TonyV leaves City of Heroes NCsoft negotiations, resigns from Titan Network

    
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Over the course of the last few months, following the revelation of working City of Heroes server code out in the wild and the community’s Herculean efforts to restore the game, multiple community reps have maintained that they are in negotiations with NCsoft to make the existing rogue servers a permanent and legal fixture in the MMO world. One of those community leaders was Tony Vazquez, aka TonyV, the man behind the long-running Titan Network.

But according to a post issued by Vazquez tonight, his role is coming to an end. The post claims that Homecoming staff have asked him to step away from the negotiations and that not only will he comply with that request, he will be turning over the Titan Network to Homecoming – that includes the Paragon Wiki, Paragon Chat, the forums, the City Info Tracker, among other tools. “It just doesn’t make sense to me to continue maintaining two separate places, two separate forums, two separate web sites with game tools and information, both run and maintained by the community,” he says.

However, his departure from the community doesn’t appear to be out of spite or concern for Homecoming’s integrity; a recent engagement and new business venture will apparently occupy his immediate future. “I still remain convinced that the best chance of having game instances you can play on without having to worry at any given time that they might be shut down is by a cooperative agreement between NCSOFT and Homecoming,” he opines. “And just to be crystal clear: There are a lot of amazing and brilliant people working hard to provide not just a good gaming experience, but one that’s ever growing better.” He also offers advice directly to Homecoming: “You have my sincere wishes for the best of luck, but you also have a lot of hard work and an awesome responsibility ahead of you. Stay focused on the goal. Always remember that our community is filled with invaluable resources of all types; find and use those resources. Never forget that you yourself are part of the community and maintain a healthy dose of humility.”

Finally, Vazquez also recommends that the existing City of Heroes community forgive NCsoft for the brutal 2012 sunset, in a paragraph that sheds new public light on how the behind-the-scenes negotiations have been going.

“Even if you think they were wrong back then, let it go. They have been nothing but genuine, friendly, and extremely accommodating through our conversations. At this point, they’ve gotten everything they’ve wanted from all involved in the server code leak. If they were out on some twisted mission to screw everyone over, that hammer would have fallen already. They’re not. Some of them used to be City of Heroes players themselves. There was absolutely no reason for them to not shut down Homecoming a long time ago other than they really want this to go through for the community. They’re bending over backwards to figure out a custom arrangement for us that’s fair to everyone, something I believe will still happen, and something I hope the whole industry takes note of. I for one cannot express enough gratitude for what they’re doing.”

We’ve contacted Homecoming for a statement, but we don’t anticipate a full and formal response until the morning. TonyV himself declined to comment for this story, citing the need to work on the transition of the site.

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 regarding the game’s future as of September 2019.
Update Sept. 12 8:15 AM EDT
Following a flurry of panic in the community last night, it seems there’s been a fresh agreement on the fate of Titan Network proper. “I’ve spoken with Tony and we’ve agreed to transfer ownership of Titan over to me, keeping the existing community moderators and leadership intact, besides Tony himself,” writes Sekoia, one of the long-time Titan administrators. (Update: We were under the impression Sekoia was working with Homecoming to some degree, but Homecoming maintains he is not a member of the organization directly.) Either way, the organization will not be handed over to the Homecoming team and will continue operating independently: “I know I’m not the most recognizable of names, but I’ve been an admin keeping Titan running from behind the scenes for years now. We intend to keep things running at Titan as they’ve been and promise to do our best for the community going forward. We all at Titan thank Tony for his years of management and wish him the best of luck with future endeavors.”
Update Sept. 12 1:50 PM EDT
Now we have Homecoming’s statement:

“Homecoming wasn’t aware of Tony’s desire to transfer Titan to us. For a variety of reasons this wasn’t a desirable outcome, and we’re glad Sekoia has stepped up to take responsibility. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to working with him going forwards!”

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

“The post claims that Homecoming staff have asked him to step away from the negotiations”

“his departure from the community doesn’t appear to be out of spite or concern for Homecoming’s integrity”

I have to admit when I first read that he was asked to step away, my mind immediately went to the dark places. I was wondering if we were about to hear news accusing him of certain improprieties (towards females).

That’s not what it is at all, but that has happened so much recently that my mind immediately goes there. Somehow this whole witch hunt thing that I usually feel I’m pretty fair about has gotten programmed into my mind where it’s the first thought I have when reading something like that. I don’t like that, I don’t like it at all.

Demon of Razgriz
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Demon of Razgriz

Thank you TonyV, and everyone associated with Titan’s Network, for all of your work past, present, and future!!!

Sixuality
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Sixuality

I’ve shifted to neutral on NCSoft right now, pending developments. They’re in an odd position, since the longer they leave Homecoming and the other servers alone the worse the reaction will be if they do eventually take action against them.

It must be tempting, on the other hand, to be the good guys this time. NCSoft have a terrible reputation among western MMO players, and this is a shining opportunity for them to earn a ton of good press. I know that there are other factors to consider, but if I was them I’d find that irresistable.

Even moreso if this gets them thinking about possible futures for other sunsetted titles. I daresay former Wildstar players will be watching this just as closely as CoH players.

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ShadowReaver661

Please give us Wildstar…

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Dab

At this point, I have to assume I can take TonyV at his word – I have never witnessed anything personally to suggest otherwise. His work for and support of this community has been remarkable. I also agree that the old grudges need to just die. Yes, there was deserved animosity for the way NC sunsetted the game. Yes, there was also deserved animosity regarding the secret private server. However, the simple fact is that, currently, all of us can play the game to our heart’s content – and that is remarkable. Working with NC towards legitimacy is even better, of course.

