|City of Heroes|
Level Up! Games Interactive Brazil
|Version||1600.20090902.4T2 (September 15, 2009)|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X|
|Release date(s)||April 28, 2004|
|Media||2 CDs, or 1 DVD, Or available for download.|
|System requirements||Windows 2000/XP,
Intel Pentium III 800 MHz or AMD Athlon 800MHz,
512 MB RAM,
2 GB Available HDD Space,
Nvidia 2 series or ATI Radeon 8500 Video Card,
16X CD-ROM Drive,
16-bit Sound Card,
56K Modem connection,
Keyboard and mouse.
Mac OS X 10.5.5 Leopard or higher,
Intel Core Duo Processor,
1024 MB RAM,
2.9 GB Available HDD Space,
ATI X1600, NVidia 7300 GT, or X3100 Intel integrated graphics chip (Intel GMA950 not supported)
City of Heroes (CoH) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the superhero comic book genre, developed by Cryptic Studios and published by NCsoft. The game was launched in North America on April 27, 2004 and in Europe (by NCsoft Europe) on February 4, 2005 with English, German and French language servers. Fifteen free major updates (Issues) for City of Heroes have been released since its launch. The newest update, "Power Spectrum", was released on September 15, 2009.
In the game, players create super-powered player characters that can team up with others to complete missions and fight criminals belonging to various gangs and organizations in the fictional Paragon City.
On October 31, 2005, the game's first sequel, City of Villains (CoV), was launched, allowing players to play as supervillains. Initially dubbed as an "Expanshalone" by the developers (a portmanteau of an expansion pack and stand-alone), the game did not require CoH to run, but if the user had both games, content was added to the CoH side of game play. On July 16, 2008, NCsoft merged the two games' content together, thus a player who only owned City of Heroes could now play City of Villains, and vice versa. Prior to this, a purchase was required to access either game's content, but they were linked by one account and subscription fee.
On November 6, 2007, NCsoft announced their purchase of the CoH/CoV intellectual property and transitioned the staff from Cryptic Studios to a new location in Mountain View, CA to continue development of the game. The new studio on April 14, 2009, became Paragon Studios, which shares credit with Cryptic Studios for the development work. This then led to City of Heroes becoming available for download on Steam, along with other NCsoft titles, on April 22, 2009.
City of Heroes: Going Rogue was announced on May 11, 2009. Labeled as an expansion, the game centers around the alternate reality of Praetoria and features a new alignment system allowing players characters to shift allegiances between Heroes and Villains, giving characters access to both the Paragon City of CoH and the Rogue Isles of CoV. Paragon Studios describes this as "[exploring] the shades of gray that lay between Heroes and Villains". At the 2009 Paragon Studios "HeroCon", NCsoft representatives announced that the expansion will be released in the second quarter of 2010.
Players begin by using the game's extensive character creation system to first select an archetype, then primary and secondary power sets, then design a unique costume. In the final character creation screen, players can optionally write a backstory or description and battle cry for their hero as well as choose a name. The name may be changed at a later time for a one time charge, and the description and battle cry may be changed at any time. There is an automatic check to make certain the name has not been used by any other player on that server.
Characters may begin in an isolated tutorial zone, or skip the tutorial and begin in an open low level zone.
A character's level increases by earning experience points from defeating foes, completing missions, and exploring zones, then returning to a trainer. Benefits for rising in level include more health, more powers, more slots to allocate enhancements to powers, and larger inventories.
The game's hero side primary setting, Paragon City, is divided into different zones by giant energy "war walls." Especially dangerous zones called hazard or trial zones, which teem with large groups of enemies, are marked in red on the in-game map and are much more dangerous than normal zones. The game's villain side setting, the Rogue Isles, consists of islands connected by a network of ferries. A few zones are accessible to both heroes and villains; some are cooperative zones, while others are player versus player zones.
Players initially move around the zones by slowly jogging or using a minor speed increasing power such as Sprint. As heroes grow in level and accumulate more powers, they may choose among four higher speed traveling powers: Teleportation, Super Speed, Super Leaping, and Flight.
As characters level, players may choose new powers from the character's primary and secondary power sets, as set during creation, or from shared power pools. The power pools contain the four travel powers, as well as other generic, usually utilitarian powers falling under categories such as Fitness, Concealment, and Leadership. In addition, as characters level up, they gain access to new costume features, including the ability to change between up to five costumes and unlockable costume parts such as capes and auras.
Missions are obtained through various channels. Missions are typically staged on private instances accessible only to the mission holder's team by entering a door in a zone, and may require defeating a boss, escorting NPCs, or finding a particular clue or item. The level of enemies, and number of enemies per spawn, are set according to the team size, level of the mission holder, and difficulty setting of the mission holder. Amid the missions, some story arcs will emerge. These are mission sequences which form a larger story. Once outside of a mission, a player reappears at a door or location in a zone which is accessible to any player on the server.
