NCSoft Still Intends To Use City of Heroes

When? How? Where? Nobody knows.

Continue reading “NCSoft Still Intends To Use City of Heroes”

IPE: I Got Obsessed With Trademarks

And here’s what I found.

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Grave Digging: Dead MMOs You Can Actually Still Play

Reviving the dead.

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The Adventures Of Space Comabat Issue #2: The Mandible

Diaries From King’s Row: Space Comabat Pilot Issue

Out of a Tweet and into King’s Row, it’s the ongoing copyright-infringing adventures of none other than Space Comabat! With the blindness of a bat, the strength of a bat, the constantly orbiting flock of bats, and the ability to wield two large sharp metal objects…like a bat, Space Comabat uses his echolocation abilities to seek out the fruity nectar of evil!

This week Space Comabat travels to King’s Row to visit his informant Genevieve Sanders and discover what is sending the city’s hooligans to the hospital.

“Space Comabat, it’s a good thing you showed up. The Skulls have been pushing their drug Superadine to Galaxy City refugees, and the crime rate is skyrocketing! You need to find out who is supplying The Skulls.” Space Comabat is on the job. Time to seek out some Skull Gang ne’er do wells and politely coerce some information out of them, with justice!

Looks like these ruffians haven’t been getting their daily iron. Space Comabat can fix that!

After giving his adversaries a little lesson in how crime doesn’t pay, Space Comabat finds a clue to who might be behind the Superadine. It’s a printed receipt with a business address and phone number plus Twitter account and IRS employer ID. “Who knew street drug dealers accept all major credit cards except American Express,” says Space Comabat. “Now let’s see who is running this shindig. It looks like the operator is one Toothbreaker Jones.”

“I wonder how he got the name Toothbreaker Jones,” Space Comabat asks nobody in particular.

At the Superadine dealer, Space Comabat enters to find a building full of desperate addicts. “There are a lot of crime junkies in this building,” says Space Comabat, “and thankfully I’ve got plenty of detox to go around.”

“Space Comabat? I thought yous got moidered by Joey Fatone back in Atlas Park!”

“Nobody likes a liar, and I’m going to wash your mouth out…with justice!” Space Comabat continues to deliver some much deserved retribution to The Skulls littered throughout the building until he finally comes upon Toothbreaker Jones flanked by his two henchmen.

“If we knock Space Comabat out of the picture, maybe the boss will let us in on the next shipment.” Space Comabat quickly dispatches Toothbreaker Jones’ henchmen and draws out the boss man himself.

“Space Comabat! I’m going to break your teeth!”

“The only thing that’s going to be broken here is the clavicle of evil” shouts Space Comabat as he shatters Toothbreaker Jones’ clavicle with his metal rod. Space Comabat leaves Toothbreaker Jones to lie in a puddle of regret until the police can come by and pick him up. He returns to Genevieve to report his success.

“You’ve taken down one of the suppliers, but Toothbreaker Jones mentioned something about a shipment headed for King’s Row. We’ve discovered another Superadine den, head over and find out what you can about this shipment. If we don’t stop The Skulls, this drug problem could become a full pandemic.”

“Oh there’s going to be a pandemic. A pandemic of justice!”

Will The Skulls obtain their shipment of Superadine? Can our heroes stop this dastardly drug before it turns King’s Row into a psychotic nightmare? Tune in to the next episode; same Space Comabat time, same Space Comabat place.

Drink your Ovaltine, and buy war bonds!

Whatever Happened To: Those City of Heroes Successors

Every once in a while I get an email asking “Connor, why don’t you talk about those various City of Heroes successor games?” That’s an oddly specific question, and one that harkens back to a time where any article I wrote about NCSoft would result in a flurry of emails threatening to boycott my website or trying to get me fired for not mentioning whatever CoH successor was crowdfunding. Now I’m not going to name names (because I don’t actually remember who did it) but having a PR rep from a volunteer project reach out to chastise me for not mentioning their game in an article about City of Heroes, and to imply that I was being paid by another project to not mention them? Eventually it’s not worth talking about anybody.

But 2020 is a new year and a new decade and the fervor over NCSoft is over, and I’d like to know where the Kickstarter money I threw in seven years ago went, so it’s time to catch up on those City of Heroes successors. Do we even need these titles now that they have taken so long to release that a secret underground moleman community has been discovered and shared their private server with the world? Who knows. Are any of these games actually going to see their way to completion? It’s been eight years.

