Snnnniiiiiiffffff. There’s a huge amount of affection for City Of Heroes at Castle Shotgun. Long before RPS was a twinkling of an idea in our collective eye, the original four of us would play CoH together. Kieron, Jim, Alec and I were the core of a team that was joined by many others, spending more time in a game together than before or since. It’s the source of the John Is A Bad Healer meme, it’s where Jim sealed his position as a tank, where Kieron proved he could only play sissy characters that died all the time, and the source of so many anecdotes. And while none of us has played the game for years – in fact, I find it pretty unrecognisable now – it still remains an enormous shame to see its servers will be switched off. And an even greater shame that NCsoft have decided to completely close down the development studio behind it – Paragon Studios.
So there is to be no more development from this moment forward, and the servers will close before the end of the year. There’s no question that it had a good run – eight years is a phenomenal success for any MMO. And it constantly expanded and reinvented itself, trying to keep up with a very quickly changing medium. It managed to defy expectations and keep a subscription model up until September last year, when a free-to-play version was created, with limited play, and an in-game shop. But it looks like that model wasn’t enough to keep the game going, especially with reported subscriber numbers under 125,000 as long ago as 2008.
And you know what – City Of Heroes was better than all the superhero MMOs that followed. Nothing else has captured that sense of an open world that has a depth of place, with the amazing freedom of bouncing, teleporting or flying around just being a superhero. As someone who rarely enjoys playing games alongside others, I really only have incredibly fond memories of a huge number of hours sunk into the cities. Those memories are something we’ll come back to soon.
We wish the absolute best to all at Paragon, and hope everyone quickly finds new work without problems. Thanks guys, for the MMO that’s undoubtedly brought RPS together more than any other game, even before RPS was a concept.
In the meantime, if you want to say goodbye, you can still jump in and play the game for free for now. What on EARTH was my password?