City of Heroes Shutting Down. WTH?!


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NCSoft finally posted an official response to the news that City of Heroes is closing down. This is the first official communication from the company. Even the official announcement that the game was closing, came from a (seemingly stunned) Paragon Studios community rep that essentially amounted to "uhm, we've all been sacked today, so I guess that's it."

NCSoft wrote:

City of Heroes® Players and Fans,

We wanted to let you know that your voices have been heard and your concerns have been taken into serious consideration. We appreciate the overwhelmingly constructive and positive messages in the emails, notes, and packages you've sent in support of the game. It has not been an easy decision for us to close Paragon Studios® and prepare to shut down City of Heroes. We've exhausted all options including the selling of the studio and the rights to the City of Heroes intellectual property, but in the end, efforts to do so were not successful. City of Heroes has a special place in all of our hearts, and we want to ensure its reputation and the memories we share for the game end on a high note.

Once again, we will be holding events throughout the process of preparing for the game's end, and we encourage players and fans of the franchise to join forces and enjoy their time in a game that we've enjoyed supporting for more than eight years.

The NCSOFT® Team

Or, as paraphrased by another player:

Vhailor@CoH wrote:

"We feel really bad for setting that puppy on fire. We want you to know that we loved the puppy too. But once we doused it in gasoline and lit it on fire, we just couldn't put it out."

"We even tried waving a fan at it to put the flames out and everything, but sadly all options are exhausted. Now let's please stop trying to put the puppy out, and instead hug and share happy memories of the puppy while it burns to death."

And also please stop mentioning to everyone how we set puppies on fire."

Considering how they have handled the situation so far (like sacking the entire staff at Paragon Studios without notice, or taking five weeks to compose any sort of official comment for their - former - customers) I think the 'let's all be sad together!' wording is a huge slap in the face. Thanks for assuming I'm an idiot, on top of everything else you've done!

Not that this wasn't the expected outcome. It looks bleak, but we're not counting ourselves out just yet! To borrow a line from the Illuminati in The Secret World: "It's do or get done. And we're not done."


Feel free to check out cohtitan.com for further efforts to convince NCSoft to stop being d&^%'s.


I never got a chance to try this game...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Slaunyeh wrote:
NCSoft finally posted an official response to the news that City of Heroes is closing down.

Thanks for posting this. I saw it the other day, but hadn't had chance to look it over. While it certainly doesn't bode well for any chance of keeping the game alive, it has had the opposite effect on the fanbase than I think NC Soft wanted it to.

As you mentioned (and was even better said by this blogger), the problem with this "release" is that it only seems to insult NCSoft's customers even more. Instead of giving some kind of details on what is going on or just the blunt financial honesty of it all, the company continues to give vague compliments that sounds like nothing more than: "Nope - we're still shutting down because we say so; go away now or buy our other games."

I also found this interesting discussion on NCSoft's financial problems and future marketing agenda. As I think has been suspected and discussed somewhat when the news first broke, it's about the money. But I also think the reality is that NCSoft's business interests lie in Korea more than US/Europe based on the financial plans in the documentation.

Which is what frustrates me more. If you are clearly losing money and want to pull up stakes, fine. But instead of shutting down the business without options - why not make some money on the way out? If, in fact, you have someone willing to buy your IP, why not sell it? It's clearly of no use to you in your home market (where it failed once before), so its unlikely to compete against you directly in Asia. And you are clearly not committed to using it in a foreign market (US/Europe), so it won't be a direct competitor in that gaming genre either.

To use the puppy analogy: "We're really sorry we couldn't put that puppy out, but we can't have anyone else put the fire out because its OUR puppy! So, we'll just take it with us and watch it burn to death while we all contemplate our happy memories. Oh, and by the way, we'll be keeping the ashes too!"


Just a few more days left now. I'm going to miss you City of Heroes! :(


Something tells me that some fans of the game have one or two private servers up somewhere.

The same applies to World of Warcraft and has applied since the first days of that MMO, so it's possible.


Berik wrote:
Just a few more days left now. I'm going to miss you City of Heroes! :(

There will be a party on the 30th 'till the servers go down at midnight PST! If you have an account, you should get in game, just to hang out for the last few hours.

