Posts Tagged ‘City of Heroes’

The RPG Scrollbars: In search of urban fantasy

There’s a real urban fantasy gap in the gaming industry, and it’s never made much sense. We see a thousand Tolkienesque fantasy games a minute (rough napkin calculation) and the future’s typically so bright, even the lens flares need shades. Yet when it comes to that line where the mundane meets the magical, mostly what we’ve had for the last few years is false hope. Hope that World of Darkness would bring the complexity of Eve to the mean streets of Chicago or wherever. Hope that the right person with a big chequebook would get hooked on something like The Dresden Files or Hellblazer. Hope that games like The Secret World would lead the way.

So much wasted opportunity, just sitting there and waiting to be seized.

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NCsoft’s MOBA Master X Master adds City of Heroes star

Four years after NCsoft shut down City of Heroes, fans are still announcing new unofficial takes on its superhero MMORPG antics. NCsoft seem to have no plans for a new game of their own but they haven’t entirely forgotten it, as they’ve announced that iconic hero Statesman is coming to their crossover MOBA Master X Master [official site]. It’s not quite the CoH news one might hope for but hey, perhaps a nod is better than oblivion. If you rock yourself to sleep hugging your Statesman body pillow and dreaming of his Fist of Justice, hold on, he’s coming. Read the rest of this entry »

Ship Of Heroes: latest attempt to avenge City of Heroes

It is an entirely true and 110% accurate fact that everyone who ever played now-dead superheroic MMO City of Heroes is now developing three spiritual sequels of their own. Ship Of Heroes is the latest attempt to resurrect the much-loved NCSoft title, character creator and all, with the twist that it’s all set on a giant spaceship.
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The RPG Scrollbars: Size Matters

Even by Blizzard’s standards, The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan is taking the piss. In case you missed it, which I know you didn’t, but work with me here, it’s the newest Hearthstone expansion. The trailer is wonderful. The setting is a corrupt crime-town full of gangsters, hoodlums and mugs, all fighting for cash and control in a tongue-in-cheek mix of Lord of the Rings and Bugsy Malone. I’d love to play a full adventure/RPG/heck even shooter set in that world, not just play with a new set of cards using it as a theme. In just a minute of charismatic art and a fun song, Blizzard fleshed out Gadgetzan with more love and more detail than some games manage in their entire runs.

But, uh, here’s the thing. This is what Gadgetzan actually looks like.

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Some Little Things I’ve Loved In RPGs, Vol 1

One of the main reasons I got into RPGs back in the day was that if you bought one, you were getting a lot of game for your money. That was important when there was only one birthday and one Christmas a year, and not much chance that some relative might pop their clogs in sync with Ultima VI coming out. Years later I no longer need the Grim Reaper’s help to fill my collection, and other genres have done their best to replace scouring maps for objectives with, y’know, game, but there’s still few that can match it in terms of raw Stuff. It takes a lot of content to fill an RPG.

This week then, I’m turning the spotlight on a few small bits and pieces from various games that I think back on fondly. Not entire games. Just a few ideas and moments from them that stuck with me, whether I liked the actual game they were in at all. Add yours in the comments, yadda yadda, you know the drill. Also, I thought I’d try and pick a few things that aren’t brought up that often, hence the lack of, say, Heather Poe from Vampire: Bloodlines or any of The Witcher III’s awesome stuff. Got that? Cool.

Note: you can browse through the list using the arrows alongside the image at the top of the page, or using the left and right arrows on your very own keyboard.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Invasion – Azeroth (And Others)

As many hours as I’ve spent playing them over the years, MMORPGs always fill me with a touch of sadness for what they could have been. I’m thinking of the original optimistic dreams of people like Richard Garriott, talking of his world where players accidentally killing too many sheep would draw the wrath of a nearby, now hungry dragon, back in that innocent time before it was accepted that players would not only kill the sheep, but the dragon, and any other living creature within murder range. There’s many reasons why the modern theme park style ended up being dominant, but as stories from games like Eve regularly demonstrate, we definitely lost a lot in that philosophical and pragmatic shift towards PvE content and fixed interactions.

