(This article has been updated since publication; updates are at the bottom!)
“It was uploaded onto a Discord server someone started who we don’t know,” a Discord source familiar with the situation just told me. “Like 300 people congregated there and now the files have spread like wildfire. It’s not the character files. It also doesn’t contain the mission files or NPCs, but it’s a big piece of the puzzle for reverse engineering the game that no one but Leo had before.”
It’s all part of a story we’ve been covering all week, as information about a secret City of Heroes private server was leaked across the web and the community agitated for its purveyors to disperse the code to everyone, not just the chosen few. Last night, it became clear that was a real and possible solution to the drama unfolding.
Ahead of the drop of the files, we spoke to the anonymous Discord participants who were apparently given the code to clean up and roll out to the public. Here’s what they told us.
MassivelyOP: Are multiple people receiving all of the files, such that multiple people can independently host the game? Or is this one of those things where everyone’s getting a different thing and only with their powers combined can a server actually be run? Is it going to be possible for anyone to access all or part of these files? Or is it going to be passed only to specific person or people vetted to run a community server?
Everyone will have access. That seems to be the most satisfying approach. We’re not going to make a server either. It’s up to the community to do with it as they see fit. That seems to go along with what Leo would want.
As for the characters, the person holding the code does not have them. Leo still does. It’s just the server code as far as we know. I don’t want to speak for Leo, but I believe personally that he intends to give it back to us in a way that ensures we get our characters and not characters belonging to other people. He’s not really involved at all at this point. I assume that anything regarding the character info will be dealt with at a later date! We don’t have the character database, in any case.
What is being done specifically to ensure that the code remains with the community in some way forever? Like, what if everyone with a copy gets hit by a bus?
Not a whole lot immediately. [The person who received the code last night] was only a random dude.
What is happening to the actual existing SCORE server and the people on it and their characters? Is that over?[Ed: They didn’t answer this one – I assume since they don’t want to speak for the SCORE folks because they aren’t the SCORE folks.]
How are people protecting themselves from legal action beyond the Great Scrubbening?
As far as the scrubbening, he scrubbed it. We don’t know! It’s really terrifying to be honest. Either way, it should be clear: We are operating independently from Leo. Nothing we say should be construed as an official message from Leo in any way. Dude’s dealt with enough hardship as it is.
We’d like to thank our sources for their candor. To be clear, we are not encouraging illegal activity and advise everyone involved to consider their actions carefully.
On characters: “I am getting lots of pushback about releasing [the character database] both in and out of SCORE because players don’t want ‘their’ characters to be available to anybody. So I’m putting that release on hold until the dust settles and the community at large can come to a decision.”
On servers: “Piggs won’t be there because server actually runs slower if you have piggs; but all the data files that WOULD go into piggs will be there. […] Whatever servers I set up will use the latest binaries and data that SCORE itself was using, internally referred to as Issue 25: Unbroken Spirit. This is simply because it will be the fastest to deploy, since it already has tools for account creation, all the microtransaction garbage like the Paragon Rewards tree removed, and many other optimizations. I am sure there will be a lot of complaints about it not being a “pure” release that will want a lot of changes stripped. Have some patience. It will take much longer to get a server set up if I have to roll back my repositories to early 2013 and hunt down a version of the data files that would play nice with it and does not have massive gaps in content. I don’t even think such a version exists. This was a massive reverse engineering that took months to get something usable.” [Thanks, Sean!]
According to public Discord chats, work on an initial server is continuing. We cannot link directly to the site, but we’re pretty sure you can find what you’re after on Reddit. :)
No, it’s not my screenshot and I’m not running the server; they’re just messing with us. Thanks to the lovely lady who sent it to me. :)
Once again, we cannot advise doing anything illegal – and yes, this stage of the project is going to continue getting harder and harder for us to cover, but it’s not because we don’t want to, please understand. Information about the server can be found on Discord and Reddit.
Completely confused? You’re not alone. Here’s all of our coverage to date: