First of all, I want to apologize for being so late with this update. My day job has been a bit time-consuming lately, and I've been reading up and working on some of the Plan Z stuff (more about that in a minute...). Anyway, with no further ado...
As most of you probably know, NCsoft is still planning on going ahead with the November 30 shutdown. If I'm not mistaken, the exact time the servers are scheduled to be turned off is at the stroke of midnight Pacific time between November 30 and December 1. (3:00am Eastern time December 1, 8:00am UTC.) After talking to some interested parties, NCsoft has not come to any agreement for the intellectual property (IP) of City of Heroes or the code base to be sold or licensed, which means that as it stands now, on December 1, City of Heroes will be effectively dead.
...Or maybe I should say, mostly
dead. There are a few efforts underway to preserve some modicum of the community we've built.
First of all, there is a "spiritual successor" to City of Heroes being planned by several members of the community. Referred to by various names, the forums discussing the plans are under the City Sunset
topic heading. We're still in the initial planning phase, but I have to admit, we have folks who know more about game development than I initially really thought we'd have. Still, we could use some people with skills that are harder to come by, such as graphics programming, digital art, and animation. If you have such talents or otherwise want to contribute, I urge you to pop in and see if there's a role you can fulfill. To be up-front, I'm not the leader of that project, so PMing me asking how to help won't do much good; you really need to read the forums and find a way to fit in, then post some messages there.
Second of all, work is still being done on reverse engineering the server. This work is going very
well. I honestly think at this point it's not a matter of if anything can be salvaged, it's a matter of how much and the legalities of the situation. It's definitely something we'll be following up on and letting people know about as soon as possible.
Third of all, lest anyone forget, the game is
still running, and will be for two and a half more weeks. So log in, enjoy the holiday events they're running through, say hi to your friends, and even make some new ones. Also, just as a reminder, once the game is shut down, these forums (and the Titan sites in general) will not
be shutting down. I'm pondering creating some general community forums dedicated to things like artwork, "Where are you now?" threads, maybe even some other MMO-specific forums, etc.
Fourth of all, there are still things going on related to the game. In case anyone missed the auction, the Real World Hero charity drive
is still going. We had a very successful Extra Life charity event that raised a few thousand dollars, and Real World Hero is shaping up to really help out, too. It's at around $1,700 and counting. The drive ends on December 15, so please take a few bucks out of your wallet to help out. Massive kudos to Maressa who coordinated the Extra Life charity drive and to the Wentworths who coordinate Real World Hero. The willingness of our community to help out even while facing our own form of adversity speaks volumes about our character.
Fifth of all, I am not
giving up hope that we'll still be able to acquire City of Heroes at some point. Right now, NCsoft is suffering a massive PR black eye (gee, really?) for their unwillingness to sell or license the IP for reasonable terms. I've heard some of the terms they were demanding, and they really are
unreasonable. Needless to say, claiming that they had "exhausted all efforts" was disingenuous at best. People have been taking to their Facebook, Twitter, and other public pages to let the larger gaming community know what's going on. While I'm not directly leading those efforts, as a gamer myself, I have been encouraging people to share how they feel to other communities so that even if City of Heroes can't be saved, it gives game publishers a heavy dose of reality to chew on.
And speaking of NCsoft, they're not doing so well right now. Their stock price is currently down to 169,000 KRW
. The 52-week low? That's right, 169,000 KRW. They are a whopping 52.5%
off their 52-week high and have been consistently falling almost since the closure of City of Heroes was announced. While I don't think that investors care so much about City of Heroes specifically, I do think that they are taking note that it represents NCsoft's floundering presence in the North American market. While Guild Wars 2 launched to much fanfare, I honestly don't think it will be the stable long-term source of income that City of Heroes was, and there is a lot
of negative attention being given to Blade and Soul even before it launches.
I mention all of this because if NCsoft goes bankrupt or is sold to some kind of holding company, there's a distinct possibility that the IP and/or code base could be acquired at liquidation or fire sale price. It's definitely something that we are keeping a very close eye on and hopeful about.
Sixth, I wanted to say a few words about Paragon Studios. So far, I know of three former Paragon Studios staffers that have publicly mentioned that they have a new job. Andy "Zwillinger" Belford was hired at Electronic Arts, which is actually where he worked before taking the job at Paragon Studios. He says that he's working on a project that isn't released yet and can't talk much about it, but knowing Andy, with him involved, it will undoubtedly be successful and I can't wait to hear more. Hosun "Black Pebble" Lee landed at Epic Games and relocated out to the East Coast. I sure hope that unlike NCsoft, they'll throw some marketing budget his way. Sean "Dr. Aeon" McCann got snapped up by Cryptic Studios (yes, that
Cryptic Studios) and is working on Star Trek: Online. I can't wait to see what awesome storylines are propagated to that universe by this talented writer. At least one other person also is working at Cryptic, but I don't know who. I've also heard a few rumors about various people, but nothing I don't want to share without them verifying they're true and that they don't mind it being shared first.
At one point, I know there was talk about some of the developers and management reforming a new studio. Now, I honestly don't know if enough developers have found new jobs that there would be enough left to create a studio without hiring on a lot of new talent. Even if there were, I'm not sure what the feasibility is of developing a new superhero genre MMORPG. If I hear anything on that front, I'll let you all know, but for now, I'm assuming that there are no imminent plans in the works.
Seventh, I have gotten some good inside information on things that were in the works at Paragon Studios, including some pitches made for City of Heroes 2 (yes, they wanted to make it, and badly!) and little bit of info about the Secret Project™. I'll try to write up at least a few bits of information and post it, but obviously, some of it is a little sensitive and I want to make sure that none of it can be traced back to personally identify anyone. I think that everyone except Hit Streak and maybe Theresa are out from under contract so you might see some of this stuff making its way out to the public on its own, but some folks are still under severance agreement and various NDAs, so I wouldn't expect a flood or anything yet. I'll try to keep in touch with folks so that as weeks or months pass, if they want to drop a few nuggets of info, they can.
Anyway, that's the latest. I still REALLY appreciate everyone's continued support, and while NCsoft has abandoned us, I still have hope that our community will survive and sincerely hope that we can rebuild in some form the passion that they have so casually tossed aside.
Oh, and one last thought. While this time has been a struggle, one of our own members, Moonfyire101, has been facing a MUCH more difficult struggle. Her dad, who is also an avid City of Heroes player and fan, has been told that he has one to two months
to live due to cancer. Please, keep her and her dad in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this really difficult time. As I see stories like this that break my heart, as well as stories such as the birth of mini-Turg (and many irresistibly cute pictures that follow) that lift my spirits, it makes me realize how vastly wrong people are who think that this is "just a game" or not worth fighting for. We're all friends and virtual neighbors sharing joy and pain, and NCsoft will never
be able to flip a switch and turn that off.