Author Topic: Aeria Games  (Read 11986 times)

Thunder Glove

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2014, 02:45:16 AM »
Even if it's 100% true, a "re-launch" of a secret updated version of the game (so secret, that not even Paragon Studios knew about it, which is already a big red flag) doesn't at all mean that they'll reopen the game as it was, with all of our characters in place, just with better graphics.  Quite the contrary, it more likely means that they'll have some generic WoW clone (or, worse, some generic cutesy Maple Story clone) in superhero clothing with the City of Heroes name and featured characters slapped onto it.

And that wouldn't be an improvement over the game not being open at all.  It'd be worse.

LadyVamp

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2014, 03:36:33 AM »
Something smells in Smellsville all right!!!  My gut tells me that NCsoft will re-launch the game in some updated form at some point in the future.....I'm all-in if and when they do, but I am also supporting CoT ;D

I'm full of doubts.  Though I hope you are right and they do.
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LadyVamp

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2014, 04:01:19 AM »
Even if it's 100% true, a "re-launch" of a secret updated version of the game (so secret, that not even Paragon Studios knew about it, which is already a big red flag) doesn't at all mean that they'll reopen the game as it was, with all of our characters in place, just with better graphics.  Quite the contrary, it more likely means that they'll have some generic WoW clone (or, worse, some generic cutesy Maple Story clone) in superhero clothing with the City of Heroes name and featured characters slapped onto it.

And that wouldn't be an improvement over the game not being open at all.  It'd be worse.

I don't believe you'll have to worry about that.  My guess is our toons live on backup tapes and the code itself in a repository under cvs, subversion, git or one of the others.  While the code repository is likely to live for years, the backup tapes will be off to the industrial shredder in a couple of years.

I'll place my bet on CoT or Heroes and Villains.  Nothing short of a corporate raid of ncsoft will we have any chance of seeing our beloved paragon city return.  A tragedy really.  I miss my toons and the base we, my toons and me, built together, the battles we fought, the friends we made, and yes even the ppl who pissed us off enough to put them on the global ignore list.

I miss all the things like watching suzie palmer jump on her defender and tank hami.  A stone tank stood by ready to take over if she fell which she didn't.  Running no retreat hami runs.  The time I had flying snow mouse hold hami and 2 yellow orbs agro all at the same time because yellow agro was short a couple of tanks.  The nights I took green team and worked the green orbs even beating yellow damage a couple of nights.  Sorry Quiller P.  The day I altered one of my tiny map missions in ae to allow farmers to keep running ae farms for a few hours until someone who knew how to make an ae farm could build one.  Running rwz mother ship raids.  The day I demo'd an illusion/storm troller to some friends who thought ill/sto was too weak.  handling 54+8 scrappers changed their minds quickly.  lol.  I actually felt like a used car salesman that night. "Now see how hurricane protects me from them.  Now watch as freezing rain weakens their defenses while my 3 PA pets make short work of them....  As you can see, nothing short of a ranged attacker can really hurt us and you guys are very safe standing next to me.  Feel free to attack the mobs."

Brings a tear to my eye that I will likely never play with those toons again.  They brought me much joy.

You know?  It's like the first time you fall in love with a woman.  You never love another quite like that.  (guy in rl btw).
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The-Pendragon

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2014, 04:37:51 AM »
I would welcome a new COH...or even a ressurected one....and yes...though I am still bitter on the asshattery displayed b y NC on this...I would most likely be right there again to register and start playing.  I Miss the game...and the people who I came think of as Family  (Shout outs to the Knights..the Gurus and the Sinners!)  But I am also strongly supporting CoT...so perhaps there will be some boon for us all.   

Arcana

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #44 on: January 17, 2014, 06:42:58 AM »
Ironwolf, based on what I was informed, it was a new tax implementation, which would have been a tax application/increase not a tax withholding/omission. A new tax increase was set to be implemented at the start of the fiscal year, yet the bill had been circulating for a while before it was officially passed. However, it left a blanket of implementation to give businesses an opportunity to prepare for it after it was passed. I'm not going to definitively accuse the company of trying to avoid this tax burden, but both I and my sources believe that. You can look at it from many different angles, but to me, it seems like an accurate assumption. For a company such as NCSoft that would cost tens of millions of dollars extra, each year. That's practically the amount of money that is used to develop an MMO, so in my opinion, it's a perfect reason to try to avoid this tax.

