Friday, November 30, 2012

Going Gently

How do you measure fanaticism?
How do you decide who is and isn't a fan of something?

Questions like that do occasionally come up. Most recently, for me at least, it was in a conversation about girl gamers and gamers who coincidentally happened to be girls. Irregardless of what makes a gamer a gamer, or a fan a fan... there'll always be those who judge you from the lofty heights of batshit insanity.


So let's try establish some credentials.
Was I in the CoH Beta? No... but I joined the game rather soon after launch. I only played one sub game at a time and it took me a while to gird myself for flashy comic book universe.

That aside, I have been playing City of Heroes for a long time. It went free to play and I kept my subscription so it follows that I have also been paying for City of Heroes for a long time.

I have spent in the store, I bought booster packs before free to play, I have every edition worth mentioning. I have the books and I have the comics. Without further belabouring the point, I am invested.

Those credentials established, I do consider myself a fan of City of Heroes but now I can't take it any more. Today is the final day in Paragon. Midnight pacific time, the servers go down and my heroes, villains and all in between will no longer be. They have been recorded to the best of my ability and the stories that I write myself will go on, but ultimately seeing out the server closure tonight on Ardua will be the last time that I will be Ardua.

I plan to see it out with a smile. Maybe some tears. Certainly memories and tales and more. I've given good time and good money to that game because that game gave back to me worth and fun and joy and friends.
What I will not do is see it out in rage and bile. The "true" fans of City of Heroes are still trying to save City of Heroes. They spout grand claims of pitching the game to Disney and how that will magically resurrect Paragon Studios, despite people having jobs and commitments now. How an adored and beloved but still eight year old game will magically form a pillar on Disney Interactive (or whomever is next on their pitch hit list) with a huge fan base.... which has either said its goodbyes or never invested the same emotion.

Was the campaign noble and worthy? Oh yes. Yes it was. It was worth the attempt, it was as was claimed, something heroes do. The campaign tried and it's time people accepted it failed. Tonight, barring a miracle of e-biblical proportions, the City of Heroes dies.

Should it die, as it was born, in the fire of a Rikti onslaught? I will follow through on the title of this post. I will not go gently into the good night. I will get full on Independence Day on them. I will fight because that is what you do with an invading horde.

When it is done, when the lights go out and the switch is flipped... I will miss it dearly.

What I won't do is deny that tonight that is going to happen. I won't pollute the last few hours with a game I adore by seething and complaining. Log in and take what joy you can in the last hours. See the sights one last time. Fight the good fight or plot a good heist. Either way, do with a game what you are meant to. Play. Have fun.

All good things come to an end, and City of Heroes is a very very good thing.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Saving City Of Heroes

In case you haven't seen it on OnRPG, Massively, MMORPG, Ten Ton Hammer, Dragonchasers, Levelcapped, MMO Fallout, Bio Break and many more, here's one more hat in the ring.

Press Release
Gamers Rally to Save City of Heroes

What happens when a virtual world is condemned to oblivion?  Dedicated players of the online game City of Heroes struggle for the very survival of their city.
Mountain View CA, September 6, 2012:  The online heroes of Paragon City are currently in an epic battle.  Not against the forces of crime and evil that they have been facing for eight years, but against the decision of a company that is preparing to turn off the game servers and end a game that has been running since April 2004.
NCsoft, the publisher of City of Heroes, announced last Friday that it is shutting down Paragon Studios, the game development studio responsible for City of Heroes.  Operation of the flagship will cease by November 30 due to a realignment of NCsoft’s focus.
To its community, City of Heroes is more than just a game, it is a vibrant, welcoming community.  City of Heroes was the first online role-playing game for many gamers, and introduced them to the wonders of flying through the skies and battling epic menaces with friends.  City of Heroes has brought together families, offered comfort during troubling times, and inspired charities that have raised nearly $30,000 for children, members of the armed forces, and to fight hunger.
The City of Heroes community quickly rallied and formed a campaign to save the game from virtual extinction.  “We’ve been saving Paragon City for eight and a half years.  It’s time to do it one more time,” said Tony Vasquez administrator of the Titan Network, an alliance of City of Heroes fan sites (http://paragonwiki.com), and one of the organizers of the Save Paragon City! campaign.
Through social media outlets, fan web sites, and the City of Heroes official game forums, players have been organizing projects and events to convince NCsoft to allow the game to continue, exploring options including selling the game to another game publishing company or development studio.   The “Keep NCsoft from shutting down City of Heroes!” petition initiated by a community member has gathered over 12,600 signatures and continues to grow.  (http://change.org/petitions/ncsoft-keep-ncsoft-from-shutting-down-city-of-heroes) In addition, players have begun a letter writing campaign to NCsoft to demonstrate the reach of their numbers and convey the impact City of Heroes has had on their lives.
City of Heroes players have a non-stop schedule of activities to show their support.  Saturday, September 8th, players are organizing an in-game “Unity Rally” and Paragon Appreciation costume contest in which players will dress up as their favorite Paragon Studios staff member (http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showthread.php?t=296768). This event will take place on the Virtue server starting at 5:00pm EDT.  Organizers expect that this could be the biggest costume contest in online gaming history.  Other ongoing projects beginning this week include a crowd funding drive in which the community has pledged to financially assist acquiring the game from NCsoft and partnership discussions with industry leaders regarding acquisition of the City of Heroes game property.




