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News & Features Discussion  » City of Heroes: A Look at the 14 Day Trial

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Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

OP  10/03/07 11:51:41 AM#1 Managing Editor Jon Wood recently jumped into the 14 day free trial of Cryptic Studios' City of Heroes. In this At A glance Article, Jon gives his impressions of the game and a rundown of what makes it a unique MMO.

These last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with City of Heroes from Cryptic Studios. I have to say that for a game that launched over three years ago (April 2004), it’s really got quite a bit to recommend it.

I should really start this by saying that this is by no means a full review of the game. These At A Glance articles are designed so that the writer plays the game’s trial (in this case, 14 days), and reports back with their impressions, so here goes:

Character Creation

Right out of the gate players are met with the feature that, in my opinion, is the biggest highlight; character creation. Every MMORPG has it, but outside of the “virtual world” games (Second Life comes to mind), I have never seen such a diverse and interesting creation system. Cryptic Studios has done a fine job of allowing the players to feel like their characters are totally unique. Whether you want to make a costumed superhero, a “regular guy” or some kind of monstrosity, you can do it, and quite easily. A person can easily spend an hour or more choosing every detail of their character’s appearance… if they choose to. It’s also relatively easy to make a unique character in a minute or two.

Read the whole thing here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/22/04
Posts: 400

Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders - Friedrich Nietzsche

10/03/07 11:55:11 AM#2

The link to the rest of the article is broken


Novice Member

Joined: 12/12/05
Posts: 48

10/03/07 1:07:58 PM#3

It's quite a good article and it decribes CoH well... except for one thing: questing is mostly inside buildings and HIGHLY repetitive. Yes, HIGHLY.

Many people who have tried out CoH went "oh, THIS IS FUN" for about 10-20 days, changing their opinion to "jesus, this is BORING" when confronted with this feature for a while.

It's still a good game though.


ps: Servers are pretty empty, too.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/23/03
Posts: 78

10/03/07 1:36:56 PM#4

I still can't get to the article because of the incorrect link, but...

CoH has always been a game I *want* to love.  The character creation is great fun, those first 10 or 15 levels are lots of fun, but then you realize it's just more and more of the same.  I've always said CoH was one of the most polished games from day 1 that I've ever played and they really focused solely on the things they wanted to accomplish, but it's just too repetitive to keep me around.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/12/06
Posts: 60


10/03/07 1:44:16 PM#5

Now, why does MMORPG decide to make an article about the free trial of game as old as CoH? It´s called purchased editorial content. PlayNC obviously paid to get this story out. Not that I care but that´s how it´s gotta be

Now don´t get me wrong, I love CoH and played it for several years. I agree with it being rather light in certain areas and they really need to open a OpenPvP-server to regain the momentum. The major problem is world immersion. It´s very hard getting attached to a modern world (as we see it every day in real life, you don´t really get drawn in) especially since most of the missions are instanced or inside. At higher levels there are some really cool maps but still you really don´t get attached as it feels like you´re somewhere else than the actual area maps.

It is also very repetetive around the 25th to 40th level but it really opens up in the higher levels with epic missions. I wish the game held a "bigger" story somehow, something to really dig into.

 The game IS unbeatable though when it comes to character creation, skillsets and good ole plain fun when it comes to actually teaming and PvE-ing. The ragdoll effect is a blast and kickin someone off a ledge to see em splatter around like dying fish gets me every time. It´s a game that´s very easy to get into, you don´t need to loot anything so the action is fast and smooth.


Still, I hold CoH as the Nr.1 MMO so far, looking at the total package. SwG was close but Sony wrecked it and the combat was never 100%. All in all, I´ll be playing CoH whenever I look for some fun.

Casual PvP & gaming fun for mature gamers


Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/25/05
Posts: 92

10/03/07 2:09:07 PM#6

A very nice review. Two thumbs up!