For players who can devote a block of several hours to the game, other types of activities are available—task forces for heroes, strike forces for villains, and trials. These activities disallow adding new members to the team once started, and so consist of a series of linked missions that must be run to completion by the same team. Certain trials reward players with an opportunity to respecify their characters by choosing a different complement of superpowers within their selected power sets, and reallocating enhancement slots. Two types of Raids are available to Heroes and Villains: Rikti Mothership (in a shared zone for both Hero and Villain participants), and Hamidon (separate Hero and Villain locations), which encourage teamwork across multiple teams of players.
Teamwork is a large part of City of Heroes. Players can form supergroups reminiscent of classic comic book groups such as the X-Men or Justice League of America. Also, a system called Sidekicking/Lackeying or Exemplaring/Malefactoring makes all players on the team either 1 level lower than the team leader or mission holder (if they are a lower level) or the same level (if they are a higher level). Exemplared/Malefactored characters still earn experience and have access to all powers up to 5 levels above their temporarily lower level. Characters may also make leveling pacts under which the characters receive experience points equally whether online or offline, which keeps the characters at the same level.
Other game features include auction houses and crafting inventions to make characters more powerful. The Architect release gives players the ability to construct custom mission arcs, with customized villains and layouts that can then be played by other players on that server.
In character creation, the player first selects a character's origin and archetype, then primary and secondary power sets. Next, the actual avatar with its costume is created. Then the player has a choice of customizing the color and hues of his/her powers. Lastly, the player chooses a name and can optionally write a background story to add some flavor to the character as well as creating an individual battle cry.
There are five origins a player can choose for his/her character that dictate what type of enhancements the character may use, affect which single short-ranged power they begin with (in addition to powers obtained from their primary and secondary power sets), and can influence the various villain groups that the character goes up against; these origins are Natural, Magic, Science, Mutation, and Technology.
There are five basic hero archetypes, which affect a character's power choices and team role throughout the game. Blasters are versatile damage dealers, capable of fighting at short or long range against one or many opponents. Controllers are adept at preventing enemies from moving or acting. Defenders turn the tide of battle with weakening attacks (debuffs) and ally strengthening powers (buffs). Scrappers are melee fighters with a greater chance of critical hits against tough opponents such as bosses. Tankers possess great defenses and the ability to take hits for the team.
There are also five basic villain archetypes. Brutes deal increasing damage as they attack or are themselves attacked. Corruptors deal damage at range, with critical hit chances against wounded targets. Dominators assail enemies with status effects and direct damage. Masterminds summon, upgrade, and control combat pets. Stalkers are stealthy fighters, dealing critical hits when hidden or when accompanied by a team.
There are two shapeshifting hero archetypes which are unlocked after attaining level 50 with a hero on a server. Peacebringers are peaceful symbiotic aliens that have light based powers. Warshades are warlike symbiotes that are normally enemies to the Peacebringers but have reformed their evil ways. Both archetypes are capable of shapeshifting into a more offensive or more defensive form.
There are also two branching villain archetypes which are unlocked after attaining level 50 with a villain on a server. Arachnos Soldiers can branch into either a Bane Spider or Crab Spider. Arachnos Widows can branch into either a Night Widow or Fortunata.
Like other MMORPGs, City of Heroes/Villains has various items that are rewarded within the game. However, many of these items are described as intangible or other-worldly; such as "inspirations" (temporary powerups) or "influence" (used instead of money), which are abstract ideas in the real world. "Enhancements"—slottable attribute boosts—also cover a range of ideas and items from magic enchantments to technological gadgets to training techniques. With the release of Issue 6, while in supergroup mode, a setting that can be toggled on and off, players accumulate prestige points which are used to improve the supergroup base.
Issue 9 brought the Invention system to the game, which allows characters to combine salvage and recipes to create various goods. Invented enhancements can provide better bonuses than normal enhancements, including set bonuses for slotting invented enhancements from the same set into the same power. Costume pieces and limited-use temporary powers can also be invented.
In addition to these, there are also collectible badges for players to obtain. Gained for performing various actions in game such as moving over specific places in each zone, defeating certain numbers of enemies, healing allies, and taking damage, most serve no functional purpose for players, except to provide characters with tag lines under their character names. However, some few, called "Accolades" give players access to temporary powers and permanent bonuses to health and endurance (the game's equivalent to mana or magic points) and are gained by collecting other badges.
Players also have the option of purchasing (outside of the game) additional items known as Booster Packs, which currently include a permanent Wedding-themed expansion for costumes and emotes (actions), a 30 day Jet Pack temporary power, valkyrie themed costume items, and regular Booster Pack releases based on Player Origins available in-game (See "Updates and history" below).
In City of Heroes there are multiple NPC groups that players fight as part of random encounters. Many enemies are found on the streets of Paragon City, whereas others are found in specific instances or areas. There are also Giant Monsters and similar events that take place in parts of the city that are even rarer, such as Lusca the Giant Octopus in the waters of the Independence Port zone or the Ghost Ship that spawns ghostly enemies in the Talos Island and Independence Port zones.
