The End: NCSoft finally issues a statement

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Orion Pax
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I agree with Sam and Marqaha - I wouldn't have met all of you and gained such great friends and family members without CoH and stumbling into the founding players that would become Adversity.

Gatecrasher
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Well put, Sam, and that's the mindset that I carry in my better moments. But inevitably, some corner of my mind pipes up with, "Yeah, but why exactly did it have to end?" Since I've never really gotten a clear answer that doesn't use the phrase, "fucktard NCSoft execs," that's when I go back to hoping said execs get a lengthy visit from the Eat-Shit-And-Die Fairy. Gate
Razorstrike
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So, here's a little something to think about...

VictoriaVictrix wrote:
I, too, cannot reveal my source, but it is solid, and I hope you will accept my credibility at this point. Let's just say I had an interesting afternoon gathering information.

Fansy's source is correct. The reason that the game "must" be shut down before it can be sold is because of perceived legal problems and liabilities on the part of the NCSoft legal department. (It's not lawsuits or potential lawsuits with Marvel, but other issues regarding ownership). Apparently dealing with the Garriott case scared the whey out of them, and they are now jumping at imagined shadows. They won't even consider selling until it is officially "dead."

The bad news: the game will close Nov 30.
The good news: it can rise from the ashes.
 
Make of it what you will.  I think like 3/4 of the devs have landed jobs at other studios, but if the game were to pull a zombie act on us, it's possible the devs will come back to CoH.
 
Hanna
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I tougt of sometig alog tese lies. Remember tat CSoft ows all our caracters. At least, tat's wat te cotract we all clicked a log time ago stated. Duo wo owersip reverts to i te evet of te game goig dark, but peraps it's to protect eve... gasp... us.

Samuel Tow
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Hanna wrote:
I tougt of sometig alog tese lies.

Unintentional typo is poetically accurate.

I can only hope that this will happen. As I said before and elsewhere, it happened to Hellgate London, and it was a shit game from the start. I can only hope the same happens to City of Heroes.

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

 

Shaaktar
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Hope is still there....

Lets pray for a Phoenix ressurgence on this one!!!

Let CoH live Wink

Accounts where u can find me:
PSN: Shaaktar and luiguifi
S
team: Shaaktar */ADV/

 

FX
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Just for some background on VictoriaVictrix

She is a fairly well known author inthe fantasy genre. A Pinnbadge member and a generally well connected individual.  At one point she had a 'guest author' story in Mission Architect.

marqaha
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FX wrote:

Just for some background on VictoriaVictrix

She is a fairly well known author inthe fantasy genre. A Pinnbadge member and a generally well connected individual.  At one point she had a 'guest author' story in Mission Architect.

You are correct sir. She is Mercedes Lackey.
FX
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You are correct sir. She is Mercedes Lackey.

I know, but a lot of other people don't know that. I was unsure if she wanted that to be common knowledge. Especially considering she doesn't just announce it in channels. 

Truss Adams
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Considering that Victoria Victrix has a staring role in her superheroes at war series The Secret World Cronicle, (http://secretworldchronicle.com/) Mercedes Lackey doesn't mind it being known.  Smile

'It will help you if you add the phrase "And save the world!" to the end of that. I do it all the time, it cuts down on arguments.'
- Major, from The Red Panda Adventures

Ember Rose
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Huh. That's cool Smile

Just one more block and I swear I'll stop.

It's never too early for a glass of wine and some zombie shooting.

Miserichik
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By the way.   Great spotlight, Marq.  Fuck them, exactly.   Except I wouldn't give them the pleasure.

Orion Pax
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I agree with what she said That's what she said  Seriously, it'd be great to see some kind of sale happen once the property is officially dead, but NC Soft isn't getting any of my money for the forseeable future because of the extremely piss-poor handling of the sunset of what's in my opinion their finest game...fuck them indeed.

Hanna
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Seriousl, tat picture?

Miserichik
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Hanna wrote:

Seriousl, tat picture?

 

How else to accurately depict how we all feel about what NCSoft did?  I think it's perfect....yes it's a disturbing photo of a horrible thing, but everyone else (IE the internet) is being far too nice and polite.  We need a complete opposite thought process.

Samuel Tow
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I'm not sure I can agree with a "complete opposite" thought process to nice and polite. I have a huge problem with what NCsoft did to City of Heroes, but doing or saying something I would be ashamed of really isn't making things better. I don't have a problem with the pic per se, I get the point behind it, but I'm not a fan of the belief that we need to do horrible extreme things in response to a crappy corporate decision.

