Tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, City of Heroes will sing its swan song and servers will go offline for the last time. Thus will end nearly a decade of caped crusading and crime fighting in Paragon City, as well as the end of an era for the developers at Paragon Studios.
City of Heroes first debuted in 2004, bringing a breath of fresh air to the MMO community, shunning the fantasy themes that were (and still are) so popular. Trading orcs and elves for briefs on the outside and elemental superpowers, Paragon Studios carved its own path in the MMO market with heaps of originality, unparalleled customization and a passion for creating the best, user-driven gaming experience possible.
Upon release, the game was hailed for its creativity and bold direction by players and critics alike. Paragon Studios, it seemed, had a hit on their hands.
In a market that is constantly evolving and becoming more competitive, City of Heroes remained a sturdy fixture...albeit sometimes in the shadow of behemoths like World of Warcraft. Yet, the franchise thrived and moved beyond gaming, with City of Heroes-branded roleplaying games, trading card games, novels and, appropriately, a comic book series. As the MMO community gradually began to embrace free-to-play as the business model of the future, City of Heroes adopted the new system with City of Heroes: Freedom.
After half a decade, and in a market steadily moving towards F2P, City of Heroes still boasted over 120,000 individual subscribers.
Sadly, as is the way of all things, City of Heroes couldn't last forever. In August of this year, it was announced that City of Heroes and Paragon Studios would be closing indefinitely on November 30th. That day has come, and in just a few short hours, Paragon City will go dark for the last time. The in-development Issue 24, ironically named Resurgence, will not be released posthumously.
Throughout its 8 year run, City of Heroes saw 23 major content updates, not including the aforementioned Issue 24. This also does not include the expansion packs that were released, nor City of Villians - the standalone spinoff where players took on the role of, you guessed it, super villians.
As this post is being written, players are gathering from around the world in Paragon City, at Atlas Park's City Hall, for one final Unity Rally, sending the game off in style. If you have an active City of Heroes account, these rallies are being held on every server in the game. At the very least, feel free to join your favorite server and share some of your favorite moments from the game with likeminded players.
So, farewell City of Heroes - and best wishes, Paragon Studio - may your streets be ever free from crime. Thanks for the memories.