City of Heroes Giving Out Refunds Next Week


he MMO market is a tough place to be.

With SWTOR effectively going free-to-play, The Secret World developer Funcom sacking employees to stay afloat, and even MMO-powerhouse World of Warcraft losing subscribers, few MMO developers (like ArenaNet with Guild Wars 2) are doing well for themselves.

In recent years, most MMOs have shirked paid subscriptions and gone the way of free-to-play in hopes of better financial fortunes.

Paragon Studio's City of Heroes was no exception. Last year, after seven years of sticking to the subscription model, City of Heroes finally went free-to-play, adopting a three-tiered system where players could still opt to pay a subscription fee for in-game bonuses.

Clearly, the model wasn't sustaining the company. Last month, Paragon Studios announced that it would be shuttering its doors and taking down City of Heroes. Publisher NCSoft had a "realignment of company focus and publishing support", presumably because the MMO wasn't turning a profit.

Fortunately, Paragon Studios is issuing refunds out to City of Heroes players who recently paid into the game. Customers who continue to have a recurring subscription to the MMO or bought in-game currency, called Veteran Points, will be issued a full refund. Additionally, those with prepaid game cards for City of Heroes should be able to gain a refund by contacting Paragon's customer support.

Paragon Studios will be hosting a few special events to give the superhero MMO a last sendoff, though details are still forthcoming.

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  • nitzero
    While City of Heroes was outdated, it was unique, the community and developers were superb, it was still profitable but welcome to the capitalism world, if it doesn't make enough profit, shut it down!

    My family, friends and I will miss it... It was a casual MMORPG that wasn't really focused on "I gotta win!" Mostly "have fun and roll more characters".

    R.I.P. City of Heroes, you've been part of my life since Issue 5.
  • Kami3k
    The MMO market is just as, if not more, saturated then the FPS market.

    And it doesn't help that MMOs have remain stagnate since the launch of WoW.
  • We are going to save City of Heroes. Give us are refunds but we want to pay someone else to support the game we love.
  • nukemaster
    I will miss this game. It was LOTS of fun.
  • memadmax
    Better build an emulator while you still can suck the data off the server

  • City of Heroes is a unique game because it allowed you to be anything you could imagine and completely define your own look and background story. Anyone could play together no matter what level or gear. You could adjust the difficulty to make it as easy or hard as you wanted. It had the most and some of the best content of any MMO I have seen, even beating WoW. And it didn't try to be WoW. Players could and did write their own quests and add their own bases and to the game.
    It 's publicity was virtually non-existent and it had an aging game engine, but despite being older than WoW and several newer SuperHero MMOs, it was the most popular and it has a great community.

    It was really weird how NCsoft shut the game down out of the blue, the next expansion was in beta.

    Thanks for writing the article, it does contain a few errors. As far as the player community can determine, the game was profitable, and NCsoft never said otherwise. We can only guess at the real reasons. And the in-game currency is called Paragon Points.
  • I suggest you check your facts a bit better than this. NCSoft's revenues from Aion fell off a cliff and they decided to retrench and concentrate on what they do best (making games for the Eastern market). There is no suggestion that CoH wasn't profitable, although Paragon studios may have been losing money as a significant number of staff there had been working on an unrelated project for a while which was still a long way from generating any money.
  • First of all, as a member of the CoH community, thanks for telling part of our story.

    Secondly, as nearly as any of us can tell--looking over NCsoft's financial reports thoroughly--CoH wasn't losing money. It apparently wasn't making as much money as NCsoft wanted. Additionally, there has been much speculation amongst the fanbase that NCsoft, a Korean company, wanted to refocus on Korean interests. There's nothing wrong with that, if it happens to be true, but it may mean that a venerable MMO franchise is about to be terminated before its time.

    To that end, we've begun efforts to prove to the MMO community, and the gaming community at large, that our game is too vibrant (and potentially too profitable) to die. Aside from the usual letter-writing campaigns, there have been numerous in-game rallies. We even crowdfunded a $1000 dinner for the newly-jobless developers at Parago Studios...and we did so in a scarce three hours.

    Watch us closely--the rumor is that this weekend, we'll be launching another new initiative.

    Protector Server
  • john_4
    All these MMOs suck after a couple hours of play. I will take SkyRim and the likes or STALKER series any day.
  • Thank you for your reportage.

    However, you were incorrect about one thing. There was no hint that City of Heroes wasn't making money. Was it making tens of millions a quarter? No. But it was still profitable for an 8 year old game with around 100,000 subscribers. Was Paragon Studios profitable? Maybe not right at the end there. They had 80 people working in the NorCal economy. And more, a significant chunk of them had been pulled off CoH for several new projects that NCSoft killed.

    The realignment of focus has more to do with NCSoft's traditional bread and butter. The asian grindfest market. That's where they're making most of their money, and after Aion's huge downward spike, they felt the need to consolidate their holdings in things they knew.

    CoH, while it was WELL cared for under the NCSoft aegis, wasn't really understood. It's a niche product for a cultural staple peculiar to Western, mainly American, society.

    Also, take a look at the other titles that NCSoft has mothballed. All of them, to a one, compensated their players with game time in other games, making CoH a first for obtaining actual, voluntary refunds.

    Basically NCSoft blinked. They'd forgotten that, usually, 1% or less of customers (the disgruntled ones) tend to make up 90+% of the noise. So not a lot of "noise" was coming from CoH. As such the community was relatively small and "dead" and wouldn't object too hard to a closure.

    Bzzt! They forgot that the satisfied majority seldom speak out. And this abrupt announcement served as a wake up call to these people. Who'd been spending over eight years living a superhero idea. To say that NCSoft was caught off guard by strength and breadth of the reaction from the CoH community is an understatement. They basically gave these people an entire three day weekend to suck it up, organize and act, then were caught flat-footed by the response.

    This isn't the end.

    We're a mere three weeks into a 13 week closure. And negotiations for the future of the game are ongoing. This ain't over till it's over. And maybe even not then.

    Keep up with those fighting the good fight.

    Sign our petition!