Author Topic: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?  (Read 2582 times)

ScottyB

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Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« on: April 15, 2017, 05:56:36 AM »
UPDATE:
Well, I guess it's good nothing came of this, since it would have been embarrassing to try to draw attention to us via MXM this fall. The game didn't even last a year. More like "NCSoft's shutting down a game featuring Statesman, at the time of the 5th anniversary of the CoH sunset". Jeez.

ORIGINAL POST:
With MXM in beta, to come out this summer, and their inclusion of Statesman/Tyrant, this is a rare intersection of events, and maybe an opportunity - while NCSoft is getting a lot of attention - to send a renewed message to NCSoft with capes, masks, screenshots, and letters, showing them that five (5!) years later, we still care about our City.

But what, realistically, can we ask for? Should we even ask for anything, or just remind NCSoft that they're holding on to a property that we love, and hope someone there decides to do something? Or even just some sort of acknowledgement that we're still here.

Is another push something the community would want to do? Maybe this summer someone drafts a template letter, suggests some cheap but appropriate capes and masks, and we aim to send these in September to reach NCSoft's US and SK offices by November 30th?

Is this something that Nate or someone from the last team to meet NCSoft thinks, for some reason, could actually be harmful to the efforts to license a legacy server? (Or optimistically, do they think this could move things along?)

I'm thinking, for our own mental health, we would need to go into this without expectations; but at the same time, NCSoft's releasing a game featuring Statesman, at the time of the 5th anniversary of the sunset. When could another opportunity like this come along?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 02:14:36 AM by ScottyB »

Prism Almidu

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 10:13:58 PM »
I'd be down for that. I've spent money on worse things over the last five years, given that my entire gaming history in that timeframe has been driven by my quest to distract myself from the loss of my home in CoX. Seems like I lost a part of my soul when the closure happened, and when It was announced, I tried to bury my feelings of grief and betrayal, so I wasn't around during the first round of protests. I actually have something of an open letter I've been drafting over the course of the last couple days. Polite, not accusatory, was the tone I aimed for, but if you think it could be beneficial, I'll trot it out for proofreading and editing.

Noyjitat

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 10:39:34 PM »
I always thought the letter campaign should be relentless. It's the best way to truly remind them since it can't be discarded by hitting a delete key and is sure way to provoke a response.

Vee

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 02:37:19 AM »
I always thought the letter campaign should be relentless. It's the best way to truly remind them since it can't be discarded by hitting a delete key and is sure way to provoke a response.

'Them' being the people in the mail room who have to discard them and their response likely being to hate their job more.

Prism Almidu

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 03:19:14 AM »
Well, if anyone is interested, this is the draft of the would-be letter. It's a wall of text that would make whoever built the End of the World in the first Grandia game proud, fair warning.

An open letter to those with the ability to relaunch City of Heroes/Villains, and the understanding to do it well:

Almost five years have passed since I was dumbstruck by the announcement of the "sunset" of the City of Heroes/Villains. I had been playing - more than playing, living - in that world for around a year and a half by that time, and suddenly seeing this doom approach the home I had grown attached to beyond any other electronic setting was horrifying. In a grief-driven anger, I removed all traces of the game from my machine. An action I regret, because my screenshot collection was among the collateral lost. I have since spent the last half decade throwing myself into other game after other game in a futile attempt to distract myself from my loss, but nothing has filled the void left behind, and after only a short time, I find myself remembering the character I lost. Yes, character singular; I was never one for having a multitude of alternates to play as, though over the course of years, I have come up with several more ideas to play with.

Throughout this time of attempting to distract myself, I have kept up with the news articles and forum posts related to the state of the game, the discussions to buy, lease, or license the intellectual property and server data, and potential replacement homes as discussed by the thousands of others displaced by the loss of their home. Here's the thing: none of the potential replacements have managed to successfully fill the shoes of City of Heroes/Villains, for me at least. Various reasons exist for each of the titles, but none of them grasp the core of the magic that made City of Heroes/Villains such a wonderful and unique world.

