City of Heroes General Article: Profitable or Not?

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City of Heroes General Article: Profitable or Not?
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Yes

MMORPG.com has an interesting report on the financial situation of CoH. They cite an anonymous former Paragon employee who gives some alleged real numbers.

Quote:
  • CoH was profitable even before they converted to Free to Play but were even more so after the conversion.
  • The studio’s total annual operating cost was 4 million USD.  They grossed 12 million in revenue annually.
  • NCSoft paid $8 million USD to buy CoH. They wanted $80 million USD to sell it. They only value it at $3 million for tax purposes.
  • CoH had a high retention rate. Subscribers had a stick rate of 95-98%.
  • NCSoft has no plans for a CoH 2.  Paragon wanted to do it but NCSoft was growing ever more uncomfortable with a Superhero IP, worried that it wouldn't work in today's market.
  • Brian Clayton tried to orchestrate a management buyout of Paragon starting over a year ago because it became progressively more difficult to deal with NCSoft. They had created a Kickstarter page and a campaign video, but it never went to press.
  • They (Paragon) had a second project in the works. It was a compromise to not being able to make CoH 2.  It was the show "Lost" meets Minecraft.  You crash-landed on an island and you were able to build your own fortress and weapons. You teamed up with other players to tackle the mysteries of the island.

NCSoft responds, saying "not true!" but their own Q2 2012 Earnings Report supports at least some of the allegations. We don't have their Q3 data because CoH is conspicuously absent from that report.

Who knows what's true, but its certainly interesting.

 

Samuel Tow
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Of all of this, the one that's easiest to believe is that NCsoft were uncomfortable with a super hero IP. By "easiest to believe," I mean it was fucking obvious. City of Hero tanked in Korea and pretty much ever since then, NCsoft have been treating it as a failed property that they've been keeping around for minor profit. Even their reinvestment, which was vaunted as a huge vote of confidence, evidently didn't last very long since people started getting laid off soon enough and we were back to doing "economic" updates.

This is where I get the impression that NC just don't "get" the Western Market. They treat Western MMOs with suspicion and don't work on them like they would on a major property. Even Guild Wars 2 is already facing downsizing, if you read recent news. So if they want to go back to Korea and focus on the MMOs they love so much, let 'em. They mishandle their US properties anyway.

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I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Watchdog
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CoH wasn't conspicuously absent from the Q3 earnings report.  At the time of its issuance, CoH was no longer an operating property.  It also did not complete the third quarter as an operating property.  Numbers would have been incomplete and misleading.

And I'm still not seeing what any of this has to do with a misunderstanding of the western market.  The game was not making enough money.  Its profit margins were declining considerably less than a year after their new business model began.  And this was during a quarter that saw the debut of a popular powerset AND a content release aimed almost entirely at their paying customers.  For the numbers to go down in Q2 -- a time when it was reasonable and arguably logical to anticipate an increase in revenue -- was a horrible, horrible sign for the economics of the game.

I'm still surprised they didn't go into triage mode by canceling the "other project," laying off all staff not working on CoH (and possibly cutting into that staff considerably too), and having them refocus on the game's profitability.  There's no question they could have increased their margins dramatically and given the game a quarter or two to rebound.

Having said all that, looking at it strictly from a business perspective, it's pretty clear that the game was in trouble and that closing it made sense.  I may personally have given it more time and effort, but it absolutely would have been a losing battle.  I was playing almost daily when the announcement hit and Pinnacle was dead every day.  I don't know what they could have done to significantly increase revenue.  

I mean, look at us.  We've been discussing this on and off for months because it's sad, but the truth is that, as a group, we didn't play CoH with any real regularity for a couple years.  And it was probably longer than that if you go back to a time when we were *really* active.  I don't know of a group of people that loved this game more than we did, and even we were pretty much done with it.

On our scheduled farewell event we ran, what?  3 missions?  Then we got bored and just goofed off for an hour.  We couldn't maintain interest in playing the game even when it was (supposed to be) our last chance to play it, ever.  Prior to the announcement, whenever I played on Freedom, the VAST majority of players online were running the same 3 or 4 end-game events over and over, 24/7, meaning even the game's most active (and paying) players had all but abandoned over 95% of the game's existing content.

The game was struggling mightily.  The outlook was not good.  There's really no way to put a positive spin on the future of CoH prior to the sunset announcement.  It was virtually all bad news.  There are probably dozens of reasons to hate on NCSoft.  Closing CoH isn't one of them.

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Watchdog wrote:
And I'm still not seeing what any of this has to do with a misunderstanding of the western market.

This:

Quote:
NCSoft has no plans for a CoH 2.  Paragon wanted to do it but NCSoft was growing ever more uncomfortable with a Superhero IP, worried that it wouldn't work in today's market.

They've been "uncomfortable" with a super hero IP ever since it demonstrably tanked in Korea. When NCsoft look at "today's market," they look at the Korean market because that's where their main revenue comes from and what they know and understand. They've been trying to run their Western properties like Korean titles and have consistently failed to do so, as well as consistently failed to make them big titles in the "real" market of South Korea. To run a world-wide business requires that you comprehend how different cultures naturally enjoy different themes, and yet NCsoft have continuously tried to foist Korean-mentality games on the Western market and failing, and consistently tried to run Western games like Korean ones, and it doesn't work. They see it doesn't work, but blame "the MMO market" when it's NCsoft that mismnanaged the game.

Watchdog wrote:
The game was not making enough money.

If we believe this:

Quote:
The studio’s total annual operating cost was 4 million USD.  They grossed 12 million in revenue annually.

How much money is "enough money?" Even if those numbers are exaggerated, bringing in three times your operating costs ought to be enough to my eyes. And if it isn't, then I question how NCsoft is being run that they require a property to quadruple its own investment or be considered a failure.

Watchdog wrote:
I was playing almost daily when the announcement hit and Pinnacle was dead every day.  I don't know what they could have done to significantly increase revenue.

That's interesting, because I played daily as well, and the PinnBadges global channel was perpetually so busy with people organising events, discussing the games or just "shooting the shit" that it was hard to get a word in edgewise. I was forced to move it to its own separate tab because anything I put in the same tab as it would be scrolled off-screen quickly. How do you measure that a server is "dead," anyway? No, there weren't people in the streets, but there haven't been people in the streets since the Architect made people realise instances are where it's at. City of Heroes may have had an overworld, but it was a game in which said overworld had no point but to look at pretty pictures.

Keep in mind that I'm not "calling you out" on this. I just don't think we, as players, had any real means of measuring population. Unless you HAVE some way I'm not aware of, then to me, this is like going to the Shadow Shard, seeing nobody there and concluding the game is dead. City of Heroes went out of its way to obscure people from each other "physically," but that's never where socialisation and community was - in the streets punching dudes. Socialisation took place over global channels, and those were bustling more than ever before right before the end. I know - I monitored them.