I'm afraid you're going to have to lay out your theory in more precise detail before I can lend them credence.  At the time of the shutdown many economic theories pertaining to the shutdown were tossed around, and I investigated most of them very carefully.  None of the proposed or passed tax code changes I'm aware of would be capable of generating a multimillion dollar increase in tax burden for NC Interactive or Paragon Studios.  The only theories I can think of that would lead anyone to that conclusion would be the nexus changes in the tax code for Texas, or the 6203 revisions to the California tax code (the so-called "Amazon tax.")  But if that's the case, I don't think tax law works the way you think it does, if you believe they had any possibility of generating eight-figure tax bills.

Kosmos

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2014, 07:24:01 AM »
I'm afraid you're going to have to lay out your theory in more precise detail before I can lend them credence.  At the time of the shutdown many economic theories pertaining to the shutdown were tossed around, and I investigated most of them very carefully.  None of the proposed or passed tax code changes I'm aware of would be capable of generating a multimillion dollar increase in tax burden for NC Interactive or Paragon Studios.  The only theories I can think of that would lead anyone to that conclusion would be the nexus changes in the tax code for Texas, or the 6203 revisions to the California tax code (the so-called "Amazon tax.")  But if that's the case, I don't think tax law works the way you think it does, if you believe they had any possibility of generating eight-figure tax bills.

When I looked the "Amazon tax" was the only one that was significant.  And then only if they expected large US sales (I mean more like WoW than CoH) in the future and wanted to remove their "substantial business nexus" from the state.

To me it still looks like a largely personal decision by NCSoft's leadership to get rid of a studio they just didn't want any more; with CoH as collateral damage.

Aviticus Gladius

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #46 on: January 17, 2014, 08:16:50 AM »
Arcana, the "Amazon Tax" is precisely what I was informed of. Here is some substance from NCSoft's official site:

"NC Interactive, LLC is a division of Korean online game powerhouse NCSOFT with locations in game development hubs in North America and Europe. A premiere worldwide game publisher with expertise, talent and infrastructure to successfully support top MMO franchises to the gaming public, including Guild Wars®, Guild Wars 2®, Lineage® II, and Aion®, NC Interactive, LLC continues its game publishing legacy with development for the West that include WildStar® and Blade & Soul®."

Source: http://us.ncsoft.com/en/jobs/

So, as I was informed, it was about offsetting a burden that would come. Keep in mind that fact that Wildstar and Blade & Soul were both deep into development; an expense that has yet to garnish revenue for the company. Basically money going out, with nothing returning. What I was told revolves slightly around Kosmos' suggestion, which suggests that it was indeed a leadership call; as it would be. I truly believe that the leadership felt that CoH wasn't were the pending taxes that would come with continued operation of the title. This theory made sense to me, and quite a few of my other friends and former players of the title.

Arcana

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #47 on: January 17, 2014, 09:17:34 AM »
Arcana, the "Amazon Tax" is precisely what I was informed of. Here is some substance from NCSoft's official site:

"NC Interactive, LLC is a division of Korean online game powerhouse NCSOFT with locations in game development hubs in North America and Europe. A premiere worldwide game publisher with expertise, talent and infrastructure to successfully support top MMO franchises to the gaming public, including Guild Wars®, Guild Wars 2®, Lineage® II, and Aion®, NC Interactive, LLC continues its game publishing legacy with development for the West that include WildStar® and Blade & Soul®."

