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Issue 189, July 20, 2009
In the news
On Friday, SOE announced that they had laid off 41 employees, or 5% of it's full time staff. There was no immediate word on where the cuts were made, SOE only said it was to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency.

Read more here.
On Thursday, NCsoft revealed Issue 16 of City of Heroes. This next free update to the venerable men-in-tights MMO focuses on power customization, which should add a whole new layer to an already crazily customizable MMO experience.

Read more here.
While City of Heroes was announced an update, the original developer of the game announced the OMEGA System for the upcoming Champions Online. This will incorporate some micro-transactions into their super-hero MMO.

Read more here.
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City of Villains: Re-Review
It had been a while, so we sent Lisa Krebs back to NCsoft's City of franchise to take a close up look at where City of Villains, the MMO twin of City of Heroes, sits today. Here is an excerpt:

"One thing I did notice when doing the missions solo, rather than with a group, was the wonky AI. It seemed like the mobs were being polite, waiting until I was ready to face them. There were several occasions where I charged in and should have been mobbed, but instead only pulled one, two or at most three mobs."

You can read the full review here.

More reviews can be found on our site here
Sanya Weathers's MMO Underbelly
Every Friday, we feature a column from the mind of former Mythic Director of Community Relations Sanya Weathers. She delves behind the curtains of MMO development and shares some inside secrets in a little feature we call the MMO Underbelly. This week, she pulled back the curtains on User Feedback:

"Context can be handled by a community manager, assuming that community manager doesn't have an axe of his own to grind. I don't think context can be handled by a developer, a programmer, or any other member of the team - the developer is by definition close to the work, whereas the community manager is by definition part of the community. But that's my opinion, and there's certainly room for discussion on that point."

Check out the full column here and more article by Sanya here.

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It's been almost two years since NCsoft acquired full rights to City of Heroes from developer Cryptic Studios and launched Paragon Studios to manage the game.

Over the next year or so, they're about to face two high profile challenges. First, the game's maker is launching Champions Online this fall. Then, SOE will come at them with the mega-licensed DC Universe Online.

Nonetheless, NCsoft marches forward with the original super-hero MMO. They've continued to pump out frequent free expansions, also known as Updates.

Update 16, just announced, promises to add even more customization to the game as players can really transform their powers. They've also added a host of new features like the player-content driven Mission Architect system and much more.

NCsoft is clearly committed to the long term viability of the City of Heroes franchise, and promises to continue to expand and improve the game for as long as people enjoy it.

It remains to be seen what else they have up their sleeves for the series, but given they built an entire studio around this one game, it seems safe to guess that fans of City of Heroes have a lot to look forward to.

Learn more about City of Heroes here, or check out our game list here.
The Week that Was
Monday, July 13
Earthrise Dev Journal

Tuesday, July 14
5 Proofs of MMO Evolution

Wednesday, July 15
Champions Online: Monster Island Interview

Thursday, July 16
Editorial: Regional Segregation

Friday, July 17
Jumpgate Evolution PvP Interview
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