Watchdog wrote:
I mean, look at us.  We've been discussing this on and off for months because it's sad, but the truth is that, as a group, we didn't play CoH with any real regularity for a couple years.  And it was probably longer than that if you go back to a time when we were *really* active.  I don't know of a group of people that loved this game more than we did, and even we were pretty much done with it.

It's been eight years. Few stick with a property that long. When I first started, I made some friends. A few years later, they disappeared and the community we'd set up fizzled and died. A year later I made some new friends. A year after that, they disappeared as well, and their community fizzled in turn. A year after that I was invited to Adversity. A year or two down the line, you guys stopped playing City of Heroes consistently. It's how this goes, and I don't consider it a sign of the game dying. People come, people go. For as high a retention rate as City of Heroes might have had, I've watched its population turn over across nearly a decade. Besides myself, I've NEVER seen a single person who stuck with City of Heroes for the entire duration without taking huge breaks numbering in the years. Not personally, anyway - there were some on the forums.

My point is that Adversity moving on to other games is not a symptom of City of Heroes dying. It's a symptom of the people of Adversity wanting some form of variety. It's been eight years. Some people can't stay married for this long. Personalities change, tastes shift, people want to do something else with their lives. While it's admirable that City of Heroes had as many seven year veterans as it did, many of them "left" the game for months, maybe even years and just left their accounts subscribed. Few did what I did and played nearly every day for the entire stretch of the game, but that's normal.

Watchdog wrote:
Prior to the announcement, whenever I played on Freedom, the VAST majority of players online were running the same 3 or 4 end-game events over and over, 24/7, meaning even the game's most active (and paying) players had all but abandoned over 95% of the game's existing content.

Well, that's Freedom, but I'm above using that as an excuse. You're right, all most people wanted to do was grind Incarnate Trials. That's a serious error of game design, and one I lay squarely at the feet of Matt Miller who did this intentionally. In his own words, Incarnates weren't supposed to be a just a few TFs people would run through and be out of content, they were supposed to be a "system." His view of what constituted a "system" was a system of rewards that required you to grind the same two or three tasks forever and ever. It's raid grind, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out what raid grind does to a community. Why Matt Miller failed to see this coming I do not know. If the man had played or even heard of practically any other MMO, he'd have known what this would lead to.

To me, City of Heroes was superior before Incarnates, and if anything tanked the game's popularity, it's that addition. They blew a huge amount of money, and for what? Raids. A whole expansion done for no reason other than to introduce raids to a game which didn't need them. And the result is exactly what this armchair fortune teller predicted - raid grind. So yes, if you want to criticise City of Heroes' game design, I'm fully behind you on this point. I'm just shy of claiming that's the primary reason why the game declined just becaus I'm biassed in HAAATING!!! raids as a general thing, but I'm not going to argue against someone suggesting it.

Watchdog wrote:
The game was struggling mightily.  The outlook was not good.  There's really no way to put a positive spin on the future of CoH prior to the sunset announcement.  It was virtually all bad news.  There are probably dozens of reasons to hate on NCSoft.  Closing CoH isn't one of them.

You know, if you're calling bullshit on Marq's quote, why not just do that directly? You're more or less saying that with the above quote because Marq's quote is pretty unambiguous that the game WASN'T "struggling mightily" and this is supposed to come from someone at the actual studio. If you're going outright question its validity, then just say so and so that I can stop quoting that info as an argument. In general, I find that not wanting to say what we think is the source of a lot of animosity. To me, it seems like you're determined to prove City of Heroes was unprofitable and unwilling to trust Marq's quotes, and I could respect that if I was sure it was true, rather than just my own assertion.

So do you believe that information or not?

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I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Watchdog
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Quote:
To run a world-wide business requires that you comprehend how different cultures naturally enjoy different themes, and yet NCsoft have continuously tried to foist Korean-mentality games on the Western market and failing, and consistently tried to run Western games like Korean ones, and it doesn't work.

Sam, I understand the argument, and I don't disagree with its merits.  I just fail to see how it applies here. By all accounts, Paragon Studios was steering the ship.  While there were some fundamental differences in the operation of the game after it was sold, it continued to operate as it always had.  NCSoft didn't torpedo City of Heroes.  Despite whatever conflicts they had with the studio (most of which appear to have stemmed from the sequel and other projects), the game as it stood was pretty much Paragon Studios' baby.  I'm sure NCSoft shot some ideas down, but I'm not seeing that they interfered in the operation of the game at all.

So the only way that your argument applies to this situation is in how strong NCSoft's commitment was to continue operating the game.  You feel they gave up on it too quickly, that it had a lot of life left, and that the sunset was due to their discomfort with and inability to understand a product whose themes are aimed at the western market.  And I'm sure there's some truth in that.  But if their only failing was that they weren't all that committed to a flagging product, I really don't understand all the vehemence and outrage.

From a business perspective, the (substantial) decline in revenue in Q2 last year had to be shocking.  Q2 was when they finally hit their stride with the new model and the content they released during that time was terrific.  This was a quarter where they should have been expecting to see an INCREASE in revenue. That there was a decrease at all is bad enough.  That that decrease was 15% is staggering.  That is a HUGE hit to take regardless, but it's much worse when it comes at a time when you had every right to expect a gain.

That's business.  It has nothing to do with your take on their grasp of the western market.

Quote:
How much money is "enough money?" Even if those numbers are exaggerated, bringing in three times your operating costs ought to be enough to my eyes. And if it isn't, then I question how NCsoft is being run that they require a property to quadruple its own investment or be considered a failure.

The game wasn't on pace for $12 million.  It was on pace for less than $10 million.  And $4 million wasn't their operating cost.  $4 million was the writer's projection of the studio's payroll.  Just their payroll -- there are lots of other things that you have to add to that to determine the operating cost.

So the $12 million in revenue was inflated and the $4 million in "operating costs" is actually higher.

In other words, it's possible -- even likely -- that PS/CoH was only doubling its investment.  That is not good.  It's much worse when you're only doubling your operating cost AND your revenue is dropping 15% per quarter.  That is a very, very, VERY bad trend.

And this is a forgiving estimate.  Based on what little info we have, it's possible that they weren't even doubling their costs.  It's hard to believe that they weren't profitable at all, but lackluster profitability combined with a sudden, shocking, and large drop in revenue in a single quarter?  That isn't enough money, Sam.  

Now add to that the obvious reality that NCSoft had no apparent interest in the "other projects" the studio was working on, and the studio's assertion that a significant portion of their staff was working on things other than CoH.  So you have a subsidiary producting lackluster and declining profits, and a significant portion of your investment in them goes to products you're not interested in producing.

Again, if it were me, I'd have forced a huge downsizing on PS, put CoH into triage mode, and see where the margins settled after that.  But when you consider the hassle and potential PR nightmare associated with that, you can see why they may not have wanted to go that way.  Now factor in that Paragon Studios failed to right the ship themselves; that they could have made cost-cutting moves and didn't and apparently had a very contentious relationship with NCSoft.