Paragon City is a fictitious city located in Rhode Island in the United States. The city itself is divided into several smaller neighborhoods that have varying villains and progressively higher levels of villains within them. The arbitrary divisions between zones are explained by the presence of "War Walls," powerful forcefields derived from alien technology, which are used to defend various areas of the city. Heroes set out by dealing with low-powered street gangs in the initial zones, working their way up to fighting increasingly dangerous threats—such as organised crime, corrupt corporations, hostile aliens and supernatural terrors—even eventually entering other dimensions to fight ultimately powered villains.
The Development Team continually expands City of Heroes with free downloadable patches/updates as well as free game expansions dubbed "Issues". City of Villains was originally released as a combined expansion and stand-alone game, but eventually both hero and villain parts of the game were made available to all subscribers.
Starting in 2008, four "Booster Packs" were also released sporadically around Issue updates. Booster Packs do not function like expansions (adding content to the game), but rather add optional sets to the game's character creator and user interface, and are available on the NCsoft Store for a one-time fee. Although each of these packs are themed after their similarly-named character option in the game (so far character origins and powersets), their features can be applied to any or all the characters in your account regardless of their actual origin, archetype or powers. Booster Packs that are currently available are:
The City of Heroes Development Team also initiates events based on North American and European holidays and observances, starting with Halloween in 2004, followed by a Winter Event (eventually becoming a primarily Christmas-themed event), and the newest holiday observance a Valentine's Day event. Recent changes to holiday events include the addition of a Zombie Apocalypse world event during Halloween, and a Ski Slope inside of Pocket D during the Holidays. Holiday events grant commemorative badges upon signing in during the event, and have earnable themed badges by participating in the in-game events.
City of Heroes grants a commemorative badge during it's anniversary month of May and has often scheduled special events and surprises during May. Most recently in 2009, an outbreak of Giant Monsters of every type was released throughout the game in all zones for players to defeat within a 24 hour span.
A Korean open beta of City of Heroes, entitled City of Hero (시티 오브 히어로, Siti Obeu Hieoro), was launched on January 18, 2006. However, the game's official release was cancelled. The Korean CoH team directed its players to a coupon for an account on the US servers.
City of Heroes and City of Villains employ several servers that are based in different geographic zones (some are based in Virginia, others are in California). The servers are divided between the American and European markets, with separate servers specifically for German and French players.
Computer Gaming World hailed the game saying "City of Heroes blows a super powered gust of fresh air into an increasingly stale sword-and-sorcery MMO world" in August 2004. PC Gamer, Game Informer, GameSpy and several other industry magazines critically acclaimed City of Heroes for its foray into the superhero genre and gave the game top or near top scores across the board.
GameSpy went on to say that City of Heroes has the most flexible character creator to date of any MMORPG (in particular the costume design system allows for a huge variety of sizes, colors, clothing types and other bells and whistles) and has consistently given the update issues high marks. The launch of City of Heroes was widely reported as one of the most successful MMOG launches in the history of the industry.
Recently, praise was given from IGN, The Escapist, and Allakhazam for the release of Issue 14: Architect which added Mission Creation capabilities. Paragon Studios produced "City of Heroes: Architect Edition", and re-released the game to Retail Stores in April 2009 containing the PC and Macintosh Versions and a free choice between either Super Booster I: Cyborg or Super Booster II: Magic.
City of Heroes offers a development team that actively communicates with its player base through in-game events (who individually will take on various in-game personas when interacting with the players), online forums, and in interviews through media outlets. The development team will request feedback, admit mistakes and also implement player suggestions to the game. The communication level between players and developers is such that players are encouraged to send private messages about their concerns to the developers, and usually the player can expect to receive feedback as a private reply, or as a part of a news item or forum post if the concern affects a larger part of the community.
Since Issue 9, City of Heroes allows players to participate in Open Beta testing of the upcoming Issue Releases on their own Training Room Server. There is also a Closed Beta test done before that which allows players who are invited specifically by the Developer Team to try out the new issues features under a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
The City of Heroes Development and Moderation Team organizes regular appearances at popular conventions to meet players face-to-face, as well as organizing Meet & Greet events of their own. They held their first annual convention, "HeroCon", in Santa Clara, CA from October 17-19th, 2008. The second annual event was held from October 23 to October 25, 2009, and attendees were given a sneak preview of the Going Rogue expansion.
Also, the game is praised because a subscriber's characters are not deleted, even if the subscription has been canceled or inactive for an extended period of time (ex. 4 years). Some MMORPGs delete a character after a period of inactivity. In anticipation of the release of City of Villains, Cryptic announced on October 10, 2005 that effective October 24, 2005, accounts which had been unpaid and inactive for 90 days would have the names of any characters on the account under level 35 flagged as unreserved, allowing new players to use that name. The character itself was left untouched, and a player who lost his character's name was given the option to choose a new one. This policy was suspended on May 4, 2006, because Cryptic's data-mining had shown that very few names were being taken in this fashion anymore; Cryptic said 30 days' notice would be given prior to future changes to the name policy. On July 31, 2007, Cryptic announced that the name policy would go back into effect as of August 29, 2007, but this time, it would apply only to characters under level 6, instead of the previous 35.
