Author Topic: What made City of Heroes unique for you?  (Read 9460 times)

Blondeshell

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What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« on: March 04, 2015, 09:50:12 PM »
<retrieved from the Web Archive after having been purged from the Plan Z discussion forum>

<originally crossposted from the official forums on October 16, 2012, in case some people hadn't seen it there>

A while back I had posted a list of characteristics that made City of Heroes different from some, if not all, other MMOs. The list was phrased in such a way that it was sufficiently generic, but could be understood by players of other MMOs, so as to disguise its identity. The coworkers I showed it to were actually surprised and intrigued by some of these characteristics, even more so that they could all be found in one game.
 
I thought it might be time to revisit this idea, if not as a checklist of features of games any of us might consider playing in the future, then simply for nostalgia's sake. So here's the newly updated list, with tenses changed to past.
 
-----------------------

I knew an MMO that...
  • Had over eight years worth of content and updates
  • Was the first, and still the most popular, MMO of its genre
  • Didn’t limit you to only playing one realm per server
  • Never went through a server merge
  • * Had 14 different classes from which to choose
  • * Gave you access to 192 characters slots out of the box, with the option to quadruple that amount
  • * Had over 1200 different ability set combinations for each of those 768 potential character slots at character creation, with nearly 3 billion total different combinations available
  • Allowed each character to have three different builds, enabling even more customization of ability sets
  • Let you customize the visual effects of your abilities, with no reduction in their effectiveness
  • Let you preview your abilities during character creation and costume modification
  • Didn’t boost your character’s abilities by simply wearing clothes that often didn’t match
  • Decoupled your character's appearance from its abilities, providing complete freedom during the costume creation process
  • * Had literally trillions of costume combinations available right out of the box, with hundreds more costume pieces you could earn, unlock, craft, or purchase, making over 4.5 quindecillion (4.5 x 10^48) total combinations per costume
  • * Allowed each character to have up to 10 different costumes/appearances that you could switch to at any time
  • Allowed you to write publicly-viewable bios/backgrounds for your characters
  • Allowed you to create an actual evil character rather than one who was simply opposed to another in-game faction/alignment/race
  • * Allowed you to change your character's alignment from "good" to "evil" and back again, or stop at multiple points in-between
  • * Gave you special abilities that were only available to your character's current alignment
  • Didn’t base your character’s advancement on gear that could break, get lost, need repairing, or be stolen
  • Didn’t involve politics or endless need/greed rolls for loot distribution – all drops were 100% random for every member of your team and dropped instantly directly to your character
  • * Had a cross-server marketplace with complete anonymity between buyers and sellers, and opacity of selling and asking prices
  • * Allowed you to obtain any drop you wanted or needed through the market or through regular play within a reasonable amount of time
  • Allowed you to convert unwanted drops into something useable for your character
  • Allowed you to save up in-game rewards to be able to purchase specific drops without having to use the market system at all
  • Didn’t require membership in a guild to participate in content
  • * Allowed you to build massive guildhouses with medical, crafting, storage, and transportation facilities
  • * Had 20 different methods of transiting between game zones, including across realms, resulting in some of the fastest play and travel times of any MMO
  • Didn't use pointless backtracking along explicitly-defined paths as a time sink for traveling between quests and contacts
  • Gave you the ability to call contacts directly rather than having to return to them for your next quest
  • Gave you your own travel abilities instead of using super-expensive mounts – or offered one for purchase cheaply at level 1 if you didn’t want to take an ability
  • Was the first MMO to allow your character to be capable of fully unrestricted and untimed flight, without gliding or using mounts
  • Allowed your character to fall from any height without dieing or swim in any water without drowning
  • Didn't place silly restrictions on your character's movement around game zones - "You want to climb that hill over there that you'd be able to in real life? Sure, go ahead!"
  • Didn’t have XP loss or make you run back to your body when you died
  • Left your character with all their stuff when you logged back in – nothing decayed
  • Didn’t require spawn camping for specific kills/objectives – quests were your own private instances for you and your team
  • Didn't automatically force you to team with other people simply because of where you were or what you were doing
  • Didn't require you to "gather ten of those plants to make a good soup" or "kill five of those predators to protect my herd" - 99% of quests were combat-oriented "go punch somebody in the face"
  • Used actual opening and closing doors for quest instances, providing better immersion in the game world
  • * Had a crafting system that anyone could use without grinding raids
  • Didn’t penalize your character’s advancement or participation in content for not using that crafting system
  • Always gave you entirely new abilities when you leveled up, rather than just more powerful versions of old ones
