Two weeks in, City of Heroes has four rogue servers and heartwarmingly massive queues

    
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Two weeks after we first broke the story confirming the City of Heroes secret private server leak, the game has turned 15 years old and over 31,000 people showed up to play over the weekend.

Fam, it’s been a wild ride.

On Friday, the devs behind this particular project, dubbed the Homecoming Team, put up a new server. On Sunday, they put up two more in an attempt to hold all the people desperately trying to play concurrently; these servers are capped at 2000 1500 players, meaning they can hold (and were holding) 8000 players at the same time, with shared chat and auction halls too. According to the devs, over 86,000 107,183 toons have been rolled on these servers, with the Brute archetype leading the pack.

The dev team also put in a queue system, and that got ugly fast as the servers came up and crashed again throughout the weekend under the heavy load. In fact, when I peeked in this morning, the servers were still struggling.

*sob*

If you happen to have the hardware and are interested in putting up a server that works with the Homecoming Team’s cluster, that’s a way to help legitimately; you’ll need “a modern (2014 and newer) processor with at least 64 cores,” “96GB of available memory,” and a “stable connection” that can handle the load. The current setup is apparently costing $4700 monthly and is hosted in Amsterdam.

“Many people have been in touch asking if they can help support us with their hardware or resources,” the team writes. “So far we’ve said no, but we’re reaching the limit of what we’re able to afford on our own. As such, we are now opening the doors for this kind of discussion.”

You may also want to contribute to Project: Ouroboros, which is intended to be the broader community’s open development wiki and resource. “The wiki is being run for i24 development and i25 private server setup for individuals,” a representative told me. (There’s a Discord for it too.)

Worth noting once again is that there’s a lot of misinformation floating around, some intentional and some not. We’ve covered a rash of deliberate disinfo, including faked articles, the hoax that brought down the original server last week, and most recently people impersonating community leaders trying to mislead players into sending them money. Please triple check everything you see and hear about these servers to make sure you’re not being scammed and lied to.

There’s also a group out there without a server up yet, apparently asking for funding; we’ll keep an eye on that as it takes shape before passing more details along. Please be aware that nobody is asking for money for any of the Homecoming servers themselves right now. From the devs:

“The Homecoming servers are currently being funded by a few private individuals, and until we are comfortable about opening up for public donations it will stay that way. From here on out, any discussion relating to any server that is publicly soliciting donations is explicitly not permitted on our forum or our Discord.”

Additionally, there’s a separate group working on Cream Soda, a fork of the Tequila launcher used for Paragon Chat (and other City of Heroes programs), which is intended to be an alternate launcher to Tequila. We spoke with a lead developer on Cream Soda this afternoon; he assured us that his group is working to get the program vetted and that ultimately it will serve as a launcher for multiple projects (though it has only Homecoming right now). Apparently the Reddit Discord server is part of that vetting process, as the head admin there has spoken to us directly about it and in public, expressing a desire for absolute transparency when it comes to the programs recommended to fellow gamers:

Until that vetting is complete, you can get the original version of Tequila from Github.

The Homecoming Team is also now posting in its own Discord (yes, that makes at least five six Discords now) and forums, so you can pick up the latest there. We realize that there are a lot of groups coalescing around these projects and splitting off on their own, which is extremely confusing, so just know that as we type this, the only public and accessible servers are through Homecoming unless you wanna build one yourself.

Finally, our stock reminder: These are rogue servers, not technically sanctioned by NCsoft. It is our understanding that negotiations between Titan Network and NCsoft continue on, but it remains unclear whether these shards will be wiped or maintained permanently and how they will be funded long-term.

Update 04/29/2019 1:00 PM
Official unofficial RP and PvP servers have been declared.

And Indomitable will apparently be the PvP server. These aren’t requirements, mind you, just an easy way for the communities to stick together if they choose to (in other words, you don’t have to RP on the RP server).

