It’s over. An era has ended. After eight years, City of Heroes is gone. There are no more Paragon Protected Zones. On November 30, 2012, Paragon Studios was obliterated and NCsoft decided it was time to move on, which leaves the remaining City of Heroes users with a hole in their hearts.
Let it be said that the City of Heroes fans did try to save their beloved MMO. They pleaded with NCSoft to reconsider, going so far as to put together a petition, an in-game Unity Rally around the Atlas Park city hall and a Save Paragon City! forum. Alas, their voices were not heard, even though the petition collected over 21,000 signatures and players swarmed game in a peaceful demonstration on September 8, 2012.
The question is where we go from here. Now that City of Heroes is gone, we have to look at what other means are available for quenching our thirst for justice. Fortunately, City of Heroes wasn’t the only superhero simulator out there. Other companies have tapped into the childhood dream of getting bitten by a radioactive centipede and given powers that make superhero-dom a reality. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit.
DC Universe Online is a good option. It’s a free-to-play MMO based on DC Comics with optional paid DLC and subscription plans that cost between $9.99 and $14.99 per month. Players create their own, custom hero or a villain, pick a DC Comics hero or villain as a mentor and then can take part in an assortment of quests and storylines. It can be played on the PS3 or Windows PC and is constantly receiving updates. Plus, DC Universe Online is only a year old, so if you join now you’ll find plenty of people to play with and you should be guaranteed at least two or three years of regular updates. It’s pretty similar to City of Heroes, especially since players make their own heroic or villainous avatar.
If you want to get involved in something new, then there’s Marvel Heroes. This is Secret Identity Studios and Gazillion Entertainment’s MMO based upon the Marvel Comics universe. As with the other MMOs, it will be a free-to-play game with a cash shop for extra purchases and will be available for Windows and Mac gamers. The downside is, you won’t be able to create a custom hero. Instead, you choose one of the already available Marvel heroes or heroines and can customize their costume to make them easy to distiguish while playing. It will also be a Diablo-style MMO, which means it will be an action-RPG played from an overhead perspective and groups of players will team up to go through certain areas, fighting enemies and presumably collecting loot. This MMO is currently in the closed beta phase, but you can create an account and try to get into the closed beta. The only thing it has in common with City of Heroes is the general superhero vibe. The gameplay is different, you have fewer customization options and you’re always stuck being the good guy/girl.
If you’d rather not get involved in the DC/Marvel war, then there’s another option. Champions Online is another free-to-play, Windows MMO. As with Marvel Heroes and City of Heroes it has an online cash shop for extra incentives or character archetypes. It also is similar to DC Universe Online in that people can pay $12.99-14.99 per month to subscribe for extra content. City of Heroes players should feel very comfortable coming into Champions Online, as Cryptic Studios first developed City of Heroes before Paragon Studios picked it up. The visuals and gameplay are slightly different, as Champions Online has more of a comic look due to its cel-shaded graphics, small assortment of skills and lack of equipment, but players may welcome the opportunity to play a faster paced game that places more emphasis on action in battles. Besides, the ability to craft special superhero gizmos like rocket boots is awesome. One negative is that your character will be a hero unless inside Stronghold, but you do get to make up to five nemeses for your hero to fight. Champions Online has been around since 2009, so newcomers know it’s stable, there’s plenty of old content to enjoy and there should be a few more years worth of good times ahead.
But what about the people who have been really hurt by City of Heroes‘s closure? They may not be ready to love another superhero MMO again, but still want to get involved in an online game where their character is larger than life and has special abilities. Well, they may want to check out The Secret World. This is a modern-day, Windows MMORPG where players create a character with unusual powers and fights for one of three secret societies, the Illuminati, the Dragons or the Templars. You can also switch between classes at any time. So your character could technically be considered a superhero, but at the same time it’s very different and deals with urban-mythology and conspiracy theories. The downside is that The Secret World is pretty expensive for those used to free-to-play games. You need to pay $29.99 for the game itself to start, and then there’s a $15 monthly subscription fee on top of that. Still, those curious about Funcom’s latest game can take part in a three day free trial, which can extend to five days if the player completes 30 missions within the first three days.
Site [City of Heroes]