Author Topic: Plan Z: A Guide For The Uninitiated  (Read 6892 times)


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Plan Z: A Guide For The Uninitiated
« on: November 03, 2018, 11:10:03 PM »
During the Task Force Hail Mary effort, a group of dedicated City of Heroes players came up with an idea.  If NCSoft was not going to "cancel the apocalypse", let alone sell the IP, Servers, or license out the IP to someone else, then the community would need to come up with another plan.

Dubbed "Plan Z", as it was named since it was the last thing we could do in the absence of a better alternative to the above, City of Heroes players who were able-bodied in the programming, arts, and project management world could come up with a either a "Spiritual Successor" or unofficial homage to the game that we all know and love.  So Plan Z became an effort to make a game for the City of Heroes community to grasp onto in the wake of City of Heroes.

Of course, this is a gross oversimplification of years of history at this point, and the real story isn't as clean cut as I made it out to be above.  But it's enough to get an idea of what we all mean when Plan Z is said.  (And others can explain better than I can who were there, if someone really wants to hear it.)

So that's Plan Z in as easy of a way to explain it as possible.

On April 2019, City of Heroes returned with several rogue servers open to the public.  As far as these groups are concerned, the plan is full speed ahead.

Frequently Asked Questions

What game is Plan Z?
No one game planned is codenamed "Plan Z", it's actually a few efforts.

Which games are considered to be officially Plan Z?
Officially, nothing.  Because Plan Z isn't really an endorsement or status.  It's just an idea.  The games we link to on the Titan Network forums include the following:
City of Titans, in production by Missing Worlds Media.
Heroes & Villains, in production by Plan Z Studios.
Ship of Heroes, in production by Heroic Games.
Valiance Online, in production by Silverhelm Studios/SHOGN.

Is SEGS a part of Plan Z?
If you define Plan Z as a effort that started from the Shutdown and during Task Force Hail Mary, then no.  If Plan Z to you means life after City of Heroes playing something like it or as close to it as possible, then yes.  SEGS, founded by Nemerle, is a project that predates the shutdown to build a mapserver that's community-operated.  Originally intended to make a private server for a City of Heroes Client to connect to, it's evolved since then to become a community-operated MMO solution involving a game server, as well as a game client. 

Even though folks may or may not see it as a part of Plan Z, they're striving for a similar outcome: to give City of Heroes veterans a new playground.

How about Paragon Chat?
The aim for Plan Z is to make a spiritual successor or an homage game to City of Heroes.  Paragon Chat is neither.  It's a decentralized chat client with parts of City of Heroes re-enabled for socialization and casual entertainment.  However, Paragon Chat is not intended to become a game, so it doesn't fit as a Plan Z Project.  (Although it's available right now.)

Is Plan Z a Titan Network Project?
No.  While several Plan Z projects were born out of community discussions on the Titan Network forums, the projects are the brainchildren of our users who have sprouted off to make websites of their own and propagate outwards from these forums to the Internet at large.  As such, we cannot answer specific questions about any of the Plan Z projects.  They're better asked at their respective sites linked above.

Are you sure?  Aren't you guys making City of Titans? Or Heroes & Villains?
Nope.  Titan Network is not involved in the developer efforts of any "Plan Z" title, nor SEGS.  Titan is used in both City of Titans (directly in the title) and Heroes & Villains ("Titan City" is their setting for the game) as a nod to Titan Network, but that's all it is.

So, which project does Titan Network officially endorse?
Honestly, we hope all of the Plan Z projects successfully launch, and find a good, passionate userbase just like City of Heroes enjoyed for years.  However, please re-read the above answer: we're not involved in the developer efforts of any "Plan Z" title, nor SEGS.

Can I get involved?
You can ask the developer staff for any of the above games on how you can help.  Several of them are close to, or have reached Alpha (at the time of this posting), so community contributions are more focused around play testing and donations over production work, as their teams are in the last stretch to make a viable beta of their games.

A Plan Z project opened up a donate area/cash shop/crowdfunding effort.  Should I donate?
This is kind of important to say, so I'll be verbose here. 

Titan Network does NOT endorse any campaign asking for money to produce a Plan Z game or effort.  Like any crowdfunding or fundraising effort, a donor needs to consider the risk before participation.  Any responsible campaign will tell you that the outcomes of any effort are NOT guaranteed and include:
  • Carrying out the projected plan, with or without delays, and publishing a beta client on time for open play.
  • Carrying out the plan, as well as hosting more fundraisers/crowdfunding projects to carry out a launch.
  • Missing the plan, and releasing a game anywhere from tomorrow up to 5-10 years from today, so there's no telling where your life will end up once it's launched.
  • Failing at the given plan and refunding the money of whoever funded the campaign.  (Most crowdfunding sites have this in their policies.)
  • Failing at the given plan and the money is all gone.  (At this stage, a court room is your last hope to get any kind of a refund at all.)
Remember that fortunes change, gambits will occur, and even the most well intended campaign can fall apart.  You need to prepare to accept loss as an outcome should the worst happen.  If you can't stomach doing that, you probably shouldn't donate.  Also important to remember: making a donation to a crowdfunding or donation drive campaign does not make you a stakeholder or an investor in the project.  (If the game takes off and starts making serious bank, the Plan Z developer does NOT owe you a cut of their profits, nor a seat on their boards or committees.)

There will also be opportunists (crooks) who may see this website, and try to "make" a Plan Z project to try to scam or spear-phish our users into giving up account numbers or fraudulently charging them.  Be on the lookout, and watch your bank statements for unusual activity.

Finally, don't spend when you have a hard time putting food on the table or paying your bills (there's no shame in that, we all have our trying times).  There are other ways to support a campaign without spending a dime, and simply spreading the word to drum up interest can help just as much.

To sum it up: expect anything if you donate money towards Plan Z, including completely losing your donation and not getting a refund.

With that in mind, we strongly recommend that you make an informed choice and fully research the game you're planning to patronize before you act.

I'm running a Plan Z Fundraiser!  Who do I talk to at Titan Network to get an endorsement?  Or can I get any of you to talk about our game on YouTube or on our podcast?
Nobody.  Titan Network will not endorse any fundraising effort for a Plan Z project.  Because of this, testimonials from Titan Network staff are also not available.  There's press contacts at places like Massively Overpowered or MMOSite.  They're pretty friendly and don't mind an email.  Drop a line to them and see what happens.

We got City of Heroes back thanks to Rogue Servers!  Are they going to cancel development now that we can play City of Heroes again?
Absolutely not.  There's a reason these games are called spiritual successors: City of Heroes has been called by it's own maintainers in Paragon Studios a "spaghetti-ball mess of code", which isn't too unkind as it's been developed by a revolving door of programmers for it's eight years of operation (and several more of development). 

Making spiritual successor projects gives our community a chance to add to the Superhero MMO field with new play systems, new mechanics, and more features to bring the niche area more into parity with modern titles.  There's still value in having projects like these, and if there's more than one way to get your superhero fix when it's all said and done, there's nothing bad about that, right?

The majority of the projects indicated they are interested in continuing, even if Paragon City turned it's lights back on.

I didn't get an answer to my question.
Feel free to ask it below!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 06:04:21 PM by Tahquitz »
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