November 19th, 2012 by Karen
Now as many of my friends and family know, I play a delightful MMO called City of Heroes. I’ve actually played CoH since the birth of our youngest child back in 2005. It is my home away from home, my escape from the everyday. In the game, I am a super hero. I can leap tall buildings, I can fly, I can save the day…I can be anything I wish here, though most of the time, I choose to throw around an awful lot of fireballs. City of Heroes players come from a very diverse cross-section of the population and I have played on teams with some pretty heady folks, from award winning authors to CEOs and VPs of large Silicon Valley Tech companies, to college professors and more. We’ve had amazing fun together through the years and some very esoteric discussions between missions. It’s really an incredible group of people and I am proud to call so many of them friends.
At the end of August, the company that distributes the game, NCSoft, abruptly announced that they would ‘sunset’ our game on November 30th. When I say ‘abruptly’, I mean it…even our wonderful development team at Paragon Studios wasn’t even told until the morning of the announcement. It was a vicious and unconscionable way to fire a group of amazing, talented individuals, not to mention that they did it right before a holiday weekend here in the US.
The community instantly rallied together and various plans coalesced, most of which ended up on the Titan Network Forum and grew exponentially. A Change.org Petition was started and has more than 21,000 signatures now, a massive letter writing campaign made NCSoft beg us to stop while at the same time lying to players (they mention that ‘We’ve exhausted all options including the selling of the studio and the rights to the City of Heroes intellectual property, but in the end, efforts to do so were not successful.’ however there are multiple investment firms that have come forward to say that isn’t true…their inquiries were never responded to), and an amazing Unity Rally was held in the game on September 8, 2012 which over 3,000 players attended, filling 2 entire servers to capacity with large waiting queues on each.
Note that date. September 8th, 2012.
Why? Because that’s the date that gamers stood up and said “No.” Time and time again, NCSoft has killed off their games in a ruthless manner and we as players will no longer tolerate being treated like trash and we definitely will not tolerate our dev team being treated that way either. (Note, an appreciation dinner drive for the Paragon Studios team raised over $1,000 in just 3 hours, we love them THAT MUCH. What game community EVER says that about their developers and moderators?) We are being forced out of a growing game with a loyal player base for no discernible reason…in fact, some rather awesome number crunchers took the time to delve into the past several quarters and years of earnings reports for NCSoft and reported back to the community that our game was generating on average $10 million in profit a year. $10 Million. Profit. And we’re not good enough?
Additionally, despite a concerted effort of players to politely and respectfully reach out via any and every means available to NCSoft, they have maintained absolute silence with the exception of the request to stop sending them mail. Only their out and out lie to the players approximately five weeks after the initial announcement changed the tone of player’s pleading messages. Their twitter account has remained dormant with the exception of one retweet in September, their various videos on their YouTube accounts have a large number of negative votes and comments and no new content in the last 3 months, their NCSoft West Facebook Page is littered with complaints and rants, their main NCSoft Facebook Page is rife with angry comments despite most of the page being in Korean, and their company has been tagged in a bunch of unflattering pictures many of which call for a Boycott of NCSoft products. Lest you discount this as just angry gamer rage, please reread this paragraph. Despite the massive emotional outpouring by the City of Heroes gaming community, until they lied to us, we kept things civil.
Below is a really wonderful chart of the NCSoft stock price since the game closure announcement. (Tony V at the Titan Network shared it with me, and I’d love to give credit to the originator, so if it’s you, let me know!) You can easily see how the stock price immediately began falling the day after the Unity Rally on September 8th and has continued its free fall ever since.
There is a reason for this: NCSoft is a poorly run company rife with mismanagement, continued deceitfulness (see the Richard Garriott debacle where they falsified documents and lost a $32 million lawsuit), and a habit of ignoring players wants completely. They have shown time and time again that they do not understand the Western gaming market and the closing of City of Heroes will be the nail in their coffin. I simply hope that once NCSoft is well and surely dead that a savior will come save the players from a total team wipe by purchasing the IP for City of Heroes in NCSoft’s bankruptcy sale.
January 14th, 2012 by Karen
We’ve been back from Vegas for a couple of days and, with the exception of a profoundly upsetting dream (so fun!), it’s been a great week. We had a lovely time with our entire team in Vegas, we’ve landed two new clients since January 1st, and it was great to see all my friends. I do wish that everyone lived closer to each other, but I suppose that if we saw each other more than the handful of times every year, all our livers would explode.
