So I’ve been sitting on the news that broke yesterday about the next character arriving in MOBA/ARPG hybrid Master X Master: Statesman from City of Heroes. When it first was provided to me, I was pretty well dumbstruck. As a matter of fact, I’ve been dumbstruck about it for the ten-odd days I had to keep quiet on the matter.
But now that the embargo on the news is lifted, I can talk about my feelings about the matter. And those feelings can essentially be boiled down to a weird jambalaya of confusion paired with the desire to still see MXM succeed while also feeling guilty about having both emotions.
So I somehow feel like I need to list out my experience with City of Heroes before I provide my opinion here. I played the game for around four or five years. By my admission, the waning year was very much off-and-on, but I still feel burned by the way CoX was shut down. That said, I also recognize that I was not nearly as burned as others, and have since made my peace with the matter.
Even so, this whole revival of Statesman strikes me as a tone-deaf tribute, and while I don’t think that NCSoft or the devs of MXM had any malice – hell, the guys who presented stuff at PAX East struck me as genuinely big fans of the franchise – it still definitely is a case of a well-meaning idea being taken terribly wrong.
And yes, I can honestly see the good intentions behind this move. Someone somewhere thought that a nod to one of NCSoft’s more deeply loved IPs would be welcomed in MXM. The problem isn’t that the characters are gone so much as the way they were removed. So I can appreciate the anger there. Still, adding Statesman really does feel less like parading a head on a pike and more like an attempted olive branch which was subsequently lit on fire by a /torch.
So by that assessment, I’m personally of a mind to just shake my head in stupefied disbelief but move on with my gaming life and continue to look forward to Master X Master.
Yeah. That’s right, I am.
Look, despite the game being “another MOBA”, there’s a lot to like about MXM, and most of what to like – at least in my opinion – has nothing to do with the MOBA portion. I know we’re all getting Titan Ruins rammed down our gobs, but I hate Titan Ruins. I hate MOBAs. I don’t care about MOBAs. But there’s much neater and more fun stuff going on in MXM, and it sucks that the “just another MOBA” mindset, as well as this Statesman backlash, could potentially sink a really cool game before it even gets a chance to set sail.
And that’s the real issue I have here. It’s not Statesman, it’s the disheartening rage against NCSoft anything. The same rage that makes me feel somehow bad for enjoying WildStar or giving Guild Wars 2 a shot. The same rage that made me feel kind of left in the cold because I didn’t immediately fall in love with Paragon Chat. The same rage that will ignore anything interesting that might otherwise come from this company because of one crappy business decision.
But then, it’s pointless to push against that rage. That rage has already made up its mind long before I decided to write this blog post. I just wanted to express my thoughts on the matter from where I sit because…well, maybe it’s because I’m an idiot. I like to believe that MMOs and MMO companies can get another chance. Maybe I wanted to balance the hate with a little warmth.
But that’s just me, and I want to make this clear: I’m only speaking for myself. I’m not trying to change minds here or say those who are angry are villains. I’m just hoping that a different perspective will maybe cause a little bit of thinking about the matter.
Is adding Stateman to MXM a good idea? Hell to the no. Do I think it’s the worst possible thing ever done? Absolutely not.
I’m chalking it up to a company that honestly tried to make amends being faced with scorn that they still haven’t grasped yet. Perhaps this will be a lesson learned, or perhaps they’ll add another CoX character and this fire will light up all over again.
It’s just sad either way.