City Of Heroes – A Few Words

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    As of 11:59:59 PM on November 30th, City Of Heroes, the most successful super hero MMO, will be no more. As someone who has put in their time pounding the streets of Paragon City, I want to say my final words.
    When I started in 2010, it was via the complementary City Of Villians, the lawbreaking equivalent. Build your baddie up by fighting through the Rogue Isles doing the dirty work of Lord Arachnos, clawing your way to the top over the sundry other creeps. It was a lot of fun, pretty obviously. Naturally, when the “other side” opened up for subscribers, I decided it was time to try wearing the white hat. No let down there, either.
    Both sides of the spectrum, there were characters. Some were discarded rather swiftly, a few went into the “written into a corner” pile, and then others kept fighting on. I admit, a few really were badly devised. Maybe not to the extent of a certain artist, but I created them, so I can say that. Those that stuck were the ones that clicked, and even got some peer love.
    To me, something that made City Of Heroes really fun was the simple idea of backstory. Some were nonexistant. Others, well, DC characters were deeper and less cliche-ridden. Still others, though, the players put as much thought (some maybe more!) into their reason as they did into their look. It was really neat seeing someone’s rationale as to why they’re currently running around town doing what they do. Badly or well done, it added depth no matter what.
    I liked the morality system introduced in 2010… Where do you fit in, a Han Solo-esque opportunist? Albert Schweitzer-ly saint? Doctor Doom? Or somewhere in the middle? You could write your history across the spectrum, a villain hoping for redemption or a hero caving in to darkness. And it was possible to ping back and forth, which made for some really interesting personal history.
    Like so many, I was rudely shocked in August when NCSoft announced the plug-pulling. It wasn’t so much an announcement, really, as the development crew saying “We’ve all been fired.”
    The whole process struck me as bad faith from the beginning. NCSoft communicated very poorly with the community. They didn’t bother to say anything themselves, leaving the developers to announce the aforementioned pink slipping. Then the footdragging regarding any sort of sunset. Then refusing to tie up any loose storylines. Then lying about attempts to buy City Of Heroes, all the while acting like everything was just tripping along right as rain. To me, it all added up to too little, too late in a very hamfisted manner.
    I haven’t been on. Some may say that I’m not properly part of the community. Or that since I never maxed a character, I’m not a real player. I have nothing to say to those parties. The actions of the publisher cut rather deeply. I was a loyal subscriber and kept on even after City went Free To Play. The stories drew me in, I appreciated the humor and drama, and was willing to vote with my pocketbook. As to leveling, I’ll play the way I damn well please.
    I will pay one more visit. There’s some screen caps I want to get before all goes dark.
    What I will miss the most is the community. City had a reputation, well earned, of being one of, if not the friendliest player communities out there. Players were very helpful toward the new, with advice and covering fire. “Noob” wasn’t an insult. It was someone to help out.
    My favorite experiences included book recommendations from a former submarine officer (Blind Man’s Bluff by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, which really is a good book), being the only Yank in a group of British heroes (getting applause for knowing who The Goons were and some great clip links), being part of a trio with players in Dallas and Oklahoma City assembled totally randomly, and a long, funny, grouchy, cheerful friendship with a university grad student in Bulgaria.
    Sorry if the thread seems to be fraying. That just means it’s time to end this message. Farewell, Paragon Studios, Paragon City, The Rogue Isles, Praetoria, and all points in between. It was a wonderful ride.

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