Giant Bomb News


City of Heroes, Developer Paragon Studios Shutting Down

The long-running MMO will officially go offline by year's end.

It's been hanging around since 2004, but as of 2012, City of Heroes shall be no more.
It's been hanging around since 2004, but as of 2012, City of Heroes shall be no more.

Nobody likes it when an MMO shuts down, but it's especially heart-wrenching when it happens to an MMO a lot of people actually liked. City of Heroes was one such MMO that, sadly, finds itself very near its end.

Publisher NCSoft, who picked up the rights to the game from original developer Cryptic Studios, announced today that the game would cease operation before the end of the year, and that developer Paragon Studios would also be closing. The game's yearly subscription fees and microtransaction-based online store have also ceased as of today.

Launching in 2004, City of Heroes has endured developer transfers, years of competition against other MMO juggernauts, and even seemed to be doing okay in a free-to-play remodeling that took place last year. No reason was given for today's announcement, save for a brief mention of "a realignment of company focus and publishing support" at NCSoft.

Paragon's community manager posted a brief farewell on the company's site, and made special mention to any potential hiring companies out there to keep an eye out for former Paragon employees, saying "Hire these people. You won't regret it."

When City of Heroes' date of closure is officially announced, we'll undoubtedly start planning for some kind of live stream send-off.

Alex Navarro on Google+
165 CommentsRefresh

Avatar image for tylea002
Posted By Tylea002

So, it's going away on November 30th. Is that too close to GOTY for a big shutdown event, or will GB be there? This MMO is easily the closest one to my heart, and it will be missed dearly, so I'd love to see it go out in the MxO/SWG style. Are the crew planning on doing so or not?

Avatar image for suits
Posted By Suits

livestream the server shutdown November 30?

Avatar image for forrest40pf
Posted By forrest40pf

Thanks for covering this issue, guys. It's good to see so many people concerned about the shutdown.

We've started a new Youtube series centered around the shutdown of CoH, sharing our thoughts and showcasing the features of this wonderful MMO! Check the first episode out at:

Avatar image for griffinmills
Edited By Griffinmills

Been playing CoH since the beginning.  Here is to hoping they get something in place to preserve the game because it is one of the all time greats for me.  Go Go Super Super Group!
Edit: Petition here...

Avatar image for poisonjam7
Posted By poisonjam7

This game definitely had one of the best, most mature communities of any MMO out there. It was a breath of fresh air after hanging around Stormwind City for a few hours.

Avatar image for brackynews
Edited By Brackynews

Also my first MMO, and a main source of my appreciation for Cryptic Studios' "formula". There are certain signature things they do quite well; and being a flyer was awesome. Excellent way to solo the game.

The fact NC and Paragon never really changed anything in 6 years was always puzzling to me. But clearly it survived without an overhaul thanks to subscriber loyalty. When I gave it another try after the F2P conversion, I just couldn't stomach the same 20 second music loops from 2004, and having to respawn literally 2 miles away at a hospital, instead of inside my instance. Games have changed, dude.

So yeah, I hope the devs can do more with a modern property. Cryptic has lost some key people on STO recently, and if there's one thing Cryptic does consistently, it's welcome back former employees.

Avatar image for irishdoom
Posted By Irishdoom

I had a lot of fun in the early days of this game, but it just didn't hold me like WoW and Asheron's Call did. It was more a diversion than anything else. I guess it's kinda bad if the most fun is had in character creation. ;)

Avatar image for darkjester74
Posted By darkjester74

Sad news, but all in all I think CoH had a great run. It was the first MMO I played consistently, met a lot of great friends there and I have a lot of great memories from that game. Best of luck to the folks at Paragon, best wishes!

Avatar image for jayspadez
Edited By jayspadez

@Animasta: it was on steam i believe

anyways, that was the first mmo i played, while dcuo may have more action combatwise, coh made me feel like a superhero when i played, i got to see my creation and ideas come to life. its kind of sad to see it go. i really hope ncsoft reconsiders and just changes the business model of it. ill pour a lil liquor out for ya

Avatar image for onyxghost
Posted By onyxghost

Not like this....

