Sadly, NCSoft, the company behind COH (as it’s usually abbreviated), has announced they are closing the game. The reasons behind this seem murky. I’ve read that this is coming because of a “realignment of focus.” This is a great example of corporate speak that doesn’t really say much. Was the game losing money? Was there a management change? Do they simply not like superheroes? No one seems to know. Later, in a report on the site Tom’s Hardware, the company is quoted as saying “… the continued support of the franchise no longer fits with our long term goals for the company.” Again, what does this mean? If the game was just losing money, and this was an economic decision, I’d hate it, but I’d at least somewhat understand it. These vague phrases are making it sound a bit like something more is happening, and they just don’t want to say what it is. The community blog has an odd bit asking us to “not dwell on the ‘how’ or the ‘why…’” Again, to me this sounds like there is a good bit more to the story and we’re just not being let in on it. Have you ever seen something where you’re told not to ask why something is happening and had it turn out to be good news? Making it even odder, the closure was announced suddenly just after a new power set was introduced. It seems really odd to decide to end a game, but then release a new piece of it just days before said announcement. I really can’t help but wonder what happened here.
The many loyal players are doing their best to save their game. There are online petitions, and a mail-in campaign involving sending in masks. There have been several hugely attended in-game rallies to show support for the game. When one area is full, a new instance of that area is created. On a really busy night, for example, you might see Atlas Park 1 and Atlas Park 2. When I participated in this event, it was up to Atlas Park 32, and I am told it went higher. A site called www.cohtitan.com is leading the way to try and salvage something for the players. There is an online petition you can sign at: http://www.change.org/petitions/ncsoft-keep-ncsoft-from-shutting-down-city-of-heroes and an email address for the CEO http://www.cohtitan.com/forum/index.php/topic,4879.0.html. On Twitter, people are using #savecoh to try and do something for the game. More information can be found here http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showthread.php?t=296401 And the folks leading the effort have several ways you can help here http://www.cohtitan.com/forum/index.php/board,134.0.html
So, if you play a hero, this a chance to, in a small way, be one yourself. Do any or all of the above. Sign the petition, write to the CEO, use Twitter, come up with something else on your own. I’ve enjoyed this game for years, and I know many others have also. There’s a great sense of community among the players I’ve never felt in EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies, or Star Wars: Old Republic. If you’ve ever played the game, do something to help it.
And if you never have? Consider at least signing the petition. After all, heroes don’t just help people they know, now do they?