Author Topic: A Dissent...  (Read 6425 times)

sindyr

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2012, 09:18:31 PM »
I think ALL of our time, resources, and money are limited.

And I think the 1 in "COH1" is superfluous - there is no COH1 - there is only COH.

AreEss

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2012, 10:14:47 PM »
Hi MiMs. =^o^= I'm honestly in favour of a complete rewrite, too (as you'd know from KiTTYWorld aspirations), but that really has to be a long-term thing. With spiritual successor-scenarios, community fragmentation is guaranteed to result, and we really ought to avoid that at this point.

Ohai KiTTY!

Looking at it from a realistic standpoint (as I have to) though, the fact is the community was already substantially fragmented in-game as is. RP vs. non-RP vs. griefers, Cool Kids Club A vs. Cool Kids Club B, marketeers vs. anti-marketeers, and so on. The only thing connecting it was, no surprise, the game. (Which is kind of why I brought up the whole thing about the community needing to change as well. It really, really does.)

That said, it's already going to fragment. Unfortunately, I just don't see any way it's not going to happen. Best case, worst case, middle case, no matter what there's going to be a gap. And the various sub-communities will move on, move away, and so on and so forth. The natural order of things - people moved on when the game was new, they're going to move on while it's dead if they haven't already. It's also more or less what killed CoX financially - it wasn't drawing in enough new people, and people were just getting bored of it and leaving (or going free.) Deprived of the proverbial 'fresh meat' (AKA new buyers and subs) any MMO will decline.

So, I suppose really what I'm saying here is that the community really needs to just stop trying to preserve the status quo, whether or not they like it or it's uncomfortable. No matter how coordinated and coherent the efforts, unprofitable is unprofitable, not drawing in new subscribers is not drawing in new subs, and so on. What's done is done. If we, as fans, want to save Paragon City our best option is to combine our efforts into creating a new city. We have an incredibly diverse playerbase - hardcore, casual, lazy Sunday, role players, immersive are all represented. That alone is unique and effectively unheard of.

If we do nothing but sit around moping, crying, and writing angsty letters, then yes. The community will fragment, fall apart, and nothing will happen. (This isn't a new thing with the CoX community as a whole either. Or really any community.) Same result if people just throw up their hands, say "it's over can't do it the end." This is not a failure - the failure happened long ago now.

This is an opportunity. An opportunity to take our beloved city we called home, to combine our efforts, our experiences and our skills, and say "forget making it what it once was. We've ALL said we can do better - and we've just gotten our chance to PROVE IT."

Manga

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2012, 10:20:11 PM »
Last Friday when the shutdown announcement was made by Paragon, I took a few hours to think about what that meant before I decided to try to save it via a buyout.  I knew about Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and my inspiration was Matt Inman (creator of The Oatmeal) and his raising nearly 1 million for Build A Goddamn Tesla Museum.  This was before I saw TonyV's post.  Since I'm also responsible for a small software company, I thought it was a perfect fit for me to try.  Scary, but also perfect.

After telling some friends about my idea, I was directed to TonyV's post.  I contacted him, telling him I had a similar plan, but that I would work with him instead, because everyone has heard of Titan Network, but not so many about Manga.

Since then, the plan has morphed from a buyout to possible licensing and buyout.  Licensing is friendlier than competing with any other possible software company, causing us both to fail because of it.  It's also something I'm familiar with procedurally, and it takes a lot less money up front.

The point to telling this whole story is that I want to work WITH Titan, not bully it into performing my own script.  However, if it is decided that the best bet is to reverse engineer or to build a new game from this point on, I say now that I will continue with a bid to license or purchase CoH, on my own if I need to, because I believe that strongly that it's the right first course of action.  Maybe I'll succeed, maybe I'll fail.  But if I don't try, I will surely hate myself for not doing so.  I do wish, however, that it could be done as a single voice, because that carries more power.