Personally, I'd have liked to have seen an 'end of the world' event like they ran back in 2004 for the end of beta. Rikti motherships raining death upon Paragon City. Sadly, NCSoft has shown absolutely no interest in giving their until-now loyal playerbase any kind of send off (the players of Tabula Rasa and Auto Assault at least got a little something out of it), beyond that 'lol, sucks to be you' statement they made a while back.

At this point it's all about attitude, and NCSoft hasn't shown any interest in even trying to earn a little goodwill among their playerbase. That's what you get after 8 years as a loyal customer: nothing.

Lesson learned, NCSoft!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ajaxis wrote:

Played on and off for eight years. My current subsciption runs out in a few days. I've already deleted my characters, and removed the game from my hard drive. I was seriously thinking about re-upping and trying to the new nature powerset, but NCSoft has saved me that expense.

My understanding was the game was profitable, but apparently not profitable enough for NCSoft to want to keep it open.

The problem was that it wasn't. They were hoping that micro transactions would bring in cash once the game went Free To Play, bu that didn't happen to a sufficient extent. I also expect Aion to be getting the axe as well. The US version of Lineage 1 was also terminated earlier this year as well to relatively little notice.

If COH was still bringing in a net return they'd keep it open. If it was a viable property they'd sell it. Shutting it down as they are means that the net result is that they were hemorrhaging more money in operating expenses (which include paying the Paragon staff) then they were taking in from game revenue.


LazarX wrote:
If COH was still bringing in a net return they'd keep it open.

That's clearly not true.

There is enough to suggest that CoH was still turning a profit. But either way, turning a profit just isn't enough, you have to turn more profit than you could if you invested the same money elsewhere.

If you spend 10 bucks to earn 11 bucks, that's profit. But it's likely that you could invest your 10 bucks elsewhere to earn 12 bucks, in which case moving focus makes sense (especially if you don't have long-term customers to worry about).


Yeah, I don't think that there's any reason to doubt that City of Heroes was making a profit. All of the evidence seems to suggest that it was, NCSoft just decided to focus on other things. I understand companies needing to change focus now and then, though I think their communication has been awful. As for why they didn't sell? There are a lot of possibilities such as nobody offering as much as they wanted, wanting to hold on to the IP for other plans, a general policy against selling IP, or the game being worth more accounting-wise as a write-off rather than selling it.

And I'll definitely be playing the game up until the end. It's the most engaged I've been in a game for a long time so I want to play it while I can and say goodbye to my friends in game!


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Some companies never sell any IP they have. They might pull it out again at a later date, or maybe they just refuse to give anyone a chance to sell the same thing better, but the fact remains that there is a pile of IP out there collecting dust under various owners, none of whom do anything with it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

First off - I'll be trying to enjoy it as much as possible this week. The truth of the matter is that I never got the chance to finish all the content in the game. There was something else to distract me in the game and I have been a big altaholic, so I figured there was "always tomorrow." I thought I kind of figured that the game might last 10 years (I think Everquest went that long at least; WOW seems like it won't be slowing anytime soon), so I always thought there would be plenty of tomorrows. In any case, it looks like I've run out of tomorrows.

As far as profitability question, anything semi-official about NCSoft and COH seems to indicate that the game was making money. The problem is that the game wasn't making "huge" money - it was steady but not explosive profits. In hindsight, COH's move to Free-to-Play model in Sept 2011 might have be an unmentioned (at least to Paragon Studios) deadline by NCSoft to exceed financial expectations on the game's current results. That's just speculation on my part, but the timing of it seems awfully coincidental.

Finally, it is a sad fact that NCSoft is notorious for keeping their IPs - no matter the money offered. So, as someone else mentioned, unless they decide to release a City of Heroes 2 (probably done in that anime style NCSoft seems to love), this is probably the end for the IP to see the light the day. That's part of what is a killer to many fans - that this is the end of the road for the game in its current incarnation.


~sad sigh~ Less than two days to go before this wonderful game goes the way of the Dodo. I will miss City of Heroes.


City of Heroes Sunset Countdown

*sniffle*

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Slaunyeh wrote:


At this point it's all about attitude, and NCSoft hasn't shown any interest in even trying to earn a little goodwill among their playerbase. That's what you get after 8 years as a loyal customer: nothing.

Lesson learned, NCSoft!