Today we took the kids to the movies which was great fun, mostly because we had them convinced that we were NOT going to the movies. (It’s our M.O. of course with them…though they’ve been more and more interested in actually gong to Alaska of late, so maybe we’ll have to change that up a bit.) Now, I’m sitting in the kitchen, listening to some glorious fados, watching my sweet hubby make tempura for dinner and enjoying the tulips I treated myself with today.
Oh how I love tulips! They’re definitely in my top 5…along with daffodils, lisianthus, heritage roses, and wisteria. It’s a bit early for tulips, so these are probably hot house, but they’re still very lovely. Now I just have to clear my desk of the things I brought back from Vegas to make room for them!
December 5th, 2008 by Karen
I have art in my home…my very favorite piece is a painting my husband picked up for me at an auction that is a 4×3′ oil on canvas of a lavender field that reminds me of the lovely trip to France I took my senior year at college. I have framed a couple touching things from the kids and a water color that I did.
I’ve never had art like this.
In yesterday’s mail, I got a fabulous present from my friend, Bayani. It’s my main heroine from City of Heroes (the MMO I play)drawn by the very talented Dave Hamann and colored by Brad Mrock.
It’s spectacular. I’m simply floored that someone could take a couple of screen shots and a brief description of her personality and suddenly she’s staring back at me from the paper, just like I alway imagined her to look.
May 15th, 2008 by Karen
Well, I’ve been a little neglectful of my blog lately…no, I take that back. I’ve been neglectful of -this- blog, simply because I’ve had so many writing irons in the fire, I haven’t had the time to come here to write lately.
It feels good to actually be writing again. It’s been ages since I sat down to be creative, to draw the images out of my tumultous noggin and get them on paper. Most people I know like to type nowadays. Me? I prefer the nice, lined composition books…you know the ones that are about 7″x10″ and you used in high school? Those and a crisp black pen. There is something imminently satisfing about filling sheet after sheet with scrawling words dancing across the page. I’ve rediscovered how dynamic my writing can be, just in how it looks…more fluid with prose, striking and harsh with action.
I finished part three of a story I’ve been working on, but I have yet to type it up. I just posted the second part to the Cape community and I’m hoping for some good feedback. We’ll have to see. If it goes well, I might try my hand at NaNoWriMo again this year. The goal with that is to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and 30. At this point, my November is free of work related travel, so it’s a possibility.
Anyhow, even if I don’t participate, I’m having fun putting pen to paper again.
April 4th, 2008 by Karen
When I originally had to learn the Old English pronunciation of the first 42 lines of Geoffery Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in Kathy Kernberger’s Honors English class at college, I wasn’t really sure when or if I would ever find it useful again. You’d be surprised at how many times this seems to come up in my life.
When one of my friends on The Cape Radio hosted the Poetry Slam last week, it only seemed fitting to record it and send it in as my offering.
(Siderant… the general media enjoys portraying gamers as uncouth, slovenly idiots not fit for public appearance. In my three years of playing City of Heroes / City of Villains, I have found quite the contrary. The folks I play with are incredibly educated, successful, well read, well traveled, artsy people who often simply feel isolated from the lack of reasonably equal companionship locally. The amount of real-life related information that is shared in private conversations in game is massive. We support each other’s business endeavors in impromptu brainstorming sessions and resource referrals. We let others know of job opportunities in their areas of expertise. We comfort each other’s sorrows and rejoice in each other’s joys. We are not pasty, sun-deprived, pimply 14 year old boys living on Doritos and Mountain Dew, tyvm. )
As I noted below, I was really worried about how well it would be received and I was ecstatic at the response. Take a listen for yourself and tell me what you think:
Excerpt from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer
April 1st, 2008 by Karen
Ok, I’ll admit it. I am not someone who enjoys public speaking overmuch. In fact, it basically freaks me out. When I was a kid, I used to get woozy and pass out just getting in front of my class doing a bookreport. The funny thing is, I’ve always enjoyed performing arts and have been involved in band, choirs, and doing plays and musicals since second grade. Something about doing it -alone- I find immensely terrifying.
Unfortunately, this irrational fear is personally crippling and I’ve made a committment to myself to move past it as quickly as possible. To that end, I’ve been participating in a few interactive events on my favorite player run radio station in City of Heroes, The Cape Radio. I submitted a poem for the Poetry slam that was on Monday evening and tonight was the City of Karaoke 3 and I submitted a song for that as well. It was stressful waiting to hear what people thought about my pieces, but I was really pleasantly surprised.
Hopefully soon, I’ll have the courage to start posting video regularly.