I shall always have the softest of soft spots (ew) for City Of Heroes. Not just because it was the first MMO I ever properly enjoyed and wanted to play all the time, but because it kinda sorta gave birth to RPS.
I’d dabbled with WOW, and tried out a bunch of others, but no MMO had grabbed me. And then this bright, cheerful cartoon world appeared, letting me be a superhero, and throwing new powers and abilities at me at a tremendous pace. It felt like the antithesis of grind, just an ever-expanding collection of cities and parks and lakes where I could SUPERJUMP about and fight crime right in its face.
To do this, I most frequently teamed up with a few other freelance games journalists, and we’d play until the sun started threatening a reappearance. Regular 3-4am sessions, because we could. And while the group of heroes had many other members, the core four of us were me, Alec Meer, Jim Rossignol and Kieron Gillen. Alec was Ento, a bug-man and speedster. Jim was ANDOV, a giant hulking metal tank robot. Kieron was Warwych, a flying weakling that couldn’t stay alive for more than ten seconds and always blamed everyone else for her deaths. And I was Nitefall, a super-jumping ranged blaster. I immediately remember all that, names and all, despite its being something like twelve years since we played together and six years since the servers were switched off. And I don’t remember anything.
I genuinely don’t think there would have been an RPS, or at least the RPS there was, without City Of Heroes. There certainly wouldn’t have been a “John is a terrible healer” joke without it.
Over the years there have been many purported attempts to revive CoH, or to replicate it, and none of them has ever come to anything. I used to desperately wish they would, hoping to recapture those moments from 2004. I’m now old and wise enough to know they never would be, and a pale imitation will only spoil the joy.