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

 

NuclearToast
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Just in case, though, I'm making sure I have all my characters' details saved by that utility.

 

Hanna
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Reall ad seriousl? A real perso wit opes ad dreams died i tat film. If ou wat to sow te equivalet of wat appeed, sow a istorical buildig beig tor dow, eve a moutaitop miig explosio. Cit of eroes/Villais was ever a perso ad to equate its closig, o matter ow urtful is ever, ever, ever, ever, ever goig to be te equivalet of a uma deat. It just is't.

Get some fuckig perspective for pete's sake.

marqaha
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“Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.” ~Malcolm X

Orion Pax
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I'd like to remind everyone we encourage each of our members to respect each other's opinions and views - our motto and group thrive on diversity after all Wink  After receiving a few messages about the SpotLight image that evoked such a passionate response from many of you that it might make the site Not Safe for Work, or for those with families who browse the site, I updated the SpotLight image only*.  The message is unchanged, simply because I agree with it 100%.  I took no action against the SpotLight until the aforementioned NSFW or families thoughts were brough to my attention, because the entire the sentiment matched my own feelings.

For those of you that might have missed the SpotLight in question, you can find it below:

Spoiler: Highlight to view
CoH is killed (NSFW)

I know some of you found that picture off-putting, or a bit extreme, and I can respect that.  Hell, I had to ask what it was from, because the image didn't raise any real issues with me, because it's exactly how Marqaha feels about the destruction of of City of Heroes, and I can also respect that.  The shock/horror that image produces perfectly conveys how I felt when I was away at a work conference, and Razor and Marqaha asked had I heard the news...City of Heroes was cancelled in just a few short months.  City of Heroes had been taken out, execution style, and for no truly justifiable reason. 

I don't think anyone here is recommending bodily harm towards NC Soft, their employees, etc.  That wasn't the point of this thread, nor the SpotLight in general.  I abhore what NC Soft did, and how they handled the entire shutdown in regards to how the Paragon Studios dev team found out, to how they "scheduled" events for the Sunset of a game that had a potentially years more content already partially made and/or good to go.  From my opinion, they shut the game down because they have no clue how gaming works in the Western World, and it was done solely as a cost recouping measure from the exponential overspending to promote Guild Wars 2 Sad

* Edit:Gopher changed the F***ing language. Let's keep it off the front page.

marqaha
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I had to teach him how to use "abhor" in a sentence and he still spelled it wrong. Smile

Hanna
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If it were't for Cit of eroes/Villais, I'd ever ave joied Adversit, or met a of te people wit wom I disagree so strogl about te appropriate/iappropriate usage of tis image. To tik tat if tis ad appeed just a few ears ago, I ever would ave met a of ou breaks m eart. I'm ot sure I'm agr, per se, but I feel a profoud loss for people oe of us will ever meet.

Tat particular image is ifamous. Tis video explais more about it. 

marqaha
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Its particularly interesting that only Hanna and I knew what that picture was. The story behind it is even more facinating when you discover what Nguyễn Văn Lém was doing earlier in the day before he was executed.

What even more super-fascinating is being harangued about perspective by someone who never thought to ask what point I was trying to make with my lazy photoshopping. Want to hear my perspective? Obviously not.

Ah, well. I'm happy at least that people are posting so I guess its a win.

Watchdog
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Not for nothing, but if you posted a picture that you feel requires explanation to be fully understood, who is actually at fault here?  Given the purpose the picture served on the site, it really needs to speak for itself, no?  In other words, maybe not the best idea to use such an iconic, polarizing, and ghastly image to make a zealous point about a video game.  Not really all that different from photoshopping a CoH logo onto a WTC tower and an NCSoft logo onto one of the planes...

Having said that, the picture is a visual overreaction that triggered a written overreaction.  I get where you're coming from, Hanna, and you certainly have a point about the first impression that image may have made about us as a group, but I'd like to think that we've earned the benefit of the doubt from one another.  I think, as friends, we can cut each other more slack than that; i.e., "Yikes.  I get the point you're making here, but maybe that's not a great pic to have on our homepage.  Let's talk about it."

And as for the editorializing over NCSoft and Paragon Studios...  We really still don't know what actually happened.  NCSoft has been very quiet on the issue and we simply do not have all the facts, and the interpretation we've seen has been extremely one-sided.  So here's a little devil's advocacy...

