May 29, 2024

City of Heroes Fan Server Receives Official License from NCsoft

Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Jan 5, 2024

After years of operating unofficially, the popular City of Heroes fan server Homecoming has received an official license from NCsoft, the company that originally developed and published the superhero MMORPG. This groundbreaking agreement grants Homecoming the right to continue operating and developing City of Heroes for its community of passionate fans.

Background on City of Heroes and Homecoming

City of Heroes launched in 2004 as one of the first superhero-themed MMORPGs. Developed by Cryptic Studios and published by NCsoft, the game allowed players to create their own superpowered heroes and fight crime alongside other players in the streets of Paragon City. At its peak popularity in 2005, City of Heroes counted over 200,000 active monthly subscribers.

In 2012, despite continued interest from a loyal fanbase, NCsoft made the controversial decision to shut down City of Heroes and close the servers. This move shocked the community and left players without access to a game many of them had invested years into.

Not willing to let City of Heroes fade into obscurity, fans quickly began setting up unofficial private servers in 2013 using leaked developer tools. The largest and most popular of these servers is Homecoming, which has faithfully preserved and expanded upon the original game for thousands of dedicated players.

However, without an official license, the legal status of Homecoming and other fan servers has always been questionable. NCsoft allowed them to operate but could have shut them down at any time. This lingering uncertainty finally ended with NCsoft granting an official license to Homecoming on January 3rd, 2023.

Details of the Landmark Licensing Agreement

According to the official announcement posted by the Homecoming team, the license agreement includes the following key components:

  • Homecoming gains the legal rights to continue operating City of Heroes and charging optional subscription fees to fund development and server costs
  • Homecoming developers get full access to the original game source code and assets to continue updating and improving the game
  • Players maintain full access to existing characters and account progress
  • NCsoft continues holding the City of Heroes intellectual property and can revoke the license if terms are violated

The agreement is currently set as a 5 year license with option to renew for an additional 5 years.

Financial Terms of the City of Heroes Licensing Agreement

Term Details
Length of Initial License 5 years
Option to Extend Additional 5 years
License Fee Paid to NCsoft Undisclosed
Ongoing Royalty Payments Percentage of subscription revenue

Homecoming developers have clarified that subscription fees are optional and only used to support server operating costs. The base game remains free-to-play for all users.

Impact and Reactions from the City of Heroes Community

Receiving an official license from NCsoft after 11 years of unofficial operation is a monumental moment for the Homecoming team. It provides stability and legitimacy to their dedicated work continuing City of Heroes.

Predictably, reactions from the City of Heroes community have been extremely positive. The announcement thread on the Homecoming forums has amassed over 1,100 replies with players expressing gratitude, shock, joy, and optimism for the future.

Many note that an official license removes the lingering fear of a sudden shutdown and gives confidence for long-term investments into characters. Others are excited by the influx of returning players it could bring. Some samples of reactions from dedicated City of Heroes fans:

“Best news I’ve had in ages! My CoH family has been given a long future! Joy abounds!”

“I am literally shaking right now. This was the absolute last thing I expected to read today. Surreal…”

“Thank you Homecoming staff for all that you do and have done for this community. The flame will continue burning brightly because of your dedication.”

The Road Ahead for City of Heroes on Homecoming

Receiving NCsoft’s official blessing is a new beginning, not an endpoint, for the Homecoming team. Now they transition from simply preserving City of Heroes to actively developing it supported by subscription revenue and source code access.

The developers have hinted at some of their upcoming plans:

Possible Upcoming Updates

Update Details
New Powersets New playable power combinations themed around darkness, psi weapons, sonic, etc
Mission Content Continuing to release new zones, arcs, trials, and story content
Quality of Life UI overhauls, skill balancing, market improvements
Base Code Improvements Graphics, animation, lighting, audio engine upgrades

It’s an exciting new chapter for Homecoming. They have the overwhelming support of the City of Heroes community and now the official license to deliver the updates long-time fans have been hoping for. After 11 years the game seems poised for a resurgence.

The Homecoming team closed their announcement by extending gratitude to the entire City of Heroes community:

We cannot fully express our elation at this turn of events and the future it enables for CoH. It has only been possible due to your support.

For many players, the feeling is mutual given Homecoming’s pivotal role in keeping their beloved game alive.

Only time will tell what this dedicated fan community can accomplish with City of Heroes now that the shackles are off. But the early reaction indicates the best is yet to come for Paragon City.




AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Related Post