City of Heroes’ rogue servers may abandon character restoration as 14000 gamers register to play

Meanwhile, former devs reminisce and players release PINE

    
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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!

Source: Reddit, Facebook. Cheers, Zaph!
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:
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biophazer242
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biophazer242

While I am excited to play CoH again after all these years I can not help but feel sorry and a bit concerned for all those ‘spiritual successor’ games in development. If this works and stays working it could very well take all the wind out of their sails before they even get a chance to launch.

xpsync
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xpsync

Personally i’d sooner go Ship of Heroes as it looks like a better more modern alternative which will be in active development and supported.

If anything this is the best thing which could have happened to them, it only brought to light those games as i for one didn’t know about Ship of Heroes until this happened.

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Thomas Lachac

Id like just to point out that if, and I mean IF something is going on behind the scenes that could result in some sort of official sanction, then it behooves everybody that’s interested in this to play nice. . There was so much bashing of the company 7 years ago by the player base that any negotiations were doomed from the start. We should all remember to keep our big boy pants on, and be civil wherever we post. Just my 2 cents.

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Rich Raymer

My question is, what’s NCSoft reaction going to be when the inevitable new content is advanced?

xpsync
Reader
xpsync

Yes the whole thing is too hot atm. I certainly wouldn’t want to invest in any sort of time or count on any type of future with this game until the dust settles. SWG:L i play and don’t worry, this i would. Way too much attention.

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Does not check email

It was a great sunday night.

xpsync
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xpsync

It’s awesome right.

I didn’t play this (yet) but i know the feeling, recently got into the SWG:L emu and yeah, what a feeling!

Reader
Does not check email

I don’t know what the future is, but this game has and always had a special place in my heart. I have known people who met, fought, married and died thru this game.

I cannot say enough how grateful one more day home has been and the divisions in the last week healing up.

xpsync
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xpsync

Certainly aware of peoples feelings here and the emotional depth it carries, and yeah i’m happy for you all tbh. I think this whole thing is incredible, so many people out there getting that emu feeling, love it!

Playing swl was an awakening of how popular this game was with peoples hearts, i heard so much about it i almost felt like i’d played it. (I did briefly but was up against EQ2 at the time, and much of all that had to do with the people i met and played EQ2 with so i understand.)

SWG didn’t carry much emotion, was mostly some nostalgia, what hooked me hard was realizing i never really played it (and nge not at all), in many ways it was like getting a brand new super deep mmorpg in 2019, unheard of i know.

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Patreon Donor
TheDonDude

I’ve just logged into them, ahem… Bree server.

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Utakata

That has a nice ring to it! <3

Cyclone Jack
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Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

There are way too many jokes there, but Bree has been a trooper, so I’ll not go there tonight. ;)

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traja

I prefer a fresh start anyway. The only thing I will miss from my characters is all the costumes that I forgot how to make. An insignificant price to pay if it means less shady providers than what most MMO private servers have.

semugh
Reader
semugh

good stuff. Still I really want ncsoft to profit from this. They should really make a small task group, put in some steam integration and put the game on steam. For a fee or cash shop. (I personally rebought hellgate london just to have it on steam.)

Ncsoft, make an official server please.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

This is good news for COH Refugees, it’s not just Demigod’s that come back to life today I guess, NCSoft Superman has risen as well.

Return of Superman.jpg
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Bombzai

It’s hard to understate how unbelievable this whole situation is.

It’s also hard to understate the number of wrong turns made over the course of the last 7 years of Score.

I can only hope there’s the slightest amount of shame after realizing just what they were actually doing as compared to what they thought they were doing.

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IronSalamander8 .

I honestly didn’t expect to get my old characters back although I’d love that. Just being able to play again, to hear all that music and sound effects, is so good.

And mirroring the others here, a big shoutout to Bree and the dev team for all their hard work on this! I was able to get my old main back onto the streets of Paragon City, including her name (Inv/SS Tanker), but also got my undead cheerleader (EM/WP Brute) made too, this is so good, even with the, totally understandable, teething issues.