  • Scaled your abilities' effectiveness as you leveled up, making them just as useful at max level as at level one
  • Allowed you to enhance different characteristics of your abilities, either with or without using the crafting system
  • Provided multiple opportunities to respecify your character's abilities and enhancements, without spending any real money
  • Had complete transparency of your abilities’ stats and costs so you could see exactly what they did and what you wanted to enhance as you leveled up
  • Didn’t require your character’s build to be min/maxed to be effective, though you could do it to your heart’s content if you chose
  • * Had over 140 levels of content across three different realms that could be soloed at will by anyone willing to do so
  • Enabled players to find level-appropriate content with a single click, thus eliminating XP "dead zones"
  • * Gave players the option to travel to other realms to experience content on a non-PvP basis
  • Had PvP but didn’t require you to participate in it to advance your character
  • Had compelling stories and quests to encourage players to enjoy the journey to the level cap – the game didn’t "Start at Level X"
  • Allowed you to go back and play lower-level content you might have missed, with full XP credit
  • Didn’t have an ever-increasing level cap that invalidated or made obsolete lower level characters, content, and equipment
  • Allowed you to create 8-person teams, or up to 48-person leagues for larger group content
  • Allowed you to team with anyone for most content, regardless of their level, and still earn XP credit
  • Allowed you to team with players of opposite alignments for co-operative content
  • Didn’t require the "Holy Trinity" (Tank/Healer/DPS) for group composition – any combination of characters was viable for virtually all content
  • Used Buffing and De-buffing characters as "force multipliers," making your team much more powerful than you would have been without them
  • Allowed you to customize quests to be easier for the solo player, or as difficult as being on a full team by yourself
  • Let you call fighting 10-on-1 a fair fight, where you were the 1
  • Had a power-to-level-difference ratio such that your character couldn't still be defeated by an enemy mob five levels below you
  • Automatically scaled enemy quantities and ranks based on team size so quests weren't pointlessly easy or insanely hard
  • Had a Pet/Summoning class which could have buffs, de-buffs, healing, and damage all rolled into one fully-controllable "Army of Seven"
  • Had multiple tiers of consumable buffs/potions (obtainable as drops or purchased from contacts or the market) that increased your health, endurance/mana, accuracy, damage output, damage resistance, defense, or protection from status effects, or rezzed your character from defeat
  • Allowed you to combine unwanted consumables into a specific one you needed
  • Didn't restrict repeated consumable usage to a pre-defined interval
  • Allowed stacking use of consumables (either the same one or different ones) that could turn your character into a nigh-indestructible damage-dealing god for a short time
  • Would auto-rez your character if you leveled up while defeated on the battlefield, while also applying all top-tier consumable buffs simultaneously
  • * Had a quest creator that allowed any player to make their own quests of whatever difficulty they wanted
  • * Had tens of thousands of solo-friendly quests made by other players up and available to play
  • * Had an end-game system that could be used by solo players
  • Allowed you to pause multi-quest "dungeons" to finish later at your convenience
  • * Had over 50 "dungeons," trials, and raids, ranging from level 1 to 50, and beyond
  • * Had nearly 1400 in-game achievements you could earn, the earliest of which pre-dated the Xbox Live Achievement system by over a year
  • * Had over 450 chat line commands that allowed you to do things such as interact with other players, change the UI, or activate powers
  • Allowed you to combine those chat line commands into powerful keybinds or one-click macros, providing an unparalleled system for customizing your game experience
  • * Had over 250 emotes your character could perform, including when switching costumes/appearance
  • Had a demo recording and playback function that allowed you to record in-game activities, or edited to create your own machinima productions
  • Allowed you to save/load costumes, preferences, and UI customizations for use on other characters
  • * Had global chat abilities that allowed you to talk to other players on other servers, regardless of the character names or realms on which they were playing
  • Allowed you to create your own and/or belong to up to 15 global chat channels
  • Had both local server and global friends lists, as well as a global ignore list for spammers or offensive players
  • Allowed you to take in-game notes on players that would be visible to you regardless of their current character
  • Had multiple levels of publicly hiding yourself from other players, allowing your gameplay to be as social or as private as you chose
  • Had developers who actually played the game, and who would occasionally log in as critical lore-based NPCs and roleplay them on the live servers
  • Would frequently have features added to the game that were specifically requested by players and implemented by the development team
  • Let you fight time-traveling alien Nazis with giant robots in Ancient Rome (yes, really)
  • Had one of the friendliest, most mature, and most helpful communities of any MMO yet to exist on the market
Does it sound too good to be true for all of these features to have been in a single game?

It wasn't. I played it for years.
 
* Feature required micro-transaction purchase and/or active subscription to fully access.

