City of Heroes

Spotlight

VideoCity of Heroes celebrates Issue 20

"Incarnates" update available now.

VideoCity of Heroes' Issue 20 teaser

NCsoft preps latest free update.

Physical Education

What went wrong and what next for the beleaguered PhysX card.

Key events

City of Heroes wasn't even close to the first MMORPG I ever played, but it was the first that understood that even Level 1 can feel awesome. It didn't simply let you play as a superhero. It let you feel like a superhero, hurling fire, swinging swords, controlling the minds of lesser men and more. Best of all, with a character creation system no MMORPG has ever beaten, it was your superhero. Other people might have the same powers. None would be quite like you.

NCsoft: COH is a "flourishing franchise"

Sequel not ruled out. Expansion dated.

NCsoft has responded to yesterday's City of Heroes 2 trademark sighting. There was no direct comment, but the MMO specialist was happy to hint at a long future ahead of the series.

City of Heroes wants you back

Big reactivation push next weekend.

NCsoft is planning a major City of Heroes push for next weekend, hoping to rekindle the superhero flame with reactivation treats.

City of Heroes ups customisation

Issue 16: Power Spectrum launches.

NCsoft's long-running superhero MMO City of Heroes has released its 16th free update, Issue 16: Power Spectrum.

City of Heroes Issue 15 released

5th Column missions, Architect improvements.

NCsoft has updated its long-running superhero MMO City of Heroes with Issue 15: Anniversary, so named to celebrate the game's five years in operation.

City of Heroes: Mission Architect

Popping the quest in.

As you may be aware, the Issue 14 update to City of Heroes included the Mission Architect, which opened the game to player-created missions.

City of Heroes Issue 15 announced

City of Heroes Issue 15 announced

Celebrating 5 years with Anniversary.

NCsoft has announced that the next major update to its superhero MMO, City of Heroes, is in development. It's to be called Issue 15: Anniversary.

The title is a tribute to the fact that, earlier this week, the game celebrated its fifth birthday.

Anniversary will mostly consist of an update to the Mission Architect content-creation system added to the game earlier this month in Issue 14: Architect. New features, content, options and improved usability are all promised. New costumes, faces and mission options for villains and heroes will be included.

Read more

COH dev "astounded" by user content

Over 20,000 fan-made missions already.

City of Heroes lead designer Matt Miller is "astounded" by the community response to recent update Issue 14: Architect, revealing that players made more Mission Arcs in one day than his team had in five years.

Champions recruits beta testers from COH

Champions recruits beta testers from COH

Superhero MMO rivalry turns sour.

Crytpic Studios has admitted to contacting players of NCsoft's City of Heroes through that game's official forums and in-game messaging system, inviting them to the beta test of its own game, Champions Online.

The move has been interpreted as the first hostile shot in the coming war of the superhero MMOs. Cryptic, having developed City of Heroes itself before parting company with NCsoft, clearly wants to win back the audience for the genre it created.

According to a post by one of his employees (spotted by Massively), Champions Online's community manager Ivan Sulic said, "a few of our employees thought it might be a good idea to contact avid MMO notables and various guild leaders floating about to see if they wanted to test".

Read more

City of Heroes converted to Mac

It only took five years.

NCsoft has released an Apple Mac version of its superhero MMO, City of Heroes. It's available as a digital download from the PlayNC store for GBP 9.99 or USD 19.99.

City of Heroes: Issue 13

Get a job, loser.

As updates to fading MMOs go, a feature that rewards you for not playing stands as one of the odder ones. City of Heroes' European servers are already the wrong side of desolate - so exactly how is encouraging players to stay offline going to help? Cuts down on server costs, maybe.

City of Heroes Issue 13 goes live

Mac version on the way, beta soon.

NCsoft has released the latest free update to its long-running superhero MMO, City of Heroes. It's also ready to start beta testing an Apple Mac version of the game.

City of Heroes mission editor delayed

New buddy system coming instead.

NCsoft has delayed the Architect update to its superhero MMO City of Heroes, which was to allow players to design their own missions.

City of Heroes Issue 13 announced

City of Heroes Issue 13 announced

"Architect" offers mission editor and day jobs.

