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City of Heroes to shut down

The first superhero MMORPG will be hanging up its cape soon as Paragon closes its doors

NCsoft is shutting down Paragon Studios, and with that all development on City of Heroes will cease. From their blog: "In a realignment of company focus and publishing support, NCsoft has made the decision to close Paragon Studios. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease and we will begin preparations to sunset the world's first, and best, Super Hero MMORPG before the end of the year. As part of this, all recurring subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing will be discontinued effective immediately. We will have more information regarding a detailed timeline for the cessation of services and what you can expect in game in the coming weeks."

City of Heroes was originally developed by Cryptic Studios, and later purchased by NCsoft, which formed Paragon Studios to continue developing the game. City of Heroes transitioned from a subscription model to free-to-play last year, but apparently NCsoft has decided that it's not the best use of their resources anymore. Sources say that some 80 employees will be affected by the studio closure.

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Latest comments (11)

Andrew Lee Pearson Studying Game Designer, Train2Game4 years ago
This is the thing that worries me with online games. If they decide to shutdown, you loose everything you bought over the years.

For example the amount of pets and mounts I must have bought on the World of Warcraft Store must add up to quite a sum and eventually WoW will get replaced with something new, all your doing really is renting the use of these pets and mounts in game for the duration of the games life.

I wonder how many people would still buy in game items after reading this first?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Andrew Lee Pearson on 3rd September 2012 10:26am

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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop4 years ago
I know, the other week I paid to see a Batman movie at the cinema, and then at the end of 3 hours I had nothing but the memories of having watched a movie.

People still buy things knowing full well that they aren't permanent.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
I buy magazines, and throw them in the recycling. I buy food, and eat it. One day my car will be crap and need to be scrapped and my telly will just stop working.
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Show all comments (11)
Izmar English Content and Community Manager: DOFUS, Ankama Games4 years ago
Ah, but these comparisons are so pale and unkind to the function that an MMO like CoH can have in your life. TVs will still play shows no matter which kind is on your wall, your car will still take you from point A to point B, even if it's a different color or size or make.

It's more like that experience of having seen something in childhood that touched you that you can never find again. A story excerpt you read in a magazine but can't remember the author's name; that TV show you saw at your babysitter's place that one time and never heard of again; that one series that was never finished because the production was shut down or the author died... it's not just over, it's unfinished.

It's difficult to say if that time or money was wasted, but a movie like Batman has a definitive end, and it's established what happens when the movie is over. The lights come on, everyone goes home. There's nothing like this for MMOs. If someone were to come in halfway through the picture and say "Ok, the director has decided that he doesn't support this movie any more, you can watch 15 more minutes, and then we're shutting it down. We'll refund the unused portion of your ticket on the way out" that might come a bit closer to how it feels for the players.
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All online games will inevitably end. It sucks when it does, but anyone who buys into an MMO-style game played on centralised servers thinking they can play it for ever and ever and ever is being more than a little foolish. CoH had its run, and now it's over.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
Of course, what's missing in these comments is the fact (sad or otherwise) that SOME gamers who make the sorts of connections in these MMOs and happen to love the worlds and personas inhabiting them DO indeed think it's "the end of the world" when a game like this shuts down. Granted, you could tell those people to get a life and move on to a new game, but that's asking a lot when one has invested so much time, money and effort into a particular character or characters.

To some of these folks, MMOs aren't all interchangeable where "hey, the game is dead - I'll go play another!" works just like that. I'd even bet that to some of these more loyal players, it's like having your vacation home burn down on an island with an active volcano. You stay until the last minute and hope it won't blow, but all those rumblings for so long meant it was bound to happen. Inevitable, yes, but you wouldn't be happy to lose all those memories even if you did find a better and safer place to live.

Which is why I prefer solo play offline experiences on a disc or reliably stored on a hard drive i can access any time I want to.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
@Greg. That is a good point, and personally I would like to see companies who decide that it is no longer viable to run a game allow community to run their own servers, handing over access to the server side code. Probably won't happen that often, although I'm sure there is some precident.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 3rd September 2012 9:56pm

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Izmar English Content and Community Manager: DOFUS, Ankama Games4 years ago
Unlike other games, though, there's almost never a definitive "end" to an MMO. They're advertised as a persistent world, and the goal for most companies is to keep them running as long as possible... with no thought given to wrapping up the game in a fulfilling way when the inevitable happens.

I suppose this makes MMOs the most realistic platform of all when it comes to emulating the experience of life on earth. Another reminder that a swift and possibly meaningless death is at the end of all of our stories. Cheerful!
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Andy Kibler Associate Game Designer, Gas Powered Games4 years ago
While server shutdowns are inevitable for all MMOs in the long run it is always nice to see server shutdown events for the players who are still playing and enjoying the game. Tabula Rasa is a great example of this in my opinion. Check it out if you want to see how one MMO decided to go about shutting down their servers with style. Just search "Tabula Rasa server shutdown event" and you'll find more than a few videos and articles about it.

I would hope to see more MMOs do this. I'm sure others have done something similar, but Tabula Rasa is the one that sticks out in my mind.
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Paul Gheran Scrum Master 4 years ago
MMOs coming to an end is a good lesson for all gamers. When the game ends, all you have is yourself, so ensure you like the person that is. If you do, the game ending, or title being a disappointment doesn't bother you.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
@Andrew: Amusingly enough, someone sent me a link to a Phantasy Star Online private server (which is still active, although the user base is tiny) after reading my reply: www.schtserv.com/info.php
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