City of Heroes Homecoming asks players what they want from a licensed server

    
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Now this is an interesting development, and very possibly a hint at things to come, though there’s no official confirmation of legitimacy one way or the other: The devs of the City of Heroes Homecoming servers, one of several rogue server sets in operation by players since this past spring, are seeking suggestions on what they want out of an officially licensed and legitimate server.

The thread opens by mentioning that the thread’s intention is not a Q&A and questions won’t be answered. It also bears repeating that this is not an announcement about the devs earning the City of Heroes license; the rogue servers are still rogue. The team says it is “primarily looking to gather everyone’s thoughts and feedback about what they’d like to see from [them] going forward – both operationally and for the game itself.”

Even if this doesn’t mean that a deal has been struck in the ongoing negotiations with NCSoft, it does at the very least let players voice their dreams for new things to be added to the Homecoming servers themselves, so that’s at least worth delivering your opinion.

In the spring of 2019, gamers uncovered a secret City of Heroes server running using the sunsetted game’s original code, which was ultimately turned over to the community. There are now multiple public and private servers for the beloved superhero MMORPG, with over 100,000 people on Homecoming alone. NCsoft has not commented publicly or taken legal action on them and is still in talks with players regarding the game’s future as of September 2019.
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camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I would like to see a contest for those who use the AE to make missions to have a chance for their missions to become a Task/Strike Force/Trial in the game.

That would be a pretty cool idea if I do say so myself.

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Gadgets-4G

I’ll say so too.
A mission building system. and more modular mission parts for the auto grinder.

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IronSalamander8 .

Legitimacy first, 2nd would be some texture improvements.

After that, new content of course, but also make lower levels easier for new people. The lack of abilities is off-putting for many. I’m not a big auto-attack fan, but lacking it and only having brawl, a basic attack or maybe 2, and then the origin ability, possibly augmented by prestige stuff, when you have all that dead time between attacks can make the game feel more a slog than it needs to be.

TheQuinch
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TheQuinch

Theory time. I’ve been thinking about this possibility for a while, and I could use someone to see if there are holes in it. It may be a bit rambly at first, but hopefully it will make sense.

One thing I couldn’t wrap my head around was the idea that SCORE was actually forming a company to run Homecoming – and not just an LLC, but a full-fledged nonprofit. I’ve read the progress updates and the amount of time and effort involved seem… strange. Money, obviously, is a lot less of an issue due to the player population, but the idea of creating a legal entity around around what is a cut-and-dry illegal enterprise of an unlicensed server seemed… insane, really.

A high-profile server can be shut down with a simple cease-and-desist order. NCsoft certainly has a reputation for doing just that. So the only reason someone might do that – and SCORE’s staff certainly aren’t stupid – would be if they were certain a C&D would never come.

Why? What sort of leverage could there possibly be to stop NCsoft from, what is from their perspective, essentially protecting their IP?

The player database.

When Leandro got the code dump from DevX, the then-current database of registered players came as part of the package. Real people, thousands upon thousands of them. Real information, personal. Real privacy breach, of the blood-in-the-water type.

Now, what with the impregnable secrecy of the server that would last until the end of time, it certainly wasn’t a problem for Leandro to play fast and loose with that information, doling out his players their old characters. But once the news broke, a couple of days later, the announcement came out on Discord. “In order to proceed, the character database will have to be deleted.” This probably isn’t a verbatim quote – what with the countless reorganizations of CoH discord, I’m not sure if it’s there to be found anymore, but that’s the gist of it. It was non-negotiable. It was reinforced a few times. The database goes, or everything goes.

The only force with that kind of push – because there was certainly the usual amount of outrage in response – would have been NCsoft. Delete the database, or… dot dot dot.

So, like a sensible person, I would imagine that’s exactly what he did.

Except.

Consider the following.

Imagine you are Leandro, and you have a button. The button, a nice shiny read one, reads “kinda mess up NCsoft”. You don’t really have a reason to push it, it just kinda fell into your lap one day.

Imagine you are NCsoft and you can mess up Leandro really, really bad. There’s no button you need to have, you just can now that you know some of the stuff you know now. It’s an inherent power, really.