----------------------

Some notes on the information:
  • Transit methods include direct (e.g. Atlas Park to Steel Canyon), train, ferry, helicopter, TUNNEL, Ouroboros, Pocket D, Midnighter Club, Vanguard base, smuggler ship, Portal Industries portal, Hortha vine, Submariner Janus, auction house TP, mission TP, base TP, long range TP, lighted path TP, DA portals, and Mistress Eva/Carter Mordesen portals
  • Ability set combinations include Primary, Secondary, Pool, Epic, and Incarnate sets, but NOT individual combinations of powers within those sets. I'm not even sure how one could accurately calculate individual power combinations.
  • Costume piece total includes every piece that was available to unlock on both live and beta servers, excluding weapon customizations.

<last updated on August 1, 2014>

Blackout

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2015, 11:58:55 PM »
The gritty art style, the slightly retro sound effects, and the near unparallelled potential for creativity. Although I still wish we could have gotten pet customization for masterminds.

Paragon Avenger

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2015, 05:20:53 AM »
The PUGS or pick up groups were usually great.  What a user community.
I don't know when City of Heroes will return, or do I?

Angel Phoenix77

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2015, 06:12:02 AM »
I loved the setting and the story :)
One day the Phoenix will rise again.

Safehouse

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2015, 12:48:30 PM »
It had an atmosphere that I haven't really found anywhere else. A lighter mood that could get serious at times, but it never took itself too seriously. And that's a big thing with me - I've found that a lot of MMOs, like movies, tv shows and books nowadays, get caught up in their own importance, and when that happens it loses something for me.

As you said, the fact that it was solo friendly was a huge thing for me. I said this in another thread, but I'll reiterate here: I never HAD to team. It left the choice up to me, which made me more inclined to WANT to team.

The music was lovely; simple, short, never overbearing.

It had sound effects. I loved to just stop and listen to the city sounds. They really did well with that.

The devs were active, and they respected a community that respected them. Also a wonderful community.

I really FELT like a hero when I was playing. It was awesome.
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Last Seen: Wandering the empty streets of the evacuated Paragon City.

Waffles

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2015, 04:57:13 PM »
Logging into any of my characters, and no matter what, each one was different than the other, if only one powerset choice was different.

Going Dynasty Warriors on a room full of people.

Warshades, Literally never played a class even remotely like it in any game ever, it was so fun.

Mastermind, Now -that- is a pet class.

The non-cartoony artstyle (I can't stand champion's design, it's too goddamn goofy.)

AmberOfDzu

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2015, 05:55:08 PM »
You could not only make global chat channels, but you could administer them, including making them private, blocking people from them, silencing people who made trouble, sharing administration workload with others, and so on. Your community could be as open and free-wheeling or as tight and controlled as you wanted or needed it to be.

Whereas most of today's MMO's have railroad-straight leveling arcs to the max level; you could play the game through many times on different themed sets of contacts and story arcs.

Teikiatsu

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2015, 07:38:07 PM »
Thank you so much, I'd been looking for this list for a while :)

Having access to so many slots on one server, the options of travel powers combine with pools and temps meant I could roll a second toon with the same primary and secondary but still have a completely different experience.  Then when multiple build became available it was like I doubled my number of characters!
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FlyingCarcass

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2015, 08:37:41 PM »
The character creator was my favorite thing from CoH/V. I liked thinking up or being inspired by a character concept and then being able to create and play that character concept.

Floride

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2015, 08:55:15 PM »
86b - Had Developers on hand 24/7 who you could request to log in and fix a bugged mission/TF/SF/Trial so you and/or your team wouldn't lose hours and hours of progress.

Maybe it's not worded perfectly but usually their response time was astounding.
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Ultimate15

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 09:42:31 PM »
1.) Lore/Theme of the game (everything from the Freedom Phalanx to the back story of Paragon City and all it's zones - loved it all)
2.) Character creator and power sets (never would you find any two heroes/villains whom were completely similar)
3.) System of game play (you could solo if you wanted, or find a team just as easily)
4.) The community of players (Virtue 4lyfe)

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zuaros

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 10:23:11 PM »
I loved the ragdoll knockback. You guys fiddle with hold duration if you like, but I'll punch that Freak across the room when he gets near me, or threatens my friend. Twas very action-movie.

Drauger9

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2015, 10:59:04 PM »
The things I liked the most about City of Heroes.

1. I could play MY way, I could solo if I wanted to, I could team if I wanted to. I could drop the difficulty down if I wanted to or turn it up if I wanted to. I could street sweep if I wanted to or do missions if I wanted to.

2.I felt like my characters where really mine. I made them from scratch, I choose every detail about them. Their name, their clothes, their origin, their powers. How their powers looked and some times how they animated.