NCsoft has announced the title and main features of the next free content update for its superhero MMO, City of Heroes. Issue 13: Architect, the developer confirmed, will include a way for players to create their own mission content.

Players will be able to design missions and story arcs, and share them with the entire community of City of Heroes and City of Villains. The interface will apparently be similar to the game's famously powerful character creation, and allow you to pick environments, objectives and enemies as well as write dialogue.

Missions that are successful with the community stand the chance of unlocking rewards for their creators. Troubled MMO The Saga of Ryzom has attempted user-created-content before, but to our knowledge, City of Heroes will be the first major MMO to include this feature.

Read more

City of Heroes

Is there still power in the Midnight Hour?

I remember those thronging streets. Towns where you couldn't walk a foot down the sidewalk without bumping into a collection of uber-powered folks, ready to fight crime in all its forms. I remember staring at the vast crowds gathered around Ms Liberty in Atlas Park, a sea of the brightly coloured, winged, robotic, muscular and lithe. Paragon City was a thriving metropolis.

City of Heroes: Issue 12 released

Major changes arrive, click for a free trial.

The latest free content update to NCsoft's superhero MMO, City of Heroes/City of Villains, is now live on all servers.

City of Dress-Up

Why City of Heroes' character creator remains MMOs' finest hour.

Of all the MMOs in all the world, there's no happier moment for me than logging into City of Heroes after a few months away. Not into the game world - just the character selection screen. Laid out for me there is my curious history with the game, a half-dozen angelic, demonic, mutated, comical creations all of my own. No-one else in the world sees the same screen, and that never fails to excite me.

MMO patch news roundup

MMO patch news roundup

Pirates, Heroes, Galaxies, Tabula.

It's a busy time on the test servers at NCsoft and Sony Online Entertainment. Patches for the former's City of Heroes and Tabula Rasa and the latter's Pirates of the Burning Sea and Star Wars Galaxies are imminent (or in the case of SWG, just out).

Pirates developer Flying Lab has announced that the swashbuckling MMO's next patch, 1.3, will go live on the test server on April 8th. The patch will include a user interface overhaul, a duelling mode, revamped player-vs-player rewards, some new environments for on-foot combat missions, more group-focused seafaring missions, and the long-awaited, much-delayed completion of the French colonial capital, Pointe-a-Pitre.

Watch out for Eurogamer's equally long-awaited, much-delayed review of Pirates of the Burning Sea on the MMO channel later this week.

Read more

City of Heroes weekend draws crowds

1300 attend. Some sleep in chairs.

NCsoft and Birmingham's Omega Sektor gaming centre have revealed that 1300 people attended their City of Heroes event over the Easter weekend, and raised GBP 3000 for charity.

The best MMO April Fools

Blizzard wins. Again.

There isn't much in the way of fresh MMO news this morning, because the world of massively multiplayer gaming spent most of yesterday trying to outdo itself - and every other section of the gaming industry - in an orgy of funny fakery. And we have to say it did rather well.

Plenty of life in MMOs

All-star panel says so.

In a packed Games Convention Developer's Conference today, four of the industry's leading online game developers discussed the prospect of Life After World of Warcraft, GamesIndustry.biz reports - and all agreed that there's a lot more to come for the genre.

City of Heroes: Issue 9 Update

City of Heroes: Issue 9 Update

Superman-size issues.

We haven't talked about City of Heroes for a while now. Even with an MMO in development stasis, that leaves whole stories untold. If you don't change the game, the players and their interactions alter. But when we're talking about a living game, which is expanding the content and providing new skills for players to experiment with, there's a whole story being left untold.

So, just shy of a year since our last visit, with their latest update ("Issue") now live, this seems as good a time as any to dust off the spandex and reintroduce the fist of justice to the malevolent mobs of Paragon City.

There are changes. I notice the first one immediately, coo at it for a few seconds, then call up an AIM window to tell John Walker about it.

Read more

Physical Education

Physical Education

What went wrong and what next for the beleaguered PhysX card.