My research has led me to the stance that NCSoft, as a company, was unjustified in closing down the game, and any reasons they gave in the immediate aftermath as to "why" were fabricated. If your overall goal was to market newer titles to replace City of Heroes/Villains, why were none of these new games designed to appeal to the consumers of a superhero-themed product? Though at this point, your initial intentions are no longer relevant.

What you actually did was poison yourself. In addition to previous such closures, you, as a company, have shown a lack of understanding of your customers. When every attempt to convince you to reconsider met with silence, perhaps you thought that you were maintaining dignity and honor. If so, it was only the dignity of a captain going down with their ship, because to your Western consumers, the way you handled the closure branded you as unthinking and uncaring. They felt, and continue to feel, betrayed, swindled; after all, many of them were happily subscribed and spending even more money for costume parts, powersets, and other things in the in-game store. I was one of those, and could be again. But in doing what you did, you also showed your customers that there was no point in purchasing your other products, because at some point, all of their investment would be similarly disregarded as "not profitable enough". And you lost future customers as well, when word of your treatment of previous customers reached the ears of those considering your products.

The customers that played City of Heroes/Villains were angry, and many were bitter enough from their feelings of betrayal to boycott all NCSoft products - even more potential earnings lost from your other properties. Many remain bitter to this day. That is five years worth of potential earnings missed out on. Not helping was the recent reveal of a prominent character, Statesman, into Master x Master. That game, being a crossover of characters from multiple properties, could be a launching point of more income from players seeing these characters and becoming interested in the original title... but where are they to go to sate their interest in Statesman?

On the topic of superheroes, this decade has seen a revival of interest in superheroes, if the earnings of the recent Marvel and D.C. movies and television shows have anything to say on it. You had, in your stable, a means to let people go from seeing heroes and villains in theatre to actually becoming them, not in a childish way, nor as a backdrop to existing comic book characters, but feeling as powerful entities in their own right. And all the marketing was already done for you by the movies. All you had to do was introduce advertising for City of Heroes/Villains in the theatre or during the shows' runtime, and you would have had sales.

My understanding is that in your domestic market, it is a common practice to shut down older games in favor of something newer, because gamers at your home tend not to be as attached to the games. Holding that attitude professionally would be fine if you chose to remain a domestic company, but you have repeatedly attempted to do business in the West, while also demonstrating a lack of understanding of the different desires of Western gamers. Gamers in this part of the world are more likely to form attachments to the characters they have created within virtual worlds, and to the investment of energy, money, interest, and time they have put into those games and characters. If you are serious about conducting business internationally, you have to be able to adapt to the market you are moving into; you cannot expect foreign customers to have the same interests as domestic ones, or to react the same way. Your stoic silence in the face of the attempts to save City of Heroes/Villains from closure appears to be a refusal to admit fault, in order to save face.

In the eyes of the Western market, your shame is even greater because of your attempts to maintain face. To regain your respect, you would be better advised to offer restitution, in the form of restarting the City of Heroes/Villains servers. You would not need to issue a formal apology. Even in a maintenance mode that could not be upgraded, this would go a long way to regaining the respect lost by this fiasco. At this point in time, the option to retain old account data no longer matters, not in the face of grief that remains strong five years later. In relaunching the game, whether in maintenance mode or in something that could continue to be improved, not only would you win back hundreds, if not thousands, of those players wounded by the sunset, I, personally, know of a large number of people who only know of the game due to the praise I lavish on it, and would also sign up, to see exactly what I told them about. Every grieving fan likely also knows people who would join, as well. Restoring their virtual home would earn you a massive amount of goodwill.

The date rapidly approaches what would have been the thirteenth anniversary of a game that was in service longer than World of Warcraft, and with a more dedicated fanbase. Yes, many people who played City of Heroes/Villains before its closure were older, and may not be able to return, but there were many who were children who now would be able and willing to afford a subscription. It is not too late to capitalize on the superhero trend, appeal to players of MxM who want to know where the Statesman character comes from, and win back the community of a game that did not need to be closed. You have legacy servers for Guild Wars and the original Lineage, at the very least you could do the same for the heroes and villains of Paragon City. Consider the financial and public relations benefits to be had. The loyal fanbase is waiting for the opportunity to say, "The long night is over, and a new dawn rises over Paragon City."

