It is still difficult to think that my very first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is gone after being a part of that game universe for 8 years and 4 months. Yesterday, April 27 2013, would have been the 9 year anniversary of the world’s first and still greatest super hero game. I miss Paragon City. Heck. I miss the Rogue Isles and Praetoria as well! It still saddens me to look at the NCSoft launcher on this laptop and not see the option to launch City Of Heroes.
What made C.O.H. such a great game? I will post 9 things to honor the 9 years it should have been active.
The most obvious item is it possessed the deepest and most diverse costume / character creator that has ever existed. No matter what your imagination came up with for a character concept, you could see it come to life through the character creator in this game. Words can not simply describe how much freedom you had when creating your characters and it made the game feel like a brand new experience every time that you created a new character.
The in game signature characters were some of the most thought out and developed characters in a video game. They had many layers to their personalities and each had a properly developed back story that made them unique in a world of many heroes and villains. Whether it was the iconic Statesman, the loner in Manticore, the evil Lord Recluse, the ethereal Ghost Widow or the power hungry Emperor Cole (aka Tyrant,) the game felt alive as these characters were not just there to flesh out of the game. They brought the game to life.
The Mission Architect update to the game the creative players who had a vivid imagination an avenue to create original missions for not just themselves but for the player base overall. The development team would highlight some of the missions that stood out to them and allowed the missions to reach and even greater number of players. The Mission Architect allowed me to finally create the “arch villain” story arc for my main hero The Fallen Angel. It was a surreal moment and one that I will truly never forget as it allowed me to play out the story that I had created in my head.
Speaking of stories in my head, this game allowed me to create a complete story for The Fallen Angel. I wrote four story arcs over 150 pages and have them all previously uploaded to this blog. The story was something that truly evolved as I wrote it and I actually did not know what would happen or how the story would end until I wrote the final passage. The Fallen Angel was a character that evolved from the unwilling hero to someone who grew and accepted his fate and his powers. In a final act of heroism, he made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. It was an emotionally draining but satisfying arc.
I can not stress how the chance to fly in City Of Heroes was an amazing and was the first time that I truly felt “super” in the game. Even though I did have energy powers for long range and short range attacks, it was not until I hit level 14 and I chose flight that I saw myself as a super hero. I remember that I was in Skyway City and just leveled up to 14 and the game changed forever when I hit the space bar and I took flight. Circling the buildings in Skyway was something I did for over 20 minutes, just because it was fun.
When the development team decided to shake up the game’s universe by announcing that a major hero character would die it really made me pay attention. For one thing, I never dreamed that they would kill one of the prominent heroes. If they did go forward with the idea, it would have to be a second tier character right? Boy was I wrong. The devs upped the ante and shook up the game world forever by having the most iconic character in COH history, their Superman for the lack of a better comparison, be killed while battling evil. I was never really a huge Statesman fan but I “got” the character and I appreciated what unique aspects he brought to the world of COH. I do find it ironic that it was a short time after the death of Statesman that we had the death of the game as well.
I can not stress how amazing the development team at Paragon Studios was. At a time when most devs would not interact with the player base, Paragon Studios not only did the opposite but they encouraged it. It was not only game discussions on the official forums, as they would often post about their favorite comic books and super hero / villain characters in the comic book sub forum. They also made an art form of pushing out new content updates on a regular basis that would expand the game. Whether it was raising the level cap, introducing PvP, adding new powers sets, creating new zones or expanding the in game lore, they spoiled us.
City Of Heroes was a way to not just play the game with people all over the world but also become friends with those very same people. I have met many different types of people through the course of playing the game, some good and some not so much so, but it allowed me to come out of my shell. Some of my favorite memories of playing the game is playing with people from the super groups that I had joined over the years. I can still remember when My brother, our SG member Failsight and I ran the Synapse task force as a trio and it took almost 6 hours to complete as we had two scrappers and my blaster. We had a ton of fun and looked forward to doing missions together.
A player community that rallied amongst their development team and showed the world that even though we lost or home, we are still heroes. The outpouring of support and the way that the player base protested the closure of the game was all done the “right” way. NCSoft would not have expected the amount of mail, messages, facebook posts, tweets and press that the players would generate to show that not only is COH still profitable but still very much a part of a lot of people’s lives. I take great pride in being a part of that community and have shared their grief in the loss of the game. I eagerly await to see what transpires with The Phoenix Project and Heroes & Villains, both gaming projects are being helmed by former COH players and aim to create a spiritual successor to the game we all love.
Have you played City Of Heroes? What memories do you
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