The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Fans need closure to online superhero game

City of Heroes is closing down, and its player base still doesn’t know why.

The online superhero game blew down doors when it was released in 2004, winning a long list of awards, including Editor’s Choice from six gaming publications and Game of the Year from another two. Players could create heroes that, because of a Marianas Trench-deep pool of power sets and costumes, were almost infinitely customizable. Over the years, those pools grew even deeper, and players gained the ability to create villains and straddle the line between good and evil. They could even create their own nonplayer character content.

Best of all, starting in August 2011, it switched to a pay-as-you-go model, meaning people who don’t know how much play time they have per month (like college students) aren’t risking money with a subscription they may not get their money’s worth for.

Basically, it’s the best thing ever.

And by Nov. 30, it will probably be gone.

Paragon Studios, which doesn’t work on anything other than the City of Heroes franchise, is being shut down by the parent company NCSoft because of a “realignment of company focus and publishing support.” Since the announcement in late August, no reason more specific than that has been given.

Anyone who cares about online gaming should care about City of Heroes closing down.

From a gaming standpoint, City of Heroes is revolutionary for its customizability alone. Costume combinations number in the billions. More important, the developers have a more active relationship with their fan base than any other game in existence. Updates and new ideas are largely player-driven and have resulted in storyline changes and a litany of new power sets. This dialogue is unique in a market that seems to favor pushing unpopular changes and ignoring complaints.

Champions Online, DC Universe Online and the upcoming Marvel Universe Online all take their cues from City of Heroes. This game codified and still codifies its genre and has more it can continue to offer.

This community is being closed down now, and there’s no real reason. A realignment of company focus? What does that mean?

City of Heroes is a landmark game in a myriad of areas, and there needs to be more of a reason to pull the plug than NCSoft not caring anymore.

-Joshua Knopp

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