Source: http://us.ncsoft.com/en/jobs/

So, as I was informed, it was about offsetting a burden that would come. Keep in mind that fact that Wildstar and Blade & Soul were both deep into development; an expense that has yet to garnish revenue for the company. Basically money going out, with nothing returning. What I was told revolves slightly around Kosmos' suggestion, which suggests that it was indeed a leadership call; as it would be. I truly believe that the leadership felt that CoH wasn't were the pending taxes that would come with continued operation of the title. This theory made sense to me, and quite a few of my other friends and former players of the title.
A couple of problems with any theory based on 6203:

1.  California sales and use tax only applies to sales generated within the state, or sales to customers within the state.  Even if Paragon Studios provided nexus to NC Interactive, Paragon Studios itself did not sell subscriptions to City of Heroes.  Therefore, sales tax would not be applicable to City of Heroes sales in general.  The only thing potentially applicable is use tax for consumers buying City of Heroes within the state of California.  So in effect, only revenue collected from California players would be subject to taxes under 6203, not all of NCI.  7.5% of California sales (8.75% if we use the Mountain View combined rate) is almost certain to be less than $80,000/year.  That already makes it impossible for this tax burden to be substantial relative to NCI or NCSoft in general. 

2.  California use tax only applies to sales of tangible property.  Things like services and other intangible sales are explicitly exempted.  For example, if you buy a CD from Amazon, that's subject to use tax.  But if you buy a song from iTunes, its not - no tangible property.  A subscription to an MMO transfers no tangible property, its basically a service.  Services, like a subscription to Netflix, are explicitly not taxed.  So the use tax in this case would actually be zero.

3.  Even if the law was rewritten to make these sales taxable, there's an irreparably fatal flaw with the theory.  6203 doesn't just compel retailers to remit (pay) the tax, it also requires them to *collect* the tax from customers.  Therefore, even if 6203 altered the nexus of NCI, and even if subscription sales became taxable, 6203 would still not cost NCSoft a dime.  It would cost California subscribers additional money.  NC would be forced to collect it from them, and then pass it on to the California tax office, just like Amazon does.

So 6203 doesn't affect most of NCI's revenue, doesn't even tax the revenue it does apply to, and doesn't cost the seller anything either way.

Arcana

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2014, 09:53:38 AM »
You talk about having proof and that you've seen things that indicate there was a fully playable COH2 prototype.  I find this to be questionable, but I've seen people create mockups of all kinds of things.  I do it myself for prospective prototypes.  I can create a very convincing COH mock up in probably a couple days.
There was a time where a playable build was a measure of the amount of work that was already invested into a project, at least a little.  But today, for a while now, dev tools have existed that blur that line significantly.  For example, a small team of developers using something like this could have a playable *something* running in days to weeks.  It might still require huge amounts of work to make the gameplay itself function, but its theoretically possible for someone to see something that looks like and feels at a glance like a playable demo that's actually closer to Icon in its functionality. 

I mean jeez, this thing is actually free.  If I had the time and energy to write a Plan Z CoH clone, I'd probably do it in something like that.

As an aside, everything I know strongly suggests that none of the CoH2 efforts (there was more than one, depending on how you count) reached a legitimate play-testable alpha, although its possible there was some code written for it.  Paragon didn't have the resources to drive three separate full projects, and if Paragon Studios managed to survive about a month longer than it did, I think we would have gotten to see that Island-hopping game Matt Miller mentions in this article that Azrael linked to upstream.  I was told we were probably days away from PS spilling the beans to CoH players as an early sneak peek when the shutdown decision came down.  There was really no time for a CoH2 with CoH1 still in development and that other game also spinning up.  From 2007 to about 2010, CoH2 was a possibility.  After 2010, it wasn't really anymore (before that, Cryptic was working on the aborted MUO).

I was never told this, nor did anyone ever imply it to me, but I have often wondered if one of the reasons NC decided to pull the trigger on PS was that they knew if they didn't do it then, it would look much worse after PS announced Island-hopping-crafting-game-I-wish-I-could-use-the-name-for-but-probably-shouldn't.  It might have looked even worse after PS, well, did the next thing after announcing it, which Matt aluded to in this interviewThey were going to Kickstarter it.

