As of today City of Heroes has 30 days of life remaining.
As an adult male I rarely use the word "sad", but this impending doom leaves me with one word that best sums it up and that is "sad".
So many characters ... our family has 224 characters in the game, spread across 14 servers and 6 accounts (because there are 6 of us!). Every one of them has a story. Heck, they've provided a lot of the inspiration for this blog, especially the ICONS posts. For the last few years I kept a spreadsheet of them all - name, level, type, powers, server, player, account - so that we could put together a group in a speedy fashion when we wanted to play. "Do I have a Blaster on Virtue?" - "Yes, Arctic Spark, he's at 15" - "OK who are you bringing?" - "Aluminum Man, duh, and your brother's got Polar Champion joining in too" - "Cool let's go". Now unless something gives, all of them will be gone in a month.
I know in the back of my mind that any computer/electronic thing can disappear forever with no notice, whether it's a hard drive crash, eventual obsolescence, or because a company decides to turn off the servers. As an old school adult I know that spending money on virtual stuff is a bad idea because of these facts. That's why I don't spend much money on them. But I did pay subscription fees and as an old-school gamer I know that is a stupid decision too because with multiple accounts I spent enough in a month, every month, to go buy a whole new game. I can hear my dad now, "you spent how much on WHAT?" if I was to tell him how this worked. He wouldn't get it, but it was worth it. Even when I was out of work for a while - more "while" than I care to think about - I still kept this one thing going, even at a somewhat reduced level, because it was something that everyone in the family enjoyed - it was worth it. Plus it was cheaper than most things a family of six typically does for entertainment.
So what can we do?
- There's an online petition here. It has 21,000 signatures - apparently that's not enough as NCSoft has stated that their efforts to sell the game were not successful so they are continuing with the shutdown plans.
- Countering this, this blog entry notes that sources report two separate game companies have inquired about it and been rebuffed.
- Given the current state of things there is an effort underway to create a server emulation. Youtube video is here. This may be the ultimate refuge for the die-hard CoH fan.
Aside from all that if you're interested this is probably the best place to stay informed of developments:
Even if you don't play the game, if you;re a fan of superheroes in general, or gaming in general, or superhero gaming in particular, this is something you might want to get behind. Help us out and see where it goes, and at the very least you can say you were there when it went down.
As of now the game is set to spend the last week of its life under a full time alien invasion. Maybe it won't come to that - regardless, the Amazing Aluminum Man and no doubt quite a few others will be there when the world ends.