So you go to Leandro and say, real polite-like, almost lawyerish, dare I say, and let him know that if he destroys that button, you will forget any of this ever happened.

And Leandro might say “Okay, I’ll do that. Whatever you want.”

And that might be the end of it.

And if you were NCsoft, you might think that all you really have is Leandro’s word that he destroyed the button. Or didn’t make a copy or twelve, just in case. And even though he has clearly proven himself in these recent events as a forthright, honest and open person in all of his dealings, someone less trustworthy might have done just that, if only as insurance. Possibly even spite. After all, people can be so capricious sometimes.

And so, if you were NCsoft, you might extend an olive branch. You’re not so bad, after all. You just have a job to do and as with any job, now and then, you might have some wiggle room – between what you’re expected to do, and what you can get away with. Legally, so to speak. And it’s not like Leandro stole the game code, or the player database, it just… showed up in his mail one day.

And it it would mean so much to him, after all. So if you offered – or if he asked, six of one, half-a-dozen of the other – that maybe he could keep his server running, some arrangements could be made. Maybe you couldn’t keep a blind eye forever, it is an illegal enterprise, after all.

But also, it might not have to be. And then everyone could be happy.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

That’s a great story and it would be nice to believe, but at the end of the day, a tiger is still a tiger and tiger’s don’t change their stripes.

TheQuinch
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TheQuinch

What do you mean?

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Means I don’t trust NCSOFT.

TheQuinch
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TheQuinch

Well, obviously. I mean, NCsoft in the past has shown itself to be self-serving, capricious and untrustworthy.

But in the interest of self-serving, I can also easily see them making nice-nice with someone who might have the capacity to give them a huge legal headache. At least for a while.

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Castagere Shaikura

Make the combat better. It’s just so sketchy and slow.

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Bruno Brito

I want them to stop focusing on the realm of dreaming and work on their real server. Accept the sketchiness already.

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Bryan Correll

It should be soft and cuddly with lots of firepower.

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MystikkTales

Meh, I just see this as yet another PR stunt from HC. Other servers are adding powersets, ATs, asymmetrical gloves and boots, NPC costume pieces, and unlocked every item in the game to be used in bases (including a mobile tank, unfortunately without an animated turret). Even if they haven’t done the above, small servers like We Have Cake have at least finished the Wind Control set.

If HC does become legit, they will still never be the only server for City of Heroes. Plans are already underway to assure that.

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Denice J. Cook

You know, even though I only play Homecoming, I have the same questions. Who will have the right to run CoX servers, only Homecoming? What will become of the rest of them then?

Will NCsoft dole out C&Ds to them, ignore them, or allow them all to exist under one launcher with an NCsoft banner? I wouldn’t give you two cents for 4chan, but that still wouldn’t seem fair if they C&D’d everyone else but Homecoming, especially in light of the fact that every CoH server up today is similarly rogue.

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MystikkTales

If HC goes legit, I can see them handing out the C&Ds to other servers themselves, with NCSoft’s blessing in the background. Other servers would probably be forced underground, but they would still be around to continue development via the more easily moddable Volume 2 Issue 1+ variant of i24. People are starting to stash the files for their own private Hamachi servers to play with their friends on, just incase places like Rebirth, coxg/Thunderspy Gaming, We Have Cake, Victory!, Vigilence, Unity/Union, Moonshard, etc. start shutting down.

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Does not check email

At this point there will always be illegal private COH servers out there. If you think HC has time and resources to track and shut down you have greatly over estimated time and resources.

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Matt Redding

Not to mention it was the Titan people who started the negotiations and HC just joined in later. However, HC probably is in a better position to actually comply with any requirements that NCS requires to be officially licensed since they already have begun creating a legal nonprofit organization specifically so they can handle money as necessary but keep it above board.

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Hikari Kenzaki

We need to go back to the Moon. It was nice to get to play that even as it came so late. Even if it was very Forever Red (or maybe because of it :) ) Only played it the one time.

More story, is basically what I mean. Would love for them to work with the old team to get at least a framework to build on. I mean, Matt has clearly had volumes to say on the subject since the closure, so…

And if you didn’t get that reference here’s a clip. Hint, they’re on the moon.

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Skoryy

(its happening)