City of Heroes community forms Round Table as Homecoming rogue servers count over 56,000 players


Multiple City of Heroes groups now say they’re working under yet another initiative to bring the rogue server community together.

“The Round Table has been formed by a neutral 3rd party whose intent is to bring as many of the different community groups and organizations together for the greater good of the CoX community as a whole. […] The Round Table is a private, invite only discord where Community Leads, Managers, Coders, Server Devs, et al can have direct lines of open communication with one another in order to stop the spread of needless drama, misinformation, and miscommunication. It’s also a place where we, as a community, can discuss with the other leaders what our plans are for each of our individual communities and groups, get feedback, discuss code baselines for the i2400 code branch, et al.”

Apparently the group currently consists of multiple groups from Reddit and Discord, including /r/CityOfHeroes, the original City of Heroes Discord’s upcoming server, the 4chan /coxg/ server, SCOTS, Ouroboros, the Victory server, CoX Revival, and City of Coders.

We reached out to the organizers of the Round Table initiative this morning for comment on the whole situation and purpose of the organization and will update below as usual when we have it. We have also requested access as journalists covering the whole community.

We also asked a representative of the Homecoming team for a statement about its own intentions, given that Homecoming isn’t listed as a participating entity and yet it’s got the largest population of actual players right now. “The Homecoming Team was not invited to join The Round Table,” that rep told us this morning. “At the moment our sole focus is continuing to improve the service we’re providing to our players.” So yeah it seems the drama isn’t actually over yet.

So let’s get back to forward motion instead. Over on the Ouroboros team Discord, the devs write they’re “currently on schedule to release the initial i24 build within the next 7-10 days” – that’d be a build aligned with the last one Paragon Studios itself was cooking up on the test server before the sunset, as compared to the i25/i26 build Homecoming is on. The showrunners here have stressed to me that this is not a play build and that looky-loos aren’t really going to benefit from it right now, but if you’re interested in helping, you can check out the Discord and put your name in to become a QA tester.

Perhaps the Ouroboros news that interested me most is that they have a separate set of teams working on content creation specifically – content that will be shared for all servers that want it.

The CoH Discord team is currently working on its own server, Rebirth, and is currently hunting for moderators (GM applications closed last night). The announcements channel on that Discord has pics of some of the hardware that will be used for said server. “The capacity for the server will be (noticeably) smaller than Homecoming’s but overtime we hope to grow and expand,” the devs wrote last week. Expect more big news from this server in the very near future!

Meanwhile, on the live Homecoming servers, the developers have brought online a ticket system to offer web support to players as well as brought on more GMs to handle requests. “You will now find that the !report and !help commands direct you to this new site instead,” the team writes. “You may create tickets without an account but creating an account will help you track your ticket status easier. The GM team is still notified of new tickets immediately. We have also expanded our GM team quite a bit to help meet demand.”

We are still awaiting more news on when the five large servers under the Homecoming banner will be moved to their new hosting arrangement following last week’s announcements and fundraising. “Continued issues getting the money out of PayPal have now caused problems with our OVH account,” Homecoming’s rep told MassivelyOP. “We’re in a bit of a holding pattern right now, but we are aiming to get the server migration completed this week.” MassivelyOP is aware that specific members of the broader City of Heroes “community” have publicly discussed harassing Homecoming by reporting it to state and federal agencies, which may have something to do with the lengthy process here. [Update: And no, it wasn’t on or from Reddit – please just stop harassing people.] Nevertheless, the Homecoming servers now have 56130 registered players with 6000-7000 concurrent most evenings.

Update 05/13/2019 3:45 PM
We have new statements from some of the teams mentioned earlier. Here’s the Round Table group’s updated statement about its purpose.

“The Round Table was formed with the intention to bring as many different community groups and organizations together for the greater good of the City of Heroes/Villains community as a whole. Anyone who represents one of these groups is welcome to join: Community Leads, Managers, Coders, Server devs, et al. What we do not exist for is to control the spread of information. We just air out our half-baked and unfinished ideas so that the ideas can be made into something truly worthy of implementation and public discussion. The Round Table gives these groups direct lines of open communication with one another in order to help prevent miscommunication, misinformation and needless drama between all the different groups. Anyone with the aims of keeping City of Heroes/Villains free and open (source) to the entire community is welcome.”