Because they know that they're not going to please a poster like you in anyway short of lifting COH's shutdown. Given that they've decided that it's in their corporate interest to do so, they'll take the risk. Personally given that they've given people several weeks to say goodbye to the game when they could have just saved some money and shut it down a lot sooner, I don't think they're quite the ogres you and the other COH fanboys make them out to be.


LazarX wrote:
Because they know that they're not going to please a poster like you in anyway short of lifting COH's shutdown. Given that they've decided that it's in their corporate interest to do so, they'll take the risk. Personally given that they've given people several weeks to say goodbye to the game when they could have just saved some money and shut it down a lot sooner, I don't think they're quite the ogres you and the other COH fanboys make them out to be.

"posters like me" and "you and the other CoH fanboys"? Really? I'm not going to apologize for being a fan of City of Heroes, but I get the sense that you didn't mean it as a compliment.

So, idle curiosity: What's with the hostility? If you want to rabidly attack people who enjoyed their time in City of Heroes and who are sad to see it cut down with so much cool stuff on the horizon, you have 1 day, 8 hours, 55 minutes and 45 seconds left to do so here: http://boards.cityofheroes.com/. Really no excuse for lashing out at people here.

And speaking of cool stuff? The post apocalypse costume set was pushed to the beta server a few days ago. And psionic melee is currently playable on beta as well. I've only waited, like, eight years for psionic melee and it goes through *now*. Sadface!

Yeah, excuse us if we're a little upset about it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
Because they know that they're not going to please a poster like you in anyway short of lifting COH's shutdown.

*Sigh*

Given the fact that game will be shutting down, it is really moot what we want. But yea - that is kind of the point if you are player. You don't want to lose something you like or have invested time in because of corporate fiat?

If you go back and search the many links for reference, you will see that the frustratuon is that NCSoft has been very disingenious in the entire process of the shutdown. Everything for public review implies that the game is still financially viable; that the company hasn't gone to great links to seek solutions despite several offers by both the game studio or an outsider buyer; and no significant explanation to reassure their playerbase of why the game needs to be shutdown (unless you count buzzwords like "realignment of company focus" as helpful explanation). Compounding that is they pink-slipped the majority of the game studio with no advanced warning on the day of the announcement. The whole process has smacked of consumer disregard by the company.

That's a risky thing to do when you are hoping to spark interest in some of your other MMO's - especially the brand new ones you are hoping to market to the same customers you just alienated. This is a company that has put out a facebook release suggesting COH players come over to their "heroic" new game - Blade and Soul. A game by the way, that has nothing to do with the superhero genre - unless you think of wuxia-style martial arts as the same thing.

There could have been some level of courtesy in the process, but based on that pattern of behavior, I don't think its wrong to paint them as less than noble in anything they are doing. Given the behavior they have shown, the idea they left the servers running for 2 extra months doesn't smack of coporate altruism. It sounds more like corporate convenience - probably to resolve issues related to the shutdown - subscriptions, legal matters, etc.


Slaunyeh wrote:


And speaking of cool stuff? The post apocalypse costume set was pushed to the beta server a few days ago. And psionic melee is currently playable on beta as well. I've only waited, like, eight years for psionic melee and it goes through *now*. Sadface!

Yeah, excuse us if we're a little upset about it.

Psi Melee is on Beta now?

Godddammitttt!!!

I tried going back earlier this week, was trying to keep playing until the shut down but it just hurts too much.

Seven years ago, when my life was turning to s#@@ & my ex wouldn't allow my son & I to spend any time together almost the only thing that kept me sane was being able to play CoH.
Earlier this year, for my son's 11th birthday, I started a FtP account with about $50 extra so he could try some customization & we could play together, then one of our computers died so we could only play individually. My son really liked trying to work with the story engine.

You want to talk cool stuff: CoH/CoV had the ONLY Player-generated content of any MMO out there any more, LEGO Universe had it as well, but guess what? They went under earlier this year as well.

I can't type this makes me so...


When I get my very maddest, I tell myself I won't play any game I can't own.

I calm down a bit, and think 'source code escrow'. Like that would ever happen.


Alex Martin wrote:
There could have been some level of courtesy in the process, but based on that pattern of behavior, I don't think its wrong to paint them as less than noble in anything they are doing.