I'm sorry, Sam, but I really can't fault NCSoft for shutting it down.  From where I'm sitting, it really seemed like a solid move.

Quote:
the PinnBadges global channel was perpetually so busy with people organising events, discussing the games or just "shooting the shit" that it was hard to get a word in edgewise.

There's a lot of hyperbole in that statement.  Yes, PinnBadges was active, but it was active with the same 12 to 20 voices every day.  And it was rarely "busy" with organizing events, but rather a few ITFs during the day and maybe a handful of endgame stuff at night.  It only takes a half dozen or so people chatting to make a chat channel look busy.  So yeah, there was some chatter, but it was the same "Let's do these 4 things over and over" stuff that was happening on every other server, with maybe 100 regular or semi-regular participants on Pinnacle.  I ran a LOT of endgame stuff over the couple months leading up to the annoucement, and it was mostly with the same people.  Plenty of different toons, but the same core group of actual players.

Quote:
 I just don't think we, as players, had any real means of measuring population. Unless you HAVE some way I'm not aware of

Sure I do, and so do you.  Look at the earnings reports.  If they had $2.4 million in revenue in Q2, then they couldn't have had more than 60,000 subscribers.  That's an absolute maximum because, as you know, some of their revenue was coming from non-subscribers.

But that's the fallacy in population analysis.  People on your side of the fence will argue, "60K max subscribers BUT it COULD BE 200,000 people playing for all we know!"

And that's true, but the only thing that matters is the revenue generated from those players.  Your quarterly number is $2.4 million, down 15% from the previous quarter.  So if you lost revenue because people left the game, that's a bad trend.  If you lost revenue because everyone stayed but spent less, that's a bad trend.

There's no way to put a positive spin on the Q2 hit.  Population wasn't great.  We know that.  But regardless of how many players were around, the money wasn't there.

And here again I'll use one of my businesses as an example.  There are certain products we make that are such a pain the ass to produce that if my profit margin dropped below a certain point AND was trending downward despite our best efforts, I would ABSOLUTELY stop making those products.  

In a perfect world you might be able to argue that, "Hey, NCSoft is loaded, so as long as CoH isn't LOSING money, why not keep those customers happy and those 100 people employed?"  But that's not the way the world works.  They have to justify their expenditures to their investors, and they have to be comfortable with the model they have in mind for their company and the way they want to do business.  And you have every right to be angry with the choices they make, but this is one that you can't dismiss as a BAD move.

You might not like it and it might make you sad, but it's not a bad move.

Quote:
That's a serious error of game design, and one I lay squarely at the feet of Matt Miller

I agree, and I would ask that you follow that logic out to its natural business conclusion.  The direction of PS development for the game was focused on the endgame since the introduction of Incarnates.  Miller knows things we don't, so it's reasonable to assume that he know what he was doing; that the influx of new players made that a bad place to focus their efforts, and that existing players were PLing through low levels to get to the higher-end game.

And we can assume that's true because at the same time they were introducing Incarnates, they made the early game MUCH easier.  If you ran the new lowbie arcs in AP, you got level 7 WAY faster than you used to.  And that had been the trend for a long time -- all the new content since the Faultline renovation had the same design:  Short arcs with HUGE arc bonuses.  Leveling to 50 solo was a breeze, and doing so in teams was even easier.

So they put everything into end-game design years ago but didn't put out the content to match.  Until the advent of solo Incarnate advancement in DA, the game was focused on a part of the game that had ZERO content.  It was either find a team of 16 or twiddle your thumbs and go nowhere.

They could have focused 100% of their content efforts on the endgame and not taken a hit.  With more to do at max level they could have kept the interest of their player base.  They could have held AE contests to have players re-design lower-level content/missions/arcs, which would have cost them nothing, revitalized the 1-50 journey, and kept players interested and invested.  Hell, now that I think about it, why not raise the level cap?  Incarnate design was a lot to wrap your head around and VERY lore-driven.  A more traditional advancement system would almost certainly have had a much broader appeal, and the payoffs/abilities could have been identical.

Seriously look at the dozens of ways Paragon Studios screwed up.  I love 'em to death, but if you're wondering why interest in this game sank so fast and then continued to spiral for so long, look no further than Paragon Studios.

I get that you hate NCSoft, but the loose numbers we have make it easy to see that this was at least a justifiable business move.  Those numbers likely would have been much better if PS had made better decisions.  I'm not saying they would have justified a sequel, but they could certainly have been doing much better financially.  The Incarnate concept and the development focus that followed was horrible, and that they married the majority of their Free-to-Play model to that concept is one of the bigger reasons the new model failed in less than 9 months (i.e. the only real reason to pay to play was access to the endgame stuff).

I tend to look at the whole situation like this:  Paragon Studios delivered a great game for as long as they could.  It lasted as long as it did thanks to their efforts and, unfortunately, it died when it did because of their efforts.

Quote:
You know, if you're calling bullshit on Marq's quote, why not just do that directly?

I'm responding to the entire article, not just the piece that Marq quoted.  The entire article told both sides of the story.  What do I believe?  I believe the anonymous caller as much as I believe the talking head from NCSoft.  I think the former PS employee was misinformed on a couple things (or chose to overstate those things) and did not detail the things that would have made it a more well-rounded argument (saying that the studio was at odds with NCSoft but not why makes it hard to form an opinion as to who was at fault).

The NCSoft guy said what you'd expect him to say.  He layed it on pretty thick, but there's nothing there I'd point to as way out of bounds.

I form my opinions based on as much fact as possible, and this article doesn't contain much in the way of facts.  The facts we DO have indicate that CoH was not doing very well and had begun a troubling decline.  Q3 had to have projected downward, simply because they didn't release much in those 2 months to bring in non-subscription dollars, and the next issue was likely to debut near the end of the quarter.

In other words, it would have been a down quarter for CoH regardless, and that's exacerbated by the unexpected loss they took in the quarter that preceded it.

The anonymous quotes are interesting and add a little insight, but they don't change the facts.  I find it hard to believe that you think I'm someone who doesn't say what's on my mind.  In the history of your interaction with me, what has EVER given you ANY indication that I beat around the bush?  I'm not sure it's possible to be more plain-spoken than I am.  I have zero tendency toward coyness or obfuscation.

Marq's post was about the article, and that, his thoughts on it, and your reply to him, were the only things I was responding to.  To be clear, I'm pretty sure that our lack of agreement here stems from my unfamiliarity with the things that have given NCSoft a reputation of being evil, and your lack of familiarity with the principles of business that make CoH's precarious financial situation pretty obvious.

