I’m sure it came with noble intentions. NCSOFT knows how much hurt is still felt by the too-soon closure of Cryptic/Paragon’s City of Heroes. So when they saw a chance to bring a beloved character from that IP into their upcoming all-star MOBA, they probably leapt at the idea. “We can make those fans happy!” they said. “We can make this game appealing in the West at the same time!” they exclaimed. But that’s not quite how it’s being seen by the community.
Plainly, City of Heroes fans do miss the Statesman. They miss Positron and Manitcore. They miss Back Alley Brawler, Ghost Widow, Captain Mako, even Blue Steel. But they don’t want NCSOFT to bring their beloved heroes (and villains) back in a MOBA/ARPG hybrid. They want City of Heroes back – or better, a sequel with the modern trappings of a new AAA MMORPG.
I will concede – MXM is a lot of fun to play. Having NCSOFT characters show up there makes sense. In fact, I bet Statesman won’t be the last and if I play MXM I’ll probably wind up using the COX characters they employ. Like I said, it’s a fun game. But I can’t help feeling that NCSOFT expected Statesman’s return to be a coup, a PR huzzah. When really, it’s just the equivalent of your big brother taunting you with your favorite toy as a child – knowing you can’t do a thing to take matters into your own hands.
Sure, NCSOFT is giving us some COH love with MXM’s latest reveal. It’s true that they clearly haven’t forgotten how much people adored their superhero MMO. I mean, we’ve got what now – 3 or 4 Indie Projects in the works looking to capitalize on the nostalgic lust for City of Heroes?
All I wonder now is how closely NCSOFT is watching reception from the CoH fanbase. Are they dismayed by the angry forum posts and reddit threads, or did they expect them? Are they simply teasing us with Statesman like a bully older brother, or is there a more benign intent at play? Perhaps they know something we don’t? Perhaps we’ll see Statesman don the cape in an MMORPG one day in the future?
It’s nice to dream, but for now the MXM Statesman reveal just feels like poison broth.