I realize that a lot of us won't be exactly thrilled with NCSoft at this point, no matter what they do, but IMHO it's a matter of courtesy. Some of us have been subscribed to their game since 2004, and all the consideration we got, and a month after the semi-official shutdown notice, was that joke of a press release.

The issue of forging Richard Garriott's resignation letter aside, I think they handled the shutdown of Tabula Rasa and Auto Assault much better. Perhaps it suggests that the company is no longer in a position where it can afford even small consolations like that, or maybe the "refocusing" effort means that they just can't be bothered. I don't know.

I get that CoH is shutting down. I am, if not fine with it, at least accepting that it's happening. Yet, in light of an inevitable shutdown, I think NCSoft could have handled it significantly better and with a lot more integrity. They've done so before.

Right now I'm unlikely to give any of their games a second look, but a year or two down the line, I'll remember them for how they treated me during the shutdown, for good or ill. And yes, they could have handled it a way that'd make me think more favourably down the line, so yes, they could 'please' me, at least in the long term.

But maybe they no longer care about long term.


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COURTESY?!? FIRING the whole Paragon Studios group on a Friday with NO EXPLANATION is not courtesy. The game was making money. Granted, it was not as much money as it used to, but still. No. The is some corporate BS and my guess is that someone higher up did not like CoH and wanted it dead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Well - I agree with both of you on how its been poorly handled by NCSoft. And yes - I do believe that I will have a hard time buying another NCSoft product. AION was one that I have been already playing, but Guild Wars 2 just makes me bitter - no fault of the game studio for making an excellent game - due to the company's behavior.

On the financial side, their stock on the Korean market has plunged since September almost 10,000KS or something like 40%. I don't know how much the shuttering has played in this, but you'd think it can't have helped.

Anyhow, if I have ever played with any of you online (@Servo) and didn't realize it, thanks for the team. As I said at the start, I'll see you one more time around Atlas Park before they close the doors.


Good bye City of Heroes. You will be missed. I am glad that I could be there for the last hours of the game. Thanks for all the good times and all the friends.


RIP City of Heroes.

Total time that I have been playing. From September 5th, 2005 to December 1st, 2012 at 3:04 am.

You will be missed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Raise a candle in memoriam.

I started on Justice in May 2004 in Galaxy City. I finished on Justice today Dec 1st - fighting some Rikti in Grandville. Hardly what I thought would be my final moments, but I can't complain. It was a good ending to an 8 year story.

Good night, City of Heroes - you have been a great experience.

Liberty's Edge

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I was more of a villain than a hero in that game, so I can't help but feel that the hero's have won anyway. "Curses, now I'll have to get a real job!" would've bee my guy's last words.

RIP COH + COV


I'm glad I got to hang in Atlas Park 'till the end. Though Virtue kept mapservering so I ended my days chatting with War Witch on Exalted instead. Still. It's done.

Goodbye Rogue Isles and Paragon City. You'll be missed.


RIP City of Heroes.

I spent my last day popping onto a few of my favourite characters and playing a few missions and transferring my Brute over to Hero side. Spent the last hours on my very first character and chatting with friends. I'm going to miss the game, but focused more on the fun times I've had rather than worrying about the fun times I won't get to have. :)


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It was all a Nemesis Plot.


I guess I will probably never revisit The Paragon wiki again. ~curses~

So many good times and good friends lost.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sharoth wrote:
COURTESY?!? FIRING the whole Paragon Studios group on a Friday with NO EXPLANATION is not courtesy. The game was making money. Granted, it was not as much money as it used to, but still. No. The is some corporate BS and my guess is that someone higher up did not like CoH and wanted it dead.

Everyone claims that the game was making money with absolutely no evidence to back them up. They tried to sell the game, no one took them up on it. There's very little indication that the game was making money the fact that it went Free To Play, is a very good indication that subscribers were bailing out of the game en masse and going FTP was a last ditch effort to get it out of the red.

The problem with Free To Play is that the games have to survive on micro transactions and/or subscriptions. That's how Star Trek Online survives despite having gone FTP. From what I can see not enough of either happened to make the game attractive to a perspective buyer as none showed up when the game was put up on the block. So as much as you'd like to believe otherwise the evidence seems to weigh in the assumption that COH was anything but a profit making concern in it's last year.

