10th Anniversary of City of Heroes. Can you imagine what that would have been like? We know it would have included new zones, new enemies, and new friends. Paragon Studios would have taken us to new heights, quite literally. A new badge would be ready for us. And no matter what horrible things the developers threw at us it would have been a party atmosphere. It should be a time of celebration. Sadly that cannot be so. Instead take today to reflect. Remember everything we had and consider 10 things you miss, I already did mine.
Since the closure of City of Heroes I’ve played many different MMOs, all in some attempt to find somewhere to call home. Though I’m still looking for that place there is one thing I never thought I’d miss that I do, PUGs. Yes, I am talking about Pick Up Groups. Some of my favorite memories of CoH involve PUGs. A sewer run full of lowbies going from AtlasPark to SteelCanyon and continuing the adventure in Kings Row. Today PUGs are a bad word. Only for dungeons are people forced to play with strangers. Even then it seems the mentality has changed. They aren’t there to chat. There is never the good fortune of landing on a roleplaying team. Just do the job and leave. It makes it hard to make friends.
9. The Travel Powers
If there was one type of powers I miss more than the others it would have to be the travel powers. Though I often had characters who didn’t use one at all they would be the first thing I would play with if I could log in today. I loved flying. I know many people hated it but I loved group flight too. It was such a handy little thing. My favorite travel power though was super jump. I used it on my main character, a katana scrapper named Quincy Keal. Sometimes, if I was bored I would jump from building top to building top. Playing a game of “The Ground is Lava” with myself. There hasn’t been another game that has travel that can compare. Though there are other games that let you fly, others that let you teleport, and some that let you jump none of them really give you the same feeling as you got when you used them in City of Heroes.
8. Community Coffee Talk with Zwillinger
Every week there was one thing I looked forward to more than the rest. Community Coffee Talk with the Community Manager Andy “Zwillinger” Belford. They brought on devs to talk about what they were working on, Zwill always entertained with a new hat or something different to drink. But perhaps most importantly of all he made us feel like we were part of the process. Other MMOs are now trying to copy this idea with weekly streams but in all of them it feels as though the developers put themselves higher than the players. Andy never did that. It was a conversation with a friend. Not a king talking down to his peasants. Though if Andy had wanted a crown we would have happily sent him in hundreds. <3
7. The Chat System
A good chat system is important for any MMO. Yet sadly no MMO since City of Heroes seems to get it right. So many come close but don’t quite hit the mark. What is it I look for in a good chat system? A clean UI, Global chat system, player made chat channels, channels for everything from trade to grouping and one small but very important thing, a button to easily report gold (inf) spammer. Modern games have some of these. But more often than not the ability to have player made channels is left out. A sad oversight in my eyes as this was perhaps one of the best things about City of Heroes, or perhaps I should say City of Chat.
6. Paragon City
Yes, I miss the city itself. With friendly civilians who wave as you pass or comment on your new look it was a city where you wanted to stop and talk to the NPCs. They always had something to say. People would wait happily for a bus that would never come. It was a beautiful city and perhaps most importantly it felt like a city. So called cities in other games feel more like a small slice of a city. They ignore anything that isn’t important and are tiny for what they should be. The art of city making seems to be lost.
5. Paragon Studios Developers
Though Zwill and his coffee have already made the list the other developers are also deserving of a place on this list. Together Paragon Studios was the finest MMO studio there has ever been. They listened to the community. They made the community part of the development process. And you could even find them in game, Roleplaying in Pocket D or running missions with friends. The City of Heroes developers loved City of Heroes as much, perhaps even more than the fans that they made the game for. They were the base for the best MMO community that ever was.
4. Holiday Events
Every MMO has them, Holiday events. But none of them have the same impact as the ones in City of Heroes did. Every Valentines Day, Halloween, and Christmas it wasn’t those holidays I looked forward to but the events that were going on in City of Heroes for them. At Christmas it was the ski chalet in Pocket D with the yodelling and the present opening in AtlasPark. Halloween it was trick or treating in Peregrine Island with friends and puggers and doing the loop around Talos looking for Eochai and Jack in Irons. Valentines Day was perhaps best done the year the valentines were released. You got to play delivery boy/girl and give two NPCs a good day. Perhaps it is just that I’m not as invested in other games as I was City of Heroes, but to me the games I’ve played can’t compare. The events are ok the first time around. But they aren’t something to look forward to every year.
3. Character Variety
In City of Heroes you could be anything and perhaps best of all you really did see just about anything. There were crime fighting penguins and blue skinned alien babes. A librarian by day, a masked hero by night. Be a vigilante, be a robot, be a fairy. Anything was possible. Though there are other hero MMOs out there I never saw sentient coffee or sentient spam. The MMO community lost a bit of the humor, a bit of their creativity when City of Heroes died. And now we’re trapped within the boundaries that other games make for us.
2. The Community That Made AP33
Once upon a time there was the perfect community. They helped new players, gave away money in costume contests just because, and they held a rally that shook the MMO industry and people still talk about today. That community is gone. Instead of staying unified the City of Heroes community is a fractured mess. Mention another NCSoft game and suddenly you’re a spy for them. Hate fuelled rants have even been directed at me. I dared to post an image from Guild Wars 2 of something I had done that reminded me of City of Heroes. I was a traitor, I was part of the problem. All I did was post a screenshot. Even now, as we should be coming together to celebrate the 10th anniversary we’re pushing further apart. Drama fuels the community. And moving on is the enemy. But I know if Paragon Studios had one wish this birthday it would be for the community to be whole again. I want the old community back.
Perhaps what breaks my heart most this weekend is the knowledge of what this anniversary would have meant. We would have finally had our moonbase. After years of asking for it today we could be on the moon. But the moonbase is really just a symbol. It represents all those things, all those ideas that never came to be. Powersets we never got to play, and enemies we never even got to see.
Our city may be gone but we still have our memories. That is why I wrote the 10 Things to Miss on the 10th Anniversary of City of Heroes. Though there are so many more things these are the ones I miss the most. The ones that though other MMOs try they simply can’t do. I was a hero, I was a villain. I was Meticulous Meta, I was @Maressa on Virtue. And I was a leader of the #SaveCoH movement. I will never forget the first city I called home.
Happy 10th Birthday City of Heroes.
/em holdtorchRelated: Anniversary, City of Heroes, Paragon