Right after I graduated high school, I felt that I finally had the time to sink into an MMO. As much as my friends tried to get me into World of Warcraft
, I already sunk time into Dungeons and Dragons
. I began to get tired of the fantasy genre in general and needed a fresh start.
On the side, I wrote up a bunch of superhero creation stories in my own spare time. I found a few comic lovers and passed it off to them. One of them actually asked if I ever played City of Heroes, a game which I hadn't heard of until that moment. When he said it was a superhero MMO, I asked if it was like WoW. "Yes and no," was the only response. So, after picking up the Villains/Heroes pack, I swiftly downloaded and patched the hell out of the game. It was worth it.
City of Heroes became a game that somehow held a lot for me. It wasn't like WoW, but it wasn't like any other superhero anything out there. The idea that you, a mild mannered citizen of no consequence, could don a costume and become Hollow Point or The Kiss of Death (one of the many heroes and villains I created) seemed pretty great to me. With this game, you
were the secret identity while you battle Arachnos or stole from the banks of Paragon City. At the same time, it didn't attempt to try to be WoW. It kept a certain feel to it that was old school and made you feel welcome. Sure, there were the normal snobs that scoffed if your abilities didn't mesh, but that never mattered to most. You were creating a character that was yours
. Your powers may have matched with someone else's, but then again, most superheroes clash with one another when it comes to powers.
The difference that was made for me was the community. In my history with the game, I never had a problem with my supergroup or with other players. Outside of a few trolls, I felt welcomed from the moment I arrived to the moment I left. I had to stop playing due to financial reasons and when I heard CoH went Free to Play, I didn't have the time for it. Even when the game went F2P, the community simply welcomed the new players and attempted to mesh them into the game as well as they could. In fact, players could put "Helper" tags on themselves to guide new players at the starting zones and get them on their start to becoming the best damn villain or hero they could be. CoH understood that it was suppose to be fun and cool to get with a group of friends to take out huge bases and defeat gigantic monsters that attack the city. At the same time, venturing out on your own had its own rewards with amazing story arcs that placed you in the darker and sometimes hilarious aspects of being a superpowered being.
I write this because I got the email saying that CoH will be going offline on November 30th. I knew the game was closing, but to see the day the game "dies" really is strange to me. I used to not understand why people became distraught over Halo servers shutting down or anything of that nature. But after not being part of CoH for so long, it's...strange. It's strange that I felt this sense of loss for a video game. But at the same time, it didn't feel like a video game to me. It was an experience that I still look for when I try out other MMOs that I have a hard time finding.
But this is now out of the hands of the Paragon and the final decision has been made by NCSoft. I'm not going to ask to keep the game alive or to bombard them with emails because maybe that's not what is suppose to happen. After being a lover of comic books for some time, I've learned a lot of things. The first being that Wolverine and Deadpool should never get into a fight. The second is that sometimes a character isn't coming back. CoH isn't going to die the comic book death this time around. Come November 30, I'll raise a glass to the thousands of superpowered players that got as close as the could to living the dream and to the men and women that helped make it happen.
So thank you Paragon Studios. Thanks for making this retired hero remember kicking the hell out of Arachnos with a group of people while singing the old Spider-Man theme song and for making me cry when I heard Statesman was put to rest. I hope all of you keep making games that bring people together instead of worrying about min/maxing, loot drops, or any of that stuff other MMOs worry about. All we had were our radiation rays, a few Inspirations and a Brute with a Sledgehammer that's "done this plenty of times" only to realize that the new issue totally nerfed him and we forgot to check the changelogs.