Okay, regarding infringement, I have to say this yet again. We're not infringing on anything. It's that simple. Reverse engineering is not infringement. It is not only legal, it is an extremely common practice used by a lot of reputable companies to provide compatibility with other products. If we wrote a server that included the game's missions, characters, etc., that would be infringing. But that's not what we're doing.
Regarding Plan Z, in case it's not clear, this is an entirely new game. When I say "spiritual successor," I'm referring to the things that are commonly regarded as making City of Heroes a fun and engaging game--a fun community, an expansive character creator/editor, a focus on solo and casual aspects to the game, the superheroic theme, etc. I am not referring to a literal sequel to the game using the intellectual property of City of Heroes. In fact, we have had a few conversations in which we have agreed that doing that is out of the question. NCsoft does not hold any kind of rights to a game with a fun community, an expansive character creator, a focus on solo and casual aspects to games, or superheroic themes. In fact, it is a little known fact (or shoot, maybe you do know it...) that rules to games are specifically exempted from copyright protection, so even if we wanted to use the same slotting system, inspiration system, power progression, etc., we probably could although for the sake of avoiding IP infringement all of that stuff might be called something different. But to my knowledge (I'm not personally involved in the mechanics of the game), we're not even doing that. Again, spiritual successor. NCsoft would be stupid crazy to sue us to the point that I'd probably countersue for frivolous use of the legal system.
The point is, though, that we are not engaging in any kind of criminal behavior. At worst, we are breaking the Terms of Service by digging into the protocols that the client and server use to communicate. And if NCsoft is bound and determined to, they can cancel the 16 days left on the contract if they so choose.
If NCsoft really gets a stick in their craw and they want to chase us down legally for some perceived harm, they are more than welcome to do so. I hope they're prepared to prove in court that we are infringing on their IP and the breach of contract has caused them some material damage. In fact, while I'm not looking to deliberately antagonize NCsoft, part of me would think that it would be kind of funny if they did come after us because I assure you that such a story would make huge waves in the press, waves that they are desperately trying to avoid right now because they're already suffering a PR black eye over this whole ordeal. "NCsoft Sues Players Who Invested Thousands of Dollars in Game"--makes a great headline, don't you think? Believe me, I would pull out all of the stops in making sure that everyone knows that the people being sued are the very same people who contributed greatly to the game's success for the better part of a decade. If you're thinking of playing Guild Wars 2, Blade and Soul, or Wildstar (if it ever actually gets released, which I kinda doubt it will), that headline would probably catch your attention. So yeah, even if NCsoft thought they had a case against us (which they don't), I seriously doubt that they'd be looking to press the issue. To be blunt, I think that NCsoft has far bigger problems right now as a company than anything we're doing with reverse engineering and/or Plan Z.
I don't mean to belabor the point, but if you're worried about NCsoft coming after us, please put your mind at ease. Even if they do, it won't affect you personally, and I am certain that anything they try would be completely without merit.