Can City of Heroes Be Saved?

I was aware of this before the Massively story released, but fans of City of Heroes are attempting to rally to save their game. There’s an online petition (which I signed,) and talk on the City of Heroes forums about “discussions” between Paragon management and both NCSoft and investors, and additional calls to action elsewhere.

Will it work? I don’t hold out much hope, as much as I would like to see City of Heroes survive. NCSoft has dismissed efforts to buy their shuttered games in the past, definitely with AutoAssault and (it is rumored) with Tabula Rasa as well. So NCSoft deciding to keep CoX around through some sort of arrangement would be unprecedented. But then, the closure itself is unprecedented; never before has an MMO this healthy (and the numbers which have come out in the meantime have done nothing but reinforce my opinion on this) been shut down before. City of Heroes may or may not have been profitable, but populations were still strong and people are still playing it, and that population should be able to support its continued existence were it run by a less cutthroat company.

Like I said, I’m not especially hopeful, but to paraphrase Miracle Max, it’s only mostly dead. There are a number of potential solutions that involve keeping CoH around without NCSoft backing off of its closure decision or selling it outright to another company. They could license the game, for example, letting some other group run it and bear the expenses for doing so while keeping a slice of royalties off the top. They could (although I consider this incredibly unlikely) open source or Creative Commons the code, allowing what would be clean and legal private servers to continue operating the game. More creative business types could probably come up with even better and more innovative solutions.

I believe City of Heroes is a game that’s worth saving. But me just saying that doesn’t mean anything, because I personally have no skin in the game, as it were, having supported Champions Online with a lifetime sub instead. So to put my money where my mouth is, I’ll make a pledge. If City of Heroes is saved, by whatever means short of something really unacceptable, I will buy a six month subscription to it. I have no doubt that I will get my money’s worth out of it; it’s a game with many great features and I know I’ll find a welcoming community, one of the best in MMOs.