Representatives from Cryptic Studios have been sending private messages to players in City of Heroes, inviting them to come participate in the closed beta test for their new online superhero game, Champions Online. Rumors of such dubious activity have been circulating for the past week, but surely no developer would ever stoop so low as to blatantly recruit players inside the competition's game, right?
Community relations representative IronAngel posted this message from Cryptic's marketing and communications manager Ivan Sulic on the official Champions Online forums yesterday:
"So, we're currently running the closed beta test for Champions Online and a few of our employees thought it might be a good idea to contact avid MMO notables and various guild leaders floating about to see if they wanted to test. I'm certain this wasn't meant to be a malicious attack on a competing product, nor did anyone intend to steal players, violate user agreements, kill babies, or knife hardworking farmers in the back. We had invites to send and the folks who send them figured people who play MMOs most might want them most. If a line was crossed, it was totally inadvertent and no harm was intended.
If a line was crossed? That line was run over in a monster truck, set on fire, and stabbed multiple times.
If the players of City of Heroes want to beta test Champions online, they're quite capable of signing up via the normal means. You cannot simply walk into another company's place of business and invite their customers to come over to yours, even if your company was instrumental in creating their product, as Cryptic was the original developer for City of Heroes.
Sulic finished up his comments by promising to keep things on the up and up from here on out.
That being said, we have just recently restructured the Community, PR, and Marketing departments (part of the reason I'm here), so we'll make sure to stay straight as an arrow from here on. Shills, poaching, bullshotting... No chance, man. We make good games and we hope people will play them. Best anyone can do, right?"
I don't know; I still have a very bad taste in my mouth. How about you guys?
Rumor: Cryptic using City of Heroes for Champions beta recruitment [Champions Online Forums via Massively]