I was on Liberty server last night until about 3 hours before the scheduled shutdown. There was a fair number of players about, but no where near the number I would have expected for an active MMORG server on it's last day of existence.

I'm not saying that NCSoft is run by a group of angels, the firing of the Paragon Staff while cold and unkind is pretty much typical of the gaming industry. WOTC doesn't give much notice before it hands out pink slips either.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
You want to talk cool stuff: CoH/CoV had the ONLY Player-generated content of any MMO out there any more, LEGO Universe had it as well, but guess what? They went under earlier this year as well.

Not true, Star Trek Online has Foundry. You have to be a subscriber to create content using it, but any player even the ones playing for free can go on Foundry Adventures and earn real rewards and experience for completing them.


LazarX wrote:
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
You want to talk cool stuff: CoH/CoV had the ONLY Player-generated content of any MMO out there any more, LEGO Universe had it as well, but guess what? They went under earlier this year as well.
Not true, Star Trek Online has Foundry. You have to be a subscriber to create content using it, but any player even the ones playing for free can go on Foundry Adventures and earn real rewards and experience for completing them.

I was unaware of Foundry, thanks for the info. Sounds as though I may have to check out STO then.

But probably not for a few weeks yet.

Grand Lodge

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Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
You want to talk cool stuff: CoH/CoV had the ONLY Player-generated content of any MMO out there any more, LEGO Universe had it as well, but guess what? They went under earlier this year as well.
Not true, Star Trek Online has Foundry. You have to be a subscriber to create content using it, but any player even the ones playing for free can go on Foundry Adventures and earn real rewards and experience for completing them.

I was unaware of Foundry, thanks for the info. Sounds as though I may have to check out STO then.

But probably not for a few weeks yet.

See you on the appropriately named... Holodeck server then.


LazarX wrote:
Everyone claims that the game was making money with absolutely no evidence to back them up. They tried to sell the game, no one took them up on it. There's very little indication that the game was making money the fact that it went Free To Play, is a very good indication that subscribers were bailing out of the game en masse and going FTP was a last ditch effort to get it out of the red.

And your evidence backing up that it wasn't making money is...? NCSoft haven't claimed it wasn't making money. Paragon staff have said they were doing well and City of Heroes was making money. The financials would appear to suggest they were making a reasonable profit. But you're pretty sure it mustn't have been making money so the onus of proof is on everybody else?

Going Free to Play is in no way proof that they weren't making money. It indicates that they thought they could make more money in a different model.

Again, there are many legitimate reasons why a company may shut down a profit-making enterprise. Personally I think that the most likely explanation is that NCSoft chose to shut down the secret project Paragon were working on and decided that Paragon didn't fit into their plans if they were just working on a small (albeit profitable) western MMORPG. It also appears to me that any attempt to sell the game was perfunctory at best.

You're perfectly entitled to your belief on what happened. But it's no more evidence based than a number of other possibilities.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I don't know how much good it does to argue over a carcass, but:

LazarX wrote:


Everyone claims that the game was making money with absolutely no evidence to back them up.

The Investor's Relations Report. Summary:

-The game was making more money in the first half of 2012 than it did in 2011. Maybe not a significant amount, but a steady income was present.

-The problem is that that with the change-over to the blended business model “City of Heroes Freedom,” the goal was to make significant money -which didn’t happen.

-NCSoft's profits and net income continues to decline in any case.

-They are more interested in marketing Guild Wars 2 and Blade & Soul than maintaining the COH game.

LazarX wrote:


They tried to sell the game, no one took them up on it.

Because the COH forums are gone, I can't follow this up with the direct quote. I believe there is a similar thread on the COHTitan forums. Summary:

The Paragon Studio devs tried to work out a deal with NCSoft. NCSoft turned them down.

At least one other gaming studio did make an offer, but which I don't know.

LazarX wrote:


I was on Liberty server last night until about 3 hours before the scheduled shutdown. There was a fair number of players about, but no where near the number I would have expected for an active MMORG server on it's last day of existence.