The closure of CoH isn't nearly as back-and-white as its detractors make it sound.  A simple look at its revenue over the last couple years and its projected financial health as 2012 rolled onward combined with reasonable estimates of the costs of the game and the studio make it pretty plain that the game wasn't a great investment, and one a company like NCSoft would absolutely be justified in walking away from.

The anger and vitriol coming on the heels of that decision is unwarranted, in my opinion.  I'm as upset about this turn of events as anyone, but I don't see any real reason to hate NCSoft over it.  I think it sucks, but I get why they did it.  Unfortunately, it makes sense.

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Watchdog wrote:
The only way that your argument applies to this situation is in how strong NCSoft's commitment was to continue operating the game.  You feel they gave up on it too quickly, that it had a lot of life left, and that the sunset was due to their discomfort with and inability to understand a product whose themes are aimed at the western market.  And I'm sure there's some truth in that.  But if their only failing was that they weren't all that committed to a flagging product, I really don't understand all the vehemence and outrage.

From a business perspective, the (substantial) decline in revenue in Q2 last year had to be shocking.  Q2 was when they finally hit their stride with the new model and the content they released during that time was terrific.  This was a quarter where they should have been expecting to see an INCREASE in revenue. That there was a decrease at all is bad enough.  That that decrease was 15% is staggering.  That is a HUGE hit to take regardless, but it's much worse when it comes at a time when you had every right to expect a gain.

Aion's losing them money, yet that's not getting closed. So why is that, aside from because it's a Korean title? When push comes to shove - and it has for NCsoft - you kill the franchises you don't like, whether or not doing that is the BEST solution. This was basically NCsoft's moment of truth and we've already seen what they "like." And frankly, what they like is garbage. A publisher with priorities towards games like this is not a publisher I have any interest doing business with in the future.

Furthrermore, this is hardly the first time this has happened. Jack Emmert himself explained that shortly after CoV's release, when the game failed to produce the massive rise in revenue expected, NCsoft slashed Cryptic down to 15 people. They didn't tank the game outright, they cut the development team down, they put the game in about as close to "maintenance mode" as it's ever been and the studio limped along like this for a few years. And people were perfectly happy with this. Now that the Studio is fully owned by NCsoft, though, they didn't even bother with that. They just axed the property like they did with Auto Assault, Tabula Rasa and so on. NCsoft is a publisher which cares nothing for the titles they didn't make in-house. They may have acted like they cared at one point, but by this point they're probably the top MMO killer on the market.

Why I say it shows a distrust of the Western market is because shutting down City of Heroes wasn't the smartest business move they could have made. Yes, they shut it down for business reasons, but they had business reasons to shut down Aion, and yet they didn't. They chose City of Heroes because they don't see the game's theme as having a place in the modern MMO marketplace. And now they're going to sit on the franchise and let it rot for all time.

Watchdog wrote:
In other words, it's possible -- even likely -- that PS/CoH was only doubling its investment.  That is not good.  It's much worse when you're only doubling your operating cost AND your revenue is dropping 15% per quarter.  That is a very, very, VERY bad trend.

Yes, apparently I don't get business if doubling your investment is considered "very very bad."

Watchdog wrote:
And this is a forgiving estimate.  Based on what little info we have, it's possible that they weren't even doubling their costs.  It's hard to believe that they weren't profitable at all, but lacklustre profitability combined with a sudden, shocking, and large drop in revenue in a single quarter?  That isn't enough money, Sam.

City of Heroes has gone through more revenue ups and downs than a spastic rollercoaster, and it's survived much worse declines. What makes this one special?

Watchdog wrote:
Your quarterly number is $2.4 million, down 15% from the previous quarter.  So if you lost revenue because people left the game, that's a bad trend.  If you lost revenue because everyone stayed but spent less, that's a bad trend.

So then why bring up how "dead" Pinnacle was if you're just going to turn around and suggest it didn't matter anyway? Serious question here. You stated this like supporting evidence that the game was failing - and that was never my impression - when it really isn't. I'm not going to question your business interpretations, but I AM going to question your impressions of gameplay populations because I know what I saw, and it's not what you're saying. I never saw Pinnacle as dead. I never saw PinnBadges as dead, either. I make no exaggeration that whenever I looked at the list of players currently IN PinnBadges, I can't remember ever seeing it list under 50 people, and I've seen it top 100 frequently. I looked expressly because traffic was so dense I had to check just how many people there were, and I checked from time to time. Not always, but frequently enough.

Honestly, this jab at the game's population just comes off as mean-spirited and it's what makes me feel like you're protesting to the "NCsoft hate" a little too much. I would be fine if you just felt that the game weren't profitable, but you're systematically going down the list of factors and claiming City of Heroes failed on every single one of them. Whenever I see analysis like that, I don't buy it. I'm sorry, but I don't. I can buy one or two or many things going wrong, but if I go by your explanations, EVERYTHING went wrong and I simply refuse to believe that. I've never played a serious game made by a major studio where everything went wrong. Not even Duke Nukem Forever. Not even Daikatana.

Let me turn this around - where DIDN'T City of Heroes fail, and which part of it DIDN'T cause NCsoft to shut it down? Honest question.

Watchdog wrote:
They could have focused 100% of their content efforts on the endgame and not taken a hit.

They shouldn't have focused on "end game" at all, as far as I'm concerned. And it's pretty easy to track Matt Miller's patterns as a developer. Say what you will about Jack Emmert: He wasn't a very good designer, he was terrible at interacting with the community, but the man was a "visionary." That's not always a good thing, of course, but his goal was always to make a great game. Matt Miller, by contrast, was always hip-deep in systems. Inventions, Incarnates, day jobs, systems for this, systems for that. City of Heroes started as one of the simplest MMOs in the business and ended up as among the most overcomplicated, and I still blame Matt for that, because he WANTED it like that. You can argue that that's just good business and that people come to MMOs for the annoying overcomplicated crap, but history doesn't seem to have vindicated him. No matter how many "systems" he put into the game, that new influx of players that seemingly thought that "CoH has no depth" didn't materialise.

And the whole thing with the end game just blows my mind, because it fell into exactly the same problem Matt himself used to explain why City of Heroes had no end game way back in the Jack Emmert days. He insisted that they couldn't create content faster than people could play through it and that all this would produce is an endless grind. Surprise, surprise, the Incarnate system ended up producing far less content than people could run through by the time new such was released and it was a massive grind. Just what happened with Paragon Studios to make that idea suddenly seem good? Because "we don't have enough publisher backing" was never a stated reason against a level cap increase. And let's not kid ourselves here - the Incarnate system WAS a level cap increase by another name. Not literally, but essentially the same thing.