Avatar image for avidwriter
Posted By avidwriter

Surprised it lasted that long.

Avatar image for pvtmiller
Posted By Pvtmiller

Meh. I tried this game and it seemed boring and grindy.

Avatar image for davidh219
Posted By davidh219

City of Heroes was the best MMO ever. Everybody playing it was incredibly nice. In my 5+ years of playing it on and off I have never once met an asshole, which is more than I can say for WoW. I played that for all of two weeks and EVERYBODY was an asshole, and the game itself bored me to tears.

The movement powers were fun, all of the powers were fun and looked really cool, and the writing could be downright hilarious at times. This is my goddamned childhood being flushed down the toilet and I am not a happy camper. I can't believe I'm about to cry over a video game. The rest of my day is going to be shitty now, I just know it. R.I.P. Paragon City--your crime filled streets and district-separating war walls will forever live on in my heart and mind.

Avatar image for deactivated-58afe98346ace
Posted By deactivated-58afe98346ace

If you guys are gonna do something maybe you could get in contact with some people from The Cape or something

Avatar image for veektarius
Posted By Veektarius

As an MMO, it had its problems, but in terms of character creation and its social hub, I'd say CoH stood out from the pack. Its a shame its lessons weren't better incorporated in later attempts.

Avatar image for crash_billiams1985
Posted By Crash_Billiams1985

It's been a wild ride CoH. Though your time is coming to an end do not fear, for Doctor Sciencetron will answer the call for justice once again one last time!

Avatar image for mewarmo990
Posted By mewarmo990

Wishing the best of luck to the Paragon employees. CoH was the only MMO I kept coming back to over and over.

Avatar image for bunny_fire
Posted By Bunny_Fire

i stopped playing this when all my friends stopped playing ... still a great game

Avatar image for mariachimacabre
Posted By MariachiMacabre

As someone who played City of Villains for around a year it's sad to see the games die because they really were cool games.

Avatar image for duffo
Posted By DuffO

One of my favorite MMOs. Sad to see it go.

Avatar image for roddykat
Posted By Roddykat

Like most here, it was my first MMO. Before that, I thought paying a monthly subscription for a game was a stupid idea. Thanks to this game and a couple of friends, I was shown otherwise. Though I hadn't plaed it in a while, it is sad to see that this will be going away....

Office Maxwell: You and your toner based powers had served me well. You will live on in memory, good friend.

Avatar image for shadowgamer
Edited By Shadowgamer

Oh man, its sad to see all those people laid off and all the fans that supported City of Heroes are sure to be disappointed. I played CoH when it first came out and it was P2P, the good ol' days. Anyway, I think the popularity of DC Universe contributed largely to the demise of this MMO. It's a sad day in the land of gamers!

Avatar image for kanerobot
Edited By KaneRobot

This is pretty sad. This is always the MMO I felt like I should have played (and I don't play MMOs).

8+ years is a pretty damn good run for an MMO though.

Avatar image for kombat
Posted By Kombat

This is unfortunate. I have to admit that City of Heroes' appeal for me was nothing more than its character and costume creator. The gameplay itself often left me wanting. There were plenty of folks who really enjoyed getting in there and leveling up their heroes, and I'm aware of at least one massive role-playing guild that seemed like a lot of fun to hang around with. I suppose there is always Champions Online, which is not at all dissimilar.

Avatar image for jesterpc238
Posted By JesterPC238

That's really sad. I love CoH, haven't played for a couple years, but that and original SWG were and really still are my favorite MMOs. I really hope those guys land on their feet.

Avatar image for gruff182
Posted By Gruff182

Really enjoyed this when I played it. Personally preferred CoV, the instance/dungeon missions were much more fun, going around destroying a section of a city, robbing a bank and then beating up a hero. Great stuff.

Avatar image for vinsanityv22
Posted By vinsanityv22

I wonder how Champions Online and DCU Online are doing these days? I mean, if City of Heroes is going offline, I'm assuming it's because the player base had migrated to those two games.