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Joined: 9/13/04
Posts: 372

10/03/07 2:35:39 PM#7



Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

OP  10/03/07 3:02:58 PM#8

Originally posted by lmzz

Now, why does MMORPG decide to make an article about the free trial of game as old as CoH? It´s called purchased editorial content. PlayNC obviously paid to get this story out. Not that I care but that´s how it´s gotta be

I'm going to stop you right there. I take major exception to this accusation. Never before has ANY feature content been paid for by ANY game company here at The fact that you would imply it is, frankly, insulting.  I take pride in my work and the fact that doesn't take money for editorial content.

I wrote this article because I was playing the game, and thought that it would make a good "At A Glance".  Also, it's my job.

The only "paid for" parts of this site are the advertisements.

I hope that clears things up for you.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/20/07
Posts: 5083

I got so much trouble on my mind Refuse to lose.

10/03/07 3:59:25 PM#9

Originally posted by Gnomig

It's quite a good article and it decribes CoH well... except for one thing: questing is mostly inside buildings and HIGHLY repetitive. Yes, HIGHLY.

Many people who have tried out CoH went "oh, THIS IS FUN" for about 10-20 days, changing their opinion to "jesus, this is BORING" when confronted with this feature for a while.

It's still a good game though.


ps: Servers are pretty empty, too.

Good article....but as Gnomig said - 14 day trial would not show the gaping fault COH has

And that is repetitive content

What at first looks like amazingly good idea - randomised missions , slowly turns into bore fest when you realise that all missions happen in handfull of same areas.

For all expansions COH had until now, i never could figure why they didnt add more areas ? Just 20 or some new maps would make this MMO 500% better experience




Novice Member

Joined: 1/20/06
Posts: 2857

10/03/07 4:00:22 PM#10

I'ma read the article in more detail but ya the newness wears off due to repititive missions. But really thats expected. but whats unforgivable is the Class based system is too darn rigid and "respecs" is just totally darn hard to come by. its a typical shallow character advancement system

character creation is totally awesome and it can be fun to play. for sure worth checking out.

I dunno how to describe it, I would call this game a "Flawed Masterpiece".


Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 499

I'm just here for the cookies.

10/03/07 5:14:53 PM#11

I'm surprised no one mentioned that there are facial sliders available for you character. If you look under the portrait in character creation, you will see the sliders for the body as well as ones for the face--you just have to click on them to expand and see them.

The first time I subscribed to CoX, I was in full grind mode and determined to hit 50 as fast as possible--I quit the game after about 2 months with my highest character at level 27. On this, my second go, I play when I feel like it and figure I'll get to 50--or not--whenever I get there. My highest is now a level 36 after less than a month (a new character) and I'm still enjoying it without being bothered so much by the repeated missions? Why? Partly because I've made a full stable of alts this time around in order to experience different aspects of the game, but also because I'm just not in a hurry. Ironically, I've levelled faster, but that's partly because they've made it easier with reduced debt in missions and the wonderfully powerful invention origins. 

Apply lemon juice and candle flame here to reveal secret message.


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Joined: 11/26/06
Posts: 348

DOS 6.22 - fuzzy memories...

10/03/07 5:27:17 PM#12

I believe a game gets repetitive when there's only a few things to do: kill monsters, loot, sell, get new mission, kill monsters... But CoX has so much more! There's the character creation and the possibility of creating new costumes, improving them, acquiring special effects for your character; adventuring in the forms of battling foes on the streets or in instanced missions, solo or teaming-up, with or without your nemesis (Heroes/Villains), robbing banks and causing mayhem as a Villain or trying to stop them as a Heroe, going into the special missions; gathering money and items to create items, selling them and getting richer at the auction establishments; searching for badges; respecing; building your supergroup base, raiding the Heroe's bases as a Villain; getting to level 50 with a Heroe just to be able to play with the special character classes; going to the Pocket-D night club; PvPing one-on-one, team-on-team, Supergroup-on-Supergroup and even collecting Gladiators to let them fight your PvP battles; saving people, killing people... And don't forget: it's two games for the price of one!