I hope you'll join me in the attempt, but as I'm a firm believer in free will and democracy, it's up to your vote where you want to go with this.  But as free will goes, I must follow where my heart and mind guide me.

So the next step is up to you all.

P.S. Please don't take this the wrong way; it's not a threat or whining.  I just want you all to know what I believe, and that I may not follow you if your plans don't align with what I feel and believe.

Plinkyplonk

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2012, 11:01:11 PM »
Licensing the game has to be the most cost effective. I am under the impression it is in the Titan plan. Seems like you know your oats Manga, I hope you are on board with Titan and they with you. More strings to your bow etc.

I have a question though and can see nowhere it has been asked.

How many NCSoft shares would you have to buy to get the license for CoH as a motivator?

Scott Jackson

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2012, 11:11:52 PM »
And I think the 1 in "COH1" is superfluous - there is no COH1 - there is only COH.

I made the distinction to show that licensing may earn us limited rights to operate CoH1 (the software we're using now) and its Cryptic engine, but NCSoft has separate rights to CoH2 (to develop new software) and we would need to negotiate for them as well, if we wish to protect the future of CoH.  To me, the general term "CoH" represents the good designs and ideas we want to see in any MMO that we choose to support and play.

TheManga:
Completely understandable.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 11:31:43 PM by Scott Jackson »

Ampithere

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2012, 11:58:26 PM »
Last Friday when the shutdown announcement was made by Paragon, I took a few hours to think about what that meant before I decided to try to save it via a buyout.  I knew about Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and my inspiration was Matt Inman (creator of The Oatmeal) and his raising nearly 1 million for Build A Goddamn Tesla Museum.  This was before I saw TonyV's post.  Since I'm also responsible for a small software company, I thought it was a perfect fit for me to try.  Scary, but also perfect.

After telling some friends about my idea, I was directed to TonyV's post.  I contacted him, telling him I had a similar plan, but that I would work with him instead, because everyone has heard of Titan Network, but not so many about Manga.

Since then, the plan has morphed from a buyout to possible licensing and buyout.  Licensing is friendlier than competing with any other possible software company, causing us both to fail because of it.  It's also something I'm familiar with procedurally, and it takes a lot less money up front.

The point to telling this whole story is that I want to work WITH Titan, not bully it into performing my own script.  However, if it is decided that the best bet is to reverse engineer or to build a new game from this point on, I say now that I will continue with a bid to license or purchase CoH, on my own if I need to, because I believe that strongly that it's the right first course of action.  Maybe I'll succeed, maybe I'll fail.  But if I don't try, I will surely hate myself for not doing so.  I do wish, however, that it could be done as a single voice, because that carries more power.

I hope you'll join me in the attempt, but as I'm a firm believer in free will and democracy, it's up to your vote where you want to go with this.  But as free will goes, I must follow where my heart and mind guide me.

So the next step is up to you all.

P.S. Please don't take this the wrong way; it's not a threat or whining.  I just want you all to know what I believe, and that I may not follow you if your plans don't align with what I feel and believe.

I'm behind you for sure. Primarily because I don't want to see a new game without the CoH IP but also because I'd like to have something to play while I volunteer time on/wait for the "modern" replacement. CoH is still a strong game, and can go for at least a few years yet, I think, without any major overhauls to the graphics or models or whatever. But that's just my opinion.

Also my opinion: If we are going to make a new game without the CoH IP, it had better be really really good. I pride myself on knowing everything there is to know on CoH lore if I can help it because I absolutely love it. If the new game doesn't have that lore, it might as well be Champions Online. Except that's funded and maintained professionally. So unless our game was absolutely incredible (read:revolutionary) we would not stand a chance of being competitive (if that's even a goal of ours, rather then simply making enough money to support continue operation and development) without the CoH IP.
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Zanriel

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2012, 01:01:45 AM »
You know, I don't see any conflict between raising funds for a buyout vs. raising funds for development. If the buyout fails, that money will still be there - because there was no sale. Then it could be used for development instead. I agree that pursuing the buyout option first would be the wise choice, since those funds would still be available for "Plan B" (or Z, or whatever) even if the first option failed. Either way, fundraising seems like a logical first step. We know we want to contribute to a project of some kind, it's just a question of which will succeed.