I don't get Paragon Studios' decisions. It was a proven fact that managing both City of Heroes and City of Villains at the same time was untennable. It's why City of Villains got left behind in terms of content. Well, if that's the case, why the holy hand grenade would you open up a THIRD side of the game that you'll end up having to produce content for, as well? And not just that, but why would you set down "end game" as essentially a FOURTH side with its own separate pool of content? EA couldn't pull this off, and Paragon Studios failed spectacularly, in the sense that... They didn't produce enough content. Incarnates were left with, what? Four? Five tasks of any meaning? Praetoria had scarcely any content because even the content it had was broken down into mutually-exclusive path. City of Villains languished. And those like me who have zero interest in raid grind felt forgotten because Issue after Issue focused on adding more raids that I didn't want.

Watchdog wrote:
Seriously look at the dozens of ways Paragon Studios screwed up.  I love 'em to death, but if you're wondering why interest in this game sank so fast and then continued to spiral for so long, look no further than Paragon Studios.

Watchdog wrote:
The anger and vitriol coming on the heels of that decision is unwarranted, in my opinion.  I'm as upset about this turn of events as anyone, but I don't see any real reason to hate NCSoft over it.  I think it sucks, but I get why they did it.  Unfortunately, it makes sense.

It's disappointing that you read my post and Marq's as "anger and vitriol," then. If you want to abandon all emotion and judge things purely logically, then I dislike the way NCsoft do business. I dislike practically every property they currently own and I distrust their ability to manage a property I would care about. I dislike their market games of selling their own company to themselves and buying it under a new subsidiary, I dislike their lack of accountability and refusal to address player concerns, I dislike their business ethics and customer relations, and I dislike them for being perfectly willing to sacrifice their existing customers without so much as taking the time to make a formal statement beyond the basic announcement.

NCsoft have made it clear to me that their customers' experiences, beliefs and well-being do not matter to the company beyond the revenue they bring, and I have no desire to do business with a company which views me as a statistic. And no, I refuse to accept that that's business. Not when companies - large corporations - exist who prove that this is not the case. If Valve can be run as it's being run right now, then that means a customer-friendly corporation can exist and isn't just some made-up myth. I don't expect everyone to be Valve, obviously, but when I see a corporation that's basically trying to be EA, then I don't want to give them any of my business unless they have something remarkable to give me in return. No offence, but Blade and Soul and Guild Wars 2 ain't remarkable.

If a publisher is forced into being an evil corporation by the arcane mysticism of "economics," then screw 'em. Today's gaming market has proven that developers can release quality titles without selling their souls to publishers, especially publishers who approach their customers with Klingon logic. Business doesn't have to be conducted this way, and I refuse sing NCsoft's praises for killing a franchise that was still making a profit. It may make business sense, but I simply choose to give my money to companies who care about more than JUST busness. And that's not a pipe dream. Those exist. Check out Red 5 Studios some time.

So long as companies exist who can make a profit AND respect their customers and the franchises they own, then I refuse to cut anyone any slack for any reason.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

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Have a bone to pick with Matt Miller?  Want to know why he did the things he did?  Write him at his new job.

Peregrin
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I agree with Watchdog on some points.
It is important for competative businesses to review everything they are doing and concentrate on what they feel they can do best and what will generate the best return. Most of the time that return in monitary, but not always. That means a project that is only doubling the investment may not be much more than a distraction to the bigger picture. It's not a matter of whether or not doubling your money is a good thing, but whether or not concentrating on something else might not yeild an even greater return, especially where there were signs of declining numbers where CoH was concerned. Their stock holders and directors would definitely want them to cut branches like that. It's not unethical (in business), nor is it really that shocking. The company I work for has gone whole years cutting side projects, laying off employees, cutting benefits, etc., all in fear of a coming recession that never really affected them or their market. They didn't need to see declining numbers, they just needed an excuse to react anxiously.... but I'm not bitter.... Wink

However, I agree with Sam on several points.
None of what I said previously would make CoH unviable, but rather just not a priority.
I believe a little time, effort, marketing, investment, etc., could have brought CoH or a similar property from Paragon Studios back into full swing.
Different articles do seem to support the idea that NCSoft made other failing properties a priority over CoH for several reasons, including a general uncomfortability with the product. They don't want to cut their sales in North America by stating this in a clear way publically, but just like Hollywood movies, they rate their profit first in domestic return, and then in foreign. For them that means they make their money from the Asian markets and anything else is gravy, or so it seems to me.
I think Paragon Studios could have really shone in another publishers hands, whether through CoH, CoH II, or something else. That's disappointing and does generate some negative feelings towards NCSoft. I do think they alienated their Western customers through pat answers, bogus spin, and how we percieved they treated their employees and clients, but some of that is also essentially them not understanding Western expectations. It's not evil but by the same token it definitely keeps us from expecting them to do much that really appeals to the Western audience.

Clearly we're all talking off the top of our heads and we may never know the truth of how this all came about. Both sides are spinning it their own way. Who's to say that NCSoft didn't just get tired of what could have been percieved as a strained relationship between them on PS staff?

Samuel Tow
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Here's my question, though, and this is something I'll never understand: Why not sell the property? And please let's not have any illusions that they will. They didn't do it for any of their other dead properties, they won't do it for this one. Few companies ever do. So why didn't they? If they're never going to do anything with City of Heroes - and they won't - why sit on it? To deny other people the profit they could have made from City of Heroes?

Let's say I somehow changed my mind and accepted that focusing on something other than City of Heroes could have made NCsoft more money. So... Not Aion, but let's say I agree with this. In what way do they make more money by NOT selling City of Heroes than if they did?

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Peregrin
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It's not whether or not Aion is making them more money, but whether or not the decision makers perceive that it has the potential to make them more money that forces the decision....

There was one statement back in around September that basically said they looked at the option to sell and it didn't work out. That was one of statements that convinced me that they weren't telling us the whole truth.

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Peregrin wrote:
There was one statement back in around September that basically said they looked at the option to sell and it didn't work out. That was one of statements that convinced me that they weren't telling us the whole truth.

Yes, I remember that one. NCsoft's official statement actually said that they'd tried to sell the property and there was no interest. Ignoring the fact that I don't buy that for a dollar, reports came in almost immediately that companies HAD made offers to acquire City of Heroes but were either stonewalled or presented with unrealistic prices for the property. I'm not blind enough to think City of Heroes is worth HUGE MONEY!!! Even at its finest, it was still a fairly minor property (which just shows you how sad NCsoft's US market was to begin with), and I know they've been asking ridiculous sums for it from some of the comments we got at the time.

I don't know that NCsoft are trying to sit on the property and intentionally asking unreasonable prices as a means to claim they're selling when they really aren't or whether they genuinely want to get this much for the property or "to hell with it," but I know for a fact THEY are the reason a sale hasn't happened. Why they'd choose to do this, I can't say since it's pretty obvious they're never going to do anything with the game and thus will never profit from having it.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Hanna
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There are a couple reasons not to sell the property. One is the Intellectual Property (versus the code and artwork) can be worth more to a company gathering dust than being sold. Having that intellectual property assures NCSoft that no one ever will build a City of Heroes 2. Not without being sued.

