The City of Heroes rogue server drama continues this weekend as community work advances behind the scenes to bring the game back to life, with a reported 8000 accounts rolled and all trying to wedge into a test server that only overnight expanded to hold more than a thousand. [Update: As of Sunday afternoon, it’s expanded to 2700+.]
Thus far it’s all been without the formal blessing of the company that still owns the sunsetted MMO, NCsoft. That may be about to change, however, as Saturday rumors broke out across the City of Heroes Discord that any potential negotiations between NCsoft and the involved parties might hinge on the character database, not the code and assets.
Readers will recall that one of the most hurtful revelations from the leak of the secret private server last week was the claim that the server allowed players to log into replicated characters from the live version of the game. Obviously, many would-be players would like that character database made available to theoretical future servers as well now that the server codebase has been disseminated. But it looks as if that may be off the proverbial table, and for good reason. Here’s the official statement made on Discord:
Sources in the know this weekend gave us specific reason to believe that yes, the theoretical sacrifice would be more than worth it, meaning NCsoft could be on a fast-track to studio of the year right now, so stay tuned. Until we have public word, however, we continue to advise our readers not to engage in illegal activity and give no one any money relating to these servers.
In related news, and if you’re looking for something to read while you wait, check out this post from Graham West, a former Paragon Studios developer who worked on City of Heroes for several years. It’s a bit of a dump of tech info, explaining how the game’s infrastructure works for those who aren’t in the know, and he uses that to discuss the private server, admitting he’s probably breaking his NDA but doing so to assure everyone that it’s unlikely anyone from Paragon would’ve leaked truly sensitive personal data.
“It’s easy to see a game team member could straightforwardly gather all the live game DBs, plus all the source code and assets, but not the account credentials. It would be easy to add a very basic password check to the DbServer code, and give everyone invited to the private shard a unique, unchangeable password for their account name. With no control or routine access to the AuthServer DB, no need to run an AuthServer to operate a shard, the simplicity of adding an alternative method of access control (I could’ve done something bare bones in literally a day and if an engineer supplied Leandro, they could’ve done that too) and the regard we all held for our player community, I am highly confident he would not have been given any credentials or anything else from the AuthServer’s DB.”
It’s worth a read for some backstory – and the laundry list of other developers piping up in the comments, including Shannon Posniewski and Jesse Caceres.
“I’m actually happy to learn that this shard exists,” Posniewski, now at Cold Iron Studios, says. “It’s nice to know that some people can still get some joy from the game.”
“I had heard rumors and seen a couple posts on other Facebook groups that made me believe this existed,” adds Joe Morrissey. “I think it’s great. I don’t know how many times people have fanboyed out on me when they learned I worked on the game. It seems to get me more cred than anything else I’ve done.”
Finally, if you’re wanting to stay out of it until something formal is announced, or you’re just not into testing in this early period, you may still be “pining” for a character builder. I sure was – and I immediately dug into my old MIDs builds. But apparently there’s an updated version called PINE that includes some Issue 25 content most folks had never even heard of until this week. You’ll want the old boards too. Enjoy!
Update April 22
Apparently it now has surged to 14000 registered players and 2800 on simultaneously, within the confines of what the server can handle. A “launch” is planned for the 27th.