The problem is, some people may decide they'd rather support development, and others that they'd rather support a buyout. At this point, however, we don't even know that a buyout is even possible. NCSoft has made no indication that the IP, assets, codebase, etc. are for sale.  Not only that, but some people (myself included) fear that COH in its current form is not enough to remain sustainable and profitable. If it was, we wouldn't be having this conversation. It needs to be better.

That leads me to conclude that the buyout option would have to involve some sort of major development effort to update the game, to make it more attractive to a wider audience, and start growing its playerbase. That means taking a serious, hard look at some of the current systems that have driven people away. I'm not convinced it comes down to community fragmentation. But that's a discussion for another thread.

TL;DR - Try to buy it out and preserve COH in its current form. Continue development on Issue 24, etc. At the same time, start working towards an overhaul, sequel, or successor, even if it means having to start from scratch. That's the key to long-term sustainability.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 01:09:10 AM by Zanriel »

Victoria Victrix

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2012, 02:46:36 AM »
While I am not in the gaming industry, AreEss, I think I can probably claim that I was a programmer before you were a gleam in your father's eye.

My longest experience is with the PARS system that most airline reservations are made with.  Which was coded in...wait for it...the 1960s.  It is the biggest pile of undocumented spaghetti, with hard-coded patches, patches on patches, modules branching off modules...trust me, whatever you THINK you have seen, you have never, ever seen anything like this in your life.  It would make your brain explode.

It's doing things not only was it never intended to do, but its original coders never dreamed would be possible in science-fiction-and-peyote-induced nightmares.

It's still running.  At, I believe, every major airline.

It's perfectly possible, IF the investors and money can be found, to have it both ways.  Keep CoX running, although we will probably have to get used to the only-occasional update and add-on, while CoX2 is coded to replace it.

The key is money.  But we can have cake AND pie.  That it CAN happen is proven with the other major MMORPG reboots.

As always, money is the key.  We, the players--failing someone winning the lottery--can't do that.  Another game company can.  What we CAN do is have a Kickstarter or Indiegogo to ADD to the investor pool. and that is an option we might want to explore.  "We'll raise X to add to your Y and Z in return for keeping the original game running."
I will go down with this ship.  I won't put my hands up in surrender.  There will be no white flag above my door.  I'm in love, and always will be.  Dido

jacknomind

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2012, 01:32:23 PM »
I'm highly disillusioned at this point with the rent-to-not-own model.  I understand we can't change that industry-wide, but I'm strongly in favor of the nonprofit or cooperative corporate structures suggested by others as holders of the actual IP for whatever project ends up going forward.

I'm with TheManga on buying out or licensing (ideally with the option to buyout after a certain term) the existing property being our primary aim, but the only thing that would prompt some people to work on reverse-engineering the game would be NCSoft either refusing to sell or pricing the property unattainably high.  At that point I think everyone choosing to pursue a legal solution would be better served by "Plan Z."

The biggest fragmentation to the project sequence we have here would be NCSoft continuing the game sans updates (and update developers) or on a much slower schedule (and partially reduced studio) and entirely at their option to terminate.  Many people would go back to City of Heroes entirely; I know that I would, on some level, feel relieved.  But I still think separating Paragon Studios and the IP (or creating a new but similar superhero IP and securing interest in funding a new studio) would be a logical course of action at that point.

ROBOKiTTY

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2012, 04:13:19 PM »
It's occurred to me that there was precedent for an MMO community rescue effort receiving funding from FOSS organizations (namely, the Free Ryzom Campaign). Although it didn't immediately succeed, the franchise was reacquired and later made open source. Our situation is different since NC is not going anywhere, but there is merit in seeking help from FOSS groups.