You don't go Free to Play if your current business model is working out.  Paragon's FtP model was something they hyped after release, going on about how incredibly thrilled they were with the increases.  This year's Q2 earnings report told a completely different story, however.  The game's revenue had dropped to almost exactly where it was prior to introducting FtP.  A one-quarter spike isn't what NCSoft had in mind, it would appear.

We have no idea what the operating costs of the game are, but we do know that Paragon Studios had 40 or so employees and a conservative median salary would indicate a payroll of around $1.3 million annually, not including the NCSoft staff working on the game.  It's not unreasonable to think that the overall costs of running CoH were upwards of 50% of revenue, and it's a fact that revenue was falling considerably.  I know you guys see the millions it was generating and conclude that it's a cash cow, but that REALLY isn't the case.  Those margins aren't very attractive, and the rate of decline in Q2 was crushing, especially at a time where they had every right to expect maintained revenue or increases.

Now add that Paragon's FtP model was VERY poorly conceived, and that it's a bell you really can't un-ring.  They made it WAY too easy to play for free.  With a minimal investment compared to the cost of an ongoing subscription, players could have access to 95% of the game's content and conveniences without ever spending another dime, and their best customers -- the ones that had been paid subscribers for years -- could play free with no investment whatsoever.

In other words, if you don't care about end-game content you could play CoH for pennies on the dollar, or damn near free if you'd been playing for a while.  Their FtP model left WAAAAYYYYY too much money on the table.  Better to start tight and scale back.  The way they did it, from a business perspective, was a colossal failure and it's not a reach to think that it's another big factor in NCSoft wanting to do away with it.

Basically, the Paragon staff was great at game development, player communication, and generally being cool people, but as businesspeople they were clearly a gaggle of nitwits.  

***DEVIL'S ADVOCATE MODE DE-ACTIVATED***

Personally, I still think it's shocking that NCSoft didn't try scaling Paragon Studios back gradually based on fiscal margins.  Saying, "Your gross profit will be XX%.  So if revenue declines, so does your budget," forcing them to be more mindful of getting their numbers up.  But for all we know that actually happened and the honchos at Paragon employed an "All for one, one for all" negotiating tactic that got them shut down.

At the very least, I thought NCSoft would try taking the game in-house to keep it going with a skeleton crew and minimal investment to see how quickly the numbers would fall, but I can see how that would have been an even bigger PR problem.

What strikes me as odd in all this is how abruptly they ended it, forcing it closed so quickly that they had to give refunds, even on monthly subscriptions.  That still seems completely unnecessary to me.  I can't think of a reason they'd be forced to do that.  Even if they'd become cash-poor and had to restructure, there's no way they or their investors would push to close a profitable subsidiary.  The only way that would be a good idea is if they could re-purpose staff and resources, which clearly wasn't the case (they laid everyone off and any gain in resource redistribution would have been negated by the refunds).

So it does still seem like there are huge chunks of the story we don't know.  Given what we DO know, the most likely scenarios are...

1)  A severe falling-out between NCSoft and Paragon Studios.  In that case, I can see NCSoft doing things the way they did.  And, to be fair, it could be the fault of either company or both.  Given Paragon's proven ineptitude in business practices, it's not a stretch to think they could have burned this bridge all by themselves.

2)  I guess it's possible that ending the game this abruptly makes it a cleaner, more accessible property to sell to another company.  If there's interest, it's possible that bidders aren't wild about the game's current business model, and there's no question that closing the game for a period of time would make a new, less forgiving FtP model more palatable to subscribers.  To put it another way, a new business model that costs a significant portion of the player base more is easier to sell as a savior than it is as a hostage-taker.

"We're taking over the game.  If you want to keep playing you're going to need to pay," doesn't sound inviting.

"We saved City of Heroes!  We're sorry it was gone for X months, but it's back!  It's going to cost a bit more -- we don't have the cashflow those rich NCSoft folks do, after all -- but we'll do our best to make it worth it!  Come on back!"  That's a good sales pitch.

It also gives them the opportunity to take on the property and everything that comes with it without aquiring Paragon Studios.  And I'm sorry -- I know we love our devs -- but if the game continues, doing so without them is a no-brainer.  Too much cost, no future plans, declining valuation, poor business track record...  Paragon Studios had to go if this game is to continue in any meaningful way.

How's that for a novel?  Did you miss my rambling?  Did anyone but Sam read this far?