Catch up on all of our coverage of the City of Heroes rogue server situation to date:
• Mar 7 2020: City of Heroes’ Homecoming just outlawed video of their rogue servers
• Mar 3 2020: City of Heroes Homecoming players have racked up over 47 million hours
• Jan 2 2020: NCsoft follows up City of Heroes code copyright filing with fresh trademark application
• Dec 13 2019: Massively OP’s 2019 Awards: Biggest MMO Surprise
• Nov 29 2019: City of Heroes: Homecoming kicks off the winter season in its latest patch
• Oct 1 2019: City of Heroes: Homecoming patches in the third part of Issue 26 with new stories and powers
• Sep 27 2019: City of Heroes’ Homecoming announces Issue 26 Page 3, Halloween content, and collab with other rogue servers
• Sep 25 2019: City of Heroes’ Homecoming rogue servers are now blocking copyright-infringing characters
• Sep 19 2019: City of Heroes Homecoming is now banning accounts for… real-money trading
• Sep 11 2019: TonyV leaves City of Heroes NCsoft negotiations, resigns from Titan Network
• Sep 11 2019: City of Heroes: Homecoming plays with Rage crashes, PvP stuns, and Tanker powers on the test server
• Sep 9 2019: City of Heroes Homecoming asks players what they want from a licensed server
• Sep 4 2019: City of Heroes Homecoming players have rolled almost a million toons to date
• Aug 27 2019: City of Heroes Homecoming adjusts snipes and Dominator powers with the latest patch
• Aug 22 2019: Today’s City of Heroes’ Homecoming patch future-proofs the rogue servers for Mac players
• Aug 12 2019: City of Heroes’ Homecoming Team finally posted a new beta patch after months of public quiet
• Aug 8 2019: City of Heroes’ Homecoming rogue servers have joined the Titan Network/NCsoft negotiations
• Jul 8 2019: Catching up with City of Heroes’ Homecoming rogue servers as NCsoft negotiations continue
• Jun 8 2019: One of City of Heroes’ rogue servers, Reborn/Pleiades, was just shut down by its operator
• Jun 3 2019: City of Heroes: Homecoming hit 100K players as another donation round funds
• Jun 1 2019: Perfect Ten: 10 things I’d love to see added to City of Heroes in the rogue server era
• May 30 2019: City of Heroes: Homecoming adds numerical power cooldowns, nerfs Death from Below, adds User Agreement
• May 28 2019: City of Heroes: Community harassment ramps up as Homecoming counts 91,000 players
• May 22 2019: Perfect Ten: Helpful tips for returning to City of Heroes in 2019
• May 21 2019: City of Heroes: All the public servers we know of, plus Reddit’s launch and Homecoming’s name release
• May 20 2019: City of Heroes: Homecoming concurrency, Rebirth and Reddit’s i24 servers, and the future of basebuilding
• May 17 2019: City of Heroes: Homecoming’s new home, EU players, multiboxing, SEGS, and… piglets
• May 15 2019: City of Heroes rogue server teams activate i24 PTS, prep for tomorrow’s Homecoming server moves
• May 13 2019: City of Heroes community forms Round Table as Homecoming rogue servers count over 56,000 players
• May 9 2019: City of Heroes’ Homecoming servers port to Canada this weekend, server status page is live
• May 8 2019: Leaderboard: Would you donate for a City of Heroes rogue server?
• May 7 2019: City of Heroes: New servers, Discord drama, and Homecoming gets $6900 in donations in 20 minutes
• May 6 2019: City of Heroes’ Homecoming rogue servers will offer character transfers after all
• May 4 2019: City of Heroes now has a fifth rogue server live as Homecoming buffs up and work on i24 continues
• May 1 2019: City of Heroes’ rogue servers nerf AE farms, boost XP, but can’t do character transfers
• Apr 29 2019: Two weeks in, City of Heroes has four rogue servers and heartwarmingly massive queues
• Apr 26 2019: Nearly 30K people have rolled City of Heroes rogue server accounts as the game turns 15 years old
• Apr 24 2019: Aaaaand now there’s a new temporary City of Heroes rogue server up
• Apr 23 2019: The Titan Network is negotiating to open a legal community-run City of Heroes server
• Apr 22 2019: City of Heroes’ first new rogue server shut down over a fake legal threat, but admins say it’s coming back
• Apr 22 2019: Leaderboard: Do you plan to play on a City of Heroes rogue server?
• Apr 21 2019: City of Heroes’ rogue servers may abandon character restoration as 14000 gamers register to play
• Apr 19 2019: Lawful Neutral: Is it safe to play on City of Heroes’ inevitable rogue servers?
• Apr 18 2019: The City of Heroes private server team has released its code [Update: The test server is live]
• Apr 18 2019: What’s going on with City of Heroes now: ‘This game is a unicorn’
• Apr 17 2019: Massively OP Podcast Episode 217: City of Heroes after dark
• Apr 17 2019: Into the Super-Verse: The death of the City of Heroes community
• Apr 16 2019: Leaderboard: Where do you stand on the ‘secret’ City of Heroes emulator?
• Apr 15 2019: ‘Secret’ City of Heroes emulator operators address SCORE leak drama, rebut personal info database rumor