On this, I think you didn't stick around long enough. Or maybe Liberty wasn't as active. Virtue was so loaded that people were being kicked off or frozen in queue right until the end. You couldn't get into Atlas Park with out lag most of the night. Justice had similar results by night's end. A cursory glance at all the servers (with the exception of Exalted and the Euro-Servers) noted medium to high levels of load. So, I don't know what your expectations were, but there was plenty of acivity all day.

The discussion (and frustration) isn't just "it doesn't work and we're done" business mindset. This isn't about how microtransaction didn't save the game - because those were working enough that they had even more planned for future releases (including a new powerset not even two weeks old when the annoucement came).

Its about how it was handled. It was poorly done and I don't believe it will help a company that depends on customer goodwill (to some extent) to sell their next product. This is a company that sells ONLINE GAMES and that means you need bodies. If that's a market you want to sell to globally, then ticking off a portion of your North American/Euro sales market doesn't help that. And maybe that's part of the problem - North American/Euro sales only make up about 4-6% of their sales market. Maybe they just don't care.

If NCSoft had just said we aren't making money and we no longer want to maintain this game, that's one thing. Instead, they choose to issue a press release; fire their employees without notice; and give no further explanation. The problem is even futher compounded when other sources (reliable or otherwise) seem to contradict your statements with details. However, they did take enough time to push their new games instead. That may be "industry standard" as you put it, but that doesn't mean it will engender you to your customers.

Example: Bioware's Mass Effect 3 was a game with a large fanbase that responded poorly to the end of the game. Bioware could have simply said "That's too bad that you didn't like it. Let's move on to new DLC we want to sell you." Instead, they took the time to attempt to fix the issue and give the players at least some consolation with the Extended Cut. It may not have pleased their customers, but it showed some consideration to them. And by extension, probably helped them promote the later add-ons even more effectively.

Bottomline - I understand that you have no issues with NCSoft's reasons for pulling the plug. But neither is it as simple as you make it out to be.


Alex Martin wrote:
On this, I think you didn't stick around long enough. Or maybe Liberty wasn't as active.

The problem was that people who were F2P or had their paid subscription run out, could no longer log in any more. I think this was very sudden as of Sept. 1st.

P.S. I was on Liberty as well! What up?


Well, it appears that NCsoft is being even more of a set of jerks. I got this message from another player.

Important DO NOT run the NCsoft launcher! It apparently has taken to automatically uninstalling City of Heroes, which will also remove your screenshots, demorecords, costumes, AE missions, and everything else hanging of the directory.


An interesting article about the CoH shutdown.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Sharoth wrote:
An interesting article about the CoH shutdown.

I'm not sure I agree with the author of that article. While I don't think that what NCSoft did was a good decision, ending that game was not - in itself - "unethical".

Yes, I do agree that several of NCSoft's actions in the shut down ARE unethical - especially the way they treated the Paragon Studio's staff - but any company has the right to choose what products to support and what to drop.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Sharoth wrote:
An interesting article about the CoH shutdown.

Yea - I saw this today as well; was thinking of posting but looks like I don't have to. ;-)

While stating it's unethical may be a bit dramatic, I think it hammers home several things that maybe NC Soft was trying to avoid in shutting the game down.

The first is negative publicity in its own backyard. Its one thing to have somebody across an ocean complain about your policies (even with the internet), but it certainly brings it more to light when one of your country's national papers rolls out the issue with a less than sympathetic portrayal.

And when that article further points out that by business standards you shut down a profitable enterprise - suddenly you have a no real justification for your stock tanking to the investors. Claiming it was refocus on global ventures when you just gave up on a profitable one just makes it nonsensical - as the article rightful wonders about.

You might also argue that the "human interest" quality - talking about the community commitment; charity efforts; etc. - contrasted with the company's lack of empathy probably doesn't engender NC Soft to its Korean customer base very much.


Calling it "unethical" is going a bit far, I think. I'm more inclined to calling it "bad taste".

Ultimately, I think what sets the MMO business apart from many other businesses, is the time, effort and creativity that your customers put into your product. This isn't like a single-player game, a favourite pair of sneakers or a subscription to a TV network. When you pull the plug on an MMO, everyone who has ever invested time and effort on your product, will instantly lose everything but the memories. And really, there's a big difference between "remember those old converse sneakers? Man, those were great" and "remember when you put in two years of free time into perfecting that character, only to have him taken away? Man, that was great." 'Time put in' doesn't mean anything when it's taken away. Especially not this abruptly.