It seems some drama and hurt feelings is simply par for the course. Sad, but c’est la vie. In the meantime, we can play heroes or villains when we all get home from work tonight. And that still amazes me every single time I log in.

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IronSalamander8 .

I admit that I don’t know names here very well. Reading Tony V’s comments about NCSoft made me glad I’ve not been nasty about them over the years, upset and disappointed for sure, but never vicious.

Despite some of the discontent we’ve had over the private server leak, the fallout after, and then the general release of the code, I’m very happy to see how people have been keeping the game alive all these years, and would love for some official servers of some kind come into being.

I have no idea if it’s feasible, but getting our old accounts back with all those characters, achievements, and play time invested back would be great, but failing that, just the fact we can play again has been wondrous indeed.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

just the fact we can play again has been wondrous indeed.

Indeed it has.

hoarduck
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hoarduck

This, I agree with 100%. But it also why people are afraid and suspicious of actors who appear to be threatening that.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

V

v.gif
camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I think I prefer my supermen, super dooper dooper dooper men

TheQuinch
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TheQuinch

Well…. Titan Network had a good run.

Tony… I like to think you’ve always done right by us. I like to think that you’ve gone far above and beyond anybody could ask to keep this community together, before the shutdown, after it, and after… things came to light. I like to think you didn’t know about Leandro’s secret server. I really hope not to find out I have been wrong about this.

If you’re retiring from the community, you’ve damned well earned the right.

But the truth is, Homecoming’s management – not its players, and I bear them no ill will – is Score, and I don’t trust them. I have no reason to, and plenty of reasons not to. I also resent, if a little, that your final post treats them as though they *are* CoH – all of it. God knows they acted like it since the beginning, whichever “beginning” you prefer to consider. And that worries me immensely, what their legitimacy is capable of bringing. People have theorized that, once they’re “official”, C&D notices will start going out to other servers. And really, what’s to stop them? They’ve decided to go it alone, apart from any part of community that is not a part of them, and to think that they’d be comfortable with being the lone server is far from a stretch.

Of course, that’s… not a thing that can happen. The code is out, the servers are out, Aiun Tank below made a better analogy about whack-a-mole that I could.

And as for NCsoft, and forgiving them for the first shutdown…. I can… *ignore* it. I can’t forgive it – they’ve done nothing to earn forgiveness, and I doubt anything NCsoft did – not the people you’ve been negotiating with, good or bad, kind or spiteful, they’re just elements of an amoral machine that exists to make money – was out of anything but self-interest, and if it weren’t for the player database leak hanging over their heads, it would be a C&D business as usual.

All in all, though… here’s hoping things don’t get worse from here.

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Leandro Pardini

Tony’s intention to hand the Titan Network to Homecoming was rooted in good intentions; he always believes the best from people and has been accused multiple times, accurately, of being too much of a boyscout. This is one of those times; the City of Heroes community is larger than Homecoming, and Titan should stay independent in order to better support the entire community.

TheQuinch
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TheQuinch

That seems… contradictory. If Titan Network is handed over to HC/Score, then it is no longer independent. as it will be managed by owners of one specific server.

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Leandro Pardini

Please check The Titan Network’s Twitter. Sekoia and Codewalker have confirmed that The Titan Network is going to remain independent. It is not being handed over to Homecoming.

TheQuinch
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TheQuinch

That’s… I hesitate to call it better, but I’ll settle for less bad. Considering how pervasive the subversion of community figureheads turned out to be in the wake of the Score server being revealed {and, at least for me, that’s where TonyV’s boyscout reputation worked in his favour}, I’m not convinced whether or not that’s a pro forma gesture and to which degree TN will or will not remain independent. But I’ll be keeping my eyes open either way.

hoarduck
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hoarduck

There’s way too much infighting and speculation and rumor in the fandom. As it is, I still don’t feel like people involved with SCORE have ever really apologized for what they did. If you really want to make a dent in the fracturing of the community, leading the charge with a public explanation and apology would be a good move (maybe Bree would host it).

Alternatively (or both), why not make a function of Homecoming that saves/exports characters to i24 format and vice versa? That would send a strong message of support for the WHOLE community, not just HC/Scorev2.

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Does not check email

Some People will never be satisfied and only want to grind their ax down to a stick whether it is about the shut down or score. No one owes anyone an explanation at this point. Play the cards you have and stop thinking you can challenge the dealer.

At this point – suck it up and play one of the 6 major installations of COH, start your own server, quit/pick up a new hobby, but in the end – move on. Don’t be an old bitter person.

…and this is coming from an old bitter guy.

hoarduck
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hoarduck

“you can’t please everyone” is a copout. The goal is not nor has it ever been to “please everyone”. I stand by what I said. They can do a lot to heal the community by putting in the effort.

I’m not asking for me, I’m asking for the community. And, no, they don’t OWE it to anyone really, but that’s not the point. If they want to defuse the situation, this is how. That’s good pr. Staying silent is not.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Forgiveness is not forgetting or condoning what happened. It’s just letting go of feelings of vengence, hurt and sadness. Those are only hurting you not NCSoft.

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Does not check email

Camren, those are good words and personally attainable.

Asking for the world to stop moving or things out of your control to change leads only to self defeat.

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Utakata

How about this, Mr. Tony: I’ll let it go once NC has honored an agreement never to shut CoH down again. It’s great that they are negotiations now…so I look forward to letting it go hopefully soon! The pigtails are counting on this. <3

Meanwhile, thanks for all your efforts. And the best of luck for whatever you plan to do. /bows

Celestia
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Celestia

Interesting