City of Heroes to Hang up its Cape

This weekend, I fought my own evil twin, a giant squid, and three giant robots. I traveled through time and to alternate dimensions. I beat up ninjas, steampunk automatons, ghost pirates, zombies, murderous gnomes, alien invaders, and a homeless guy wearing a broken TV over his head.

I’m going to miss “City of Heroes” so very much.

Last Friday afternoon, those of us who are players on “City of Heroes” got a very unpleasant surprise — the publisher, NCSoft, was shutting down Paragon Studios, the game developers, as well as the game itself.

In a realignment of company focus and publishing support, NCsoft has made the decision to close Paragon Studios. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease and we will begin preparations to sunset the world’s first, and best, Super Hero MMORPG before the end of the year. As part of this, all recurring subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing will be discontinued effective immediately. We will have more information regarding a detailed timeline for the cessation of services and what you can expect in game in the coming weeks.

It looks like the game servers will remain operational through the end of November, but that hasn’t done much to pacify the game’s players, who are reacting with a combination of complete shock, furious anger, and abject sorrow. And I can’t say I can blame them.

I wasn’t able to play the game from the very beginning — I was actually waiting for a new computer to be delivered so I’d be able to play — but I’ve been a loyal player for over eight years. I never managed to get a whole lot of characters to the level cap, ’cause I’ve always been afflicted with alt-itis — addicted to creating more and more and more characters, too many to give them the right amount of playing time to get them to Level 50.

To say that I’m disappointed that the game’s going to be shut down in a few months is a vast understatement. It wasn’t as popular as games like World of Warcraft, but I thought it was a lot more fun, more innovative, with better storyarcs — it’s definitely light-years better than Champions Online and DC Universe Online, the other two superhero MMOs. I don’t know why NCSoft decided to shut the game down — they say it’s strictly a financial decision. That may be so, that may not be so.

This has been a game that let me fly around a giant city in colorful spandex, living out all my superhero dreams — and supervillain dreams, too, since you can play as a good guy or a bad guy. I got to beat up monsters and villains and gangsters, make awesome costumes in the best costume creator of any game out there, run missions that are exciting and funny and scary — and even cooler stuff than that.

Some of my best memories of the game aren’t even related to virtual crimefighting. I once attended an in-game wedding for some friends who were about to get married in real life. I once attended a memorial service for a player who had died — at least a hundred other players turned out to remember him. I once got hit on by a teenager who was hilariously horrified when he found out that, though I was playing a female character, I was actually a man. I made some great friends online, and I made some great friends who’ve since vanished and who I’d love to try to find again. And the best job interview I ever had in my life was for a position where I would’ve been working for NCSoft’s Austin office writing for the “City of Heroes” website. I didn’t get the job, but I never enjoyed an interview more, thanks to all the comics and game memorabilia scattered around the building.

So I want to thank the developers for making a great game and keeping it great for over eight years. I wanna thank the players for being awesome and fun and friendly and cool. I’ve never loved a game as much as I’ve loved this one, and I don’t know that I’ll ever find something as great to replace it with. I’ve got three months before the first and best superhero MMORPG goes away, and I’ll do everything I can to enjoy it while it lasts.


  1. Guy Anthony De Marco Said,

    September 3, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    That’s a bummer. That’s one thing I never really “got”. If they’re taking it down and killing off the franchise, why not release it as an open source game? Keep the engine proprietary if they want, but let others who want to keep it going set up new game servers and add new content.

  2. scottslemmons Said,

    September 3, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    Releasing it as open source would mean releasing the trademark. What corporation would ever release a trademark? They might make money off that someday, somehow…

  3. Yukkuri Reimu Said,

    September 3, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    Yeah because destroying the dev team and shuttering the game is the way to make money off it >.>