CoX could improve in many ways but it's already a great looking game, with easy tutorials, easy gameplay, easy chatting and grouping  (and I'm comparing this with WoW, which I also love).

Now, about the empty servers, I never understood why CoX has so many servers. Even at its peaks, you can only see Freedom and Virtue full, the other barely make it moderate. If they merged some, it would end this bad impression the game leaves on newcomers.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/16/06
Posts: 220

10/03/07 6:08:13 PM#13

CoH is repetitive in the sense that mission maps look the same, and you often battle the same enemies. Some of the low level stories are also repetitive (dropping some bad stuff in the city water). However, where CoH (and CoV, though I played it less) win over other games is the stories. There are a lot of story arcs consisting of several missions, which reveal a lot about the world and are often interesting in themselves. For me this makes everything a lot more interesting (and is why I'm looking forward to Issue 11, which should allow my level 50 to do missions I missed).

Playing the lowest levels in this sense is not representative of the game. It comes a lot more into its own in the 20s, when you get a lot of areas geared towards these levels. Independence Port, Talos Island, Striga Island and Croatoa provide quite a lot of stuff to do, and it's pretty varied. At the higher level more epic story arcs are available.

Another thing that I think is different than other games, and only comes into play at level 14 (again, not covered in the article) is the travel powers, which take a lot of the drudgery of getting from place to place out of the game, a problem which is common with other MMOs.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/03/05
Posts: 10

10/03/07 6:45:17 PM#14
Originally posted by Gnomig

It's quite a good article and it decribes CoH well... except for one thing: questing is mostly inside buildings and HIGHLY repetitive. Yes, HIGHLY.

Many people who have tried out CoH went "oh, THIS IS FUN" for about 10-20 days, changing their opinion to "jesus, this is BORING" when confronted with this feature for a while.

It's still a good game though.


ps: Servers are pretty empty, too.

I have yet to play an mmo that isn't highly repetitive,and i've played MANY. They are all repetitive grinds.  I have never had a hard time finding a team on any server.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/12/05
Posts: 1285

10/03/07 7:41:07 PM#15

First off to say that all the missions are indoors tells me that some posters here haven't play CoH for very long.  It was quite some time ago they added outdoor instances in addition to adding more variety to indoor missions.  Not all caves are quite the same.  Most of the Croatoa missions are actually outdoor instances.  Plus early on you'll figure out what villain groups frequent what areas, so if you hate cave missions just avoid Circle of Thorns missions.  

Second servers are hardly empty, NCSoft actually reported an increase in subscriptions from a year ago.  You can't judge how many people are in a zone but seeing who's running around.  Remember, a lot of them will be inside their instances.

Game never got repetative for me due to the sheer number of options on how to do missions.  I can adjust difficulty if I want to change the number and types of mobs I face.  Heroes has a LOT of contacts, so if I get bored doing Contact Jane's story arc I can go do Contact Bob's story arc instead.  Plus the police band missions added in Issue 8 let you pick and choose what kind of mission you are in the mood for.

With Issue 11 announced they are going to keep me busy and un-bored for quite some time.  


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/02/06
Posts: 189

10/03/07 8:44:14 PM#16

Good for you Jon. I notice that no one commented on the pimp slap you laid down on the obvious 'intarwebz knowleage' that the poster used to determine that your article was obviously bought and paid for. I'm glad you posted to defend it and straighten out the readers.

The character creation feature in this game is A M A Z I N G. My wife and I *STILL* tell other gamers about it, and we've not played CoH since before CoV was in Alpha. My wife spent literally spent hours playing with creating toons. I don't think she entered the game until I was like level 6 :) It's a great game, but unfortunately like too many others have pointed out, it becomes too repetitive too quickly =( If only it could be combined with the 'casual' gameplay  that WoW offers, it would be a killer. Who doesn't want to fly and be a super hero!? I know we had a blast flying around and finding all the achievements, err, badges in the game.

