And I made many new friends that played the game perfectly fine and were perfectly excellent players after the F2P conversion. Your argument doesn't really factor into if F2P is a good business model or not, since both lineage and wow are sub only. You may be suffering from a bit of elitism or nostalgia tinted remembrance.I guess it depends on what one means by "demise". There was the final demise when NCSoft chose to shut it all down despite the fact that it was making money for them (it simply wasn't making enough money for them). But long before that the game was in the throes of a different kind of demise: the demise of its soul, formed originally by the mindset and character of its core player base in its early years.
The F2P initiative helped the game's financial solvency, yes, but it also eroded its most appealing feature: the ability to find like-minded, mature fans of the superhero genre to team up with. With F2P came a horde of players who only wanted to scratch their fantasy or anime itch and tried to turn CoX into WoW or Lineage transported to the modern world. Paragon City looked like a very different world to me after F2P. The CoX I knew died long before NCSoft pulled the plug on it.
I too miss the friends I had in early game, miss the newness of the game that was, but also understand that to be viable long term a wide and varied gamer base is a good idea. This reduces the impact of competition for audience/memberships.