City of Heroes was a superpowered MMO game by Cryptic Studios - later Paragon Studios - that ran from April 27, 2004 until being shut down November 30, 2012.

Notable features included:

  • Divorce of appearance from power level. Aside from some features - auras effects, capes - a character's design was not associated to their power level or faction in any way.
  • Custom generated missions, though the Mission Architect system players could generate narrative-focused missions for the game, including missions built by published authors Austin Grossman, Troy Hickman, and Mercedes Lackey.
  • Sidekicks, a system where lower level characters who joined a team of higher level would have their level raised so they could play together.
  • Exemplars, The same, but allowing high level characters to play as lower level ones for in-game currency rewards instead of experience.
  • Task Forces, Large, multiple part missions designed for teams of up to eight, which you could play over several sessions as you remained on the task force even though logout until you quit or completed it, allowing teams of casual players to complete these high level challenges.

After a successful conversion to Free to Play in 2011, it was shut down without detailed explanation in November 2012, after a player community campaign to revive it was denied.

The campaign to keep CoH alive eventually turned into a series of developments of the "Spiritual Successor" to it, the most public so far being City of Titans, which completed a 670,000 kickstarter in November 2013.

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