Gamers Rally to Save City of Heroes
What happens when a virtual world is condemned to oblivion? Dedicated players of the online game City of Heroes struggle for the very survival of their city.
The online heroes of Paragon City are currently in an epic battle. Not against the forces of crime and evil that they have been facing for eight years, but against the decision of a company that is preparing to turn off the game servers and end a game that has been running since April 2004.
NCsoft, the publisher of City of Heroes, announced last Friday that it is shutting down Paragon Studios, the game development studio responsible for City of Heroes. Operation of the flagship will cease by November 30 due to a realignment of NCsoft’s focus.
To its community, City of Heroes is more than just a game, it is a vibrant, welcoming community. City of Heroes was the first online role-playing game for many gamers, and introduced them to the wonders of flying through the skies and battling epic menaces with friends. City of Heroes has brought together families, offered comfort during troubling times, and inspired charities that have raised nearly $30,000 for children, members of the armed forces, and to fight hunger.
The City of Heroes community quickly rallied and formed a campaign to save the game from virtual extinction. “We’ve been saving Paragon City for eight and a half years. It’s time to do it one more time,” said Tony Vasquez administrator of the Titan Network, an alliance of City of Heroes fan sites http://paragonwiki.com, and one of the organizers of the Save Paragon City! campaign.
Through social media outlets, fan web sites, and the City of Heroes official game forums, players have been organizing projects and events to convince NCsoft to allow the game to continue, exploring options including selling the game to another game publishing company or development studio. The “Keep NCsoft from shutting down City of Heroes!” petition initiated by a community member has gathered over 12,600 signatures and continues to grow. (http://change.org/petitions/ncsoft-keep-ncsoft-from-shutting-down-city-of-heroes) In addition, players have begun a letter writing campaign to NCsoft to demonstrate the reach of their numbers and convey the impact City of Heroes has had on their lives.
City of Heroes players have a non-stop schedule of activities to show their support. Saturday, September 8th, players are organizing an in-game “Unity Rally” and Paragon Appreciation costume contest in which players will dress up as their favorite Paragon Studios staff member. This event will take place on the Virtue server starting at 5:00pm EDT. Organizers expect that this could be the biggest costume contest in online gaming history. Other ongoing projects beginning this week include a crowd funding drive in which the community has pledged to financially assist acquiring the game from NCsoft and partnership discussions with industry leaders regarding acquisition of the City of Heroes game property.