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 (, 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.  ( 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 ( 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.