We still keep an eye on it, but unfortunately, there's not been enough done to yank our slim time-slices away from WoW...

  User Deleted
10/03/07 8:45:50 PM#17


Originally posted by Stradden


Originally posted by lmzz

Now, why does MMORPG decide to make an article about the free trial of game as old as CoH? It´s called purchased editorial content. PlayNC obviously paid to get this story out. Not that I care but that´s how it´s gotta be

I'm going to stop you right there. I take major exception to this accusation. Never before has ANY feature content been paid for by ANY game company here at The fact that you would imply it is, frankly, insulting.  I take pride in my work and the fact that doesn't take money for editorial content.


I wrote this article because I was playing the game, and thought that it would make a good "At A Glance".  Also, it's my job.

The only "paid for" parts of this site are the advertisements.

I hope that clears things up for you.

The review from Stradden is fair and accurate.  For 14 days CoH is definitely a blast, esp for those who are abused by excessive elf roleplaying.  There is no point in bashing Stradden.  He has the right to write anything he wants for any game out there, and you Imzz do not need to read it if you know CoH well enough.  If your line of bashing makes sense 90% of the forums here should be closed.  SWG is even far less played, why do we still have discussion forums here?  Because someone else online wants to know about some other games, or someone is trying to search for a new game genre (to him).


I do not know if Stradden is paid for.  I have no proof either way, so I reserved my judgment, sorry Stradden not that I do not trust you.  That said, I would hold a similar view of CoH.  It is worth wasting 14 days trying it out.  As for the game being repetitive eventually.   Yes all games do, I have yet to find one that is not.  This does not nullify the suggestion that for a free 14 days trial, CoH is worth a shot, and a very good game at that if played casually.  There is always the option of cancellation when the feeling of repetition sets it, but till then there is a lot of fun trying out the game, and even after years, I still recall the huge enjoyment I have during my first year trying out CoH.


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Joined: 5/11/06
Posts: 482

10/03/07 8:57:21 PM#18

CoH was a game i really wanted to like but couldnt. Aside from a varied costume design the game offers nothing close to what i would call fun.

As others have pointed out the game takes repetitive grinding to new levels. My "favorite" thing about the game was getting missions that required me to pass through areas where the mobs were so much higher level they could kill me as i tried to run by. What fun.


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Joined: 2/06/06
Posts: 671

10/03/07 11:24:23 PM#19

Everything about the game since just before Issue 4 came out (I'm talking nerfs here) was designed to ramp up risk and screw reward, as though to punish players for leveling too fast or having too much fun.  In issues 1-3, players could have as much fun grouping to street sweep or power level each other as they could doing missions or task forces, if they so chose.  Now the game is nothing more than run to a contact (or call them if you've done enough of their missions), run to instance, do mission, collect reward: it's the ultimate "rinse and repeat" grind-fest, offering little or nothing in the way of a "sand-box" style of play.

I originally joined CoH on January 21, 2005, during the hay-day of Issue 3 and right at the height of the Winter Lord event.  Everything - and I mean everything - Emmert and Company did to the game after Winter Lord did nothing more than punish the players for having a blast.  The only reason Cryptic didn't get more bad press for all the nerfs to CoH was because SoE was busy screwing its customers worse.  And SoE had way more customers to screw.

Fourteen days isn't enough time to get heinously bored over this catastrophically nerfed and boring P.O.S.  But after a month, you'll wish someone would put your eyes out and dip your fingers in sulfuric acid.



Novice Member

Joined: 9/29/02
Posts: 598

10/04/07 12:37:38 AM#20


I've missed your bitter ex-boyfriend comments. Please..keep em coming, keep em extreem.

Because, not learning to adapt keeps things in perspective. We need to know when the inner child died and that evil is still afoot!

Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Serling. Your sad devotion to that ancient issue has not helped you conjure up the stolen childhood, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the 5th column...

netrunner Xfire Miniprofile
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