Waiting for Freedom
About two weeks ago I guess that City of Heroes: Freedom would launch on Tuesday this week. Well, I was wrong there – although possibly not entirely wrong.
It seems from reading a few forum posts that the City of Heroes team originally intended to announce the VIP headstart at PAX last weekend and then possibly start that headstrt this week. However, the VIP headstart has been postponed – no date given yet. While the notification does not go into details for the delay, one major concern during the beta has been that the Paragon Market interface did not work properly for Mac users.
The Mac version of the game has been created with the help of a 3rd party product, Transgaming Cider, and apparently there has been some problems here that Paragon Studios has been working with Transgaming to resolve. At least as of Wednesday, there were still some issues being worked on for this. Paragon Studios has said that they will not release the new Issue and Freedom until it is working for the Mac users.
That being said, there has also been a lot of tuning and stress testing of the servers in the past few weeks. This has certainly shown good results I think – our Sunday evening Rikti Mothership raids used to feel quite laggy with 40-50 people in the raid, but the last runs have had significantly better performance – this looks promising for the Freedom launch. There was also an extended maintenance break on Thursday, with the stated reason that there was some work to facilitate hardware upgrades. The break was supposed to last 6 hours, but after that break the servers were up for a while but then taken down again.
Shortly after the the servers went down there was a post in the forum that players could go to Pocked D on the beta server for some random costume code giveaways. Four instances of Pocked D were rather quickly filled. The community team also fired up the Paragon Studios Ustream channel and had some impromptu broadcast also during this unforseen break. Kudos to the community team for trying to make the best of the situation during this break!
There were a number of different people from development and the QA & community teams passing by in the camera as well; sitting down and chatting & joking, answering questions from players etc. They did not record that session as they do with their regular broadcasts, so not possible to view again. Good session adn now I have a number of more faces to associate with Paragon Studios aliases in forums and elsewhere.
And yesterday it seems that they also arranged for a Preatorian attack in Atlas Park, also perhaps as a little compensation for the extended downtime. It was a bit of quick fun and good of them to do a bit of extra in the game.
I got one costume code while hanging around in Pocket D – the interaction showed that it was a quite manual process, especially since there seem to be different codes depenedin on whether you have a European or American account. When I got the code, which was for Europeans, they asked also before if I had a European account to double check before I was given the code. This whole process must have been fairly labour intensive, so I can understand that they only said that they would give out codes at random and not give it to everyone of the hundreds of players hanging around there.
I know some people expressed their disappointment that they did not get a code rajt nao; I can understand if people felt it was a bit boring if they were not watching/chatting on Ustream – that is where most of the fun and action was happening IMHO. But I think the community team did a very good job given the circumstances – hats off to Zwilinger, Avatea, Freitag and all the others!