One Year Since City of Heroes’ Return
Today it has been one year since the first new City of Heroes server went online and a lot has happened in that time. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at everything that has gone on over the last year on the various City of Heroes servers.
It all started with the revelation that there was a secret City of Heroes server that had been running quietly for some time. Once that news was out in the open a server that the general public could access was quickly put together. That server was only live for a few days however before legal concerns began to mount. There were reports that NCSoft was made aware of that server and that they were investigating it. The legal threat that was received turned out to be a fake, but it was enough to concern the leadership of the new server. This resulted in the owner of the server shutting it down as he had a family to think about. Between April 16th and April 22nd, more than 14,000 people signed up to play on that server. It wouldn’t be long before a new server came along.
It was April 24th when Homecoming, the biggest and most popular of all the City of Heroes server groups took shape. At the same time, the Reddit supported Pleiades server was beginning to come together. In just 2 days, on City of Heroes’ 15th birthday, there were 30,000 people registered to play the game. Queues to play went on for weeks despite the fact that more servers were being opened all the time. It was a fantastic time to be in-game, reuniting with long lost friends and recreating your old favorite characters.
At the beginning of May, the Homecoming server asked for its first monthly donation, just enough to keep the lights on. In just 20 minutes they managed to raise nearly, $7,000 and people were complaining, yes, actually complaining that it happened so quickly they weren’t able to donate. This would continue to be a theme for much of the year as people were eager to help out where they could.
By the end of May, there were 91,000 people who had made City of Heroes accounts. Most of those accounts were on the Homecoming servers which has, from the very beginning been the primary place people prefer to play.
At the start of June, the Reddit supported Pleiades server was shut down for good due to personal differences between the leadership team and the person who was funding the server.
While all of this was going on, negotiations were taking place in the background with NCSoft. The Homecoming servers announced that they were part of these negotiations. So far nothing has come from these negotiations and it cannot even be said for certain that they are still going. But, that is the nature of private negotiations.
On October 1st, Homecoming introduced the first new power pool, Force of Will. This was a pool that Paragon Studios had planned and revealed before the shutdown of the game but never actually got the opportunity to release. That month we also had our first Halloween back in Paragon City and, as someone who has always thought the City of Heroes Halloween Event was the best event in all MMOs, I have to admit I was glad to have it back.
It wasn’t until March that Homecoming got its next patch that introduced something new to the game. This one introduced another of the power pools that Paragon had started called Experimentation. It was also the introduction of the first new powerset since the servers had gone online called Electrical Affinity. The powerset is available for Controllers, Corruptors, Defenders, and Masterminds. That patch also separated auras into two types and allowed for asymmetrical gloves and boots.
COXG aka Thunderspy
CoXG, also known as Thunderspy has been the other big server hard at work making changes to the game. A lot of their early updates were quality of life types of things. In November they gave the Arachnos ATs a boost with new passives. These have made both Soldiers and Widows far more attractive to play. Their first new powerset came in December and was actually a double whammy! They introduced Sacred Armor, what they call a life-flavored powerset as well as Hard Life Melee, described as Hobo with a shotgun.
In February they introduced Mastermind Pet customization, which is easily the most exciting thing that has happened to City of Heroes since it’s return. At least it is to me. They’ve also been doing quite a lot of work on enhancing character customization, both with new costumes, and separating parts into different categories so you can do things like have horns and wear glasses.
Rebirth has had a few interesting updates, the biggest being the introduction of Guardians, a new Archetype with Assault primaries and secondaries that are a blend of light support and survivability. I’ve not had the opportunity to play on Rebirth myself, but this AT does sound amazing and you can expect a write up on it very soon.
While it may not seem like a lot has happened over the last year you have to remember that development on these servers is an uphill battle. All of the servers are being developed by volunteers in their spare time, without access to the original tools the game developers would have had. With time you can expect these updates to come more frequently as the developers get more familiar with what they can and cannot do. Who knows where City of Heroes will be in a year.