NCSoft Stocks Plummet due to Closure of City of Heroes

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 Epic Paragon Studios Development Team

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.

It’s important.

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.

Posted in City of Heroes / City of Villains, Gaming | 0 Comments

Fado, Tempura and Tulips

January 14th, 2012 by Karen

Joel
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!

Posted in City of Heroes / City of Villains, Family, Gaming, Life, Poetry & Writing | 0 Comments

April 15th

April 15th, 2009 by Karen

100_0483Today is not just Tax Day when everyone over the age of 18 frets and worries and writes angry checks. Today is not just a day for Tea Parties and raging against the government that mismanages our money in such a way that would land an individual in jail. Today is not just the 97th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Today is my sweet little boy’s sixth birthday!!

Six years ago, at 3 in the morning, I got out of bed and quietly sat in the kitchen, desperately trying to finish our taxes between contractions. About 4:30 am, Joel realized I wasn’t in bed and came looking for me. Let’s just say he was pretty upset that I was doing the taxes in labor without letting him know!! Luckily, I was pretty much finished and my Dad saved the day and finished them up for us and took them to the post office while we were at the hospital.

Suddenly, he’s a kindergartener, the class clown, reading beyond his ken, creating fractal patterns of anything he can get his hands on, and playing the World of Goo where he creates bridges to his little engineering hearts content.

100_0483 I have no idea where the time has gone…my only regret with him is that it passed so fast. My girls will still snuggle into my lap but Alex has already started the eyeroll and the “moooom” when I try to kiss his cheek in front of his classmates.

You can’t wait for them to grow up and be independent, but it still smarts a bit when they do!

In any case, today he is six and beyond the blue cupcakes for class, his only request is to go out to dinner someplace they have calimari.

That’s my boy!

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Social Commentary

April 7th, 2009 by Karen

To say I am angry would not even begin to describe the blood that is currently boiling in my veins. I am at a loss for adjectives to describe how horrified and agitated I feel.

This morning over my morning coffee, I did what I always do…I run through my email, open my twitter, pidgin and skype for the day and then I hit Facebook and check the news headlines online at our local and regional papers to see what is going on in the world.

The first thing to greet me? A disturbing article about a new game out of Japan that is a rape simulator. Yes, you read that correctly. A video game that literally allows the player to tail and eventually rape an unsuspecting digital avatar. Whatever sick fucks programmed this thing need to have a little R&R at their local equivalent of the looney bin. A little shock therapy is more than in order.

Thoroughly disgusted, I flipped to the website for our regional paper to be greeted with the death of eight year old Sandra Cantu. Little Sandra went missing ten days ago from her home in a trailer park in Tracy. The police refused to catagorize her disappearance as a child abduction, so no Amber Alert was issued for the little one wasting valuable time in getting her back. This morning she was gruesomely found inside a suitcase in a farm collection pond.

I am sickened and disheartened that someone’s sweet little girl has been brutally ripped from their arms. My heart can only imagine the devestation her family must feel as their last shred of hope was torn from them.

When I was about eight or nine, I had a 10 speed bike and I was allowed to ride the bike around the neighborhood alone. I played with my friends, whose parents also let them wander the subdivision in the same manner. I have a daughter about the same age as Sandra and two other little ones and I don’t even feel safe letting them play in our front yard alone.

Why has our society become so violent against women and children? Those two groups have historically been considered worthy of protection…even in war raping, brutalizing and killing women and children is considered abhorrent behavior and is to be avoided at all costs. Why do we tolerate the sleeze in our midst that kills our children and rapes our bodies??

Call me intolerant, call me not understanding, call me cruel, but these men that commit these horrific sexual crimes against the weakest in our society do not deserve our pity for their childhood or our mercy in their punishments.

Christ taught us to turn the other cheek and to offer forgiveness to those who wrong us, but let us not forget that he also said “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

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My very first piece of art…

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.

Posted in Art, City of Heroes / City of Villains, Gaming | 0 Comments

My Chaucer

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: 

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Excerpt from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer

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Learning courage

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.

Posted in City of Heroes / City of Villains, Gaming, Life | 1 Comments

My son, the Jedi Master

March 10th, 2008 by Karen

About six months ago Joel won a Xbox from Microsoft at eComXpo. We’ve got it set up and the kids enjoy playing the little arcade games and the demos. We have Viva Pinata, but it’s a bit beyond them still.

About a week ago, Alex discovered that he really liked the LEGO Star Wars II demo on the xBox. No, I take that back, he doesn’t like it…he LOVES it. And he’s amazingly good at it. Joel and I have played it several times, but Alex has found secret areas we didn’t even know existed.

So, today I was out and about and saw the Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga in Target. I couldn’t resist and bought it. We had such a fabulous time this afternoon playing multiplayer on it…the whole family got involved and we just had a blast. Alex also played by himself for a bit and did great…not bad for a four year old that can’t even read all the directions!

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