3.I felt like I was really a super heroe, walking into a room of +4x8 mobs and being able to beat them solo. Who wouldn't feel powerful after that?

4. No Holy Trinity, I liked that I didn't have to worry about wither or not my character. Fit into the Tank/DPS/Healer mold. My character (as with the case of my bots/dark MM) could be alittle of both. He could tank (I took taunt in a power pool), DPS (with his bots), heal and do alittle crowd control too.

5. They had more than one pet class and they kinda scaled if you think about it. Doms and controllers for the people that wanted pets but didn't want to micro manage them. THEN MASTER MINDS (my favorite), you could micro manage as much or as little as you wanted with them. Master minds in my oppion should be the stander for all pet classes for all MMOs ever. You had as much control over your pets as you wanted.

6. The gear grind (or in this case IO grind), you didn't need them. You could play your character (before incarnates, which you didn't even have to become an incarnate) with out IO sets forever. So you could choose how much or how little you would grind for IOs.

doc7924

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2015, 05:22:37 PM »
The whole design of it was great - I've been in the game since 2004 and the few months were good but after a while it felt like a real city. I was able to stop looking at the maps all the time to figure out where to go, or the shortcuts to get around.

Plus as someone said it was all original stuff, so it felt new and fresh.

In fact COH was the first and only MMO I played until it closed - then I tried Champions and DCU.

Champions is more like COH than DCU, since it was the same developers, and I think DCU is a little more polished, but neither can hold Stateman's jockstrap when it comes to core gameplay or team dynamics of COH.

I could log into COH and stay on for 5 or 6 hours, or more. with the other games I get bored after 1 or 2 hours and log off.

Plus after I got a few good level 50's, it was fun to help low people with stuff or just chat with them or I used to give them influence or things to sell just to help them out.

I was actually sad and cried a little when I read they were shutting down, I just couldn't believe it - after 8 years COH would be no more.

At least with the ICON shell, I can do into the zones and at least see them again and appreciate all the work that went into the design.


Waffles

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2015, 07:56:07 PM »
Another thing to add.

The developers knew exactly how to develop the game for the fans, rather than for themselves.

It's really hard for me to articulate this effectively, but anyone who was there for the first year, then stuck with it for the longest times (Excluding some breaks) knows -exactly- what i'm talking about

doc7924

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2015, 09:40:14 PM »
Another thing to add.

The developers knew exactly how to develop the game for the fans, rather than for themselves.

It's really hard for me to articulate this effectively, but anyone who was there for the first year, then stuck with it for the longest times (Excluding some breaks) knows -exactly- what i'm talking about

The only 'sort of' complaint I have is towards the end I feel they made it too easy and friendly to get around the zones or get things done. I loved when Founders could only be accessed from Talos or if you wanted to go from the Yellow Line to the Green Line you actually had to go to the other station.

Or making just about every trainer also a tailor. Part of the lowbie fun was getting that extra costume slot at 10 and trying to get to Icon in Steel, or sometimes easier - from Kings Row to the Icon in IP.

Still - I would have it all back in a heartbeat if I could.




Paragon Avenger

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2015, 06:43:31 AM »
I really liked the pants are optional policy.
I don't know when City of Heroes will return, or do I?

Vee

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2015, 07:01:05 AM »
I really liked the pants are optional policy.
I take it you didn't play on triumph where pants were never an option :P

Ironwolf

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2015, 05:12:37 PM »
When I logged into the game for the first time, I heard the Atlas park theme music and saw people flying, jumping and teleporting.

I saw every type of creature from robot to leather clad alien dominatrix. This is where diversity lived. It is where you were a hero most noble or a villain most base.

The game fed the soul.

I had a rule in the game - never back down, ever. I gave up a grand total of once in 8 years on a mission. It was in the reactor room of the Respec Trials when they first came out and were horribly bugged. We faced Freakshow tanks that were +6 to us. We could not even get to the reactor and one by one the rest left until only 3 of us were trying. We got to the doorway to the reactor and a Freaktank wiped all of us out almost instantly, we quit as well.

I find nothing that comes close in any other game to feeling like a hero.

doc7924

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Re: What made City of Heroes unique for you?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2015, 01:18:34 AM »
I remember the excitement of getting my first hero to level 6 so I could hover and just was in love with the game at that point slowly floating around or up to rooftops.

I feel lucky being there from almost the beginning, being able to see all the changes and improvements over the 8 years.

When I started there was no Hollows or even a PI yet. No tailor to change anything once you created a hero.
I had just gotten a new PC that year and bought Freedom Force. Then I saw adverts for COH in comic books and game magazines but didn't think anything of it - I never touched an MMO and never would.

Then one day in CompUSA I saw this and thought I would give it a try after all. And 8 years later I was still there.