A significant game play change called Enhancement Diversification, or ED, was implemented in Issue 6. ED received strong negative feedback from the player community. The response thread to ED on the official City of Heroes message forum exceeded 3,500 replies in the first 36 hours, and soon after grew so large that a second thread was required due to forum software limits.
ED imposed a point of sharply diminished returns on how far each individual aspect of each power could be improved. Prior to ED, a player could focus all enhancements on only one of a power's aspects and receive fully cumulative benefits. Cryptic's stated reason behind ED was "to promote the use of more different types of Enhancements in powers". Critics observed that ED universally reduced the maximum possible effectiveness of all characters, making it a global nerf; that many defensive powers had now been significantly weakened for two Issues in a row, which was especially frustrating for characters who specialize in such powers and invalidated many of their existing tactics; that some powers cannot legally or usefully accept more than one type of Enhancement and thus cannot be "diversified"; that it was deceitful to enact such a severe change less than a month after officially announcing "we’ve finished making large changes to the power sets"; and that ED was too fundamental a change to implement so long after the original launch. Some, but not all, of the negative effects of Enhancement Diversification were negated with the release of the Invention system in Issue 9, allowing players to create one enhancement that affects multiple statistics at once, while still honoring the limits created with ED during Issue 6.
As in most other MMORPGs, players must pay the publisher (NCsoft) a monthly fee to continue playing City of Heroes. Portions of the subscription costs go to supporting a full-time "live" team, which develops additional content for the game; other portions support the significant server maintenance and bandwidth costs. In addition to paying subscription fees via credit card, another option is prepaid cards that are available at video game retailers. Once purchased, the player inputs a code from the card and their account is updated to allow as many months of play as the card is good for. PlayNC time cards are available from stores that work for any NCsoft published game, and come in 15, 30 and 60 day options.
Continuing active subscriptions are also entitled to Veteran Rewards. The system rewards players with a plethora of costume pieces, extra powers, supergroup base items, respec opportunities, and other minor in-game perks to all characters (both hero and villain characters) on any server tied to the active subscription. Inactive accounts do not accrue time for Veteran Rewards.
Both City of Heroes and City of Villains are now bundled together when purchased or downloaded, when they were once two separate games with a single subscription fee.
The first City of Heroes novel, The Web of Arachnos, by Robert Weinberg, was published by CDS Books (an imprint of the Perseus Publishing Group) in October 2005. The novel chronicles the back stories of the Statesman and Lord Recluse, the central iconic characters in the City of Heroes and City of Villains franchises. A second novel, The Freedom Phalanx, written by Robin Laws, released in May 2006 and detailed the reformation of the hero team the Freedom Phalanx in the 1980s; the story centers on the fledgling heroes Positron and Synapse, but also includes Manticore, Sister Psyche, and Statesman. The book's villains include Lord Recluse, Doctor Null, Shadow Queen, and Revenant. Artist George Pérez provides the covers for the first two novels, as well as lending his name to one of the early areas of the game itself, Pérez Park. A third novel, The Rikti War, was announced by CDS at the time the first novel was published, with an August 2006 scheduled release date. Authors Paul S. Kemp and Shane Hensley have been attached to the project at various times. The book will reportedly cover the epic transdimensional war between Earth and the Rikti home world, however a post on the official message boards containing a message supposedly from Kemp states that the "novel is not to be and [he] must leave it at that. "Developer Sean Michael Fish (Manticore) has recently stated that CDS will no longer be publishing books for CoH, and The Rikti War may or may not be published.
To tie in with the game, NCsoft released original comic book series that featured various characters from within the games themselves. The original series by publisher Blue King featured the heroes/roommates Apex and War Witch with their neighbor Horus. The more recent series from publisher Top Cow features signature heroes and villains from both City of Heroes and City of Villains such as The Statesman, Positron, Lord Recluse, and Ghost Widow. However, the Top Cow series ended with Issue 20 (July 2007), with no current plans for another new series. The official website allowed people to download the comics in PDF format roughly a month after their release in comic book stores.
Alderac Entertainment Group also worked with CoH to create a collectible card game featuring characters from the game, as well as several original characters. The game's website also allows players to create a game-compliant card for their own online character. This card game is now discontinued.
The CoH team has also worked with Eden Studios, Inc. to create a role-playing game based on the massively multiplayer online game. While a free preview version of the game was released, the game has been delayed due to the cancellation license with Fox on their Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel roleplaying-games.
In June 2007, it was announced that the producer for the Transformers film, Tom DeSanto, had acquired the option to make movies and television shows based on the City of Heroes franchise. In February 2008, it was announced that DeSanto has indeed begun preparations for the film. A plot summary has been released detailing that the movie itself takes place during the first Rikti War.
In November 2004, Marvel Comics filed a lawsuit against City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios, publisher NCsoft, and game administrator NC Interactive (NCI), alleging that the game not only allowed, but actively promoted, the creation of characters who infringe copyrights and trademarks owned by Marvel. The suit sought unspecified damages and an injunction halting further sales and shutting down the game.