Wink

Ember Rose
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I did, Jags. I appreciate your analysis of the possibilities of why the game was so abruptly severed. I think this might be easier to swallow if we knew the reasoning behind the closing. That is, if you like swallowing flaming ninja stars. Unfortunately, I'm going against my naturally optimistic nature and believing that once the game is shut down, we will never see it again. If I'm proved wrong, I'll be ecstatic, but I have no hope that this is the case. Saving the game would put the new managing company in a better position but based on the sales, who would want to purchase a dying game, even if the player base won't be exhausted for another 10 years? Businesses are looking for continuned revenue not usually a pet project that would eat at their profits. 

As a side note, I didn't know what the original spotlight picture was from. I just thought it was a gritty representation of how we were truly all feeling on the inside. I think I've graduated from the angry stage of grief to acceptance or at least mid-way through depression. I understand the sales models and the profit pitches and even the potential resurrections, but I still only have one sentiment: Fuck you, NcSoft. Ah, that feels better Smile

Just one more block and I swear I'll stop.

It's never too early for a glass of wine and some zombie shooting.

Orion Pax
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A well thought our post, Jags, and I did read the whole thing Wink  I agree with Ember on both of her points (it'd be great to know the whole truth on the CoX close, and the gritty representation of the original spotlight image hidden in my spoiler tags).

If someone is able to purchase/revive the property, even if with a revamped business model, it'd a be a great win for us all.  Conversely, while CoX's FTP model was a bit on the extreme sside towards getting almost everything for nothing, I would point out the ramblings about SW:ToR's FTP model, where its pay for almost everything, and get nothing for free, except a gimped experience.  Let's hope if CoX is revived, the "new" FTP model has a nice balance between the old CoX FTP and the SW:ToR FTP models Good

Hanna
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Tak ou ver muc for ou commet Watcdog. I actuall do feel feel ver strogl about te sactit of life, but I totall forgot wo I was arguig about it wit. I've bee avig woderful gcats wit Miseri ad totall ot realizig tat I just screamed m fuckig ead off at er.

Tis is oe of tose dagers of forums ad I totall bcame te most awful troll. I just wat to publicl apologize to Marqaa ad MiseriCik ad I'll take te rest of te apologies to private message.

Lastl, fuck ou CSoft for urtig m frieds so badl.

Samuel Tow
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Ember Rose wrote:
As a side note, I didn't know what the original spotlight picture was from. I just thought it was a gritty representation of how we were truly all feeling on the inside. I think I've graduated from the angry stage of grief to acceptance or at least mid-way through depression. I understand the sales models and the profit pitches and even the potential resurrections, but I still only have one sentiment: Fuck you, NcSoft. Ah, that feels better Smile

It was from documentary footage of I believe South Korean soldiers executing a civilian on camera, which is the stuff TV typically doesn't show. The footage I saw on the Discovery channel froze just at the moment the shot was fired. And I am, personally, not that much against the picture itself - it just doesn't bother me that much - or even against the drive to do something to depict our feelings. What bothers me is the notion that we must intentionally do something offensive and "wrong" if we really loved City of Heroes. Personally, I just have an innate dislike for rebel-rousing just because I always end up on the "enemy" side of it either for not doing enough or doing the wrong thing. If I vote for moderation (the abstract kind, not the forum administration kind), that's why.

As for NCsoft... I honestly don't know what their deal is. It is my hope that they do plan to sell off the property and are just being HORRIBLE businessmen about it. Otherwise, they're about on the same level as EA or UbiSoft in "evil corporations that hate their customers."

P.S. My apologies, Hanna, but I can't read a word of what you're posting. I thought your spelling was accidental at first, but at this point it looks deliberate and I just cannot read your post at all.

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

 

Orion Pax
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Hanna's suffering a keyboard malfunction currently - many letters don't work right, or sporadically work Sad Trust me, it's not intentional on her part Wink

marqaha
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Samuel Tow wrote:
It was from documentary footage of I believe South Korean soldiers executing a civilian on camera, which is the stuff TV typically doesn't show.
Nguyễn Văn Lém, the victim in the photo, wasn't strictly a civilian, per se. What the picture depicts, and what it has come to represent in the western world, are two different things. Nguyễn Văn Lém was a member of the Vietcong, and depending on who you believe either spent the morning murdering unarmed civilians while dressed as one, or had murdered General Loan's (the man with the gun) family. In either case Nguyễn Văn Lém was not an innocent cum martyr.

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