Thursday, October 4, 2012

Save City of Heroes: a Second Incorrect Meme

The above is a video of the Atlas Park protest, right? Wrong.

One of the pieces of misinformation that has been going around is the inclusion of the above video in discussing the Save City of Heroes campaign, the implication being that this video is footage of one of the Atlas Park protests that have been ongoing in the game. It isn't.

This video, created by the genius of Leandro Pardini, is a proof-of-concept video he put together for his  City of Heroes demo file crowd assembly script. On the official forums, he asked people to send in their costume files so they could be added to the demo video. And as you can see, it came out very impressively!

One small problem. Those reporting on the closure of City of Heroes, and many people not connected with the Save City of Heroes campaign took the video to be of the Atlas Park protest that had recently taken place, not realizing the amazing but true origins and purpose of the video, and those who did understand, made no effort that their readers knew that this video wasn't of the protest nor was it connected with Save City of Heroes, but was a personal project of one very creative player. D'oh!

To clarify, the Save City of Heroes campaign never misrepresented the video. That was done by various gaming sites, YouTube channels and Tweeters. Basically, those who didn't know the game well, but heard about the closing, saw this video come out around that time, and made the erroneous connection.

Still, it is an amazing video and Leandro Pardini is one amazing City of Heroes player!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Inspirational Save City of Heroes Video by Jakinlrali

Now that my complaints about some of the campaign's philosophy is out of the way, watch this well-done inspirational Save City of Heroes video to see the campaign at its best:

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Convenient Lie

While I pat the members of the Save City of Heroes campaign on the collective backs for fighting the good fight, I do find that the truth has been a bit of a casualty among them. I refer to the campaign's meme that City of Heroes was profitable at the time of its closure.

Press for sources and hard numbers, any such claimants come up empty. They incorrectly point to the quarterly financial reports as showing profit (they show total sales, not profit), and make general references to "developer comments" (the same developers were caught by surprise at the game's closing, so couldn't have been paying much attention to the obviously troubling financial numbers post Freedom).

It's understandable that they need a narrative of why. Why is the game worth saving? It's also a narrative that needs to deal with how. How is anyone going to be convinced to invest in the game unless the game is profitable?

Under this kind of emotional pressure, simply accepting a convenient lie is very tempting. Especially one that could be true. After all, we don't know what the quarterly expenses of the game were, so we have no idea if the game was profitable or not.

Even if City of Heroes had a modest profit, that profit would almost certainly be consumed by the unannounced project the studio was working on. So even if City of Heroes was profitable (unlikely but possible) Paragon Studios itself almost certainly wasn't. The closure strongly suggests a loss, not a profit (think about it: grocery stores consider themselves to be doing well on a 1-2% profit!).

If City of Heroes is to be saved it should be saved on the facts and truth of the matter. It should be saved on its own, valid merits. Not on fictions.

P.S. I am perfectly willing to admit I'm wrong on this one if anyone can provide a valid accounting of the game's quarterly expenses. Highly unlikely any such evidence exists, but I'm always open to accepting the facts.

UPDATE: has posted an article attempting to answer the question of the game's profitability. They quote two sources: an anonymous source who says the annual operating costs of the game/studio was $4 million (returning $12 million dollars a year on that investment), and NCsoft which said the anonymous source is "simply wrong" and that "The studio was unprofitable before the shutdown."

So on one hand we have an anonymous source saying the studio was profitable, on the other we have the studio's publisher NCsoft going on record saying the studio was not profitable. NCsoft seems more credible to me. Closing a studio down because it isn't profitable fits the available facts, where closing down a studio "because we're evil and or incompetent don't you know" even though it's making a 200% profit (combined with the very questionable $4 million dollar annual operating cost the anonymous source gave) doesn't.

In my opinion, and the opinion of City of Heroes' former publisher, the assertion that the game/studio was profitable is not supported by the available facts.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Come What May, "Save City of Heroes" Wins

The "Save City of Heroes Campaign" (Twitter: #SaveCoH and @SaveCoH) has no chance at all of saving the game, but every day they don't give up, every day they keep trying, they win. The day after the servers are shut down, if they never gave up, if they never quit, they still will have won.

Never give up, never surrender!

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Meta Rules

Play on the beta server is too easy, unless you set some personal meta-rules.
If you've been following my blog, you know that I've been playing on the beta server for my farewell tour of City of Heroes Freedom. The problem with the beta server is everything is free, so it's possible to buy a bunch of buffs and enhancements for your characters to make them absurdly powerful. To my mind, that defeats the purpose of the game by removing all challenge. So, I've set myself some meta-rules to keep things interesting.

I'm limiting myself to Single Origin Enhancements, no IOs allowed. If I got something as a vet reward, I get to use it. I can use travel powers purchased from the beta store, as well as XP Boosters. Recipes that drop in-game that give temporary buffs or temporary powers (such as the new Survival and Defense recipes) can be used, but all salvage must come as drops or from non-farming AE ticket purchases. Wentworth's/Black Market cannot be used, and no store bought buffs can be used.

This results in fast, efficient play (XP boosts, travel powers) to make the most of the time that's left, but leaves the challenge intact (no IOs, no store bought buffs).

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Farewell Leveling Tour & In-Game Protest Saturday

Daemodand rerolled to SJ/SR Brute
I'm taking my farewell leveling tour of City of Heroes Freedom. I'm doing it on the beta server because at this point there is little difference between the beta server and live, and beta has options like the new bodysuit Daemodand is wearing above.

For my last trip to 50, I decided to roll Daemodand as what he would've been if I had been just starting out today. That means a change from MA/SR Scrapper Hero to SJ/SR Brute Hero. Street Justice is the set Martial Arts should have been, and Super Reflexes is much more enjoyable on Tankers and Brutes due to the bad power ordering on Scrappers (no AOE Defense at all until level 26!) I have fond Memories of Martial Arts, but overall it just sucks compared to Street Justice. Back when I first rolled Daemodand, Martial Arts was as close to my vision of the character as the game would allow. Street Justice absolutely nails it.

And that bodysuit! I had plans on buying the whole bodysuit pack because it's some of the best, most superheroy stuff they've added to the game in a long time. I'm very pleased with Daemodand's new look.

In other news, there's a groundswell of player activism concerning the effort to save the game. There's going to be a protest on Virtue server's Atlas Park at 2 p.m. PST on Saturday, September 8th if you care to participate. For myself, quiet acceptance of the game's fate along with enjoying my final tour through the game is the direction I'm choosing to go.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Paragon Studios Management Attempt to Negotiate Reprieve

Apparently Alpha Wolf posted on the admin channel in game news that the "...Paragon management is having discussion with ncsoft and investors." [Zwillinger has confirmed the discussions in the thread linked below. -ed]

Monday, September 3, 2012

City of Heroes Bible Available Online

In case you're interested in a copy of an old, outdated version of the City of Heroes lore bible, you can find it here at Google Docs.