City of Heroes’ Homecoming just outlawed video of their rogue servers

    
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City of Heroes’ Homecoming just outlawed video of their rogue servers

Eyebrows in the air this morning, as the largest group of City of Heroes rogue servers, Homecoming, just announced that they’ll be cracking down on players who post new streams and video footage of their servers.

“As we requested a few months back, we would prefer if streams and videos of gameplay on Homecoming were not broadcast or uploaded whilst we are still working on legitimizing the server. We’re now going to be enforcing this as part of the Code of Conduct: ‘Whilst Homecoming is still undergoing efforts to become a legitimate operation, live broadcasts or uploads of gameplay footage are not permitted.’ Any videos uploaded before tomorrow (March 8th) will be left alone, but any new videos or streams will be treated as a Code of Conduct violation. While we understand this may be frustrating, it is unfortunately a necessary step we must take. This rule will only remain in place whilst these efforts are still ongoing – we will be lifting this restriction once this process has reached its conclusion.”

It is not yet clear how exactly infractions will be identified and dealt with. We assume the penalties would extend to journalists covering the game in video and stream format as well, which is disturbing for multiple reasons.

It’s likely that the new policy stems from the incident earlier this year when a popular streamer used Homecoming servers to recreate The Hulk and other copyrighted characters, resulting in action from NCsoft (and it’s no wonder NCsoft is touchy about this, given its history of litigation with Marvel). Readers will recall that the servers already block copyright-infringing characters and had previously told players that they streamed at entirely their own risk, suggesting they avoid it entirely while negotiations with NCsoft took place (which is why we put a halt to ours). It is our understanding that negotiations are still ongoing.

We’ve reached out to multiple members on the Homecoming team for clarification on what the precise penalty for violation is, as well as when it’s expected to lift, what the motivation was, and whether it will extend to cover things like screenshots. We’ll update when we have complete answers.

In the meantime, expect people to test the limits themselves. “This is gourmet troll food,” as MOP’s Chris put it earlier.

Source: Homecoming
Update 11:30 AM EST
A Homecoming spokesperson refused to comment on the record in response to our questions.

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Lighthope
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Lighthope

Am I understanding this correctly? By “rouge” server, does this mean they are operating without a license?

And by “working on legitimizing the server,” does that mean they are attempting to get a license or otherwise operate with the copyright holder’s permission?

If that is all true, and they are still operating their servers “illegally”, it does strike me as a bit hypocritical of them to cry about people making videos when they aren’t operating in the law themselves.

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Craig Christensen

It’s not hypocritical at all to ask its playerbase to hold off on making waves while they are in negotiations with the IP holders. Now if they still asked this of their players with no intention of making the servers legitimate then I would agree with you.

Bottom line is these servers have been running since the game shut down 8 years ago with NCSoft being fully aware and allowing them to operate. The server owners are currently at the negotiation table with NCSoft to make the servers legitimate and it is very likely they are complying with a request from NCSoft when it comes to this decision about streaming.

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Vynlann

This statement is so dumb. No offense to you, but SCORE and Homecoming has been saying this since it came to light last year. Some idiot said he’d been doing it long before as well. Titan something. Homecoming isn’t in talks with NCsoft, nobody is. NCsoft doesn’t give a shit. Homecoming is just trying to push their power further to see how much they can get away with.

This move really confused me, if NCsoft was going to take down the servers, they would’ve done it when they cropped up.

Yangers
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Yangers

Can they enforce sanction or take-down on IP they don’t own?

NCsoft can I guess. But these chaps aren’t legal so…. how does that work?

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Castagere Shaikura

Kind of sad but I get it. Feel bad for that guy The Positive Gamer. He really loved the game and loved helping people out. His videos were great.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

The logic behind it must be related to the increased exposure they’re getting, which they’d rather not have. They’d probably appreciate it if there were less articles on their servers in general…

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Does not check email

Ncsoft probably said – no messing with “our” characters, other trademarks and stop using COH videos to sell your “channel”.

I think it’s impossible to enforce on another platform is the user anonymizes their data.

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Craig Christensen

It would be a simple matter of banning the account belonging to the character being played in the video/stream. Their name is unique.