Now some people will inevitably ask, why. Why save a studio and game that has had such a good run?
Well there's the human cost. All those bright souls in Paragon Studios who worked so hard ever since NCSoft bought the IP from Cryptic who are now out of a job. There's the material cost, Paragon Studios has/had an as yet and possibly never will be announced secret project. The changing design in City Of Heroes only helped to illustrate how they were expanding their skills, skills certainly then applied to whatever the secret project was.




There's a ton of reasons and I'll leave you to decide what ones suit you best.

For me, it's simple. I'm not done.
Oh the levelling content, I've done most of everything there is, just some Incarnate Trials and newer arcs that I haven't run. I've roleplayed, I've tried a smidgeon of PvP, I've ground out my XP and taken on events. None of that has anything to do with being done. City of Heroes has made me friends, dear dear friends whom I have crossed oceans to visit and stand in their wedding. Other friends who given the chance and the time I'd visit just as readily, half way across the world.
I may have added other games to my catalogue. I may utterly adore The Secret World (woo Arcadia!) and love my time in Rift (woo Faeblight!) but that in no way diminishes my time on Virtue. I'm not sure I'd ever really be done with City of Heroes. They always brought me something more to do, something more to see. That's not to say it's always been sweetness and light, I've had my disagreements with the city of Paragon but I have never stopped loving it. I won't claim it's a sandbox, sandbox players would laugh themselves sick, I won't claim it has the same universal appeal as WoW or NCSofts shiny new Guild Wars 2.

I will say simply this, when I was a child I dreamed of being a super hero like many others. Forever more those dreams of being a hero come in the shape of the people of Paragon. NCSoft is taking it away, but they also gave it to us to begin with. If nothing else, I will always have that. DC can have Superman over Metropolis. Marvel can have Spider-Man in New York. Now and forever I will have Ardua the Peacebringer hovering over Paragon City.

Monday, August 29, 2011

War is Hell

It is a little after 10am on Monday the 29th of August. I am saying that upfront because right now there are goings on in The Secret World.

Follow Mithrilendil and The Dark Places on Twitter now if you do not already. Two hours remain to ask the questions.

On topic. I have always wanted to be part of an MMO Community in some real large way. Ever since my first steps in the community around Earth & Beyond I have wanted to get to know the movers and shakers and if at all possible, make my own mark.

However that’s going to take a major effort. There are long established names, loud and proud fans and an entire community between me and the fifteen minutes of fame. Further to that, The Secret World is going to continue using ARGs and social networking. They said in an interview that combat is going to demand more of the player than the average MMO… I think it won’t just be the combat.

This then is the simple choice. Do I play the game and watch it pass me by, be like the masses in EVE for example who just do their day to day starship activities? Or do I take the time, do the research and make the effort to break onto the stage? Do I weave characters around me to hide my intentions from the chaotic Dragon and proud Illuminati? Do I have what I need to engage with a game as I never have before?

Only one way to find out.

I really hope The Secret War isn’t flammable.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hello Anyone From Massively!

Sorry, I've not blogged anything much recently. If you fancy a damned good read though, the blogroll is still quite active and there are some fantastic mmo blogs to read on it.
If you fancy a rather not bad read, my interviews with Derek Smart and Ragnar Tornquist are linked to the side.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Temporal Rift

It is 9.04am here in Dublin and I am in the office.

I haven’t slept.

Now I know this is my fault. It may also be the fault of dinner… you know I don’t think chicken fajitas need two whole bell peppers chopped up but eh, what do I know? I will just have to coffee up, keep the brain engaged. I’ll get through this day. What got me through the weekend however was a heady mix of addiction and excitement. (In retrospect, that sentence looks suspicious.)

