|Heroes and former villains gathered in the game’s Atlas Park to mourn the game’s passing.|
Do you remember a game called “City of Heroes?” 8 years ago, the world’s only super-hero MMO graced the PC gaming world and surprised everyone. It survived a transition from its original publishing company to NC Soft, it survived the pretender “Champions Online,” and it even survived “DC Universe Online” for a time.
Recently, at the end of November, the world within “CoH” was closed down forever by NC Soft. Rumors circulated that it was because the team from Paragon Studios was being moved to work on “Guild Wars 2.” Others believed that the game wasn’t closing, merely being taken from NC Soft by another company. Whatever the reason, the August announcement shook fans and players to their very core.
Not only were they saddened, but many of them were outraged at the fact that the game was closing. Still bringing in a quarterly profit of $2.76 million, according to market analysts in Korea where NC Soft’s main offices are, many were confused by this move.
An article written for koreatimes.co has the headline “‘Unethical’ game closure.'” Why? Partly because everyone else in the world can’t seem to understand the business move. While analysts agree the game doesn’t make a huge amount of money for the company, especially after going free-to-play recently, it still makes money.
Players have begun to start rousing other NC Soft fans to boycott the company in anger, while even media outlets are covering the player-community disgust. Each day after the closure was announced, players began in-game protests. They would gather en masse at certain locations in game just to spawn multiple instance monsters and bosses so that the game would lag atrociously and cause issues. Others took a more political approach, creating petitions and awareness campaigns online to try and show the company the large amount of fans that were against the action.
|It may not have been as pretty as other games, but it had a style all its own.|
This kind of community love is rarely seen in an MMO, especially an NC Soft one. However, “City of Heroes” eight year run was one for the history books. The game had time travel, a morality system, almost unfathomable amounts of customization that put other super-power MMOs to shame, player-run radio stations, arena battling, an alternate dimension and a mission creation system that allowed the player to make custom enemies with custom powersets and write their own storylines for others to play.
Paragon Studios and those who worked on the game did something right. They created a game that had a community so invested in the franchise that it is making a media stink so large it can be seen hovering over the NC Soft corporate offices in Korea.
Why shut it down? Only NC Soft knows. One thing is for certain, the players will never forget that it happened, and NC Soft’s image in the west has been severely damaged because of this decision.