I remember there was an incident once where an online acquaintance of mine got hold of the admin tool for the game. I believe he found it by tracking down one of the engineer's personal websites, which for some reason had a copy of this tool accessible on it. The tool gave you administrative access to the servers (not ssh, administrative within the game), with no other form of authentication. We had fun with it for a little while, and then eventually the engineer who's site we had taken it from joined our little IRC channel to ask us to stop using it, and we did. Fun times.
Paragon Chat is led by a lot of the same people behind the private server where they admitted that they used it as cover for their fully fledged server. Additionally they've been behaving in generally scummy ways, deleting posts, taking down any references to the private server and more. On many of the City of Heroes communities they had members of the mod team seek out and delete any comments that might've even slightly hinted at the server's existence.
It's like the strangest conspiracy theory but it's over a dead MMO.
NowI find out that some people have had a successor in secret, and have been acting to keep that secret because of the near certainty that it would get legally stomped. Hard.
Why should this piss me off? Because some people are luckier than I? Because they've lied to protect this secret the way I'd wang them to if I had been in on it?
Everyone talking about this says how obvious it is that people should be angry and I just feel like I'm missing something. NCsoft is the one responsible for denying the game to everyone, and if some few have been able to get around that with some effort, that doesn't make my situation worse.
I'm not asking company to maintain the server though, that would be unfair also.
There were several reasons given, from “we might use it again in the future” and “we’ll need to be really careful about the database” I suspect there was also a case of some embarrassment, as some of the code was far worse than an outsider might imagine :-)
Ultimately we just deemed it too much effort to release it as even if you explicitly state it’s totally unsupported, people will go to really strange stalker-esque lengths to try and contact the original devs for any level of support, and we just didn’t want, nor have time to deal with that burden.
Note, my memory is a little hazy around all of the details, so I can’t quite remember all of the finer points.
I do remember that the topic would repeat in passing as an “ah, I wish we could...” for a very long time after the call was made.
The fact that companies shut down popular games due to their profit simply not being as high as projected is just stupid. (note I said profit, not income. In the case of CoH, the game was 100% making profit still when it was shut down).
If you give me 100, and I make a profit for you of $0.50 a year on it, it's profit right? But this other investment, investment B, makes $5/year. Which one are you going to put your money in?
Investment B every time.
The companies don't want profit, they want the MOST profit - especially because if they don't choose wisely, they'll find it difficult or impossible to seek extra financing.
I guess it could lead to bad marketing for the studio or original publisher if the game itself is filled with bugs that you won't fix.
I'm not sure that's super likely with COH, but history is full of revivals of IP that looked long dead at some point.
This is so ass backwards it boggles the mind. If you want people to buy your new game, make it better and/or different than the old one! Otherwise you're wasting everyone's time, including your own.
Making inferior new products and complaining when they can't compete against superior older ones is more than a little boneheaded. If your new stuff isn't good enough, go back to the drawing board! Anything else is parasitic rent-seeking that should be viewed by all with disdain.
When you're running a franchise properly, the success of a product should only help your bottom line in the long run. If you're looking at it as a threat to new business, you made a wrong turn somewhere and you need to figure out where it was so you don't do it again.
What really chokes me about CoH is there was no franchise - the world has been dead since the game shut down, expect for the cruel necromancy of Statesman in MXM.
This whole thing reads like a crazy conspiracy theory that actually turned out to be true. The insidious part is that is has apparently been kept under wraps by banning leakers (and everyone associated with them) followed by gas lighting them since a lot of the top people in the community were in on it. Totally nuts.
Why do companies do this? If they're clearly not making any more money off of it... I understand not wanting to release source (the IP could technically still be worth something), but why go after fan efforts to resurrect a service they're making $0 on? What's the business reasoning to spend lawyer money on stomping out unofficial servers?
Part of the problem with the IP is more that it doesn't have a main villain or follow a central storyline. It's decades of tabletop adventures that go in all sorts of directions (some light almost parody, some power fantasies, some mixtures in between).
Paragon City of CoH/CoV had the opportunity of being designed as a singular place with a natural story flow built to roughly coincide with player level flow. Champions Online is much more a loose association of vignettes and interesting settings with less of an over-arcing story. As a player you could see some of that problem directly too in the way Cryptic kept rebalancing the levels of zones to try to offer more variety to early players, more introduction to other plot lines in the game in the idea that maybe you'd fine the one that most interested you/your player faster.
One interesting thing Champions Online attempted (and didn't quite succeed at) was letting players build their own main villain. It's a shame that the Nemesis system still takes far too many levels to unlock, because had they found ways to wrap that into even low level storytelling, that would have been a big deal. That should have been something more of the game was built around. Most people don't even realize it exists because it comes around at a very high level and is basically optional at that point.
But I agree, we need some way to keep these dead game alive. I can understand if there is a franchise there'd need to be considerations, but CoH is totally gone from this earth, and that's not right.
If they want to smother it with a pillow, they should be able to. It is theirs; the players and fans certainly don't own it.
They didnt put an expiration date on the box, and therefore every single City of Heroes box is currently a false advertisement and they owe everyone a full refund.
"I don't understand how online games work or terms and condition" is not the same as false advertising.
You can't go around distributing OTHER peoples work, just to release your own. That's even worse!
Hell not even artists work for fre.
CoH stopped selling their product, they stopped supporting it. They have no intention of ever supporting it again. To release the source would involve no lost sales, as they do not intend to sell it again.
I absolutely say that while they intend on supporting the product in any way (even just maintenance mode), it's theirs, but once they stop using it completely and have no future intentions to ever again sell it, there's no harm in releasing it. Once the work is no longer being used by the artist, with the artist having no desire to ever use it again, why not release it?
If you could somehow relive your favorite concert forever, rather than buy more tickets, artists would be devastated. I think their business rationale is totally sound: why not just sit on it, and people who want that same experience come to you for their new work?
Instead you'd have to pay a lot of money for lawyers and engineers to review the code, etc. That's expensive - it's not like they could just upload the whole thing to Github, no review, nothing.
Besides, the people who don't want to pay for a new game are people who you should spend zero time pleasing - they're not willing to support whatever endeavour you're embarking upon, so why spend all this time and effort putting something out there for them to enjoy? Sit on it: cost zero. Release it: Potentially costs lots, might decrease sales of current product.
It seems like a no-brainer from every perspective: as an artist, as a programmer, as a business person. I guess as a "digital artifact" it has some worth, but honestly, if it isn't enough to support the people making it, it really isn't actually worth that much (emotional attachment to games aside).
Many years ago I decided that keeping up with and being invested in games didn't make sense - stuff went microtrandaction, content released as add ons that clearly should have been part of the game, the focus is on multiplayer streamable, etc. I hate it.
So indy titles or GOG style games for me only. It cut way down on spending, toxic communities, supported artists and older digital works directly, and it's more fun (to me). Plus GOG games have no DRM!