In no particular order because God forbid I get emails asking why one project was listed above another, let’s just dive in.

1. Valiance Online – It’s In Alpha

Valiance Online is the Unity-built successor to City of Heroes and one of the few on this list that did not run a (successful) Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign. The investor alpha was made available back in October 2017 and those interested in getting in on the project can donate a minimum of $25 to gain access to founders perks. From a quick glance it looks like the alpha server was taken down back in November 2019 for a big update and has not yet come back up.

If there is one complaint that can be lobbied at the Valiance Online people it is that their communication is terrible. The news section hasn’t seen an update since November 2018, the forum is a mess to navigate, and the Twitter also has not been updated since November 2019 during the latest maintenance update. As a title that started very early compared to the other COH successors, I feel like Valiance Online may have blew its load too soon. I remember playing a pre-alpha four or five years ago and just very quickly losing interest as the game was many years off of release.

Who knows, Valiance Online is clearly in active development with things to show for it. Hopefully they can take that stretch toward beta and make the game more widely available.

2. Ship of Heroes – Character Creator Beta

Ship of Heroes has progressed far enough to have released a character creator beta test back in November where players could go in and create characters, have a costume contest, and even test out their powers and walk around the ship. Ship of Heroes is a City of Heroes successor set on a spaceship traveling through space (as they do). It is built on the Unreal Engine and pretty regularly puts out news updates with screenshots of how the game is progressing.

Of the games on this list, Ship of Heroes seems to be in the best position to put out a launch product first considering it is being run by an actual company with faces instead of a rag tag group of unpaid volunteers. Not to diminish the work of the other games on this list, but Ship of Heroes just seems to be in the strongest position as an organization of developers.

3. City of Titans – Character Creator

Of course I would be remiss to talk about Ship of Heroes launching its character creator tool without also mentioning City of Titans by Missing Worlds Media who launched their own character creator a couple weeks earlier. Out of everything on this list, I have to say City of Titans feels like the closest to an actual spiritual successor to City of Heroes. Where the other games on the list are creating a modern superhero MMO, the videos and screenshots released by Missing Worlds Media make the game look like it is trying to stay true to form and bring gamers back to the world that they had once lost but can incidentally now play again.

Admittedly out of everything on this list, City of Titans is the game I’m most looking forward to.

Missing Worlds Media is a bit of an enigma for me as they regularly want to have their cake and eat it too. City of Titans was funded in 2013 to the tune of 678 thousand smackers, yet whenever I talk about the game coming along at a snail’s pace and far beyond the campaign’s original delivery date, I get inundated with comments about how the team is staffed by unpaid volunteers and that I should just shut my stupid face about it. I don’t know what to tell you; you’re either a dev pulling 700 grand plus to fund development or you’re a group of volunteers making this game for free in your spare time (ie; people complaining about efficiency should shut up). You can’t expect to be treated as both when it’s most convenient.

4. Heroes & Villains – ??????????????

Heroes and Villains is a superhero MMO created and run by the players with an official website that looks like it was optimized to run on Windows 95. Of the current titles on the list (#5 notwithstanding), Heroes & Villains gives me the least confidence. If the team is working hard behind the scenes, they are keeping a very tight hold on things. They regularly update the website with new notes about progress being made but it’s three or four lines of commentary with nothing of actual substance to show or back up that the game is making any real progress.

The website has concept art from 2013-2015 and the Youtube channel was last updated three years ago with test animations while most of the forum has been abandoned for years. Plan Z is made up of volunteers similar to City of Titans but unlike Missing Worlds Media doesn’t have $700 grand in crowdfunding revenue to work with. Out of everything on this list (again, #5 notwithstanding) it is literally a hobby project that some folks are working on in their spare time.

If this game does launch or for that matter even release a beta, it will be quite a surprise.

5. Redside – Dead As A Corpse

Redside was an attempt by Brass Lampworks to make a City of Villains successor. Unfortunately the project launched its Kickstarter to the complete disinterest of nearly everyone with a dollar to spare and ultimately pulled in $170 from four backers. The website for developer Brass Lampworks is no longer in operation and it’s clear that the game has been killed in the crib.

“This game is designed in the spirit of NCSoft’s closed MMO “City of Villains”  This MMO will work the same premise, but a new direction.  We will have a cast of completely different characters on masterfully crafted storylines, updated graphics, cross platform functionality, and possible VR in future updates.”