Update 04/29/2019 3:05 PM
We’ve updated the body of this article with more information about Cream Soda.
Update 04/29/2019 4:42 PM
The devs also tell us that they are disabling double experience on Excelsior and Torchbearer, but the two newer servers will be doubled through Wednesday. Please don’t murder Excel and Torchy tonight, my dudes.
Update 04/29/2019 5:50 PM
Multiple tipsters brought to our attention today the concern that the Homecoming servers may have been collecting and transmitting to the server what they characterize as benign account data without players’ awareness. We spoke to a representative of the Homecoming team this afternoon about the issue; it has now acknowledged that the current build is indeed unintentionally collecting data “recorded by a script from the live build that wasn’t disabled” – chat and tech specs – but that it will be patching it all out by tomorrow and destroying those data. Here is the team’s statement:

“It’s recently been brought to our attention that the server code we are running still has the same data collection enabled that the live (i24) build had. This includes: Messages sent over all chat channels, Connection IP addresses, Hardware specifications (including CPU, RAM, Graphics card and drivers). This is the exact same data that was being collected when you played on the live version of the game, and the same data that’s collected by almost any online game you play. Regardless, we do not need or want this data. We only discovered this was happening about 30 minutes ago, and we are now immediately taking steps to remedy it. Our goal is to have a small patch deployed within the next 24 hours which should disable all logging, and at that point we will flush any data that has already been collected. If you aren’t comfortable with the above, please do not play the game until we have deployed the patch. We will be making an announcement when that has happened. Thank you for your understanding.”

Just to be clear, accounts themselves will not be wiped – they’re talking about things like chat and IP logs. Here’s some clarification from the original Discord as well as an insinuation that this was not new information for Homecoming and a public request for resolution and transparency:

With thanks to our tipsters as well as the team for its speedy response.

Update 04/29/2019 8:20 PM
The Homecoming team says it’s now resolved the data logging issue from the last update. Moreover, it’s pledged to work with other i25 teams to help them disable logging. And it’s also posted additional information on the SCORE forum intended to assuage any lingering doubts over the data.
Update 05/01/2019 9:30 AM
Multiple sources have now informed us that the logging-disable patch has not in fact been distributed externally as originally planned; we’ve asked the Homecoming team for comment, but it says it is unable to provide a statement. Sources suggest that ongoing negotiations with NCsoft may be dampening such code releases. Eternally relevant:

Our complete City of Heroes rogue server coverage:

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xpsync
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xpsync

The reboots are becoming brutal. In a goup having a great time, reboot, well that ends that, hit swg but coh she’s calling me, it’s up awesome, i’m so into the stories here much like the swg legacy, getting into it, middle of a long mission, reboot ugghhh.

Played swg for a bit, she’s calling me again, she’s up! And omg the rest of the night no problems and had so much fun, this game is all about fun, there is no other way to describe this game, pure fun, peeps popping all over, shooting over here, over there, flashy, chaotic and the outfits starting to appear on other players OMFG talk about unique and so f’ing cool people. WOW!!!

Now that i was able to spend some quality time with it, i HATE IT!!! lol It’s supposed to be a second slot back up game and it’s totally contenting for 1st place.

I took on some prolly harder content solo than i should and i’m impressed with the combat, and the EQ2 way they do mobs, very engaging, and when i was with the group earlier, OMG YEA!

So here i am in that same pickle i was with og SWG and EQ2, two huge games i desperately want to play as equally bad as each other. As bree had mentioned there is more depth under the covers of this gem.

I dunno what it is exactly but the game runs at a 100% FUN factor, the shear variety and freedom, like fly, you can or not, there is no limit or path, i feel much of it is the freedom to express yourself.

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j ho

Im having a fking blast! I cannot believe how well this game has held up. So much better than champs online and DCUO. Id pay 20 a month. But not more.

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drew who

This all begs the question why did they cancel the game in the first place ?

Never played it myself but seeing all the feedback it’s getting I wish I did .

I will probably hold fire until NCSoft legitimises one of these rogue servers which hopefully will be on the cards soon . I’d even jump in if they did some sort of buy to play deal .

Covynant001
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Covynant001

At the time of cancellation there wasnt nearly the same level of interest, and certainly not from players willing to pay for the game.

xpsync
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xpsync

I’ve read and have been myself “worried” about the whole emu world and nefarious potential.

I think much of it stems from dealing with evil corps whom want to spy on you, which they do, and now you’re in the wild so to speak dealing with emu devs, fear of the unknown.

Being a part of it for awhile now, i’m blown away at the honesty and integrity of all involved.

People are quick to turn on them, BUT think about it, they most likely love the game more than any one of you playing and is why they are doing what they do.

Without them you would not be playing.

CoH is a great example with the info dump, the live version was always doing that, now in the hands of players, soon it’s not even going to be doing that.

