Massively OP Podcast Episode 217: City of Heroes after dark

    
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Butter face.

On this special edition of the podcast, Justin, Eliot, and Bree gather together to talk about the so-called “secret” City of Heroes server — and why it has this long-running community in an absolute tizzy. What’s the actual scandal here, and what should be done with this emulator going forward? Check out our thoughts on this show!

Nothing on this podcast should be construed as legal advice. We are not encouraging or condoning illegal activity and advise everyone involved to consider their actions carefully. You may also wish to read about the power of the CoH EULA.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

Show notes:

  • Intro
  • City of Heroes’ secret server exposed
  • Why is everyone upset?
  • Is there money exchanging hands?
  • What about other site connections?
  • What about NCsoft?
  • Was it good to bring this out into the open?
  • What should be done with the server?
  • Outro

Other info:

You can read all of our articles on the City of Heroes SCORE drama right here:

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Anton_GrandeTTV

I owe you a huge apology Bree. thank you for restoring my faith in humanity and i included a BIG thanks on a reddit post. You should be very proud of all that you were a part of. we all thank you. :)

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Cheers Anton! Thank you for keeping an open mind. <3

xpsync
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xpsync

Super Drama!

Yikes! Lots of POW! BLAM! ZAP! BAM! KAPOW! going on here.

People love this game, when i was playing SWL there were so many people there whom played this game. The moment a CoH topic of conversation came up that was it, chat was done for the night, even on voice (discord) all the woman would talk non stop about the game. Unfortunately it didn’t click for me (not big superheroes fan anyway to start), i mean I checked it out for a bit but it was going up against OG Eq2 so… no other mmorpg stood a chance. But yea it was OK didn’t hate it or anything.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Don’t forget FREEM!

xpsync
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xpsync

It’s times like this where i kinda wished i’d given it more of a chance, especially in SWL when everyone would talk the night away about it, sounded like an amazing time tbh, it’s like everyone in SWL played it, but me. lol

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

There were definitely some good times but COH was not perfect in any regards. I think the ole Nostalgia stone is polishing some folks memories.

Mine included.

It was really a lot about the people I met that made my experiences great, the COH game just facilitated those interactions.

Given the vitriol I’ve seen in the last few days, I’m not sure the people that would show up to a revived COH game would be people I’d want to make new memories with.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

So it’s like 4am on Thursday and specific parts of our discussion have already been invalidated by Recent Developments. Just an FYI for anybody listening to this on Thursday, just bear that in mind, I don’t even agree with everything I said myself eight hours given this additional info. Hang tight, will try to publish more when I can.

Harry Koala
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Harry Koala

Keep up the good work Bree and MOP – don’t let the b*stards grind you down (whichever particular b*stards are most grindy at the moment).

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Utakata

This is turning into all the intrigue of a Mueller Report…and hopefully something far less redacted. o.O

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Bruno Brito

I’ve read the update, but how much of that is actually reliable? Leandro saying things is one thing, but can he prove he was contacted by an anonymous person with character database?

And does he have a playercount for the server? Did it really have “thousands”?

While i don’t condone doxxing and threats, i would be very careful with taking a pserver owner at face value. Pservers are, as is their nature, sketchy as fuck. It’s common that the people who run them are too.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Just read Leo’s comments on cohtitan.

Sounded legit to me.

If its true, some folks might need to head over to the AITA subreddit.

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Kickstarter Donor
Dab

Please don’t get discouraged. Those of us that have been around a while appreciate all of the work you and the MOP staff do and have done. Yeah, it can be tough to publish articles which can be partially or completely invalidated as a whirlwind of updates are flying about. I get it. And yes, maybe sometimes MOP has made a judgement call that I wouldn’t have. But heck, you guys are still the source I trust most, because of the general sense of journalistic integrity I see. Not always correct, not always perfect. But always willing to admit it when that happens. So thank you.

I was a CoX player from beta. I loved the game to bits – I married my wife in-game as well as IRL. I made lifelong friends there. It was the first game my now 22yo son ever played on our only PC at the time. I was mostly a lurker when it came to the forums and community, and was never particularly active outside of the game or after sunset. This whole thing makes me feel nostalgic remorse, but didn’t cause rage or tears or the spouting of hyperbole. I do feel slightly like I missed out on something, but not that I was robbed. Note: I do NOT like the idea, if true, of someone else being able to hop into one of my toons. That is a violation to me, as silly as that may sound.

In any case, I hope the community can get past this. I doubt the ‘camps’ that have formed will ever reconcile, but I am sure there are many out there like myself, that were fans but not fanatics, who are still looking for the true successor to our beloved game, whether a real CoX 2.0 or one of the projects currently in development.

Bree, please stay the course. Us ‘lurkers’ depend on you and MOP in more ways than you are probably aware of.

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Heath Brown

I’ve read over a lot of what happened. You have a fan for life in me. What you did last night was heroic. Thanks. Even if things stay this way and nothing ever comes of it, you did the right thing.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

There you go, summary of wtf I heard and saw last night, plus the last Leo interview. Sleep is massively overrated.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I really wish they’d shut down that guy who keeps going into every thread claiming TonyV works here and Leo is my best bud! I mean what, lol.