You may howl at me or the moon over this, but it has become a very common business practice. There are many companies in the U.S. that do not produce a thing, but merely act as holding companies for copyrighted or (more often) patented goods and processes. They lay in wait until someone else does the work of putting it on the market and then swoop in and drop a lawsuit with the intent to take any proceeds.

There's another completely unrelated possible good that could come out of all this, but I lack the ability to explain it. Think Darwin, though. While many of us will think that CoH was the strongest and most adaptable creature on the island and maybe it is or maybe it isn't. It requires us to remove our own passions and opinions from the equation to really examine it. Also, the business world often moves counter-intuitively to Darwinian theory of evolution. But maybe, just maybe, the loss of CoH will lead to a stronger creature taking its place in the ecosystem. Only time will tell.

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Hanna wrote:
There are a couple reasons not to sell the property. One is the Intellectual Property (versus the code and artwork) can be worth more to a company gathering dust than being sold. Having that intellectual property assures NCSoft that no one ever will build a City of Heroes 2. Not without being sued.

You may howl at me or the moon over this, but it has become a very common business practice. There are many companies in the U.S. that do not produce a thing, but merely act as holding companies for copyrighted or (more often) patented goods and processes. They lay in wait until someone else does the work of putting it on the market and then swoop in and drop a lawsuit with the intent to take any proceeds.

I believe the term for this is "Patent Pirate," i.e. someone who files or sits on a patent not to actually use it, but specifically to sue anyone else who uses it. I consider NCsoft an "evil corporation," but "evil" here is a relative term that has gone on to apply to simply bad companies that treat their customers and their employees poorly, not to literally EEEVIL ones that punch kittens and kick puppies. As such, while I wouldn't put that past NCsoft, I can't imagine them intentionally doing this so as to extort money out of anyone who makes city-of-heroes-like games. They pulled out of City of Heroes because it wasn't making them enough money, so I just don't think they're putting much stock in anything they get out of such a lawsuit.

Also keep in mind that NCsoft themselves were sued by Marvel, and that that lawsuit wasn't cheap for either Cryptic or NCsoft. I'm just saying that I don't think a company with such a big maw would be bothering with patent piracy for what really can't amount to much more money than City of Heroes running was making them.

Hanna wrote:
There's another completely unrelated possible good that could come out of all this, but I lack the ability to explain it. Think Darwin, though. While many of us will think that CoH was the strongest and most adaptable creature on the island and maybe it is or maybe it isn't. It requires us to remove our own passions and opinions from the equation to really examine it. Also, the business world often moves counter-intuitively to Darwinian theory of evolution. But maybe, just maybe, the loss of CoH will lead to a stronger creature taking its place in the ecosystem. Only time will tell.

This, however, I simply don't buy. Yes, maybe something better will come along to replace City of Heroes and maybe it won't, but that's basically a blind guess at this point. Yes, I realise that seems weird coming from someone involved in a project specifically designed to make something better than City of Heroes and inspired by the game's closure, but there's really nothing to say this wouldn't have happend anyway, nor that if City of Heroes were allowed to linger that a studio wouldn't have made something even better. I, myself, have always wanted to be involved in such a project so I lept at the chance, and I know a few others share my passion.

All I'm saying is this requires the kind of faith in the nature of chance that I simply don't have and can't have.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Peregrin
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As far as a bigger, better beast to replace CoH, DC and Cryptic both tried and failed to capture the essence of what we loved about CoH. Looks like Marvel is going to fail spectacularly as well. Not saying the gameplay, missions, and stories won't be worth playing, but it won't allow us to tell our own stories the way CoH did.

I would have liked to see Paragon develope a CoH 2, with better graphics, a more flexible engine, a bigger world/space, etc., but tied to the original universe lore-wise, and with all the costume and power options of the original  (and more! :))

It would have been interesting to see a big multi-server wide event (like the attack at the wedding, or the Rikti attack at launch for example) that was the 'coming storm' that transitioned us from the shutting down of CoH to the launching of CoH2: World of Heroes

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Well, if NCsoft hadn't dismantled Paragon Studios, we may well have had some huge exciting event, or at least a proper launch of I24. The thing, though - and that's what developers themselves have mentioned - is there was no-one left to work on the game pretty much past the friday of the announcement. All they had to work with was whatever event scripts they had lying around since there wasn't anyone at the studio to tweak them, outside of developers volunteering their own time.

That's part of what pissed me off about how NCsoft handled the shutdown. They all but literally pulled the plug. In my eyes, they could have invested just a little more into supporting the game these last few months and had people leave... OK, not "happy," but at least feeling like the whole thing went out with a bang. Instead, they literally made it clear that the City of Heroes players don't matter to them as customers and not a penny would be spent on them than what's directly necessary by law. No farewell party, no big event, no glorious last few months. Nope.

Like M. Bison said to Chun-Li: "For me, it was Friday."

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Watchdog
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I don't buy the Darwin theory either, but from a business perspective, what closing the game DOES do is free them up separate the game from the IP.  In other words, if DC or Marvel wanted to finally and truly enter the MMO market, there would be no conflict for NCSoft to be the home for that game, and the game design and mechanics of CoH could be implemented in the new game without issue.

So when you think about the failings of Champions and DCUO, most of it boils down to those aspects -- the art style, animations, physics, environment design, powersets & powers, the awesome character creator, and game mechanics like the easily understood enhancement system, simple UI, solid crafting & market design, utilization of instances/missions/lore, and so on.

All of that could be adapted to a new game, and you don't need the studio for any of it (unfortunately).  So whether that game is a DC/Marvel MMO, a CoH sequel, another startup superhero MMO with fresh lore, or an MMO in another genre entirely, they've cleared the deck for that to happen.

Imagine the game Peregrin mentioned:  A CoH2 like the original in all the right ways (and UNLIKE it in all the right ways), with modern graphics, improved UI and AI, better physics and animations, and so on.  Now imagine that the updated, dilapidated Kings Row is Gotham City and Blue Steel is Batman or Commisioner Gordon; that Steel Canyon is Metropolis and Positron is Superman and the local contacts are Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, and so on.

They're free to make that sales pitch now.  They're free to strip the best elements of CoH and market them alongside all the graphics/engine updates and new options they want, with a modern business model to match.  So a lot of the game design would already be done and certain things could be kept outright, like the best CoH animations could be kept and adapted to new models, for example.  This would shorten development time, meaning a faster trip to launch.  And so on and so on.

The ongoing operation of CoH would complicate that.

And, not to beat a dead horse, but its finances were problematic.  I'm not interested in rehashing our discussion, Sam, but suffice it to say that I don't entirely disagree with your statement that doubling a game's investment should be enough.  It's far from ideal, but it should be enough IF YOU CAN MAINTAIN IT.