Aviticus Gladius

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2014, 10:51:17 AM »
Arcana, I was informed that matter was in relations also to their NC Interactive branch in Austin, TX:

http://us.ncsoft.com/en/jobs/austin.php

As CoH and CoV was still being sold in boxes, the California law would still apply. I knew server players that bought the on-shelf releases even though the game was free 2 player, as a starting point due to their internet limitations or bandwith caps. So going free 2 play didn't mean boxes were just removed from shelves. Another thing to note is that in the blog you reference included this quote:

"So what else had Paragon Studios been working on? Another super-powered being MMO set in a modern world, but much darker than CoH/V and more towards something like The Secret World. That was scrapped. "

Source: http://evilasahobby.com/2012/09/14/city-of-heroes-villains-there-was-no-cohv-2-0-because/

Though the author blanketed his source for the sake of professionalism and confidentiality, he seemed to have information from a credible source. The project that he referred to in that quote sounds oddly similar to what I was told. During my conversations quotes such as, "it was planned to be more serious", and "it would have been a bit more realistic take on the franchise" were used. It was further referred to as "COH 2 prototype" in my conversations. I made sure that I was clear in my inquiries as to whether the individual was referring to just an expansion/update or a full product as not to be misled, myself. As someone working on a spiritual successor to CoH, I felt the information was helpful and enlightening, so I figured I'd share what "I" believe with anyone that was interested to hear. It's not a battle and I'm not trying to convince anyone to believe it; it's simply information.

Ironwolf

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #50 on: January 17, 2014, 11:58:15 AM »
There were almost no box sets left.

Certainly not many left in Texas alone to cause this kind of a drain on the game. Arcana hit it on the head that if things were taxed it would be passed to the end users. Texas has some of the lowest taxes in the country and the most business friendly so I find it very hard to believe that was the source of the closure.

It looks very simple - City of as a franchise did not bring in the multimillions that NCSoft hoped for. They had already signaled the end of the game by adding a second team that was NOT working on a CoH2. I could far more readily believe they wanted to escape the California tax burden than the Texas one. Moving the studio would have fixed that.

I can't buy an elaborate cloak and dagger reason when a far simpler one is right there - a staff that had gone rogue working on stuff that wasn't approved by the upper management. A game that after going Rogue and the Praetorian expansion did not sell well. F2P helped but it did not set the house on fire with sales.

Please look at this game honestly - it is a small budget, small niche game. Yes, for you and I making a $10 million a year in cash with an overhead of likely around half of that would be great. NCSoft does not have emotional attachment to the product. That is smart business in truth and it wasn't enough money being made to keep the staffing in their eyes.

I just had to move because in less than 5 years they were closing the office I was in - my company had no anger towards me or those in our office - it just is not good business to maintain our expensive office at that location. They are offering relocation - which I took. I work n a very large company (State Farm) and I know how big business thinks and works. They do not get angry or personal in most cases and if they hated calling and talking to you - if you made them enough money - you would still be on their speed-dial.

Codewalker

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2014, 02:32:00 PM »
Island-hopping-crafting-game-I-wish-I-could-use-the-name-for-but-probably-shouldn't.

It is truly a Mystery.

Codewalker

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #52 on: January 17, 2014, 02:35:54 PM »
NCSoft does not have emotional attachment to the product. That is smart business in truth and it wasn't enough money being made to keep the staffing in their eyes.

Actually, I think they do, sort of. Not the same as you or I, of course. They have an attachment to it because it has their name attached to it, and if they were to sell it to someone else it would be akin to admitting failure -- especially if it became successful after the sale.

Besides just pride, that also looks bad to shareholders and could negatively impact the value of the company. That's a financial reason right there not to sell, even for reasonable offers.

Arcana

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2014, 06:31:25 PM »
As CoH and CoV was still being sold in boxes, the California law would still apply.

Only to those sales explicitly.  Based on the number of boxes they were likely selling to California residents, my taxes were probably higher.

Quote
Another thing to note is that in the blog you reference included this quote:

"So what else had Paragon Studios been working on? Another super-powered being MMO set in a modern world, but much darker than CoH/V and more towards something like The Secret World. That was scrapped. "

Source: http://evilasahobby.com/2012/09/14/city-of-heroes-villains-there-was-no-cohv-2-0-because/

Though the author blanketed his source for the sake of professionalism and confidentiality, he seemed to have information from a credible source. The project that he referred to in that quote sounds oddly similar to what I was told. During my conversations quotes such as, "it was planned to be more serious", and "it would have been a bit more realistic take on the franchise" were used. It was further referred to as "COH 2 prototype" in my conversations. I made sure that I was clear in my inquiries as to whether the individual was referring to just an expansion/update or a full product as not to be misled, myself.
All that stuff happened circa 2008 to 2009ish.  And while some code was written, CoH2 did not reach what I would describe as "a playable prototype."  The game it evolved into eventually did, minimally, before it was scrapped in 2010.  Everything after that is of the Island-Hopping-Minecraft-Kinda-Game lineage.