I don't get why NCSoft would shut Paragon down though - why not begin work on City of Heroes 2 or a new IP or something? I mean fuck; they made an MMO that lasted 8 YEARS. It's as old as World of Warcraft. Yeah, they're not Cryptic, so they didn't create the thing, but they successfully took it over and did a good job. It's gotta be worth something. Something more than getting fired, anyway.

Sorry Paragon employees. Hope y'all land on your feet at another MMO studio.

Avatar image for ulong
Posted By Ulong

Sad news. I really liked this game for the period that I played it back in the day.
Of course, when I played it I was very new to mmo's (it might have been my first actually, can't quite remember. I don't know if the jaded burnt out on standard mmo's me of today would have found it enjoyable.

Avatar image for aleryn
Posted By Aleryn

That's a damn shame. I never played it but it seemed that a lot of atypical MMO people really liked this one.

Avatar image for poisonjam7
Posted By poisonjam7

It's been said before, but this is such a major problem with today's games; especially MMO's.

With almost every game made these days have some form of online component, that effectively puts an expiration date on those games. It costs money for the publishers and or developers to keep the servers up and running, and once a game ceases to be profitable they yank it and it's gone, forever.

Five, ten, fifteen years down the line when you have an urge to play a retro game, (say, some Call of Duty Black Ops perhaps?) you can't. It's gone. You can't even play it offline if you wanted to because most games have some form of online verification system that you have to go through before you can even launch the damn thing. (Like PS3's Trophy system, as we all found out trying to play Heavy Rain during the PS3 outage last year)

The problem is compounded with MMO's, but at least we know going in that it won't last forever. This is the second MMO being shut down this year that has really hit me hard; the first being EQOA, my first ever MMO. Next thing you know it's going to be DAoC.

The times where you can pop in an old cartridge that's been sitting around for years and years and still play the same Super Mario on your NES or even Pong on your Atari, are gone; and that makes me sad.

Avatar image for carousel
Edited By Carousel

My first MMO and the only game I knew I could always come back to. It was like home.

6 years I played this damned game. Was a big part of me and my friends' lives.

I think this is the first time I've felt sentimental about a video game.

Here's to you, Ambigram, the Illusion/Force Field Controller.

Put so much work into his backstory.

No Caption Provided
Avatar image for solh0und
Posted By Solh0und

It's always say to hear about people losing jobs. Regardless if it's game developers or not.  
RIP to my Lvl 30 Villian Freya Frigid.

Avatar image for spartanhoplite
Edited By SpartanHoplite

what a shame

Avatar image for undeadpool
Posted By Undeadpool

Only MMO I ever hit the level cap in. Stopped playing right around when CoV rolled out, but I'm still sad to see it go.

Avatar image for jonano
Posted By jonano

This is weird, I feel sorry for all the people losing there jobs but happy that we can see another End of a MMO feature .

Avatar image for welshguy
Edited By welshguy

Damn it, I just went on to level up my character and see the notice. Screw it, I am pretty upset by this. Must be close to five + years I've been playing city of heroes and with the incarnate system and everything else it all seemed so damn good. I've got more characters than ever befre past lv30, i've made a bunch of good chums and its never, ever dull. I loved this game and I'm glad to see others did too. There was always something for me to do, even if it was creating another character I would always find a few hours a week to spend on it. Pretty much ruins my enjoyment of it now knowing it'll be gone in a few weeks.

R.I.P Mister Millennium, Necronaught, Jebidiah Drake, Captain Arachnos, Operative Mayers, Nemesis Doom etc.

Avatar image for little_socrates
Posted By Little_Socrates

Amazing that City of Heroes managed an 8-year run. Congratulations to the developers at Paragon for making such a beloved game; may you all find new work in a timely manner.

Fans of the game, keep writing your stories. I never got the chance to play, but MMO shutdowns always fascinate me.