That was the problem with the 2012 revenue.  In a world where you're only doubling your operating costs, only 50% of your revenue is profit.  With that in mind, you can see how a 15% drop in a single quarter is a monumental concern.  Obviously any decrease in revenue comes out of your profits.  With little in Q3 to generate new sales, they were very likely looking at another decrease in revenue (which probably proved out given the timing of the annoucement).

Yes, there were probably ways to right the ship, but all of them would have included a drastic reduction in PS staff (likely over 50%), and none of them would have been likely to stop the bleeding revenue.  Again, they put out excellent content in Q2 that was targeted at sales (the big stuff was stuff you had to pay for) and took a 15% hit.  So even with a best-effort development cycle, sales were falling in a big way.  Reducing the cost of the studio would have improved the margin, but all you could realistically expect was more great development like there was in Q2, and that didn't work.  So all you would have been doing is buying more time while enduring the PR fallout from the Paragon Studios layoffs.

It would have been a slow death that would have been ugly for NCSoft either way.  Whether it's better to give it that time for the fans or quickly eliminate it to spare the company the extended PR hit and revenue triage is subjective.  What they did is the better business move, but I don't disagree with your feelings on it.  It would have been nice to see them try, but we both know the CoH audience would have crucified NCSoft for the necessary layoffs and cutbacks regardless.  Fans of video games aren't a very forgiving bunch, and even less so in the case of CoH because the fans really loved the PS crew.

Lastly, for the record, I don't have any reason to believe that NCSoft is planning, or would plan, another property with the best remnants of CoH.  I'm just saying they could; that it's a logical reason to hold onto the property instead of selling it.

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Watchdog wrote:
Lastly, for the record, I don't have any reason to believe that NCSoft is planning, or would plan, another property with the best remnants of CoH.  I'm just saying they could; that it's a logical reason to hold onto the property instead of selling it.

If this were a "maybe," I could agree with you, but we're back to the "NCsoft don't get the Western market" argument with this. Could they rebrand City of Heroes? Of course they could, but they won't. They won't because they don't think a super hero MMO is viable, they won't because they appear to no longer get a rat's ass about the Western market where such an MMO would be sold, and they won't because they're NCsoft - they don't revitalise defunct properties. They never have, and City of Heroes is hardly the one where they'll start.

As well - and I mean no offence to any of us who like City of Heroes - but the game isn't competitive in a contemporary market. It's a great game, but it's built on a 10-year-old engine with a really labyrinthine and constricting combat system with an over-complicated progression system that's been shoehorned into a framework which was never designed to handle anything even close. Arcanaville - who's pretty much the closest a player ever got to being a developer without actually being one (Paragon Studios couldn't hire out of Hawaii, as they admit, but could contract occasionally) had a very good point to say on the matter: There's no point in making a new City of Heroes without making a new City of Heroes. That's not just new graphics, that's new everything.

A lot of us are conditioned to like enhancements because that's all we've known and because let's face it - most other MMO build systems "suck monkey balls," I believe is the scientific term for it. I feel it was fully viable, but as an existing property with an existing fanbase and an existing development team. It could have lived on for a long time if you didn't kill it, but now that it's dead... I frankly don't think raising it from the grave would be successful. City of Heroes is great at what it does, but it has so many niggling little problems that you kind of have to be a fan in order to tolerate, and I can definitely see why it wouldn't be a great financial revolution even at its high points.

But I also don't think this is a game that you can piece out. You mention enhancements, and I like enhancements as a concept, but that's not specific to City of Heroes. "Enhancements," in the sense of being able to improve abilities per-aspect, rather than upgrading them between preset "levels" of that ability are a great system. Enhancement, in the sense of the Inventions system, can kiss my ass, quite frankly. The general idea of enhancing a power's aspects separately really isn't something that would infringe on City of Heroes' thing, it's just an idea of how to distribute points, while the actual enhancement system being put in another game would be a good reason for me to NOT buy it.

---

I want to take a moment to point out that I'm not backpedalling here. I know that City of Heroes wasn't a great financial success and was never going to me. I don't claim it was a perfect game, and in fact I have a lot of bile to spew about it post-Incarnates. But that's part of the problem: I feel the game can only work as-is, and that you really can't "part it out" in any way that not having City of Heroes would have helped. There are no whole entire chunks so specific to the game that you can't use them separately that are actually worth using and the stuff you can use is basic ideas. Setting everyone to the same level, allowing us to enhance separate power aspects individually, disconnecting appearance from power, a story which focused on allowing players to tell their own story - these are what made City of Heroes great, but these are things you can't trademark.

I can only see City of Heroes' specifics lingering on as part of City of Heroes itself. If they're going to make another super hero MMO - and I don't think NCsoft will, they don't "get" super heroes - then they're better off starting from scratch, really. Just like a City of Heroes 2 would have basically had to.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Peregrin
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I think my next statement, which is just a clarification of my last, agrees with both of you. There are some key elements to how the characters were created and the amount of choice the game gave us that would need to stay.
There are systems, most of which were added to the game later, that could definitely be improved or done away with entirely. The same is basically true for the lore.

Samuel Tow
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I think the lore is probably the biggest complaint I had with City of Heroes towards the end. I really don't know who I should blame for this, whether it be Matt Miller's complete disregard for continuity or sense so long as the writers are "telling their own stories" or Doc Aeon who basically wiped his ass with the game's signature characters, no offence... But if I were saving City of Heroes, I'd save its story prior to Going Rogue.

I hated Inventions and the random nature of the Incarnate system, but those could be fixed, and I could look the other way. I couldn't look the other way with First Ward or "Who Will Die?" or Dr. Graves or all the other frankly amateurish writing that was foisted on the game to replace Rick Dakan and Jack Emmert's original canon. I mean, say what you will about those two guys - they pretty much failed as lead developers - but at least both of them treated story and canon with respect. And it's been going downhill ever since we lost Jack.

I see City of Heroes as sort of an anachronistic very good idea that, bizarrely, nobody picked up on, so the original outdated product is all we had. It's still all we have, because the MMO world is, frankly, full of crap and bad habits. I still believe the game is solid enough to save and to survive for many more years to come, but I don't believe it has any assets that can be used directly in a new game. The expectations from a brand new game would be much, much higher, and if my experience with new MMOs is any indications, high expectations will not be met.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Uncle Scam
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Coh is dead let it die with dignity play some taps and move on.  I'm sure it was money motivated who really knows.  We had a good time and made alot of friends let us leave it at that instead of inciting an argument R.I.P. COX amd move on.

Samuel Tow
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I can still use the costume creator and sooner or later a more complete version will pop out, legally or otherwise. The game was profitable and could be profitable again if NCsoft would sell it off, even old as it is.

Point is, why should we stop discussing it?

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Hanna
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Sam, maybe some people are in a state where they've come to accept that CoH as they knew it is gone, and while other people may still be trying, they don't feel it'll ever be the same. I don't know. I haven't talked with anyone with any specific feelings on the matter.