Thing you have to remember is that MMO development happens in parallel.  You have guys doing conceptual design while the programmers work on code.  The concept guys can keep changing their ideas all the while the programmers just keep chugging along.  By the time they write milestone code for Concept Alpha, the concept team can already have ditched Concept Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and already be working on concept Mu.  Also, "playable demo" in this day and age can literally be Icon with concept art, meaning its possible to whip up something with modern tools where a character you can't change walks around in a 3D world that doesn't change based on concept art the paint is still drying on in a weekend.  I consider that more "interactive concept art" but it could be described as a playable demo - but it also means nothing in terms of how far along development is.  It basically means "Task: Chosen a devkit: Successful."

Arcana

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #54 on: January 17, 2014, 06:45:03 PM »
It is truly a Mystery.
If only we could have seen that game Land on our computer screens back in the Fall of 2012.

Viking Queen

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #55 on: January 18, 2014, 03:03:55 PM »
This whole Tax burden Theory for the closing of Paragon Studios is kinda silly, considering that their game Guild Wars II continues to be played in America (and elsewhere) and continues to be subject to American tax laws, just like CoH would have been. If this tax thingy was the reason, they would have zero presence outside of Asia.

 And, under no circumstance is not selling (zero dollars gained) worth more to any company than selling (any price more than zero = some profit) and so it would appear than the closure was not about business reasons at all. I do not pretend to know what those reasons might be. Maybe it was just too much trouble to run a studio full of folks they didn't really understand their motivations, and do so from basically the other side of the planet.

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dwturducken

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #56 on: January 18, 2014, 05:19:16 PM »
I think the difference with GW2 is that it, with millions of players rather than thousands, can support itself in a new tax structure, whereas CoH/V would not.
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

JaguarX

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #57 on: January 18, 2014, 09:14:34 PM »
I think the difference with GW2 is that it, with millions of players rather than thousands, can support itself in a new tax structure, whereas CoH/V would not.
yeah.

Ironwolf

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2014, 05:45:03 PM »
I highly doubt that taxation was the issue. I personally believe that they found out that Paragon had started development on CoH2 without permission (obviously a dev could correct me on that).

NCSoft stepped in and said when did your staffing grow to 80 people?
Paragon - well we needed a few people and found some really good workers to start on CoH2
NCSoft - City of Heroes 2? Whose idea was that? What budget is paying for it?
Paragon - well it was our idea and it comes out of the City of Heroes game.
NCSoft - we need to talk to your management alone now.

Door closes on the devs.

NCSoft - you don't talk now - you listen, CoH2 is not what we were paying for.
Paragon - after being berated for some time - well do you have anything you would like us to work on?
NCSoft - how about this Minecraft thing
Paragon - What about..............(they stop when about to mention CoH2 was greeted by a scowl).
Paragon - minecraft thing, huh?

Then Paragon tried to buy the game. It was the deathknell when they cut production of the next game. Paragon knew it and tried to salvage what they could. They had spent NCSoft's money on a project they didn't want and then tried to undercut NCSoft by buying out the game. This could have seriously ticked off some upper management guy.

I have heard this kind of conversation and let me say this - in a big company it is not a good idea until it is upper management's idea. I had an idea 8 years ago to save $800 a month and also the cost of a $20k server and $80k router by joining 2 buildings at a cost of $3,000 and sharing the infrastructure. It was shot down with a vengence. Then 8 years later one of the management guys said - hey - why don't we join those buildings?

They suddenly said - Great Idea! For a mere $20,000 we can do this and save some money.

I said, man what a great idea why don't we do it like this............pulling out my old proposal. Yes, we did it.

JetFlash

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Re: Aeria Games
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2014, 06:40:25 PM »
This could have seriously ticked off some upper management guy.

Though I have no evidence to back this, I strongly suspect that this what happened.  Some pompous *** got a bug in his shorts and someone had to suffer for it.