Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye

After the announcement that City of Heroes would be shutting down, the community around the game rallied greatly.  In-game events were held, petitions were created and signed by thousands, and e-mails sent.  It was  a pretty amazing thing to see, and I think even the developers were surprised and quite a bit humbled by the outpouring of support for the game.  Unfortunately, NCSoft did at last, actually issue a reply to the support, and it left no room for interpretation.  City of Heroes was going away.  So this post is really more for myself than anything.  At one time I had four subscriptions to City of Heroes, and I maintained a subscription and VIP status right up until today.  I had so much fun in this game, and for me it has so many memories.

Over the years, I've created far more characters than I could visit in any single blog.  But I wanted to revisit some of my most memorable ones, to record their images and their stories, to have a scrapbook, of sorts, for posterity.

NyteRaven was the very first character I created in City of Heroes - the night that the game's servers opened in April of 2004.  Back then I participated in role-play far more than I do these days, and so of course, she had a backstory.  
Izusa Mitric was the third child of the half-tellurian Ice Wizard Dlangar and Zzaryn, the kindred chylde of Malgorzata, of clan Lasombra. Though the blessing of her birth broke the curse that was destroying her father, it was not enough to mend the rift that had grown between her parents, and in the wan hours of the night when she was but a babe her father kissed her on her forehead and dissapeared from her life forever. Thus it was that Izusa was raised entirely by her vampire mother, Zzaryn. As she grew, it became clear that she was steeped deeply in both the magic of her father, and the affinity for the shadows of her mother. She had neither of their powers directly, but instead a curious hybrid of the two that was uniquely her own. As Izusa came of age, she dropped her given name, and became NyteRaven. She is completely a creature of the shadows, like her mother. And she is not tempered by the love of the light her father should have bestowed upon her.

In the first heady months after the game launched, most of my IRL gaming friends were also all playing - as we all did (and still do) whenever any new MMO came out.  So my friends and myself made a supergroup called RX Force - and we all created superheroes with names of prescription drugs!  It just made for good silly fun.  RX Force progressed for a little while, we even created our own superbase, once that functionality was available.  As a full empath defender, Allegra was the healer of our little group.  She didn't get much play time, but is remembered fondly from the fun time in RX Force!

DarkCandle is probably still my definitive City of Heroes character.  He was my only character that made it all the way to the max level in the game - 50.  And not to get all "Back in my day!", but I did it when the game was still pretty damn hard.  I recall at one point having something like 7.5 million in experience point debt.  DarkCandle was a katana scrapper, and I liked him because he was a bit of my own personal batman.  That is, he had some supernatural power, but mostly he was just an armored guy with an incredibly special sword.

At first she was his slave, and he a strict master. But over time they become companions, then lovers. He taught her the way of the blade, and she was an apt pupil. They fought many battles, and defeated many foes. She was always his servant, he her guardian. There came a dark day though, when she fell to an enemy's sword. Mortally wounded, William Garateneel took his lover, Nikomi, to the greatest healer he knew. The shaman told William that he could save Nikomi, but at a cost. William agreed at once. Thus it was that William became an eternal servant himself, to the forces of Light. But it was only then that William learned that to save Nikomi, her spirit would have to be bound to a blade of bright steel, and her mortal body lost. With her last breath, Nikomi agreed to the ritual, so that she could serve her Master forever more. On that day William Garateneel became The Dark Candle. His sword is Nikomi. She is his only joy, and his greatest sorrow.

Hellbent For Leather
Like most people that played City of Heroes, I came and went from the game over the years.  And though I played many archetypes and characters, Hellbent remains my favorite.  She was a straight up fire/fire blaster.  I loved her story, I loved her costume, but mostly, I loved the unbridled damage she was capable of dolling out.  Hellbent had the distinction of being the most geared character I ever created.  She had several full enhancement sets for blaster archetypes, and all of her slots were IO's of some sort.  I never reached the uber-geared heights of the game, but Hellbent was always a welcome member to the group.  Because when she was on your team.. things got dead quick.

All her life Stacy Middleton's life had been in the fast lane.  "When Stacy is headed somewhere, that girl is hell bent for leather to get there, and heaven help you if you get in the way!" her father used to say. She did everything fast - quick to love, quick to anger. All that changed the night her and her boyfriend Kyle were attacked. One second they were walking to her car, the next they were bathed in green flames - Kyle screaming on the ground. Some guy in a costume drove off their robed attackers, then disappeared. Kyle needed a doctor, and fast. Police reports estimated Stacy's cherry red Mustang was traveling over a 110 mph when it collided with the jackknifed fuel tanker in Skyway City. The explosion rattled windows in Steel Canyon. That night Stacy lost her boyfriend, and should have lost her life. For reasons she never understood, she walked, engulfed in flames, from the wreck. That night a woman fused of fire and fury and speed was born. A woman hell bent. Hellbent for Leather.

Miss Hollowpoint
When new powerserts came out, it was always a reason to return to the game.  Dual Pistols was no exception.  Miss Hollowpoint was my dual pistols blaster, and I adopted a bit of a Desparado theme for the hero I created for them.  Though by now I wasn't creating backgrounds as much anymore for my characters, she was still an incredibly fun character to play, and she was another I played up into her low 40's.  I was so enamored, in fact, with the dual pistols animations in fact, I created a video to highlight them, and her.  Such a fun class and character!

Kirei Na Kanjou
Kirei was the last, real, main character I had in City of Heroes.  I created her to take advantage of the staff melee powerset.  I loved the idea of a very small chinese woman, demure in demeanor, but wicked with a twirling stick.  Keep your allusions to yourself!  I had made scrappers and tankers aplenty over the years, and by now you could create both hero and villain archetypes on either side, so she was a hero Brute.  And just.. goodness - she was a beast!  With Kirei I found normal missions to be too easy, and would crank up her mission difficult to be the equivalent of three heroes, and include plenty of bosses.  She just.. pretty much.. never died.


And All the Rest..
And there are so many others:  Cypheress, the beam rifle wielding agent that first fought against, and then with her mirror self from an alternate dimension and saved Katie Douglas (one of the most memorable NPC's I've encountered) from the Seer Network; Glimmerblade, a dual-katana wielding soldier from another world; Sam Scorpion, cigar smoking, hammer-punching self-described ladies man with a distinct similarity to a certain character that gets into Big Trouble in Little China - well the list goes on and on and this post could go on for days.  I will miss them - one and all.  City of Heroes was by no means a perfect game.  But in many ways it was a game ahead of its  time.  And though in a few short weeks it will be gone forever, it will never be forgotten. 

Au revoir, mon amis..