Saturday, March 2, 2013

Community questions - Part 3

The closure of City of Heroes was a terrible thing. I'd been playing the game - mostly the same character, come to think of it - for almost eight years when Black Friday hit.

I'd been on Virtue the entire time, except for a couple of lowbies I had on Freedom for when Virtue had fallen over under the weight of it's sheer awesomeness. In my entire COH career, I'd been in two SGs - The New Porter Institute for Psychical Research, for a couple of years, before heading off to start up my own group with a couple of RP friends.

Vandellia dings 50

My first character (I was an RPer, so she wasn't just an avatar for me.) was a spines/regen scrapper called Vandellia. I had a bit of a thing about making pretty characters who had gross powers, and I used to like graphically writing about bits of flesh flying around and muscle being torn-up when she popped her bones out. When we got colour customisation, I even added red to her spikes so it looked like she was bleeding all over the place.

My first villain was created to stop a friend badgering me to play red-side with him, and after faffing around for a while, I came up with Unseen Scarlet. She tended to prop up the counters in the quieter bars in Pocket D (I got distracted by scroll) and she was generally rude to people who tried to strike up conversations with her.

My favourite screenshot of Unseen Scarlet
The thought of losing them forever was unbearable.

When I came across TonyV's post in the Titan Forums (you know the one. We are heroes, this is what we do), for the first time in my entire COH career, I set foot outside my comfort zone - outside the safety of my friends in the SG, and the few people who could tolerate Unseen Scarlet.

I'm reasonably introverted in real life - and well, online, I guess - but COH meant so much to me, that the idea of losing it was enough to push me to these boards filled with people I'd never met before.  I'd been a part of my SG, and I'd lurked around the D, but I'd never really been an active part of the COH community. I doubt there's many people reading this who would have any clue who I was, or had even run into me before.

I'm the blue-haired chick, standing with some of my SG mates for the rally.

But somehow I found myself in the middle of things.  I took part in SaveCOH with relish. I held my torch alongside my SG mates (AP8 on the day of the rally, and AP33 after that).  I did what I could to keep SaveCOH in the public eye, I ended up convincing the Korean Times what we were doing was worthy of an article in their business section. I found out that I was actually braver than I thought I was, capable of dealing with more people than I thought I'd be able to, I had things in common with people, I could be diplomatic, or pushy, or chatty. I could have ideas that people thought were pretty good. And sometimes terrible.

I somehow ended up working on Hail Mary alongside Quinch, Ammon and Mercedes. I hung out with the Wentworths, and Captain Bacon, and Detra and Heatstroke and Pogoman and so many others on the steps on AP33. I tried to support them as they had supported me and kept my spirits up on the days when it seemed so hopeless. I wore my Paragon Backer badges with pride, I fought Kronos and Hami on the steps of City Hall (thanks to Hitstreak) and was turned into a Rikti monkey, a seagull and a yellow taxi for my trouble.

And when the plug was pulled, like so many others I retreated to the Titan Network forums for support, understanding and solace, and I found it there.

It was a complete no-brainer for me to volunteer to help The Phoenix Project. These were the people who had stood virtually alongside me as we battled to save City of Heroes, they were the people whose stories and testimonials I had read, and wept over (I'm looking at you, SithRose). This was the community that had come together in a way I've never seen in the real world, or online, determined to go down swinging and fighting until the end.

Although I knew of the guys behind TPP through the Titan Boards and had interacted with them there, working on the project was something else altogether.

A graphics glitch on my scrapper

I knew they were good people, I knew they believed in what they were doing and were determined to make it happen, but it wasn't really until I got involved that I realised just how hard they were working, the hours they put in, the passion, intelligence and creativity they have, and the drive.

I'm lucky, because I get to see it from both sides. I get to spend time talking with our community and seeing how excited everyone is - what this means to them. I get to read the emails we get - unsolicited, out of the blue, full of quotes, and thank yous, and telling us what COH meant to you, why you're supporting TPP and why you can't wait to take to the skies again.