At least we’ve still got world events. I love world events.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Breaking The Superhero Curse

In this era of a hundred comic book movies a year plus spin-off shows, it’s getting harder and harder to remember that not so long ago trying to take a superhero off the printed page and onto some kind of screen was basically a recipe for failure, mockery, and a way of flying a promising creative career into a great big rock. Hell, even now most superheroes without the word ‘Bat’ in their name are still waiting for someone to even attempt a game, never mind make a good one. For every Batman on NES or Arkham Asylum, there’s an Aquaman or Superman on Nintendo 64.

On PC, it’s always been particularly weird. Especially when you look at which companies have tried and failed over the years to bring us the ultimate superhero RPG. Is there anything out there that comes close? Ignoring Freedom Force, since that’s not an RPG? Well, some! Enough not to have to hold out for a hero, at least.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Rise Of The MOBA Heroes

Hello there. This week, I’m writing not just as an RPG columnist, but as president of the newly formed League Of Folks Who Don’t Really Play MOBAs But Are Bizarrely Hooked On All The Trappings. As far as I can tell, our membership is roughly a billion people and counting. That’s what happens when the likes of Blizzard and Riot spend literally tens of dollars creating gorgeous videos to promote their worlds, yes, but it goes somewhat deeper than that. Have you ever watched a new character reveal for a game you know you’re never going to play? Then the sickness might have spread.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Voices In The Air

There’s something oddly comforting about radio. Comforting because it’s so familiar, so natural. Odd because it’s a comfort that most of us don’t really use all that much these days, at least not in the ways that games just casually assume. It’s a little like the whole audio diaries thing – it makes a vague sense that everyone in a city like Rapture might record their daily crimes and schemes onto audio tapes, even though in reality that whole idea became obsolete when Facebook/Twitter added status updates.

But I do love in-game radio. It’s an amazing narrative tool, a great way of filling in the gaps the screen can’t show, a constant companion in the loneliest of situations, and not a bad way of making music diegetic – a term that translates to ‘let’s see who now sneakily Googles diegetic’. Forget Spotify. Never mind video. In RPGs, nothing can kill the radio star, unless of course you walk up to them and shoot ’em in the face. Then, sometimes. Though usually nature still finds a way of keeping them on the air.

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City Of Heroes Reborn

Three years ago, I wrote an epitaph for NCSoft’s axed superhero MMO City of Heroes, and for my beloved character within it.

“The City of Heroes has been closed down forever, and so The Entomologist is dead. Does he still exist on some dusty server, or have the bytes that made him been wiped forever? It doesn’t matter. There’ll be no Jean Gray resurrection for him.”

I was wrong.

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Remembering City Of Heroes

Sometimes you can wait too long, think it’s okay to put off saying that important thing to the game you love, and then they’re gone. Then time goes on, and it becomes less and less relevant to say. Then you never say it.

City Of Heroes shut off its servers about two and a half years ago. Alec had the sense to eulogise it then. I never got around to it. And yet my memories of the game still buzz around in my head, the fondness for the MMO that really was responsible for forming RPS, years before there was an RPS, all with no outlet. The game can’t really be included in Top X lists, since it’s unplayable. It doesn’t make good use of time or SEO to dedicate a feature to it on a major gaming website. So what to do? Waste some time, I say. Here are my memories of the long-lost City Of Heroes.

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Valiance Online Opens Pre-Alpha Spandex People Testing

Superheroes never die. They just switch MMOs. City of Heroes might have been reduced to a bittersweet memory, but you might find some of that old glory in Valiance Online‘s open pre-alpha test phase, which happily does not require you to sign NDAs in your blood. This upcoming MMORPG is set at the tail end of the 21st century, where spandex-clad superpeople roam free-range through the fictional city of San Cielo.

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Possibly Maybe: Resurrecting City Of Heroes

That look, however, is still SO out.