The list of participating entities has changed a bit since this morning; it now includes Virtueverse but excludes Ouroboros, which is to our understanding one of the core public groups working on the restoration of i24 and beyond.

“To keep our distance and stay truly neutral in the ongoing situation involving CoH servers, Ouroboros is stepping away from the Round Table,” an Ouro-dev representative told us.

We specifically asked the Round Table group about its relationship to Homecoming, given that Homecoming asserted it had not been invited to the group. “Attempts were made to reach out to Homecoming early on, but Homecoming has declined any further communication with the Round Table,” Round Table reps told me. Further investigation has revealed to us that while these statements appear to be contradictory, they are in fact the result of a misunderstanding revolving around a negotiation this past weekend and that neither group is outright lying.

05/14/2019 11:10 AM
Yesterday we alluded to our exhaustive investigation of what had happened this weekend to lead multiple groups to believe something had transpired differently for each of them in some sort of Rashomon-esque misunderstanding, such that we determined nobody was acting in bad faith and the drama leading up to the clash didn’t need to be aired, even if we’d had permission from all sources to do so, and we did not. One of the sources involved in that misunderstanding, Sylph Knight from SCOTS team, has now put his commentary on the record; we are publishing it in full below as we believe it establishes the sequence of events that led us to our determination.

SCOTS would like to provide our side of the discussion to offer some clarity on recent events. As some information previously discussed between SCOTS and Homecoming was done so in confidence, I cannot disclose everything but will attempt to provide the highlights of the situation.

The Background:

Over the past week, SCOTS has provided assistance to connect various community groups to better optimize development and improve clarity on the situation. Foundations for community organization have been an ongoing process rather than something which existed at the beginning of the City of Heroes open-server project – we empathize with everyone in realizing how rocky things have been and are attempting to assist in helping everyone build better bridges.

The Roundtable actually sprung up outside of our own efforts, but due to connections previously established over the past week the idea gained traction quickly and an alliance of several communities and development groups formed. The goal of this organization is simple: to promote the proliferation of the game by sharing resources and information.

Around the time I joined the group to represent SCOTS and provide our feedback, I was also looking into the recent denouncements toward Homecoming. While SCOTS does have volunteers who provide support to their team, we did not have an active line of communication with their leadership. Then Leandro stepped forward to provide some thankful insight on the back end of things, and I came across the idea that perhaps I had not been asking the right questions due to lacking a proper perspective.

I now believe Homecoming is unique in that it is neither a Community organization or Development team, but rather it is a Production staff. This means I believe that it is a team of engineers who also operate as their own management, with a few community representatives under them. This dynamic is somewhat unique compared to how the other teams typically operate.

I have rationalized that this may explain why certain decisions were made in a way that appears abrasive to other teams; Homecoming appears to be more concerned with fixing immediate problems. I believed understanding this methodology was key to finding common ground, alongside improved communications regarding planning and direction.

Bear in mind neither myself nor my team at SCOTS did not and will not expect Homecoming to ever change how they operate. However, I did hope that filling these empathic gaps could eliminate perceptions of hostility so everyone could focus on moving ahead.

The Process:

Before moving forward, it should be pointed out that the goal at that time was to establish boundaries and expectations between parties in the interest of forming initial communications, not necessarily to invite Homecoming to the Roundtable at that stage; I believe there was some miscommunication on those intentions at the time which is why there are conflicting reports.

On Thursday, May 9th, once I had established my new observation, I talked with Leandro to get his take and then went before those presently available at the Roundtable to establish their needs and concerns. I built a basic list of topics to cover from that information. The list still needed validation from a few parties, but I felt it safe to bring it to Tempest (the Community Manager for Homecoming) to get their take as well. Tempest proceeded to share the list with lower-level staff while I waited to get feedback from the rest of the Roundtable.

Senior members of Homecoming’s staff reached out before I could complete the remainder of the Roundtable’s verification for the list, but I opted to move forward with communications to reward the positive gesture. Our talks covered a wide variety of topics including ones outside those I had previously established, and so a degree of confidence was requested for those outside of my talking points. The feedback they provided seemed like a genuine step toward at least a neutral position between both parties, which I felt would be an improvement. I presented their answers to the topics I had written up, and despite some concerns the general attitude at the Roundtable was positive.