To that end, I would suggest contacting organizations such as the Free Software Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Have you played with a KiTTY today?

TigerKnight

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2012, 04:20:56 PM »
I was talking about the whole situation with my wife last night and she asked me a question that I wanted to pose on here. Couldn't we get signatures/support from those charities that were helped through Real World Heroes? It makes sense that if you helped me, the least I could do is sign a petition for you. They were affected by the game's existence as well.

Ampithere

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2012, 06:47:14 PM »
An excellent idea was put forth here: http://www.cohtitan.com/forum/index.php/topic,4976.0.html

I think it certainly deserves consideration.
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judaschrist

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2012, 08:07:07 AM »
this is kind of tongue in cheek, but you'll understand the sentiment (i hope)
i'm in no way advocating, endorsing, or telling anyone to do anything illegal! after all it IS illegal.

but i know there's members of the community. who may, or may not have done some allegedly, "illegal things".
with all the talk of legality of emulators, and what not.
it shouldn't be an excuse to stop working on....things.......
after all,
We Are Villains, This Is What WE Do!

;D

Adiantus

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2012, 12:09:54 AM »
 Played this game since I was around 10 with my family and it's really bonded us. I can't really do much except donate what I have. I do know though that I and my family want to help. If for some reason this fight to buy CoX is still going on in a few years then when I go into college you can expect me to be learning something can help you all. Hope you guys win!

Bjork

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2012, 04:04:25 AM »
Last Friday when the shutdown announcement was made by Paragon, I took a few hours to think about what that meant before I decided to try to save it via a buyout.  I knew about Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and my inspiration was Matt Inman (creator of The Oatmeal) and his raising nearly 1 million for Build A Goddamn Tesla Museum.  This was before I saw TonyV's post.  Since I'm also responsible for a small software company, I thought it was a perfect fit for me to try.  Scary, but also perfect.

After telling some friends about my idea, I was directed to TonyV's post.  I contacted him, telling him I had a similar plan, but that I would work with him instead, because everyone has heard of Titan Network, but not so many about Manga.

Since then, the plan has morphed from a buyout to possible licensing and buyout.  Licensing is friendlier than competing with any other possible software company, causing us both to fail because of it.  It's also something I'm familiar with procedurally, and it takes a lot less money up front.

The point to telling this whole story is that I want to work WITH Titan, not bully it into performing my own script.  However, if it is decided that the best bet is to reverse engineer or to build a new game from this point on, I say now that I will continue with a bid to license or purchase CoH, on my own if I need to, because I believe that strongly that it's the right first course of action.  Maybe I'll succeed, maybe I'll fail.  But if I don't try, I will surely hate myself for not doing so.  I do wish, however, that it could be done as a single voice, because that carries more power.

I hope you'll join me in the attempt, but as I'm a firm believer in free will and democracy, it's up to your vote where you want to go with this.  But as free will goes, I must follow where my heart and mind guide me.

So the next step is up to you all.

P.S. Please don't take this the wrong way; it's not a threat or whining.  I just want you all to know what I believe, and that I may not follow you if your plans don't align with what I feel and believe.

Since it is in everyone's best interest to work as a common front to save CoH, I hope your direction and Titan Networks coincide.

redgiant

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2012, 09:57:44 AM »
Realistically ...

You need to preserve and continue to operate the existing CoH (short term), while also having a development plan for where it is heading (longer term).

The obvious play is to see how many of Paragon Studios employees are willing to reform if a deal can be struck to take over the game. If the game was shutdown mainly due to East vs. West business focus, since it was pulling in money, then you might be able to take it off their hands for a % of ongoing revenue hopefully with a cap.

License the existing purchased client connecting to a Titan coalition-hosted operations center running existing servers. You have to be allowed to use the existing clients we have installed (with minor login server site changes) against the existing server design, or you will have nothing at all running for at least a year (and probably longer).

- fans will not think of CoH as "saved" unless they can continue to play it in the short term, and have it look and feel "normal".