Testing a theory, I conducted an experiment. Calling up a friend who plays PC games but whose technical knowledge ends at realising that he needs to buy (or beg me to build for him) a faster machine every few years, I enquired as to whether he had a physics card. As predicted, he was frightened and confused by the question. Without one, he asked, was his PC somehow incapable of physics? But he could use the gravity gun in Half-Life 2. That had physics, right? So what was he missing, oh God what was he missing? I might as well have asked him if his rig had a water card, or a skin processor. Attempts to explain the purpose of the physics card didn't help greatly, and only further highlighted one of the factors keeping the nascent tech dead in the water. The Ageia PhysX physics accelerator card is trying to fix a problem that no-one thinks they have.

This week saw the release of Cellfactor: Revolution, a game originally intended to be a full-blooded celebration of PhysX. If you've played it, without or without an add-in physics card, you'll know that, despite some impressive parlour tricks, it's not a game - it's just a fancy tech demo riddled with problems. Given the year old PhysX's failure to set the world on non-framerate-bothering fire, it's all-too-easy to speculate that Cellfactor's original ambition has been brutally castrated. Why spend all that cash and developer brainjuice on a promotional tool for something that seems to have failed already? The card had a disastrous start last year. Its first big game, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, initially ran worse when PhysXed up, while a public beta of Cellfactor was quickly hacked to run almost all its gimmicks without the card. Since then, it's all been a bit quiet, and there's very few outside of its parent company Aegia who currently feel the physics processing unit has a long and prosperous future.

PhysX, of course, isn't dead yet, and even if it does pass away quietly in the night, Ageia will survive for a while offering its software physics engine to developers as a rival to the more established Havok. This offers the same kind of floppy bodies and bouncing crates as is possible using the hardware acceleration of the card, but on a less grand scale and at greater in-game speed cost. At any rate, this piece is not intended to be a burial, but rather a fitness test for what may well turn out to be a final tour of duty.

Read more

Give City of Heroes a try

Eurogamer's got the key.

Always teetering on the border of good and evil? Can't decide whether to feed your cat or kill it? Well, Eurogamer's got the remedy.

Wings aren't all they seem

CoH artist details new flappers.

City of Heroes has undergone countless transformations since it was first launched. But perhaps the most-pined-after addition has yet to be fully included: wings.

City of Heroes gets crafty

New features added.

NCsoft has announced it will be adding crafting to City of Heroes / Villains by introducing a new Invention System, which will allow players to equip user-created items to enhance a character's super powers.

Heroes to Safeguard Paragon

New mission type revealed for upcoming CoH update.

Old heroes never die - they just get updated with brand new content that makes them all fresh, sparkly, new and interesting. Actually, that's probably not true of old heroes in general, but it's certainly the case for City of Heroes (and/or Villians), which is due to receive its eighth update, Issue 8 - To Protect And Serve, in the coming weeks.

City of Heroes/Villains comp

Both games for 15 quid.

NCsoft has announced a "Good Versus Evil Combined Edition" of City of Heroes and City of Villains, due to go on sale on 29th September priced GBP 14.99 / EUR 29.99.

CoH/V Issue 7 released

Old accounts can try it too.

Summer. Time of sun. Fun. And fire. Bush fires, to be exact. And probably kidnappings and murders and poodlecides. Also, yesterday I kicked a stone and it hit a man by accident and I looked away before he could turn around and he started having a go at a small child. Through which rich visual tapestry I'm trying to weave the notion that we need superheroes. We need them more than ever. To sort all this summer rubbish out.

City of Heroes / Villains - Issue 7

The eternal fight against crime gets more eternal.

I've been at many press conferences. I've seen thousands of my peers doing everything short of throwing handfuls of their own bodily fluids in the air in an E3 Microsoft press conference when it's revealed that Halo 2 will feature DUAL WIELD WEAPONS. I've seen men now powerful and senior in the world of games interrupt the gushing announcement of a new Civ game where the core Firaxis men are talking about wanting to do this for the love of the fans by loudly coughing "Bollocks - you're doing it for the money". But this is the first time I've been at a press conference in the body of an enormous robot/lizard hybrid.

City of Villains to get update

City of Villains to get update

And Heroes to get tweaked, too.

