people who work on it, we have always been committed to itís future and have no intention of relenting. We will persevere, exploring every option, every possibility, even the ones that seem hopeless. Nothing is too small or too far fetched. I hope that you can appreciate and understand our dedication. I hope that it moves you to help us keep our beloved City of Heroes alive.

Sincerely,

Holly

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keep COH forever!!!!
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2012, 01:32:16 am »
 :gonk: please dont shut the COH down!!!!

laufeyjarson

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2012, 06:03:43 am »
I have handwritten my letter and addressed envelopes.  I am digging through my giant pile of screenshots to find a couple of good images full of people to include.

I'll take them to the post office for signature confirmation tomorrow on the way to work.  One copy to Seattle, the other to Seoul.

The letter reads:

Dear Mr. Kim,

I was shocked and saddened by the recent announcement of the closure of your City of Heroes franchise.  I have been playing this game since September 2004, as have many of the people I play with.

The thing that makes this game truly special is the community of players.  Iím very much going to miss the friends Iíve made in the last eight years, and the chance to make new friends there.  This community has helped each other through crises, encouraged each other to be better people than we might have been otherwise, taught our teammates kidsí the right way to behave and what it meant to be a hero.

Iím writing to make sure you knew this closure will darken the lives of tens of thousands of people who come to Paragon City to escape the doldrums of every day life and spend a few minutes being something bigger and better than they can be on their own.

If NCsoft canít continue operation of the game, please consider selling it to another publisher, or to the community itself so our journey together can continue.

Sincerely,

Louis Erickson
@Laufeyjarson in City of Heroes

Edit: I took the time to print, on photo paper, a couple of screen shots.

One is four characters in matching colors standing in front of a door.  It is titled "Dawn Guard Emerges Victorious!", dated 27 February 2005, and has a note that I still play regularly with two of the three other players.

The other is five characters, surrounded by robots, blowing something up.  The back says, "Vidnur Tofa and the Legion of Catgirls in the Imperious Task Force" and is dated 28 January 2012.  There is a note that Vidur Tofa ("wind fox") was created in September of 2004, and is the first CoH character I made.

Hand writing on the backs of photos was quite a flashback!  The feeling of carefully labelled snapshots from the family album, with screenshots from a game is an odd combination.

Hopefully, it will get the letter read.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 07:34:03 am by laufeyjarson »

Christine

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Re: Call to Action: Write to NCsoft
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2012, 06:06:27 am »
Mine, to be mailed tomorrow:

Iím writing to you as a seven-year veteran, faithful subscriber and dedicated player to ask Ė even beg Ė that you reconsider the recent shocking, heartbreaking decision regarding the fate of City of Heroes.

When a favorite show gets canceled, when a favorite author or actor or musician dies, we still have tangible things we can go back to. Reruns, rereading, listening to the music, watching the movies. With this, if City of Heroes vanishes, itís gone forever, leaving us not even the ability to revisit except through memories and screenshots.

If there is any way, any way at all, to continue it in some form Ö to transfer it over Ö to merge and reduce servers Ö if it means charging more for subscriptions Ö if it means no new content but simply letting it go along as is until it does become a ghost town on its own instead of a thriving, vibrant community Ö something Ö anything Ö please.

Maybe Iím a rarity in this, but, for me, simply switching to another game is not an option. I donít play any others, no MMOs, no video games, nothing. This is the only one that has ever appealed to me. The mere prospect of even looking at any other game leaves me feeling hollow and sick inside.

Iíve spent countless hours just in roleplay and chats. Iíve written enough stories inspired by these characters to fill a dozen or more novels, purely for the love of it, gladly sacrificing time and energy I could have been putting toward my professional writing. Iíve commissioned artwork, gone to conventions, and collected as much merchandise as Iíve been able to find.

Over these past years, Iíve met people from across the country and around the world through the connections and bonds made through our shared interest in City of Heroes. Some of them have become my nearest and dearest friends, even the ones Iíve not yet managed to meet in person. I know military and rescue personnel whoíve relied on it as a reprieve from the toughest jobs of all, and some whose very lives have been saved by having it to hold onto.

Weíve celebrated real-life romances, marriages and births, seen our kids grow up together. Weíve commiserated in times of hardship, breakup, tragedy and loss. Weíve collaborated on projects, weíve traveled to visit, collaborated on projects, weíve gone into businesses together.

To me, and to so many great people I know and love, City of Heroes is not Ďjustí a game. Itís a life, a home. Please donít take that away from us. Please.

-- C.