Editorial: Boycott NCsoft

PrintE-mail Written by Jordan Royce Wednesday, 07 November 2012


The time has come to boycott NCsoft...

Please allow me to introduce you to my friend Meathead. I met him about 8 years ago. He isn’t real yet I have a lot of affection for this fella. He is my main character in the City Of Heroes massively multi player online game along with Jahardi Whizz Bang (a name best explained over a drink) – whom you will find lurking near the title. Years ago he got me through a seriously bad night. Through bad behaviour I had managed to drive away the woman I loved, and my close friend died that day of brain cancer. It’s strange how many different ways people cope with a night of complete and total misery. Me and Meathead had it sussed – a 20 hour session saving the populace of Paragon City from the bad guys. It beat a call to the Samaritans any day.

Meathead is sadly scheduled to die on the 30th November 2012.

City Of Heroes is one of the World’s longest running MMOs. It has gone through many changes and seen off the demise of many, many other similar online experiences. What made City Of Heroes different, and helped it to survive was the immense level of detail, care, and attention that helped to forge one of the greatest gaming networks that has ever existed. Every few months subscribers would be delighted to receive an email outlining a brand new update, many of which were the equivalent of an entirely new game expansion that certain rivals released as a fifteen quid additional purchase. Even when under extreme competition from D.C. Online they managed to tweak their model to allow for some free players, whilst the regular subscribers got lots of freebies. It even had its own nightclub, ‘Pocket D, with a ski resort that opened up only for the holiday periods. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention how poor the D.C. version was…

On the 31st of August 2012 a shock announcement was released. NCsoft had decided to close Paragon Studios (the geezers that run the joint), and City Of Heroes would be sunsetted  (polite speak for binned off) on the 30th November 2012. The statement was made with the usual bypassing of any real sentiment or feelings that can only ever be achieved by a corporate mentality. This came as such a shock due to the continued popularity of the game. Last year there was no real surprise when Star Wars Galaxies was scrapped to make way for something possibly better. Sure, there were some tears shed but subscribers had substantially fallen away, and such is life. City Of Heroes had a very strong support and the decision seemed bizarre, and entirely unexpected. Almost immediately the players got organised and tried to do something to save their gaming Universe. The guys at www.savecoh.com proceeded to show the World that gamers were far from the saddos often portrayed by sitcoms, and have worked tirelessly to allow the game to continue. Organising a massive petition, making certain that NCsoft were flooded with capes and masks, and even taking the (now redundant) Paragon Studios guys out for a “thank you” lunch (all via an online whip round).

Sadly all these amazing efforts have not achieved the objectives so far. Other than a statement from NCsoft on 2nd October 2012 which basically stated that all attempts to sell the game have come to no avail, they appreciated the efforts by everyone, but they really wished we would all f’#k off and let them shut the game down quietly. I can confirm that on the 23rd of October 2012 I personally emailed them and asked for their in depth response on exactly what efforts had been made to sell the game, and continue the community for the fans. I informed them that I would be running this article, but they did not even have the decency to reply.

I feel so strongly about this that, as Editor I am now calling on you all to boycott games from NCsoft. These games currently include; Guild Wars, Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage, and the upcoming Wildstar.
Why am I asking for this boycott? Because they sold all of you guys on the concept of a community. Worked for years to convince you to part with huge amounts of cash, and to invest your time in their project. Then they have a corporate meeting and decide to close it all down – when the game is still very profitable. The entire community do not want NCsoft to continue hosting the game if that is their decision, rather simply to dispose of the coding and intellectual property to allow the gaming World to continue under a consortium or otherwise. The only conclusion to be made is that NCsoft don’t want the game to continue as a form of competition to their other products. It does seem that any one of their ‘community’ based games could be choked off at a stroke of a pen. Thrown under the bus to protect another game that the suits deem more viable in the long term.  I ask you this question. Are these the kind of people that deserve your money and loyalty?

I ask you all to boycott NCsoft until such time that they start to treat their customers with decency, honesty, and most of all – respect.

Please also visit www.savecoh.com and join them on Twitter @SaveCoh. See if you can help these guys. It’s David versus Goliath, and just plain wrong.

Jordan "Mike" Royce

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