NCsoft has announced that a new update is on the way for City of Villains, the expansion-but-also-standalone-game follow-up to MMORPG City of Heroes.

The new update, which is titled Issue 7: Destiny Manifest, will be automatically sent out to subscribers for no money at all this April. It will feature new Mayhem Missions, which see evil types wreaking havoc around Paragon City within a time limit - you'll be able to steal from shops, face off with the cops and generally make life difficult for everyone, in between mashing up city blocks and earning some healthy bonuses.

The update will also include more than 300 new missions, plus more Poser sets and Patron Power Pools. You'll also be able to visit a zone called Grandville, if you're of a high enough level, and face off with Lord Recluse and an army of really weird spiders.

Read more

Top 50 Reaction: City of Heroes/Villains

We chat to Cryptic's Jack Emmert.

We all rather enjoyed putting together Eurogamer's Top 50 Games of 2005 over the Christmas break. When we got back to work, we decided we'd send around a few quick questions to some of the developers involved and talk a little about their games, hopefully grabbing their attention before they'd had time to fall back into the rhythm of proper work. First to write back was Jack Emmert, creative director of Cryptic Studios. Cryptic's City of Heroes and City of Villains placed joint tenth in the top 50 list. You can read our comments about them in the 10-6 breakdown.

Marvel, NCsoft settle lawsuit

No changes to City of Heroes.

NCsoft has settled its lawsuit with Marvel Entertainment in a deal which will not force the publisher to make any changes to its popular PC MMORPG, City of Heroes, after all.

Jetpacks for Heroes and Villains

As well as festive missions, more.

NCsoft is planning a range of Christmas/holiday-season/other activities to see us through to the New Year/January/acceptable-variant in City of Heroes and City of Villains.

Is your City of Heroes or Villains character totally awesome? Do you ever find yourself staring at the character-select-screen for hours thinking, 'damn, that guy looks pretty badass!'? Do you? If you do, you're probably the sort of person who wants to head to Brighton's Comic Expo, November 19th/20th, and let one of the artists NCsoft's taking down for the weekend sketch you an A4 portrait of them. Liam Sharp (Hulk, Spawn), Jock (Losers), Charles Adlard (Savage, X-Files) and Andrew Wildman (Transformers) will be on hand doing just that.

City of Villains pricing

Play it and Heroes for one fee.

NCsoft Europe has revealed its pricing plans for City of Villains, the forthcoming sequel to MMORPG City of Heroes which also happens to run pretty deeply into it, and the good news is that you'll be able to fight for the forces of both good and evil for one subscription fee - 8.99 / 12.99 per month.

New City of Heroes update

New City of Heroes update

And City of Villains trailer.

NCsoft has annnounced plans to release a new update for comic book-inspired PC MMORPG City of Heroes.

Titled Issue #5: Forest of Dread, the update will be free of charge to existing subscribers when it's released this summer. It features an all-new Zone for heroes to explore - the mystical land of Croatoa, which is inhabited by villains such as Fir Bolg, a giant, and someone called Tuatha de Dannan.

The update will also include a new epic Task Force and two power sets - Archery and Sonics - for use by Defenders, Blasters and Controllers.

Read more

City of Heroes gets PVP

Kill your super friends! In new tights, too.

NCsoft has released City of Heroes Issue 4: Colosseum, a new add-on for the massively multiplayer online game that's free to subscribers via automatic download.

City of Heroes

City of Heroes

More ill-advised spandex than a The Darkness tribute band convention.

On the main forum which I while away my working hours, there's a thread. It's about City of Heroes, though is currently named "City of Hot Mammas". That'll have inevitably changed by the time this review hits the net-presses; the moderators are taking great joy at changing it randomly whenever boredom strikes, just to keep things interesting. At the time of writing, it's just shy of 1,500 posts. Cute, you may think, but no biggie.

What's interesting is that the forum is nothing whatsoever to do with videogames. Just a standard - if wittier than most - gathering point online, where there are enough people to amass a gargantuan thread full of stories of superheroic adventure.

In other words, City of Heroes is a runaway success, and there's nothing that this review could do to change it. And, y'know... good. Cryptic deserve every single subscriber account they've amassed. Yay them.

Read more