The game includes in its User agreement strong language against such activity, however. It forbids the creation of potentially infringing characters, and NCI has been known to delete or rename such characters. The User Agreement additionally holds players accountable to indemnify (reimburse) NCI and its affiliates against third-party infringement claims, and demands either a granting of sole ownership in player created content, including characters, to NCI, or a warranty that a third party owner of the rights in player created content has made such a grant. It is unclear whether this grant is an exclusive assignment or a non-exclusive license, however.
The defendants replied that the lawsuit was frivolous. Many intellectual property analysts agree, but others have noted that trademark law is structured such that if Marvel believes their marks are being infringed upon, they have little choice but to file a lawsuit, regardless of its outcome, to preserve the strength of the marks. At least one has noted similarities to Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc., a case in which a company that ran a flea market was successfully sued over intellectual property infringement because a vendor had been selling bootlegged records at that flea market. Although Cherry Auction had not been directly selling the infringing items, the court found that it was vicariously or contributorally liable for the infringement.
Marvel subsequently admitted that some of the allegedly infringing characters cited in the complaint had been created by Marvel's own investigators. In March 2005, the court struck those exhibits from the complaint. The court also dismissed with prejudice some of Marvel's claims. The dismissed claims included all indirect trademark infringement counts, because Marvel had not pled commercial use of Marvel's marks by the game's players. Commercial use is a required element of infringement under American trademark statutes.
On December 12, 2005, all remaining claims were settled under undisclosed terms. The game's operators asserted that the settlement did not require changes to the character creation engine.
Despite the recent litigation, in October 2006 Marvel Comics selected Cryptic Studios to develop its own superhero MMORPG for Windows Vista and Xbox Live, titled Marvel Universe Online. The news of the alliance led to a surprised reaction from players, but developer Matt "Positron" Miller assured fans on Cryptic's official website that development and maintenance would continue separately on both games , proved later by the complete split between City of Heroes and Cryptic Studios. Marvel Universe Online was eventually cancelled by Microsoft.
On November 6, 2007, NCsoft announced that it will assume ownership of both City of Heroes and City of Villains. As part of a push to further develop City of Heroes, the company has also announced the formation of a new development studio dedicated to new titles as well as their interest in distributing and administering their future works once launched. This new team is centered on key members of the Cryptic and NCsoft City of Heroes/Villains teams who accepted the NCsoft offer to join their new studio in Northern California. The sale of the City of Heroes IP grants Cryptic Studios the freedom to work on its new superhero MMOG (at this time, a RPG/Action hybrid) Champions Online without concerns of conflict of interest.
Shortly after having acquired full ownership of the property, NCsoft granted all existing and former City of Heroes account holders access to both games (City of Heroes & City of Villains). This allowed all Hero players access to Superbases, which initially required a CoV purchase from its release in Issue 7 until Issue 10, and is no longer required as of Issue 11. Before the purchase, NCsoft allowed players with a subscription or a time card for City of Heroes to have the same access to City of Villains as well (at its lowest price point, $14.99 covered access to both titles for a month), whether or not they have purchased the other title. This is still being honored after all accounts who had only City of Heroes received access to City of Villains for free. In a July 2008 press release, NCsoft announced the successful completion of allowing all copies of City of Heroes or City of Villains to access the other game (it claimed that Single Title Retail Boxes recently purchased did not successfully unlock the other game when activated.)
On April 14, 2009, NCsoft NorCal formally changed its name to Paragon Studios to become a fully-owned developer subsidiary of NCsoft (similar to Destination Games and ArenaNet) dedicated to the City of Heroes IP. Paragon Studios is credited alongside with Cryptic Studios on the website and NCsoft websites for development of the game.
Many on-line communities exist for the discussion of City of Heroes. Some prominent ones include:
The official Internet forum for City of Heroes is the web board found at boards.cityofheroes.com. This web board is run by NCsoft themselves, and frequented by various developers and customer service representatives (referred to by site regulars as "red names" because their usernames are highlighted in red on their forum posts) as well as players. There are forums devoted to announcements, general issues, player guides, questions, suggestions, each archetype, each of the game servers, and other topics.
The European version of City of Heroes used to have its own separate web board, but with the forum migration to VBulletin, all players now use the same forums.
A player can join an existing Supergroup (also known as a "guild" in other MMOs) at any level. When the player reaches Level 10 and is also a subscribed player, the player may register a Supergroup of their own creation. When in a Supergroup the player can edit his or her colors and emblem to match the group. Also, if the player is in "Supergroup Mode", the player will earn Prestige and Supergroup achievements for the group. These can be used to improve the player's group's Base as well as paying rent on said base. Originally, the game did not have bases for heroes to inhabit between battles, but with the release of City of Villains, the feature was enabled for those who owned both games. Supergroups were originally limited to 75 characters but with the 11th issue update was changed to 150 characters.
Numerous City of Heroes fan sites exist with a wide variety of formats and purposes, including roleplaying sites and informational sites. NCsoft maintained a City of Heroes fansite portal on its official site (indefinitely out of order at this current time). When operative, any person may create a fan site and submit it to NCsoft for publication on the portal, pending review to ensure that the site meets with the guidelines for a fan site submission.
|City of Heroes|
|System(s)||Windows, Mac OS, Direct2Drive|
|Expansion pack(s)||City of Villains
City of Heroes is a MMORPG set in a comic-book-style universe. In it, players create their own unique hero and then perform deeds to halt or prevent acts either criminal or immoral, usually by force. It has proven to be among the most rapidly-changing MMOGs to date.