Rift of course. What else?

You know, for not knowing next to a damned thing about the game, I am having a fantastic time. There are so many games out now with hype machines and detractors/supporters and ads everywhere that well.. I just tune most of them out. Rift was one of those things that got tuned out. I’d get around to it in time. Fortunately for me I did.

Originally I snagged beta invite keys for Beta 6 for myself and Shannon but neither of us actually ended up with the time or desire to download it and test. Bad beta players in other words. Trion on the other hand was far more forgiving, which is to say that their database just sent the invite, and we ended up invited via email to the Open beta like approximately ten billion other people. Nothing special but enough to remind us, so in we went.

Rift has subsequently been pre-ordered for us both. Founders pricing has been locked in. Unless I have a suddenly and inexplicably awful 30+ days between the free month and headstart, Trion is going to get six months out of us both.

That brings me back to having not slept. No I didn’t stay up all night playing Rift, though I easily could have. We’re still blaming dinner for that particular detail. But I did play it endlessly this weekend. Both myself and Shannon turned to each other more than once with excitement in our voices “Want to play some Rift?”. At 3am this morning when neither of us could sleep in any way, shape or form and we finally gave into staying up. Rift.

It may have eaten a good portion of the weekend, when I wasn’t doing things I was supposed to, but it is welcome to what it took. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such fun in a new game and wanted so hard to play more. For completely missing the hype and having no clue, I am now a convert.

I won’t be playing today though, I’m going to let the rest of the beta pass without me drooling over it. There’s things I have to get done and well.. the dreaded beta wipe. I am already far too attached to one character, I don’t need to make the loss worse. Thursday though, you know where you’ll find me.

Tripping the Rift Fantastic.

Friday, October 15, 2010

No more Intellectuals Please.

IP! Intellectual Properties. If you’re in the business of licensing things, man I bet you love those.

George Lucas has vast armies of people making Star Wars games. Star Trek games come out every so often (and are usually not the best). Movies get adapted to games, games get made from tv shows and there are plenty of properties out there that have been looked at for further video game exploitation.

Given that this will never ever come to pass, I have two requests.

First, no more intellectual properties please. Take a break. Try your hand at something new. Not a universe that lends itself to being turned into an MMO. Not some existing IP that you think could crack the nut that is WoW or emulate its success.

Try new things. Try new worlds. Try making something that no one has ever seen before. Right now there is the trend of taking what someone has done and emulating the crap out of it, as though that process will somehow mystically imbue your title with the same positives and line your pockets. We’ve all seen the huge buckets of money that Minecraft just made. How long until the copies come out, reasoning that a tiny iteration on an established success equals more success?`

Just because something made the splash once, it does not automatically follow that it or any other game directly modelled on it will do the same.

Secondly, as a game company… start lying to us all. I don’t mean lie about features or release dates or content. They’re all very important. Making a good, complete and completed game is vital to you, to your market and to the genre. However…. people are going gaga for or raging at Bioware because of however they currently perceive Star Wars: The Old Republic. People will always look at Mythic a certain way. Reportedly Square Enix lost $26million worth of investment because a player who had the stock didn’t like the latest installment. I personally cannot wait for The Secret World, but there are many who read as far as “Funcom” and stop listening.

So lie to me. Lie to everyone. Spin off subsidiaries and reabsorb them later or drop them if they are unsustainable. Create new companies, new names, new faces and personalities to bring us the next wave of MMOs. Don’t bring us “Bioware presents: Some Game” or “Square Enix FF 75.23”. The same name that sells your games in a single player market brings far too much drama in a massively multiplayer one.

Bring me a new game from a new company and importantly from a new and neutral starting point. Make your success stories on the back of the hard work put into the game rather than on the back of a bought in IP that someone will say you did wrong or on the back of your own reputations which may leave many demanding things that you may not ever be able to deliver.

Would it be difficult to work out who has spun off whom and for what? Probably not. However if the one thing missing from games now days is wonder, leave us wondering and with wonderful things.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This should be a tradition.

I did this well before the launch of Star Trek Online and I am doing it again. The only difference is this time I’m not (yet, if ever) in the beta.

I do not like nor am I impressed by Star Wars : The Old Republic.

I’m not hating on your game, if you are a fan. I am not bashing the company or anything. I am just totally unimpressed. If I change my tune later and become a total fanboy, feel free to call me on it.

In the meantime, until I get my blogging regions of my brain full of coffee and come back to you all, enjoy this.