Well, quick FYI, City of Heroes hasn’t had a live official server in years. There was never anything wrong with it. I’m not really sure why they even shut it down, many people today still would like to play it. But I guess they just felt it was dated or didn’t make money, or they just didn’t want to produce content for it anymore. I don’t know, but I would love to step foot in Paragon City once again.
What was it? City of Heroes was an MMO that simulated player life as a superhero that you could play with other people online. I freaking loved this game. I loved the concept, the art, the missions (sort of), the other players, the music, the sound effects, the procedurally generated missions. Oh, and DO NOT let me forget, the character appearance customizer was seriously neat.
Below is the original launch trailer which is pretty rad. Found on cityofheroes.ca.
City of Heroes: I Wanna Look Super
The appearance customizer was vast and highly customizable and heroic looking–or downright treacherous if you desired. In additon to that, there was one of the most logical and perfect class customizers in existence. It helped if you were at least a little familiar with comics, although not necessary.
You cold choose the origin of your powers with things like magic, technology, discipline, or you could even establish your powers as totally natural. Beyond that were conventional classes, which were all options that worked with any playstyle. In groups, you usually needed a hero, but you could mostly join any group at any level with any custom class. Write that one down folks!
And then it just disappeared. Well, not literally. The servers were shut down. Yeah, there was a secret private server that passionate players could still play on. But there were too many times I unsubscribed rather than explore. You see, City of Heroes was the friend I’d call up when I needed to consult them about something only it could offer, but that’s about it. I never obsessed over it. Had I known what I know-how, however, I would have invested so much more time into exploring its depths. Alright, I guess it was for the best. You were a seriously cool game though, City of Heroes.
How Super Was It?
Superheroes have become such a creative concept in our current culture. We’ve got Marvel, D.C., Dark Horse, and so on. Enough movies to play a new one once a week. Comics themselves are about 50 gazillion metric tons in trade issue pulp. And just as importantly, there are many games, digital and otherwise, plus trade cards and memorabilia.
While comics aren’t new, City of Heroes offered a totally unique product that gave and gave and gave. Who is the most vigilant hero in the city? You are. Most of my characters represented me to some degree, but they were always exaggerations of ideas I had about what kind of hero I would be.
I’ve since fallen out of love with the sandbox simulations of early 2000s fan fare, omg this game is so old, but I have not forgotten them. We’ve had a lot of heroes and well, not quite heroes, so far this century, a fine decade, but it’s an important archetype for the current gaming community.
City of Heroes was astounding for how multiple players could team up for something completely unexpected at any time, and throw in some good laughs before clobbering some bad dudes. Later on, there was an expansion where you could BE the bad dudes. Then another, which had a neutral option. Then you could play designed instances, which was brilliant. Sadly, yeah, I guess the game kind of lost steam after that. Still, it was the best.
It Was Quite Super
Do you have a game that reminds you of an important time? I think almost all games remind me of something, but entertainment that empowers us is worth the cost.
I’ve heard there are some similar games out there, maybe I’ll try them. I just wanted to share this brief memory of a game that I do think about sometimes, even though it has less cultural clout than it certainly deserves.
I’m not totally invested in bring-it-back petitions, besides Quantum Leap revivals, but if it were reimagined today, with today’s game development techniques and technology, it could be pretty cool. It would be hard not to infringe though. MCU Unlimited has tens of thousands of issues. That’s a lot of heroes. On second thought, Nah, keep creating heroes! There’s plenty of fortitude for all.
City of heroes came out in 2004. Oh, man… I’m glad I decided to write this. The game still sits in my Steam library, unplayable, but seeing it brings back good memories. If you played this game too, what do you remember? The music, the people, the most occasional bug? I never had too many problems with those, but it was fun… And you know what, I miss it.
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