The universe of City of Heroes is centered around present-day Paragon City, one that, through coincidence and happenstance, has grown into the central hub for heroism and villainy in the world. Paragon City is confirmed to be on the coast of the U.S. state of Rhode Island, although there is no immediately obvious evidence of this within the game.
To accommodate a wide range of heroic styles from comic-book culture, there are a few major changes from the world we live in. Everyday technology is roughly the same, while the technology that heroes typically encounter is the stuff of science fiction. The existence of magic is not denied by anyone, as indeed, many heroes and villains use it as their primary source of power. Martial arts techniques are potentially so deadly that someone can, with enough talent, take down any modern weaponry or machinery with their bare hands. Mishaps or processes regarding radiation, chemicals, and other things relating to science are very common ways to obtain super-human ability. Additionally, some people are super-human by virtue of extreme genetic mutation, akin to Marvel's "X-Men" franchise.
|Portal: MMOs||City of Heroes at
City of Heroes Wiki
|City of Heroes|
|Mode(s)||Massive Multiplayer Online|
|Age rating(s)||ESRB: T|
|Media||CD or DVD|
|System requirements||Windows 2000/XP, Intel Pentium 4 1.7 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1700+, 512 MB RAM,|
|Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough|
City of Heroes is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG, it is also often referred to as a MMO Role Playing Game, or MMORPG). It was released in North America in May of 2004 with 11 servers, and in the winter of 2005 it was released in Europe with 5 servers in English, French and German. A Korean launch is upcoming under the title of "City of Hero". Developed by Cryptic Studios and published by NCSoft, CoH is based on the genre of comic books popularized by Marvel, DC, Wildstorm, Image, and so on. Players take on the role of a superhero in Paragon City, fighting the criminal element that has torn the city apart. In the "expanshalone" City of Villains, released in late October 2005, players can take the opposing side and play as supervillains, based in The Rogue Isles.
City of Heroes starts with a player building their hero or heroine from the ground up. First, a player chooses one of 5 Archetypes, or 'AT's (with 2 'Kheldian' ATs unlockable once a character has hit level 50, these are known as 'Epic Archetypes' or 'EAT's): the Blaster, Defender, Controller, Tanker, or Scrapper. Each AT has a selection of Primary and Secondary Power Sets, each with 9 powers. These powers can be unlocked as a character levels up, starting at level 1 a character can choose one of their first two powers from their chosen Primary, and also recieve the first power from their Secondary. Generally, secondaries unlock later than primaries, and are less powerful than primary versions that may be availible to other ATs. You also choose an origin, which is mainly used to determine which enhancement types your character can use.
Then, they choose the design of their character. Unlike many other MMOs, appearances such as armor or lack of it has no effect on player statistics. CoH character customization is perhaps the most flexible in almost any game, and almost certainly within the MMO field, with a virtually infinite number of possible costumes, even without taking into count color variations. Players can choose a basic female, basic male, or 'Huge' male frame to start with, and go off from there. Then, it's time to choose a name, write an origin story (if you choose), think of a battle cry (optional), and hit the tutorial.
City of Heroes has a rich backstory, with a story bible said to be several hundred pages including dozens of hero and villain organizations. Obviously this is too much to cover here, but the basics are:
Paragon City takes the place of Providence, Rhode Island, in the CoH universe. It takes the place of New York City as America's most famous city, and perhaps in all the world. The first heroes were found in Paragon, starting with Statesman (Marcus Cole) in the 1920s. In World War II, Paragon was attacked by the German 5th Column, led by Requiem, at the same time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. However, the most important event happened in 2002: The Rikti Invasion. Natives of a parallel universe, the Rikti attacked Earth without warning and caused global devastation. Paragon City was at ground zero of the invasion, and the superpowered resistance. Through the heroic sacrifices of the Omega Team, led by the British Hero 1, who shut down the portals from the Rikti side, the invasion forces were cut off from their homeworld. Unfortunately, by this time huge portions of Paragon had been destroyed, and almost all the heroes were slaughtered. Several years later, enter City of Heroes, the game: Paragon has been divided into zones by massive War Walls to keep order, and the Freedom Phalanx's 'Surviving Eight' (Statesman, Positron, Synapse, Manticore, Sister Psyche, Citadel, Numina and Back Alley Brawler) have called out for new heroes to save the besieged city. Do you have what it takes?
The style of gameplay varies depending on which of the several Archetypes is being played. Each has its own focus, strengths, and weaknesses, and while all are intended to be soloable to some extent, some are more group-focused than others.
