You ever wonder what happens after a piece of fiction dies? What happens after a story concludes? What do the characters do next? How does this world live on? For popular franchises, the chance for a full-on revival is usually there. This stands true for video-games, movies, anime, cartoons, and comics. However, what about Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games?
MMORPGs are something that very rarely get revivals. At most, they may get a spinoff here or there. When an MMO dies it usually stays dead, but there are some exceptions to this rule. There’s this thing called “Private Servers”, which are emulations of dead servers done by fans. This allows people to play a long dead game and enjoy it, while also giving the game a new lease on life.
One such game that is getting resurrected is “City of Heroes”, which is one of the best MMOs I’ve ever played! City of Heroes was a special game, due in large part to it being the first superhero MMORPG ever made. Long before DC Universe Online and Champions Online; City of Heroes was the game that introduced PC players to a superhero world like no other.
This world was filled with interesting lore and likable characters. Missions that seemed generic at first would open into large grandiose adventures. For example, a simple meeting with a business-man could turn into a tournament against several powerful super-villains.
Not only were the missions fun, but the game allowed you to tailor your superhero/supervillain to your own preferences. Want to use electrical powers and invulnerability? You can do that! How about having the ability to fly and punch people with fists made of stone? You could also do that! Couple this with the amazingly extensive character creation system, and you have a game with unlimited customization options.
There was so much content and improvements made to the game over the years, to the point where it became something completely different from what it was when it launched. The game enjoyed a large community of fans throughout its life-cycle, but it was sadly not meant to last. NCSoft pulled the plug on the game back in 2012, while not giving any reasons as to why they discontinued it. Being the publishers of the game, they could do whatever they want with the license.
This meant screwing over both the developers and the fans, while not telling them why. Fans believe it was because the game bombed in NCSoft’s home country of Korea, which prompted them to write it off as a complete failure. We will never know if that was the main reason, but it seems the most likely.
NCSoft’s shutdown of the game forever tainted their name and drove fans away from their future products. The game’s shutdown also meant the loss of not only the game, but all of the user created content as well. Custom characters, costumes, and missions were all lost in the great purge. If you didn’t back up your character’s costume on your hard-drive, it was lost forever. I will always miss my original heroes and villains: Rom The Death Knight, Earthwolf, and Dr. Kickandsmack.
All of this amazing work and the game it spawned from were gone forever… Until two weeks ago. The existence of a private server that’s been operating in secret for six years was revealed to the world. This private server was created using City of Heroes’ data files, which were given to the team by an anonymous developer. With the framework for the game back in the hands of the fans, they reconstructed the game for all to play.
The team called “SCORE” were able to bring this game back from the brink of extinction, so that the players could one again partake in it. Will it be up forever? It’s doubtful, but one can hope that they’re able to keep the servers running for quite a while. Here’s hoping they can find a way to curb the large server costs, such as giving the fans a way to donate to them to help keep it running. Regardless, I’m just glad to have this amazing game back at all! It’s great finally being able to return to the greatest game of my teenage years.