I like to think that an "ethical" (there we go with those words again. Take it with a grain of salt :p) MMO company should have consideration for the particular business they are in, and the dedication of their playerbase, and only shut down a product under the most dire of circumstances. Sure, they are businesses, and at the end of the day they are in it to make money, but if a company doesn't care whether they are making shoes or MMOs, then maybe they shouldn't be making either.

To me, it should be all about understanding the unique constraints of the MMO business, and I think NCSoft has made it clear (and not for the first time) that they don't.

Of course, we don't know the exact circumstances of the shutdown, so maybe it was one of those 'most dire of circumstances.' But that's sorta my point. We don't know. NCSoft's only effort to communicate with us was that one post about how sorry they were that they had to set our puppy on fire. They haven't shown any credible effort to save our collective work. They haven't shown that they care.

And I, for one, doubt that they do.

The Exchange

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LazarX wrote:
Everyone claims that the game was making money with absolutely no evidence to back them up. They tried to sell the game, no one took them up on it. There's very little indication that the game was making money the fact that it went Free To Play, is a very good indication that subscribers were bailing out of the game en masse and going FTP was a last ditch effort to get it out of the red.

Have to disagree with you here. The financial statements were released in regards to NCSoft, and if I can find them again I will post links here but in the end CoH was indeed making a profit (found it - will let you enjoy rummaging through the values - note how small the NA market is overall, not just CoH). I think the truth is that the profit margin from the game was so small in light of all their other games that it made sense to them to go ahead and drop the game and refocus their energies elsewhere. In other words, while the game may be making (random value) $100,000 of pure profit annually, in light of their $6,000,000 quarterly loss, it is not a significant part of their portfolio.

As to their attempt at selling the game, the only word I've ever read about that is in NCSoft's own bylines, while the several groups that DID offer to meet with NCSoft in an attempt were ignored completely.

Free to Play isn't always the last resort of a doomed game. What producers are starting to realize is that players can't continue to afford monthly subscriptions to multiple titles, so they're going for the "buy some bling instead" route. Most publishers are admitting that this is bringing in good numbers. I'd specifically take a look to Sony's comments on when they went FTP in regards to their titles.

Love you having your opinion, but your anecdotes were no more factual than the way you've regarded others' opinions.


Eep! This does not look good for Guild Wars II.


~whistles~ And their stock prices are here.


Starfinder Superscriber

It is sad that CoH is gone. I have very very fond memories of it. I started back before I2 dropped and was active until around issue 8 or so.

Dark Archive

RIP CoH and CoV, sad times


"Master at arms, call the roll"
(soft drum fill)

Hibou
Taxibot Checkers
Rey de Corazones
Jackalope
Vajira
Phytar
Sings in Air
Tau
Alpha Partigrrl
Cora Reef
Roland
Lionheart
Double-Wide
Jest Deserter
Ms. Merise
PB in J
Taxi Dancer
LanternJack
HOURgLASS
Unentombed
Houri of the Lamp
Agent Orange
Noamuth
Conflict Diamond
Jack out-the-Box
Anna Thema
Ghost of A. Chance
Tern of the Cards


At 3:04am ET on 12/01/12 one of my favorite online communities was killed by NCSoft. I stayed logged on until that bitter end.

From everything I can see it was done for expediency and a corporate unwillingness to say "hey, maybe we made a mistake". CoX was profitable (as linked up thread).

NCSoft was completely unwilling to entertain anything even remotely close to reasonable for the IP ($80m was their firm asking price if I recall correctly). I can only hope their stocks drop enough that they are soon taken over completely by a rival company who would be willing to sell the CoX IP at a reasonable price.

I've sworn off ever buying any NCSoft product again until the CoX IP is sold or released as open content (not that I think that NCSoft would ever release it as open content, but I've been wrong before).

-TimD

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Captain Sir Hexen Ineptus wrote:
Alex Martin wrote:
On this, I think you didn't stick around long enough. Or maybe Liberty wasn't as active.

The problem was that people who were F2P or had their paid subscription run out, could no longer log in any more. I think this was very sudden as of Sept. 1st.

P.S. I was on Liberty as well! What up?

Actually I was F2P and had no problems logging in that last night.

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