The streamer would have to do heavy editing to blur out out every instance of their name occurring. If they miss even one Homecoming would know which account to ban.

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Neurotic

Fair enough, really. Homecoming don’t need any extra hassle while they’re trying to go legit.

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Denice J. Cook

I’m really shocked and pleased these negotiations are still going on!

Carry on, Homecoming, carry on, footlose and upload free. :P

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Hawks

Some of these comments on here reek of ignorance. You guys really got to start paying closer attention if not you’ll look like a fool.

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angrakhan

Off topic but it seems to me that if Homecoming gets legitimized by NCSoft that it would be a pretty big blow to all the spiritual successor efforts going on. Superhero MMOs are already a niche-of-niche category of game. Surely there’s not enough of a market to support all of them. With Homecoming legitimized and inexpensive due to being non-profit that is going to make it a hard sale to pull the same fans away to support a new game… Nevermind 4 new games.

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BalsBigBrother

Not really as far as I am concerned. City of Heroes Homecoming or otherwise is a hard sell for anyone who wasn’t already on board with the whole CoH thing for a number of reasons.

It’s a great game with a lot to offer but there is no denying its age can work against it in terms of its looks, modern gaming expectations and experience. Some of which are quite important to some folks that they will overlook the fun to be had otherwise in CoH (I was one of those folks for the longest time.)

Where the new ones have an advantage will be in terms of new super hero mmo players looking for a modern looking shiny game with all the bells and whistles that can provide. Along with also meeting those modern gameplay expectations too.

If one of the spiritual successors can pull all that off and still retain the City of Heroes feel then it will be golden.

Now I fully expect a couple of them will not get off the ground or crash and burn if they try. That said I do think at least one of will manage to carve a place for itself in mmo market alongside whatever Homecoming ends up being .

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

True, but the big thing now is that the have a minimum bar they must reach. Players prior to the private servers were pining to play anything like CoH. If it fell short of the original it would still be okay because it was the next best thing. Now that people can play the actual game, the successors need to be better than the original if they want a fighting chance.

They’re already spreading their population out over three games, with all three games promising the same experience that appeals to the same audience which now has access to the original source of that experience. It’s a tough spot to be in.

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Utakata

“Code of Conduct in developer speak”

For player behavior that is abusive, toxic and disruptive…

“Those are our paying customers! We don’t want to rock that boat!! #TooWoke….etc., etc.”

For players streaming behavior of their favorite games in legal limbo…

“Man the torpedoes! Nuke them from high!! We don’t to rock the boat with the owners’ lawyers…”

And something about security at the expense of freedoms and why they deserve neither. /le sigh

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Utakata

“That’s kind of convoluted positioning there, Uta. Maybe try to explain your position better? Non?”

….yeah, it’s a hodgepodge of complicated ideas and feelings I had on the matter, squashed down and put out in the most inadvisable soundbite format. So /ignore what I said. And sorry about that! >.<

Instead, maybe I just should of said: I don't like the direction this is going at all. Homecoming is not an NDA Alpha for a new game or expansion. Either NC is making unreasonable demands, or the the folks running said emu are being too paranoid or both. Either way, this will create a bad atmosphere for those trying to play it. And there are other CoX emu's out there that likely don't have this ridiculous enforceable requirement. Players interested should maybe try those.

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Eamil

Homecoming is alright but as far as alternatives, Rebirth is my personal favorite.

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Skoryy

Given the ‘no comment’ to MOP, I’m kinda left in this ‘yeah, this is goofball’ category myself. The only thing I can think of is a certain other private server cranking out videos left and right and NCSoft getting antsy.

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Utakata

NC needs to take a crap or get off the pot with this. Just saying.

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Zero_1_Zerum

Hrm. Problems like this could be solved with licensing. Like, when a game shuts down official servers, they should make a “fan license” for private servers. Certain rules and restrictions would apply, like only being able to accept donations for keeping the server going, not for profits, and not competing commercially with any new entries in the franchise. Basically, keep the private servers a hobby endeavor, not a job.

Also, there should be something that allows for game preservation. It sucks when online museums have to pretty much break the law to keep history alive, because companies don’t see the historical value in their own IP.