Flashback Friday: City of Heroes

Double Jump Kris Mii Yay, it’s Friday!

This week we’re celebrating an old MMORPG that I used to play and that, sadly, has closed it’s doors. It was fun while it lasted!



City of Heroes was a MMORPG that had opened its doors in North America in April 2004 and eventually shut down at the end of November 2012. It was developed by Cryptic Studios and published by NCSOFT. The game allowed players to create their own superhero character to protect the fictional Paragon City from various villains and gangs, either solo or while teaming up with other players.

Every detail about the character was created from the ground up by the player, from the character’s body type to looks and costume to origin of superpowers to hero archetype. It was so detailed, in fact, that Marvel had filed a lawsuit against the developer for allowing the creation of characters that infringed on Marvel’s copyrights and trademarks. The claims were settled in December 2005, and Marvel even teamed up with Cryptic Studios down the road to help the now-titled Marvel Heroes 2016.

A player could easily get lost in the many options of the character screen, especially with the superpower choices. Did your superhero gain his powers through technology? Or is she a mutant? Science or magic may also grant one superpowers, or powers may just come naturally to the hero. Each origin gave way to certain perks and growths with one’s powers, as well as different types of abilities as well. As you leveled up, you were able to unlock more powers in your move pool, such as stronger lightning bolts if you had chosen electricity-based powers, and travel powers like super speed or flight.

Then there was the superhero archetype, giving way to how the hero fought. Was she a Tanker on the field of battle, having awesome defense, or maybe he was a Scrapper, a nimble melee fighter? Blasters were a little fragile, but got great hits — both short-range and long-range — on their opponents, while Controllers’ abilities usually dealt with the mind, tricking enemies or summoning “pets” to help out in a fight. Defenders could weaken enemies while bolstering allies’ abilities.

The setting of the game itself was amazing. Paragon City was a huge playground with plenty of zones and multiple gangs of enemies to fight either on the street or on missions given to you from your trainer. It was always simple enough to team up with other players, either temporarily or creating an actual team (with a sidekick system!), to deal out justice.

The sequel, City of Villains, was released in October of 2005 and allowed players to create — you guessed it — villains instead of heroes. The City of Heroes expansion pack Going Rogue was released in August 2010 and gave players the best of both worlds and even allowed characters to switch their alliances, with heroes becoming vigilantes before being called a villain or villains gaining the name rogue before gaining hero status.

Unfortunately, the studio had closed its doors to the game in 2012 despite the many valiant efforts of players to keep the game open. Players flooded the servers to give out farewells and heartfelt thanks for the game that had spawned comic books, tabletop role-playing games, card games, novels, and many fansites.

Did you used to play City of Heroes? How did you enjoy it?

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