Maybe it’s because the Kickstarter expressly stated that the money was to “get the ball rolling” and not to create an actual product. Maybe it’s because the creator was not a game developer and had no idea what he was doing, instilling no confidence that pumping money into this void would result in anything except a bunch of backers getting swindled by someone playing on their nostalgia.

In Conclusion

If you want to play City of Heroes, you can absolutely do so right now thanks to the Homecoming server. It is just as jank as you remember and boy howdy is it glorious.

NCSoft Files New Trademark For City of Heroes

It has been more than eight years since NCSoft shutdown City of Heroes and unsurprisingly there are still a lot of people who haven’t quite forgiven the developer for its transgressions. As MMO Culture noted this week however, it looks like NCSoft has filed new trademark applications for the City of Heroes brand. Could this mean something new on the horizon for City of Heroes?

Our guess? It might have something to do with the rogue server negotiations that have been going on for some time now. It might also be related to the fact that NCSoft’s trademarks for City of Heroes have all died. The prior trademarks for City of Heroes, Going Rogue, Freedom, etc, have been listed as abandoned for several years now. You see, in order to keep a trademark going you have to show that it is still in active use; a reason to be protecting it.

Since NCSoft has had no interest in the City of Heroes name for nearly a decade now, their lawyer never bothered submitted a notice of continued use. Once a trademark is knocked off for lack of notice, it is unrevivable. You want it back, you’ll need to file a new application. So why does NCSoft suddenly want the trademark back? It could be that they just didn’t notice it had expired, it could be that they are protecting their interest in the names as part of the negotiations with the rogue server teams.

It could just NCSoft wanting to collect its toys so nobody else can play with them. We will have to wait and see.

Source: Trademarkia via MMO Culture

Titan Network In Talks To Revive City of Heroes With NCSoft Blessing

City of Heroes is back! Or it was. In case you fell off the face of the planet over the past few days like yours truly did, you may have missed all of the hubbub surrounding City of Heroes, a game that’s getting a lot of widespread attention for a title that is dead six years running. The mishegas all began last week as we learned that City of Heroes doesn’t just have a functioning emulator, but it has been running in secret for the past six years now. Even worse, a fair few members of the press knew about it all along (Side note: The people operating the server are probably the same that do not like me and as such I was never cued in on the secret private server).

Fast forward a few days and the code for the private server was released online, leading to the launch of SCORE, a publicly playable server that went live over the weekend. Fast forward a couple more days, and the server went down due to what later turned out to be a fake legal threat. It remains offline. For more information on all of this, you can check out Massively OP’s Bree Royce who has meticulously covered all of the events.

Today, Tony V of the Titan Network announced via Twitter that there are negotiations going on with City of Heroes. Granted, there have been ongoing talks since the game shut down so make what you will of these “positive” developments.

Valiance Online Nears Alpha Testing

City of Heroes feels like a long lost relative, when the title left us just a little over four years ago, but in that time a number of development studios have been working around the clock to bring us the spiritual successor. Valiance Online, one of those successors, is gearing up to present us with a working product as Silverhelm Studios has unveiled the coming playable alpha. The game will be available at the start for backers with servers opening up to the public afterward.

Check it out at the official website. Recent updates to the game include:

  • Combat improvements
  • Character generator 3.0
  • Addition of passive character traits such as water breathing, robotic, perceptive, etc.
  • Updates to the navigation system
  • Replacement minimap
  • Extensive “futuristic” updates to the environment
  • Release of list of archetypes in development including multiple pet classes
  • Integration of player character database in the game and website
  • Development of special rewards for investors
  • Major server code optimization
  • Preparation for Steam integration and launch

Cryptic Founder Now CEO Of Daybreak Game Company


Daybreak Game Company is now being headed by a founder of Cryptic Studios, and it isn’t Bill Roper. In a press release posted yesterday, we learned that Jack Emmert is joining the former Sony Online Entertainment studio as chief executive officer stationed at the studio’s San Diego headquarters.

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished at Cryptic Studios, and I’m ready for a new set of challenges,” said Emmert. “As a lifelong comic book fan, I’m thrilled to become part of the DCUO team and eager to engage and play alongside new communities of players. I look forward to being a part of the future of DCUO, as well as guiding our roster of new titles out of Daybreak Austin.”

Emmert founded Cryptic Studios in 2000, leading his studio in creating much beloved MMOs like City of Heroes.

(Source: Daybreak Game Company press release)

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