The Blaster is the king of long-range damage in CoH. Also known as "glass cannons" or "kittens with laser beams on their heads", their damage output comes with a high level of vulnerability; their main defense is to kill (or arrest, depending on your motivations) their opponents before they are defeated themselves. Their primary sets include: Assualt Rifle, Ice, Fire, Archery, Sonic, Energy and Electricity. Their secondaries are: Devices, Ice, Fire, Energy and Electricity. The primaries are the long-range damage powers, with secondaries usually involving powers to get the blaster out of the trouble they've caused (immobilizations, single-target holds, melee attacks). Their inherent power is 'Defiance', which used to allow them to do more damage as their health dropped, but now allows them to retain the use of basic powers when held or asleep. Comic book examples of Blasters include Cyclops of the X-Men, Human Torch of the Fantastic Four, and Starfire of the Teen Titans/Outsiders.
Defenders have a focus on group support, with a backup of long-range damage; there is much overlap between their secondaries and blaster primaries. Their blasts do less damage, but they have strong buff and debuff abilities. Primaries include: Force Fields, Empathy, Dark Miasma, Sonic, Trick Arrow, Storm, and Radiation. Secondaries are: Energy, Psychic, Dark, Sonic, Archery, Electricity and Radiation. Their inherent power is 'Vigilence', which causes their powers to cost less endurance as their teammates health drops. Examples would be Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four, Storm of the X-Men, or Green Arrow of the Justice League.
Controllers have an emphasis on making it easy for their teammates to defeat their opponents, and have very little direct damage ability, especially before unlocking their pets (if their primary set has pets at all). Their primaries focus on 'mez' powers, with: Mind Control, Illusion, Ice, Fire, Earth and Gravity. Their secondaries share overlaps with Defender primaries, with: Empathy, Force Fields, Radiation, Sonics, Trick Arrows, Storm, and Radiation. Their inherent power is 'Containment', which allows them to do double damage to an opponent that has been 'mezzed' (held, slept, confused, immobilized). Examples would be Professor X of the X-Men, Magneto, or Terra of the Teen Titans.
Once, and possibly still, known as the Solo King, the much maligned scrapper has seen the most changes since CoH launched. Once passed over for blasters, they were later seen as virtual gods with more damage than blasters and more defenses than tanks, and have now been reduced to something more in line with other ATs. Scrappers focus on melee attacks, and have strong defenses to make up for being in the thick of combat. Their Primaries are: Katana, Claws, Martial Arts, Broadsword, and Darkness. Their Secondaries are: Regeneration, Super Reflexes, Invincibility, and Dark Armor. Their inherent power allows for a random chance of a critical (2x damage) hit. Examples include Wolverine of the X-Men, Daredevil, or Nightwing.
The aggro-managers of CoH, a good tank can face down a dozen opponents or more and laugh in their face - he just can't kill them on his own. Very strong defenses, but weak melee attacks. Primaries are: Stone, Invincibility, Ice and Fire. Secondaries are: Energy, Earth, Ice, Fire, Battle Ax, Mace and Super Strength. Their inherent power is 'Gauntlet', which causes an AoE (area of effect) 'taunt' which draws aggro every time they attack. Examples include The Thing of the Fantastic Four, Juggernaut, or Colossus of the X-Men.
There are 2 unlockable Kheldian ATs, War Shades and Peacebringers. Unlike the other ATs, these 'EAT's have a story specific to the CoH universe. Kheldians are a species of aliens which must merge with a host to survive. Peacebringers merge with willing hosts, while their enemies the Nictus take hosts by force. War Shades are former Nictus who have seen the error of their ways. Each Kheldian has a Human form, which focuses on long-range attacks, melee attacks (PBs), or controller-ish effects (WSs). At level 6 they can unlock a Nova form, "the flying squid", which has a selection of long range attacks and an inherent flight, and is similar to a blaster. At 20 they can unlock their tank-like Dwarf form ("the rhino-lobster" which is actually quite large), with several melee attacks and the ability to teleport. PBs are generally seen as superior thanks to a stronger Human and Dwarf form, although WSs pets at level 32 can be quite effective. Their inherent power allows them to gain bonuses depending on the AT mixture of their team, however this only takes effect in Human form. Although unique to CoH, aliens possessing human hosts is not unusual in comics, such as the Brood or 'Captain Universe' Power Cosmic of Marvel, or the Kherubim and Deamonites of Wildstorm.
CoH follows MMO tradition with the use of level-based combat. There are 50 levels in CoH, and the experience points required to level up increases as you proceed (although the number of minions you need to defeat remains constant starting around level 39). Players have higher damage and accuracy, and longer duration of effects against lower-leveled opponents, and the opposite against those of a higher level. CoH also uses a classification system for different types of PvE opponents: Underlings, Minions, Lieutenants, Bosses, Elite Bosses, Arch-Villains and Giant Monsters. CoH was balanced around one player being roughly the equal of 3 even-level minions, 1.5 lieutenants, or 2/3rds of a boss. This holds up for roughly the first twenty levels, however as players gain access to better enhancements and more powers Heroes may find themselves capable of taking on large numbers of even-level foes, and will need to attack higher levels to find a challange. Underlings are typically cannon-fodder, while Elite Bosses and Arch-Villains, or EBs and AVs, usually require 2-5 players to defeat. Giant Monsters have no level and are a threat to any level player, and can require from 4-20 players to defeat. Some individual enemies have their own classification, such as Hamidon ('Hamidon' class) or Ruladak ('Field Marshall' class). In PvP, all players are considered to be of an equal level, although those with a true higher level will usually still have an advantage.