The Misfire:

The next morning (Friday, May 10th), it was brought to my attention by one of SCOTS’ GM volunteers in Homecoming that a prominent member of Homecoming had expressed that he appeared to be looking for verification on whether his team had made a mistake on their previous stance regarding /coxg/’s fundraising efforts as illegitimate.

As I was in early talks to establish boundaries and clear things up between parties to avoid further conflict, I assumed this was a conscious request to demonstrate goodwill and understanding. I was running out the door to go to work and took this information for granted as a request down the pipeline (communications between several groups in the past week had operated in this way), when in hindsight I should have gone to Homecoming’s leadership and verified if this was actually what they wanted. As it turns out, I had jumped the gun on this situation.

I took the initiative and went to Boss of /coxg/, who was then my primary contact for their group. The Roundtable as an organization was a wholly new concept evolved from our previous contact methods at the time, and we had not yet collaborated on updated expectations for the group’s methods of communication which are now more open with each other. Despite Boss’s previous wishes to step away from these matters entirely, I explained to him in private how I thought this would not hurt his team to approach and could in fact help them as a moral demonstration, but it was his call. I believed that if Dr. Brain provided these details, it would dispel mistrust between the groups.

Boss decided to take my advice and acted in good faith on my behalf, forwarding the information to Dr. Brain. However, the information was forwarded verbatim, and Dr. Brain was not familiar with who I was at the time. Due to the lack of clarity, he appeared to assume the worst at the moment. Before anyone could provide further clarification with him, he publicly voiced his suspicion that this was some kind of veiled threat.

I was at work at the time and it was hours before I realized any of this after I got back home. In hindsight, I should have also taken my time and approached the two of them together, and I accept full responsibility for the results of this incident. I am deeply and truly sorry.

I have not received anything official from Homecoming following this, but their team has left our group DM and withdrawn from further talks. However, I remain hopeful that despite these setbacks that each group can continue moving forward with development in peace. We all owe it to ourselves and our fellow players to make that happen.

Moving Forward:

For our part, SCOTS remains a neutral organization and will always remain open to provide whatever help we are able to everyone, but we cannot act to represent interests without the full confidence of an organization’s leadership.

It should be noted that this is not the end of Homecoming’s relationship with SCOTS in so far as user support is concerned; several of our volunteers continue to offer Game Master staffing to assist players where they are able, and we have other volunteers reaching out across the community to help players with their technical issues. We remain dedicated to making everyone’s City of Heroes experience the very best it can possibly be.

SCOTS’ continued activity at the Roundtable is done in the interest of providing analysis and assistance where requested, including community outreach as part of the Roundtable’s peaceful goal to aid in the proliferation of CoH/V servers across all community lines. We believe that supporting the development of and access to additional servers can only help to secure the future of the game for everyone.

We also understand that Ouroboros has withdrawn direct relations with the Roundtable so they can continue focusing exclusively on development, and both SCOTS and the Roundtable respect and endorse that decision. We feel Ouroboros is at their best when outside the sphere of politics, and their positive influence on the community continues to be felt everywhere.

Dr. Brain has also withdrawn from the Roundtable to focus on development. He retains a friendly line of contact and wishes to continue on a positive relationship wherever possible.

It is the Roundtable’s great joy to see everyone have a chance to return to Paragon City after all this time. While part of the Roundtable’s membership does disagree on how Homecoming has conducted itself in several instances, our organization operates solely to provide a collaborative source for communicating information across community lines and to offer both hosting and development needs on a scale previously missing within the macrocommunity.

On behalf of SCOTS and the Roundtable, we all hope that progress towards a better City of Heroes experience can continue. Thank you for reading, and may the journey forward remain bright for us all!

Confused about what’s going on with the City of Heroes rogue servers? Our complete and extensive coverage from the last month can be found right here. The short version is that in April a leaker exposed a secret City of Heroes server that’s been running for the last six years using the sunsetted game’s original code, which was ultimately turned over to the community. There are now multiple player teams working on multiple public and private servers and server types for the beloved superhero MMORPG (as well as gobs of associated drama), with over 56000 people signed up to play Homecoming alone. So far, at least, NCsoft has not commented publicly or taken legal action on any of them, and the company is reportedly in talks with players regarding the game’s future.
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