- this preserves what fans call CoH: the named servers, the supergroups and characters on each server, the familiar models, powersets, gameplay and world visuals.

- the costs to do this are predictable (equipment, IT center hosting, minimum operations/admin staff needed) compared to *anything* involving code and/or art development.

- it buys time to think about what the next steps should be (modify/replace existing client or server, preserve/modify/add model or zone assets, parallel development of new client, server and/or art). This is a *HUGE* undertaking and will be a very long project, assuming you have solid engineers and artists dedicated to it.

- you can engage and retain interest from the community because (a) you are still operating the game as fans see it, and (b) you can trickle details of what the longer term plan is concretely as you know it. For example, maybe you revamp the buildings in certain zones, with some having custom interiors and some non-instanced spaces.

- require a subscription to play, as low as $9.99/month if you purchase a year's sub. Everyone is a VIP sub. People unwilling to spend a few dollars a month consistently in order to literally save this game are not your target audience for playing it atm.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 10:07:33 PM by redgian »

Codewalker

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2012, 02:32:36 AM »
Just a quick follow-up. If anyone is doing packet captures for archival purposes, and has not received a PM from me, please send me a quick message. There have been some recent developments in the area.

We have a special tool to assist with this project. Without that tool, packet captures are useless. Don't take that the wrong way -- they simply are not possible to decode without some additional information that must be captured along with it.

SilverSanguis

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2012, 08:05:39 AM »
There may be another company interested in taking over operations of City of Heroes, given their track record: CCP

They're no stranger to keeping a very small MMO in the air and making it big anyway.

alchamist

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2012, 09:44:54 AM »
Hey everyone,

I know my name may not be familiar to several people here, but I would like to voice my opinion. Many people on this game come from many different backgrounds, but we all group together when it comes to our hobby, our friends, and some people will say "our lives" with CoX. Like myself, I am sure there are several business persons that are part of this game that have great ideas in regards in PR, financing, budgeting, etc. As I have seen on this thread, there are DEFINITELY many people that are tech-minded and are seemingly willing to offer expertise and volunteer work to ensure the stability of our game and the community.

Today, I logged into CoX to see 33 different Atlas Park zones on the Virtue server. I know there have been many protests and there are MANY people that are banning together to show that shutting down this game would do more harm than good. Granted, some things may need to change to ensure the longevity of the game, but I believe this community is strong enough to keep it going.

I definitely like what I am seeing, I have signed the petitions, voiced my opinions, and I hope that with everyone coming together, CoX can and will be saved. Please keep us informed and I know there are enough people to keep CoX a successful game - even if it means merging servers, asking for donations, finding fundraising opportunities, and coming up with other alternatives. This community is definitely a large one, and if there is anything we can do, let us know. I am a co-commander for what was the #1 VG on Virtue for 6-years, and if we can help, I will speak with current and former members as we move forward to see if any of them would be willing to help CoX make a come back (another suggestion is get with the top 10 SG/VG's and see if they can ban together as well)! Looking forward to the future responses.

-Alchy / The X-Patriots (Virtue Server)

DrDarkspeed

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Re: A Dissent...
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2012, 03:07:50 PM »
The Finances Of It
All the backend finances are ugly as sin. Figure for each developer or artist on your team, a cost of $125K/yr. Programmers $75-125K. Shaking the leads out of that pool. CMs, well, CMs know the deal.
By the time it's all said and done though, excluding a huge amount of costs (which are substantial in themselves) for a 12 person team, you're looking at needing $1,500K ($1.5M) per year in recurring costs. At $15/mo, that's 100,000 subscribers just barely keeping the lights on. (Suddenly you understand why CoX has been on the chopping block. Their costs were much higher and subs were NOT higher.)

I'm confused by your maths here. 100,000 subscribers at $15/mo is $18,000,000 a year, far in excess of the $1.5 million a year you say is needed.  Did you forget to multiply by 12 somewhere?