But those other forums where people have collected together to bring what they can of CoH back, they could use the traffic more than we can here. If you need to talk with someone about how you're feeling, we can do that.

The problem is that you're becoming so entrenched in your position again that maybe that's making it hard to want to talk here. I loved trying to come up with some ideas only to have them shot down immediately and the conversation run over me like a truck, that was fun, but maybe not everyone wants to do that.

If you're trying to get people interested in the rebuilding of CoH, then maybe just ask for that? If you want someone to talk with about it, ask for that. Or maybe we can just go on as we are, that's perfectly fine as well.

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I get the "running over like a truck" comment a lot, and I honestly don't get it. I do and I don't. I'm not trying to change anyone's opinion here or prove anyone wrong, but I get the feeling I'm being seen as holding the wrong opinion here. I don't disagree with Watchdog on the financial aspect of the game, but I don't agree with his ambivalence towards just doing what's financially viable no matter how it looks in terms of publicity or what it does to customers of the product. I don't disagree with your idea that NCsoft may have reasons to not sell City of Heroes, but I do think an argument can be made for why those specific reasons aren't the case. We obviously don't know for sure, of course.

I don't understand why everything has to be a fight. I'm entrenched in my position. Of course I am. Is the point to change my opinion, though? I mean that in the broadest possible sense - is the point of a discussion to change the opinion of the other person such that not succeeding in doing that renders the discussion pointless? If I don't agree by the end, does that mean you've "failed?" Because that doesn't really read right to me, and there's only so much I can hold my tongue before I start thinking that posting anything at all is pointless.

I WANT an argument, because to me, it's not a discussion without one. If we all agree on everything, then why even post just to pat each other on the back? An argument hasn't failed until someone is put in a position of having to defend his or her right to hold an opinion at all, and whenever I say "you cannot change my mind," it's usually in response to a perceived need to do so. I don't argue to change minds. I argue to measure facts and to trade opinions. And, yeah, when I see an opinion I disagree with, I'm going to argue with it, and I'm going to present all the arguments I have. If the other person wants to counter them, great. More discussion. If not, then that's fine, too. I don't need to change anybody's mind to feel good about it.

Case in point: NCsoft's business practices and the viability of City of Heroes. I believe the game was economically viable, but obviously not enough for NCsoft. Whether that's fine or not is up for debate. I don't feel it is, but I don't question others belief that it was. Whether it was fine or it wasn't, however, has no bearing on my opinion of NCsoft's conduct as a big business and their treatment of the Western market. No argument is going to change my mind on that subject. The only thing which can is NCsoft themselves taking actions to at least suggest they comprehend how their actions look, which I know they won't do because I know NCsoft. I still want to hear arguments on the matter. I want to argue about it, I want others to pick my arguments apart.

I want something more to happen on Adversity other than planning events and making announcements, basically.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Hanna
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Joined: Jul 5 2012 - 9:34pm

Dude. Chill out. All I'm doing is replying to your question. I'm spitballing ideas. Why wouldn't someone want to have a conversation about this? There are a lot of reasons. I don't know what anyone else thinks. I offered some suggestions.

What I do know is that you're repeating yourself. Often. If you think your thoughts have not been fully taken into account, think that no more. You have been heard. Loud and clear.

As for my own part, I was just offering some ideas why a company would not sell IP. You can tell me NCSoft didn't do so because of my particular idea, but you admit, YOU DO NOT KNOW. We can have the longest argument/discussion/seance/whatever and unless someone from NCSoft decides to join Adversity and tell us, we are never going to get any closer to an answer than we are right now. We just aren't.

The being run over by a truck was about the second part of my post here about Darwinian Evolution and the Gaming Industry was admittedly (I said so at the beginning of the paragraph) badly formed and even worsely described. Thank you for the confirmation? I guess?

We can do more than plan events and make announcements. But is this particular argument -- We Don't Know How NCSoft Screwed CoH And Have No Way Of Finding Out, But Let's Try To Figure Out Why Anyway -- is this really what we'd rather be doing?

This really seems like an excersize in futility. I'd like to have fun conversations as well. Even argue a bit. But I don't care to just be brushed off by someone I've taken the time to read their point of view and to think upon it and to find something to add to the discussion that hasn't been worn out like an old rug. What I'm saying (again) is this has become repetitive. I really don't think, if you look really hard, that you're getting anything out of this either.

Samuel Tow
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Joined: Nov 18 2011 - 5:45am

Hanna wrote:
Dude. Chill out.

Hanna, I am chill. Honest question here - what did I say that gave you the idea that I'm angry or that I'm attacking you? Seriously, tell me so that I know what I'm doing wrong and I can stop doing it.

What I do know is that you're repeating yourself. Often. If you think your thoughts have not been fully taken into account, think that no more. You have been heard. Loud and clear.

Hanna wrote:
As for my own part, I was just offering some ideas why a company would not sell IP. You can tell me NCSoft didn't do so because of my particular idea, but you admit, YOU DO NOT KNOW. We can have the longest argument/discussion/seance/whatever and unless someone from NCSoft decides to join Adversity and tell us, we are never going to get any closer to an answer than we are right now. We just aren't.

Please understand I'm not trying to be goofy or make jokes when I say this, but when has not being able to know the truth ever stopped us from discussing a subject. No, we don't know, but I still enjoy talking about it and speculating. Is that something I shouldn't be doing?

Hanna wrote:
We can do more than plan events and make announcements. But is this particular argument -- We Don't Know How NCSoft Screwed CoH And Have No Way Of Finding Out, But Let's Try To Figure Out Why Anyway -- is this really what we'd rather be doing?

I would, personally. I didn't think it was upsetting so many people. If it's a problem, then please, tell me about it and I'll stop. I just didn't think anyone was that upset about it. Watchdog in particular strikes me as someone who - though he may be sick of me - is well willing to throw down an argument even if it's not going to change anyone's mind, and I enjoy that. Even if it looks like bickering, I still enjoy it.

Hanna wrote:
But I don't care to just be brushed off by someone I've taken the time to read their point of view and to think upon it and to find something to add to the discussion that hasn't been worn out like an old rug.

This I just don't get. Please, help me here - how have I brushed you off? I put in the time and effort to construct an argument offering points and counterpoints. How is that brushing you off? To my understanding, that would imply that I just hand-waved and went "Nope, you're wrong." and left it at that. How can you say that when I took no less time than you to respond to your points and work with them? Would rather I had said nothing at all? What would I have had to do so as to not be brushing you off? Agreed with you? I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm serious here.

I honestly, genuinely don't understand what I did to make you so upset. Please, walk me through it - in PM if you'd prefer - because I want to know what I'm doing to upset you, and because I want to make sure I'm not doing it. Because I was under the impression we were basically saying the same thing, yet it turns out I was arguing with you, and I didn't even realise it.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.