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Brendan Wallach

funny how thing parallel . i’m in the middle of this same missinfomation thing of a youtuber on youtube. there a group of people who there 15min of fame and will ride off the backs of established people with malice. theres so much going on here . i wish you well

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Fisty

It certainly brought some characters out around here. These comments are fun.

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Heath Brown

A lot of good points made in this podcast. A little annoying some of the comments about the community. I learned of this site just a couple days ago. Been doing mmos for a long time and yeah I’m old. I’m a bit guilty for getting pissed off about this. That said, I’m glad I found this site. After listening to this podcast I felt a lot better about the whole thing. So anyhow, this site is really nice and has so much info I haven’t seen anywhere else. Good work. Bree – I’m sorry folks have been attacking you. That’s just silly.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I appreciate it! When people calm down, they are pretty cool.

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Heath Brown

Now I just need to work on that itchy trigger finger when posting . I really don’t enjoy the drama and would rather be a positive presence in any gaming community. Have a great night.

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Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

It’s accuser and accused. Not ‘accusee’.

Celestia
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Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Celestia

Am I the only person in the whole god damned world that didn’t know about this private server?!? Jesus Christ this really sucks.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

I want more stories about Ever Jane!

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Only use reddit for catgirl pr0n.

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Bruno Brito

sauce

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Yoshi Senpai

/FFXIV

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Aaron Weingartner

To this end in general, posing the question “Was it good/right to bring this out in the open?”

Well, let’s have a few factors put in place.

“Can the server(s) handle it?” A single server running thousands of people? Probably not. That’s a factor relating to the server’s own physical scale as compared to the original live-game servers. The server they have might not run stably beyond a certain scope, but realistically that’s likely because it’s not as big as the originals.

And that’s the other thing. “Originals”, not “Original”. The game server was a cluster, not some single super-machine running any more advanced code than what we have access to. On top of that the servers were fragmented into instances, so at any given moment the server shards were only handling a small fixed amount of players at-most. Which then cycles to the next point…

“How much does the server(s) cost?” Well, simply put game server rentals have don down a lot over the years. At this point you can host a 40-100 man server for about $40 a month. This price scales upwards, and would mean at a consistent rate would cost towards a few thousand to host a few thousand itself.

However, server cost does not linearly scale like that, and once you get into the couple-thousands you are running right into territory where you can outright buy your own servers and server racks for hosting all those people, which dramatically cuts back that cost immediately.

“Should they release the data?” Very simply, yes. There was no logic in hiding the data for so long, as they could have uploaded it anonymously long ago, and allowed a variety of people access to this information in order to host their own servers or develop new server code. to that end…

“He doesn’t want legal repercussion for releasing it.” He doesn’t have to worry about that if he’s smart enough to leverage the same toolkits that the likes of Wikileaks uses. Anonymous data dump of the code would essentially solve all of that. He’d be fine unless he has a witness to confirm it was him doing that.

The excuses are simply that, excuses.

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Lobo The Duck

In short.
You haven’t seen the hardware setup.
You haven’t seen the code.
So you’ll just substitute that lack of data with WAGs.

“There was no logic in hiding.”

You mean, outside of NCSoft and other big game publishers shutting down emulators left and right.

How prominent and unassailable (and expensive) do you think truly anonymous data dumps are?

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Aaron Weingartner

In short.
You don’t need to see the hardware setup to know the $3k price point that’s been bandied about is way over cost.
You don’t need to see the code to know something that ran on decade-plus older server hardware has more wiggle-room on modern hardware.
And basic information that is vettable regarding server costs was provided, with this response being based on screen grabs discussing the server, a bit of it’s architecture, and it’s costs being the reference.

View post on imgur.com


As for how “expensive” an anonymous data dump is. I’ve already posted in the comments a link to open-source serviced and toolkit for doing them, so the cost is $0.

And NCSoft shutting things down is exactly why hiding it is exactly the wrong thing. “You cannot delete something from the internet.” They might manage to purge a site or server, but as long as it’s been put out there, pirates will be sharing it around.

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Aaron Weingartner

Further on the point on how uninformed your responses to me have been. As it expands on the prior image.

View post on imgur.com

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Lobo The Duck

“3K is over-cost”

Depends on what’s being hosted.
Remember that, at the end, the CoH servers were being hosted on a cluster. It wasn’t like they had one box labeled “Freedom” and another labeled “Pinnacle”.
And does something like this require dedicated hardware or can it now be virtualized?
Also, you don’t just throw ANYTHING into a rack and call it done.
Most data centers have a power budget on a per-rack basis.
And server-grade hardware doesn’t just fall from the sky with a price of $0.00.

You’re still making assumptions you have no way to prove or justify.

But hey, what do I know. I only do enterprise grade IT for a living.

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Aaron Weingartner

Cost of hardware is accounted for in prior price points mentioned. Rentals you don’t buy your own hardware for, and buying a rack is “buying a rack”.

And what’s being hosted was accounted for. I even linked you images of them breaking a bunch of things down including the hardware on the server they rent only for you to waste time with this useless comment?

No wonder you’re still just IT.

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Aaron Weingartner

Interestingly, seems the new article has Leandro echoing my statements regarding modern server costs as well.

What’s going on with City of Heroes now: ‘This game is a unicorn’

Guess this goes to show, don’t trust some IT guy with something properly technical.