City of Heroes – 8 years old
Tomorrow on April 28th is the 8th anniversary for City of Heroes. It is the MMO that is been my “home” for close to 6 years – one may try out different games from time to time, but the lure of virtual spandex always pulls you back into the game.
Or perhaps rather the lure of a great community, casual game play and relatively hassle-free team play. As a veteran it is not a game anymore that satisfies the explorer part in me – done a lot of the good stuff many times and the not so good stuff I do not care so much whether I have done it or not.
But there is certainly a charm in trying out new character concepts and ideas and just have a bit of fun together with fellow gamers. The conversion to a hybrid payment model with City of Heroes Freedom last year did stop the decline in players that was ongoing before and initially also boosted player numbers by a fair amount. I think it probably has stabilized now at a level perhaps slightly higher than before Freedom launch. I do not have any actual hard evidence to back that up, just my gut feeling.
I think for many people it is that “other” MMO which one may play for a bit, to get some variation to the main MMOs one may be playing.
The general manager for Paragon Studios, Brian Clayton, posted a letter to the community writing about the past 8 years. There were few pieces of information that I thought was interesting, including
- It has been 4.5 years since NCSoft bought Cryptic’s share of the game – the game has been under NCSoft/Paragon Studios flag longer than it has been under Cryptic flag – at least during its commercial lifetime.
- 500K accounts have reached max level 50. That is more than throught it would be. I think at its peak the game had maybe 250K-300K subscribers, but as I recall a vast majority back then did not have any character above level 30. It is probably easier now than ever to reach max level – my most recent level 50 reached that point with about the same time effort as reaching the lower 30s a few years ago, perhaps even less.
- 43 million characters created. I have maybe 30 characters myself, although I have probably deleted 10-20 ones over the years also. What is the average and median here? It is an impressive number I think.
One thing that I like with the game as it is now, which Brian Clayton did not cover in his letter is that the overall storyline for the game is changing as well as the role of the player characters in that storyline. It is sometimes subtle (noticeable in dialogue of more recent story arcs) and sometimes a bit less subtle (Statesman, Sister Psyche and Malaise all killed off). While one can play and enjoy the game without considering the lore and the stories, there is some pretty good stuff there if one puts in the effort to explore it.
Anyway, enough rambling for today – happy anniversary City of Heroes!