ScottyB

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 03:33:11 AM »
Quite intense, without being demanding.

I'll need a few re-reads to see if there's anything I want to lift for a more general "starting point" for the rest of us, but I'll need some time to recover from the first pass.

Thank you for sharing!

Prism Almidu

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 03:46:16 AM »
Have at it, and thanks. Wanted to be polite and tactful, while still making a point.

Stitchified

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 05:07:17 AM »
Why not email AND mail the letter? That way, if the email doesn't get read, then maybe the letter will get read, and vice versa. Plus email might have a higher chance of getting to someone higher up, I mean, a letter does have a chance, but well, a letter can easily get thrown away without even having a clue what's it about, an email at least has the heading that whoever gets it will read :P
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Prism Almidu

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 05:50:17 PM »
The question becomes one of destination at that point. Where to send email and mail so that it reaches someone willing to to read it and pass it up to those who can affect things, where it will reach eyes and minds, not trashcans and recycle bins.

Wyrm

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2017, 07:57:27 PM »
I'd be down for that. I've spent money on worse things over the last five years, given that my entire gaming history in that timeframe has been driven by my quest to distract myself from the loss of my home in CoX. Seems like I lost a part of my soul when the closure happened, and when It was announced, I tried to bury my feelings of grief and betrayal, so I wasn't around during the first round of protests. I actually have something of an open letter I've been drafting over the course of the last couple days. Polite, not accusatory, was the tone I aimed for, but if you think it could be beneficial, I'll trot it out for proofreading and editing.
It's a very well-written letter, and I'll not quote it here and just ask one key question and an explanation for why I think it's important to consider.

Key question:

To whom do you intend to address this? 

I mean the question not in any specific sense (your "where to send it" question), but more in the sense of what level within the organization you are targeting your message.  When you yourself refer to it as a "wall of text," that makes it fairly unlikely that anyone with the clout to make the decisions we'd all like to see made will take the time to read it.  A brief, well-reasoned letter that dangles tangible benefits (e.g., regaining lost customers whose trust in NCSoft may have been damaged) is more likely to get to the desk/screen of people with decision-making power than an extended explanation of why the company was wrong.

It also seems that you're missing the mark on your own target tone.  Words like "unjustified," "swindled," and "fabricated," and phrases like "poison yourself," "lack of understanding" (saw this one at least twice), and "All you had to do..." can come across as very accusatory, and carry implications of both dishonesty and incompetence.

I understand the frustration.  I do, truly.  There are many, many things I want to say to NCSoft, and you've said a lot of them.  But in terms of things that can be said that would be productive, I think that variations on, "You had a great game, I'm one of a lot of people who miss it, I hope you'll continue to explore ways to bring it back" would work better.

That is, however, just my opinion.

/Wyrm

Prism Almidu

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 04:09:55 AM »
Thank you for the response, and the critique. As I said, it was a draft, rough emotion poured into a logical and thought-based form. I considered shortening it, but I felt that in doing so I might lose something of the passion behind it. Word choices... I get your perspective on it, and I can see how it can be read that way. I'll take your advice under consideration, though my intent was to offer solutions in a "yeah, we know what happened was a mistake, but let's focus on rectifying it" kind of way. That being said, I'm fairly introverted and not particularly skilled at the more subtle social interactions, so the way I view words may not match the way they're received.

Mistress Urd

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 07:43:20 AM »
As had been mentioned, word choice and how it would get translated could have some measureable impact.

I'm not sure what the correct industry words are. Its been 4 years, a few extra days trying to make this better won't hurt.

Prism Almidu

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Re: Preparing for the 5th Anniversary - A New Campaign?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 01:39:47 PM »
Well, I have edited the phrasing that was pointed out and placed it onto r/CityOfHeroes. From there, I suppose I could link it to on Twitter.