Avatar image for seeric
Edited By Seeric

@Addfwyn said:

@MackSterling: I don't see why it's a reason to avoid them. Sure it's sad that a good MMO is shutting down, but you can't really expect a company to operate at a game at a loss, can you?

Honestly, I'd say this isn't quite as black and white of an issue as it may seem. Shutting down a single game, even one which has been as influential as City of Heroes, is reasonable if it has been costing money and any attempts to make it profitable again have failed. However, if a company makes a habit of shutting down 'unsuccessful' games people will begin to be afraid of bothering with their more successful or newer games in the first place (Aeria, GPotato, and to a lesser extent NCSoft themselves are becoming notorious for this).

In other words, it may be worth keeping a game around even if it barely makes a profit or even if it costs a little money to maintain (if it's costing a massive amount of money it should still be dropped of course) because this helps to solidify a company's reputation as a 'good publisher' and will help to attract players looking for a long-term game to their other products and (if the game uses the free-to-play model) will make them feel more secure in investing money into a cash shop because they won't have to worry about the game they just sunk several dozen/hundred dollars into spontaneously shutting down, resulting in a net profit for the company.

Avatar image for seanfoster
Posted By SeanFoster

Unfortunate for those who enjoyed the game and those employed by it but GiantBomb's "end of an MMO" features are some of my favourite stuff they've ever done so I look forward to that coverage.

Avatar image for gsquirrelgo
Posted By gsquirrelgo

CoH had a good run and still stands as one of the best MMOs. I was constantly surprised how it could weather the market changes and still remain a completely playable and enjoyable experience.

Avatar image for galloughs
Posted By galloughs

and nothing of value was lost

Avatar image for dukest3
Posted By DukesT3

Sucks seeing people lose jobs and this was an MMO that I've always wanted to try out just never go around to it.

Avatar image for addfwyn
Edited By Addfwyn

@MackSterling: I don't see why it's a reason to avoid them. Sure it's sad that a good MMO is shutting down, but you can't really expect a company to operate at a game at a loss, can you? Presumably, they weren't making money maintaining CoH (or they'd have just kept it up).

Being angry at a company for acting in their best interests seems a bit off. An eight year run is certainly a respectable life for an MMO

Avatar image for perilator666
Posted By perilator666

not like this

Avatar image for thecowman
Posted By TheCowman

@Deusoma said:

My condolences, friend. Did you ever try Champions Online? I dabbled in that for a bit and seem to remember character creation being absurdly robust.

Very briefly, quite awhile ago, yeah.

Actually, I DO remember it having some cool stuff in it. Still not on par with COH, but not bad. I'll have to look into it; see what the game's like nowadays.

Avatar image for macksterling
Posted By MackSterling

Was looking forward to the day I could build a better pc and play Guild Wars 2 and maybe 1. After this it looks like NCsoft is going on my ever increasing list of companies to avoid.

Avatar image for geirr
Edited By geirr

The worst thing about MMO's shutting down is that they're gone for good. You can't really sit down and have a nostalgic day playing SW Galaxies or Asheron's Call 2 because they're just gone. Private servers are too much of a hassle and while I didn't play CoH I sympathize for those who did and really wish the Paragon guys the best of luck. They had some crazy ideas and I sure hope they will continue to in their future ventures.

Avatar image for djames216
Edited By djames216

Terrible news. I've never played a lot of MMOs, but City of Heroes was my second one (after Anarchy Online). I signed up to play from the very start. I remember getting up at 6am (which is very unlike me) on launch day so I could play it for an hour or so before I went to work. I also remember following its development prior to its launch. I was excited to see an MMO that had a different theme instead of yet another fantasy one. I'll miss that awesome character creator too. I saw some hilarious costumes and hero names at times. I eventually joined this awesome British guild but unfortunately almost all of them jumped ship to play this newly launched MMO called World of Warcraft. Have you heard of it? :P

Avatar image for spacedad

This is my favourite MMO ever. It's a shame that the whole studio has to go down with it. :(

Avatar image for tankintheair315
Posted By tankintheair315

This sucks, City of Heroes is a great MMO.