There are two bars for players to keep track of during combat, their Health and Endurance. Should a player be reduced to zero Health, they are defeated, and must either call on the emergency Mediport system, wait for resurection by an ally, use a self-resurrection power (if they have one), or a self-resurrection 'Awaken' inspiration. Players recieve 'XP Debt' for being defeated, until the debt is paid off they only recieve half the normal experience point gains. Since launch, many cutbacks have been made to when you recieve debt, currently you do not recieve debt until level 10, and only recieve half debt while in an instanced mission. The other bar is Endurance, and is the energy required to activate powers. Unlike Health, your total amount of Endurance ('end') does not increase as you level up, so as more powers are gained the player must use Endurance Reduction enhancements or powers like Stamina to keep from running dry during a fight.
Unlike many MMOs, 'loot' is virtually non-existant in CoH. The rewards that can be gained by defeating enemies or completing missions are: Enhancements, Inspirations, Influence, Salvage, Prestige, and Badges. Enhancments take the place of loot, and are used to improve a character's powers. When leveling up players recieve either a new power or a number of Enhancement Slots, a power starts with 1 slot and can have up to six. There are almost thirty kinds of enhancements which do things like increase damage,.accuracy, duration of effects, speed of travel powers, and so on. There are also three basic classes of enhancments: Trainings, Dual Origins and Single Origins. Trainings can be used by any origin character and are generally used from levels 1 to 15. Dual Origins are twice as effective as Trainings, but can only be used by 2 of the 5 origins. Around level 25 players can purchase Single Origins, which are twice as effective as 'DO's but can only be used by a single origin. There are also special, more powerful enhancements which can be gained by completing certain trials or defeating the Hamidon.
Inspirations are more commonly dropped, and much, much cheaper to buy. They are short-term powerups that increase damage, return health, break mez effects, and so on. As a player levels up they can hold more, up to a maximum of 20. Influence is the currency of CoH and is a numerical valuation of how much people respect you. Influence is mostly used for purchasing enhancements, or changing a characters costume. Salvage is a new form of loot used for Supergroup bases, and is used to construct certain items, like teleporters or power generators. Although there are dozens of kinds of salvage dropped by the various villain groups, they are refined into a limited number of mystical or technological components, making it easy for a SG to combine them into something useful. Prestige is a new form of currency used only for SG bases and is used to increase the base plot size, or to place items - even items built with salvage still require prestige to place. After level 34 players can either earn influence or prestige, but not both simultaneously. Badges are a mostly decorative item used to show to other players what that player has accomplished, and they are rewarded for a variety of different actions. Accolade badges typically have a gameplay benefit, such as a HP or End percentage increase, or the ability to 'respec' powers.
All comic companies have decades worth of stories that cover thousands of books. Although City of Heroes is only a few years old, it is able to draw on those themes to create something far larger than even an MMO can contain.
CoH has given back to its roots by creating its own comic book. The first 12-issue version was sent for free to all current subscribers and covered the story of Apex, War Witch and Horus, three otherwise unknown characters in the CoH universe. In Issue 5 (of game updates, not of the comic) War Witch (in a fashion) became the trainer of the new Croatoa zone, but Apex and Horus have since dissappeared from the official story.
Version 2 of the comic took it to a higher level, with better art and a story involving the stars of CoH, the Freedom Phalanx. Several months into V2, after CoV was launched, the comic was no longer shipped for free to game subscribers, although it is posted online in PDF format for free download by anyone. Although the comic has always been in the same universe as the game, events in one are not always mentioned or carried over to the other.
The comic book also contains several extras; such as fan fiction, fan-created art, Paragon City news, and comic strips that have included the work of Ctrl-Alt-Delete and PvP. Also, through various contests many players have managed to have cameos in the comic with one of their characters.
The Web of Arachnos, by Robert Weinberg, was published by CDS Books in October 2005. In this novel readers learn of the history of Statesman and Lord Recluse, the most important figures in the CoH universe. It covers their origin stories, and how heroes first came to Paragon City.
A final novel, The Rikti War, is due to be published in 2006.
When City of Villains was launched, players who bought the Collectors Edition recieved a demo deck of the new CCG based around either Synapse or Mynx, as well as a Statesman card. Retail decks will be availible soon. In this CCG players control a single hero and potentially a sidekick, and use the powers of that hero to duel another. It is a very fast-paced game designed to mimic PC gameplay closely. So far only hero decks are planned.
On November 12, 2004 it was reported that Marvel Comics, owners of famous comic book properties such as Spider-Man, The X-Men and Captain America were suing NCsoft and Cryptic Studios over City of Heroes.  They claimed that the character creation system enabled players to make superheroes that closely resembled their trademarked characters such as The Hulk and Wolverine. While true, Cryptic Studios specifically forbids these creations in it's EULA. On December 14, 2005, it was reported that both sides settled all legal disputes.