They were called on it, and No dancing around straight up own it and their response YEP IT IS no sugar coating it, and this is what we are going to do about it.

In the end even better than live.

SWG:L again the love, here is where i could write volumes on this but i’ll nutshell it with, i make regular donations every month, it’s also the first time i’ve ever done anything like that as i don’t do that overall, i don’t ks anything, yet for SWG:L i did and continue too.

That should speak volumes to anyone at how impressed i am with the people running these emu’s, it’s how i show my appreciation as well. With massively it’s the only site where i have ad blocker permanently off, the only whitelisted site.

Remember all the “people” involved are gamers too, it’s why they do what they do.

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ogged451

I rolled an Archnos Soldier on Indomitable this time and oh boy, do I need to wait until the double XP is gone. I barely got to finish the Destined One arc and Hearts of Darkness before hitting level 10.

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Loyal Patron
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ogged451

Ah, it’ll be ok. With the last few villains I made in 2010-2012, I never managed to get all the high level arcs done before the next level threshold made me move on.
Also, I intend to go “the scenic route”, first villain to 50, grabbing the two easy accolades on the way, then doing the whole alignment circle villain > rogue > hero (getting the other two important accolades here) > vigilante and back to villain, then rogue so I can get all the “alignment confirmed” badges.
This will take a while, at least seven days for each alignment, so I’m not in hurry anyway :)

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Doubleplusgood

wow server queues on everlasting and it has only been up a day. at least its only 165 instead of 1000+ :) I can’t believe how fast these servers fill up

TheDarthStomper
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TheDarthStomper

OK, I did what I swore I wouldn’t. I logged in for an hour and a half this weekend. I’m happy even if I never log in again–I got to say hi again to an old home I never thought I’d see again.

Worth the queue, worth the bugs, worth the disconnect, all of it.

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Utakata

Welp…that will least make it easy to find Sewer teams. o.O

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Utakata

“I think you should be congratulating them on that, Uta.”

…well, I am certainly noting the success of this. And wondering why NC ever pulled this game in the first place.

But I am still very nervous about this, as I am worried that NC will pull the rug from under all this again. Breaking my heart twice would be too unbearable. I just hope said company will read their tea leaves in this before whatever action they take if any. /cross fingers and pigtails

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IronSalamander8 .

I hear you. I admit that at the end I wasn’t playing much because even though I really do love the game, I had played a ton for years and any game gets paid less as time goes on. I was still stung by the loss, it felt like I could go back at any time to play and enjoy it.

I don’t want to lose it again but I’m playing it a lot and getting some friends who both played it and didn’t to run missions last night. We’re all having a blast. The silence on NCSoft’s end isn’t setting my mind at ease but at the same time, the fact that they didn’t shut it down immediately might be good news.

You know, I’ve almost never done sewer runs. I do regular missions almost solely, some TFs here and there (none yet in this launch, back when it was live), but I never feel in a rush to level and prefer the storylines, especially with the newer ones that added the cut scenes and more named villains. I know sewer runs are popular though!

xpsync
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xpsync

The silence is the answer so far, would be nothing for them to send a cease, they would have jumped on it from the get go.

Either they are in talks trying to figure out a way to monetize this, or simple turning their back on it, which is fine too.

If someone at ncsoft were to put their thinking cap on (please everyone don’t pounce on me) they could add it to their launcher with a new section possibly titled legacy games, and either let everyone run free as you use their launcher and they get free advertising for all their other games, and or minimal $5 a month for server support.

In the end they have earned some solid good will with the gaming community in general in a massive way actually, and have tens of thousands of new customers paying or not, either way they are “super” happy customers spreading good news about ncsoft.

This could be one of the best things to ever happen to ncsoft, lets hope they don’t blow this opportunity.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’d gladly pay a full sub to play again. I’m not subbing to any other game right now anyway so the normal 15/month would be fine, even for a maintenance server, or even a bit more to be honest.

xpsync
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xpsync

Me too.

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Skoryy

NCSoft is all aboard the eastern Asia mobile game train. Which is why I suspect they’re not currently heavy handed on the topic. We’ll see where this eventually leads, for now I’m all in while I can!

Carlo Lacsina
Staff
Carlo Lacsina

$4700 a month to run the server? That’s cheaper than renting in San Francisco!