Superheroes are killed off, resurrected, revamped, and rebooted all the time, but doing that to a superhero video game can take a lot more legal wrangling. When NCsoft shut down super-powered MMORPG City of Heroes and its developer, Paragon Studios, people tried to save it. Fans rallied and Paragon tried to buy itself out of NCsoft. The servers closed in November 2012. Then, last year, a studio founded by fans raised $678,189 on Kickstarter to make “spiritual successor” City of Titans. Like Growly Gus [or Wolverine, as Marvel call him in the US -ed.], they keep getting back up.

Now a group of fans say they might possibly get to resurrect City of Heroes too. Maybe. They’re in talks with NCsoft to license the name and start running CoH servers again.

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City Of Heroes Wannabe City Of Titans Kickstarts

A logo!
It’s only been a year since the sun set on Paragon City and City of Heroes was sealed off. If you look at that homepage and weep and wail and pound on your desk, snottily disclaiming: “It was too soon, damnit”, then I have a thing you should look at. The previously titled Pheonix Project, a fan-made spiritual successor to the dead MMO Read the rest of this entry »

City Of Heroes Inspired The Phoenix Project Kickstarting

I loved City Of Heroes. As someone who tends to find MMOs somewhere to run around in on my own, gobble up everything single player, and then quit out and never play again, City Of Heroes was different. It was a place to me. I don’t think that’s testament to the world-building therein – I’m not sure the towns themselves were anything particularly special. I don’t think I can put it down to the superb powers, fun biffy combat, or amazing character creator either. For me it was about a certain time, with certain people. Which means I’m super-excited to see what can be done with The Phoenix Project – the fan attempt to create a spiritual successor to the now gone-forever MMO. Soon to be Kickstartered.

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What Could Have Been: Paragon Nearly Bought Itself

Sigh.

City of Heroes is no more. Paragon perished, and with it, so did a home away from home for many colorful victims of radiation overdose. It was a sad day at RPS’ nuclear-powered space base, and not just because it meant the Justice League became our closest orbital neighbors. You’ll remember, though, that fans certainly didn’t go down without a THOOMKAPOWBIFFZOTT-ing fight. But, until now, we didn’t really know the other side of the story. Unsurprisingly, Paragon was waging a war of its own, and it was trying every last trick in the book to stay afloat. The part we never heard about, however, is how close the house that City of Heroes built came to pulling it off.

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Rebuilding A City Of Heroes: The Phoenix Project

One of the more miserable gaming events of last year was the closure of City of Heroes. The end of an entire world does tend to be a sad affair for those involved and even onlookers might find themselves touched by the extinction of all those lovely data-denizens. While the urban heroes may have fallen for good, Gamerzines have spotted The Phoenix Project, which aims to rise from the City’s smouldering remains. Missing Worlds Media is a “community based game studio”, made up of members of Titan Network’s ‘Save City of Heroes’ forum, among others. Their intention is clear – they want to build a new comic book world packed with heroes and villains, and they want you to be a part of it.

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Please, Sir, Can I Have Some Lore: City Of Heroes

The various strands of most fictional worlds fit together like melted Duplo and hunting knives, particularly when they have multiple authors and are inspired by the mad multiverses of super hero comicdom. City of Heroes is set to become a ghost town on November 30th and with closure fast approaching, Gamerzines notice that Paragon have taken to the forums to provide some closure of a different sort. You want lore? Here’s your lore.

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The End: NCsoft Responds To Save City Of Heroes

WAIT. Everyone, stop. Wanna just meet in the middle and hug it out for a while? Come on now. We've had a good run.

Recently, I spoke with folks behind the Save City of Heroes movement, and they were absolutely delightful. Intelligent, calm, organized, passionate, motivated, etc. If any qualities could actually manage to wrest an MMO from Death’s clammy grip, you’d figure those would do the trick. And, as it turns out, all the in-game and real-world events certainly got NCsoft’s attention. But now, after an agonizing wait, the recently “restructured” MMO behemoth has finally fired back. Unfortunately, it turns out that no news was good news. Sorry, everyone: No more (City of) heroes.

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