Recently, while I was researching another article I came across an interesting bit of information about Salamanca, better known as Croatoa. This information raised a lot of questions for me and is something that had somehow managed to slip by me for the last 15 years. Croatoa is a 3-hour train ride from Paragon City. Yes, unlike so many other websites that will try to string you along to the very end I’m putting the main subject of this article at the very start and in the title. Because, while this revelation is somewhat shocking, I think the more interesting thing is the impact it has on the world of Paragon City.
To begin I think it’s important to get an idea of just how far we’re talking. Paragon City is, as we know in Rhode Island in the United States. Many people, myself included use the capital city, Providence as a real-world stand-in for Paragon City. If, as I said before, Croatoa is a 3-hour train ride from Paragon City in the real world we are looking at the equivalence of a trip from Providence to the border of the state of Maine, 120 miles away. This trip would take you through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and along the full length of the New Hampshire coast. Needless to say, this is no short trip. To put this in further context, it is like taking a train across the island of Ireland from Dublin to Galway, from one coast to the other.
Go the Distance
The most pressing issue with Salamanca being so far away from Paragon City is that it takes forever to respond to a crisis. You’re never going to be able to respond to a bomb threat there or one of the two giant monsters that live nearby rampaging through the little town. The response time is going to be abysmal. At least until you have supergroups with portals and teleport options that will get you there instantly. Or you’re a member of the Midnighter Club. Though I imagine ol’ Monty doesn’t like people using the clubhouse as a shortcut. With Croatoa being so far away you would think that there would be a portal set up somewhere so that if the alarm goes off a hero (or group of them) can be called to step in immediately rather than having to sit for 3 hours on the train.
I Like Trains
Having every one of Paragon City’s trains go out to Salamanca doesn’t make sense. For a trip that long they wouldn’t be using the little city trams that you see in the game. Also, what happens if you miss your stop in Independence Port? That’s the last stop according to the map before the train heads to Salamanca. Are you then stuck on the train for the rest of the ride? It seems far more likely that they only have two trains every 3 hours that travels back and forth from Steel Canyon (North) to Croatoa and back. They would also be using a completely different type of train that would travel faster. Perhaps that’s why it takes 3 hours to get there. Google maps calculates the real distance times by trains that are designed for those long distances. City trams are much slower and would, therefore, go a smaller distance in 3 hours. Could that travel time be cut down to just an hour? I think it might be time to fire someone in the Paragon City Transport Authority.
After you’ve taken the 3 hour trip all the way to Croatoa chances are you aren’t going to want to hop back on the train and go right back to Paragon. As someone who has done the Dublin to Galway trip and back again on the same day, I can tell you it’s not an experience I want to repeat. So, Salamanca is going to need some more hotels. I also imagine that in this superhero world, there would be more heroes who are dedicated only to the protection of the cute little magical village. If that were the case the dynamic of the area would change quickly. You wouldn’t have witches and fir bolg in the streets. The ghosts would likely stay because every old-timey sleepy village needs some ghosts. The ongoing Tuatha de Dannon problem would be solved and before long you’d be standing behind one in line at the local café.
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday in City of Heroes and this is partly because I love running Monster Mash teams in Talos. But, with Croatoa being 3 hours away I have to call the presence of these monsters into question. The Unseelie Court summon them from Salamanca, I have no problem with that. But where is the Unseelie Court the rest of the year? If they were anywhere near Paragon City they would be spotted and dealt with. Instead, it is far more likely that they are in the woods around Salamanca. But with it being so far away I have to wonder, how are they getting to Paragon? Do they take the train? I would hope that someone would notice that and inform the driver. Or are they walking/floating? If so the trip takes nearly 2 full days to complete. Maybe this is why they only come around once a year? It’s a bit of an odd pilgrimage for them? A religious experience even.
Finally, there is what I consider to be the smallest issue of them all but one that I’m sure will irritate someone. If Croatoa is indeed 120 miles from Paragon City the scale on the map in-game is all wrong.
Ultimately, none of this really has any impact on the game. It also seems far more likely that Salamanca isn’t 120 miles away from Paragon but that because they’re using the slow trams meant for travel in a city it takes forever to get there and back. 3 hours is still a terrible response time for a crisis though, no matter how far away it is. I always assumed that Salamanca was just 20 minutes outside of the city by train. That seemed perfectly reasonable for a rural suburb. I’m curious to know how far away you thought Croatoa was from Paragon City, let’s take the conversation to the comments.