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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Paragon is Dead. Long Live Paragon.

As you may have guessed from previous entries, I play video games.  Not ALL the time (I have a job, and hobbies like that writing thing, and books), but quite a bit.  I've only ever played one MMORPG though (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), and that was City of Heroes.  CoH was unique in that it was the first MMO to break the typical mold of fantasy or sci-fi.  It was the first superhero MMO that let you design your very own superhero (and eventually, supervillains), and its character creation was second to none.  Eventually a couple other superhero MMOs came out: Chapions Online and DC Universe Online.  

CO was okay, and had an excellent character creator, but godawful voice acting, and kind of boring gameplay.  DCUO had amazing production values, but an absolutely abysmal user interface, and very limited character creation.  So CoH was always my fave.  I met a great bunch of people on there, got to know them in real life, and we were buddies for years.  then one of them passed away and we fell apart, but I always thought about him and smiled when I played CoH.

One of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher (of The Dresden Files) played CoH.  The game was the first and only MMO to allow players to make their own story arcs, to write the dialogue and design the missions and share them online.  It was one of the things that inspired me to write The Steam Punk, and served as one way to stay connected with my other friends in the States when I moved to Korea.  On more than one occasion, I used the character creator to design characters I was writing about to cement their appearance in my head.

CoH was rich with the usual superhero mythology of secret government organizations, mythical galaxy eating gods, robot armies, trans-dimensional aliens, and so on.  I think I probably know more about the universe of CoH than I do about Marvel.  

But a few days ago, an announcement was made that the plug was being pulled by NCSoft, the game's Korean-based backer.  It's not terribly surprising, but it is a bummer.  The game was pretty old, getting close to a decade.  Very few MMOs last half that long, and CoH had a good run.  I'm still sad to see it go though.  It was and will always be my first MMO, and one of the best.  

I'll miss Paragon City and Atlas Park, Grandville and the towering statue of Lord Recluse, Pocket D and all the funny role-players, and everything else.  Thanks for all the ideas and fun you gave me.

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