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Sadly, Not A Gimmick To Reboot A Beloved Comic Series

NCsoft to close Paragon Studios and shut down City of Heroes due to “publishing restructuring”.

As a recent NCsoft employee it would be inappropriate for me to express my inchoate rage in writing. Suffice to say that I have nothing but pride and satisfaction for the time I spent supporting Paragon Studios, believe that to this day City of Heroes is the best MMO of its kind, that its most recent (and sadly not widely adopted) expansion pack truly made the game a great experience, and that roughly 80 very talented and very experienced MMO developers are currently on the job market.

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  • A Man In Black

    Chalk this one up in the “failed F2P transition” column.

    • someone

      Not even a tiny bit, they were very successful at f2p.
      The closure is entirely political in nature.

      • A Man In Black

        According to who? COH revenues have been flat since the Going Rogue bump faded.

        http://mmofallout.com/2012/08/08/ncsoft-q2-2012-profits-down-revenue-up/

        I’ve seen all sorts of conspiracy theories from COH players, but not making any more money after the much-ballyhooed F2P transition seems like an obvious problem.

        • Mandella

          You say that like it was a bad thing, but flat revenues are just fine, as long as you’re making money. The problem here is that NCSoft decided they weren’t making *enough* money, and their resources would be better spent elsewhere.

          Fine, if you’re selling toasters.

          People get attached to these virtual worlds, both as players and developers, so don’t be surprised at a backlash when you decide to suddenly discontinue the service you’ve been charging for for eight years.

          Put it another way. You’re renting apartment space. You decide one apartment complex just isn’t making the dough you want. You evict everybody with the minimum notice you are legally required to give. You totally have the legal right, but don’t be surprised if your former tenants carry a grudge, and hesitate to rent from you ever again.

          • UnknownSubject

            … but then you build a new, fancier building and it fills with a lot of new people and some of the old ones who said they’d hate you forever.

            Are you willing to trade off a fixed 50k to 60k active players in the chance of getting 10x that number? Because that’s what NCsoft is thinking about.

          • Count Nerfedalaot

            What part of the entire studio being closed and everyone laid off equates to building the new building in this analogy?

            Shutting down a product that is making a small profit to redirect the resources to something more profitable can sometimes be a reasonable business decision. Shutting down a product that is making a small profit and firing everyone involved with it, closing down the studio, and apparently burying the resources (source code, tools, a functioning productive experienced team, etc) along with their customers’ good will is neither reasonable nor good business. It is a decision that reeks of internal politics and either incompetent, lazy or complicit top management. It is a total business management failure.

            Note that the STUDIO was loosing money, but the GAME was net positive. Why was the studio loosing money? Because NCSoft had it working on another MMO, which are ALWAYS moneysinks until actually published.

            So my guess as to what happened is that NCSoft corporate is not happy with GW2 sales, less than satisfied with their Western market penetration and scared to death by the financial disasters of SWTOR, TSW, Copernicus, and pretty much everyone else in the Western MMO space the past few years. So they are bailing out, cutting their losses and running home with their tails between their legs. And tossing out the baby with the bath water in the process.

      • JuJutsu

        I’m with Someone, this is the fault of the Teapublican, do-nothing congress.

  • Frogdice

    I really loved this game. It is my 2nd favorite MMO after DAoC, and perhaps I should be more generous than that since I probably played more CoH than DAoC. I resubbed at least 4 times.

    But that said… CoH was one of the most haphazardly maintained games I’ve ever played. Every 6-12 months they’d come out with a new currency that you had to learn about and maximize, while the old ones were devalued.

    Influence. Infamy. Prestige. 30+ types of salvage. Shards. Seals, Threads. Paragon Points. War Zone Points.

    It was ENDLESS.

    I loved Going Rogue, but it added more currencies and made things more needlessly complex. Then they expanded on the Incarnate System and added like 4 or 5 MORE currencies and that was it for me.

    The F2P transition was done horribly. After 7 years of a game that forced you to make countless alts if you wanted to do anything, they had a F2P system that limited your character slots. /fail

    When you switch from pay to F2P, you have to give the core game away for free and then charge for extras. Unlike most MMOs, character slots were not “extras” in City of Heroes. They should have understood this.

    The incarnate system and the IO systems were not extras. They were *CORE* parts of the character development system. They were in fact the only two systems they ever developed as meaningful content for level 50s. Gating them off was a terrible, terrible decision that limited the success of their F2P implementation massively.

    ALL THE ABOVE NEGATIVE STUFF SAID:

    => The game had a GREAT and extremely responsive interface. Don’t blow that off as minor. That’s huge.

    => Footstomp.

    => The game looked great. Even 7+ years after release.

    => The character creator was amazing.

    => Footstomp.

    => They basically invented sidekicking – best MMO feature ever.

    => Travel powers. Wow.

    => Footstomp.

    => I felt like a super hero. They captured that far better than CO and DCUO did.

    => Did I mention Footstomp? Best power ever.

    • Bob

      Everything you said is exactly spot on. It is sad because I really love the potential of the game, but it honestly deserves to be shut down. If after 7 years of production, you still can’t work out how to put a game into your game, it is time to stop. For a game that perfectly captured the good meaning of being a casual mmog, spending all their time focusing on adding new annoyances to the game is just insane.

      And the f2p clusterfuck was just astounding. Who thought that giving people horribly crippled trial accounts and calling it f2p would invite lots of purchases? They had a perfect opportunity to go actually f2p, and sell ongoing story/mission/event content and they completely destroyed it. It is a shame for the players, and a shame to see all that potential wasted, but that kind of incompetence can’t keep dragging on forever.

  • Carson Wilson

    This made me really sad, but I get it, it’s a business and wasn’t generating the returns they expected and that’s (basically always) the bottom line.

    As a side note, they may want to consider taking down the Now Hiring on the front page with offers of working for CoH… kind of tacky.