As you may have heard, the first superhero MMO City of Heroes is closing down its servers after 8 years. My initial reaction was one of zero shock. NCSoft has a terrible track record when it comes to MMOs and keeping them going. I guess it’s something of an achievement that it made it this long though. 6 other games have had very short runs there.
I thought the superhero concept was pretty cool and fun. I was even happier and actually started playing when they added villains to the mix. I played a mastermind (shown above), as I generally favor pet classes. It looked like a great class for me. Unfortunately, one of the problems I had in this game was an inability to maneuver through some of the dungeon spaces when I had a nice group of pets going. It was that and the generally repetitive nature of “go to this randomly arranged group of rooms in one of a few styles” that led me to stop playing. I think I was also influenced by some other games that were coming out. I thought of coming back and messing around a bit once they went free-to-play, but my character class was locked and I would have to pay to unlock it. I think that right there was one of the worst ideas. It nearly happened with Everquest 2, but there was such an outcry when they announced it. Much to everyone’s delight, they listened and every character that was made before the launch of Free-to-Play did not have to be unlocked. They eventually followed suit with their other games and their F2P options.
Anyway, it’s a shame to hear about a game like this closing down. It appeared to still have a decent following, based on the number of servers I saw. I think it would have fared a little better under another publisher. This was one of 3 NCSoft games I played that they shut down. The other two were Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa. Both of those were also great concepts, but things didn’t last long for them. AA only lasted a year and TR was even less than that. I’d LOVE to see another vehicular combat MMO, but I doubt that will happen. It’s probably too much of a niche.