And then I get to relay that to the devs, and I get to see them go all happy and excited and proud and motivated.

So as much as I miss COH - and I do, I really do - there is a part of me that is grateful for what the closure did for me.

My short-lived MM, Sha'etemmu (that's ancient Babylonian for necromancer - I can Google with the best of 'em) had a tendency to end up dead beneath a pile of her zombie buddies.

If there had never been that announcement, I'd never have made so many new friends, I'd never have learnt that when it comes down to it, I'm capable of rolling up my sleeves and getting ready for a bit of scrap.

I'd never have got to be a part of this amazing, exciting project, working alongside some of the most talented, passionate, supportive people I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and I'd never have got the chance to be a part of this community.

I'd never have seen the excitement, the impatience, the interest and your kindness. I'd never have known that over 1,000 people can be supportive and funny and inspiring en masse. I'd never have known that I could be a part of something that people wanted to succeed.

COH had an incredible community. I'd always known that, but I wish I'd been brave enough to be a part of it.

But TPP's community - coming through this together? Holding each others hands while we build a brand new home? Being a part of this is just incredible. And when we get there, we're not just going to be a community. We'll be practically family.

People keep saying that it's a rocky road, a long journey - and it is.

But it's gonna be one hell of an adventure.

..oh. Right. Yeah.


Yours follow ;)

Lauren "Rae" O'Neill
Press/PR/Social Media n' one-woman pep squad
The Phoenix Project


1. How will the servers work? Will we have different servers like in CoH or will it be one giant server? 

Nathaniel Downes, Technical Director: "Yes to both. The actual server architecture is to have a unified character database, but have multiple servers. So instead of having the frustration of needing a server transfer to change servers, there would be a single character database for you to use on any of the servers. Servers now are more specialized in nature, your Roleplaying server, your Player vs Player server, etc. By doing this, we can ramp up servers as we need to, or shut down ones when not needed, without hurting the players."


Lauren O'Neill, Press and PR Lead: "HOW I MINE FOR FISH????"

Nathaniel Downes, Technical Director: "Level 50 Arrow/Fire MoITF Run"

3. Laptops seem to be the 'wave of the future.' Will they be considered when developing the game?

Cameron Johnson, Studio Director: "Absolutely. I, myself, play on a 'desktop replacement.' Which is a quad-core, 2GHz-per-core laptop with a numpad. We expect to be able to be played on mid-range and hopefully even moderately old machines by the time the game releases, and while that might translate to slightly higher-end laptops, they will definitely be able to handle the game."

4. Endgame may not be on your radar but....Will there be an immersive end game story? If so, could we perhaps get a premise for it?

Kaylan Lyndell-Lees, Lore Lead:  "There will be endgame story, and there will be quite a bit to do after you've hit maximum level. We haven't planned out much more than that at this early date, but I've talked extensively to our Story Lead about the various problems and benefits of endgame content present in other games. We will be heavily discussing how to balance endgame content between the casual player and the hardcore raider - As a casual player myself, I insist on having an endgame I enjoy!"

5. More info on the Titan Sentinal plus extractor tool data please. Will we have our CoH Legacy characters back?'

Nathaniel Downes, Technical Director:  "We have kept close tabs on Sentinel+, and honestly, in order to support imports from Sentinel+, we have been forced to limit other areas of the game. If it is a choice between supporting other players like us, or adding a new cool feature, we chose to support."


  1. What a great example of something good coming out of something bad, and also a reminder to make an effort to step outside our comfort zone every now and then. Enjoyed reading it!

    Off topic, but this blog does not link back to If someone comes across this article via search engine or linked wherever, it would not be easy to find the official website or community forums, especially since the official site doesn't really come up in search engines too well, yet either.

  2. Ooh, that's worth knowing. Thanks, Elenoir. I'll check into it.