The Game Archaeologist: A City of Heroes memorial, part 2

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Following the last column's memorial for players' City of Heroes characters, I received an email from Cryptic's Al Rivera. He wanted to share his own memories from the game, here are a few choice quotes from that email:

"I was there from the beginning when Cryptic was just 23 people working in a busted office and I was the only system designer. I made the player powers, archetypes and critters while the game was at Cryptic. The game has evolved tremendously since it left Cryptic... I was very sad to see CoH sold off, and now I am again saddened to see this wonderful piece of game history come to an end.

"What was most rewarding was to see all those players log into Atlas Park. To see so many people just so happy with what we made was something impossible to put into words. Thank you, City of Heroes, for all the fond memories. And a special thank you to all the heroes that made me laugh and made me proud. You will be missed."

Let's wrap up this memorial series by visiting the remainder of player-submitted superheroes and their stories.

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Mercedes Lackey: Seraphic Flame (left)

It's really hard to choose, especially when you have over 60 alts spread across multiple servers. But since I have to choose... the one it breaks my heart to lose the most is Seraphic Flame.

Within the context of the game she fell in love, sacrificed her connection to the Divine to save the life of the man she loved, lost him, found him again, married, raised a family. She's been separated from him by villainy and won her way back to him. She's fought at his side and alone. The whole time, she has been the fiery shield between her team and the enemy, never faltering, never giving up. She's become "real" to me in a visceral sense -- and yes, she still has books to be in, but I will never again have the experience of being her.

William: Prime Knight (right)

My small addition to the City of Heroes is Prime Knight. He's the second character I ever created, and he's one of the two characters I bought the game for. He also fulfilled my gaming desire to fly in a three-dimensional environment. Prime Knight is a Mind/Kinetics controller who has all the powers I've ever wanted to have myself: telekinesis, telepathy, precog, flight, teleportation, electrokenesis, pyrokinesis -- and he even has a faithful dog.

He's saved the city numerous times from numerous vile and power-hungry foes. And I'm saddened by the fact I'll never get the opportunity to fly into a group of bad guys with reckless abandon, generating mass confusion, lighting things on fire with my mind, electrocuting everything in sight, siphoning speed, or just repelling/telekinesis-ing foes off the tops of buildings.

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Wayne: AbracaDaddy (left)

Meet AbracaDaddy, my bondage-themed illusionist. Consider yourself lucky I didn't submit my electricity controller, Shock Strap.

CH: Milk Sheik (right)

A mild-mannered biologist from the Arabian nation of Qatar becomes a crime-fighting martial artist able to heal any injury, so long as he gets a regular diet of vitamin A, D, and bovine growth hormone.

Milk Sheik has a number of binds set up that are not visible in the screenshot. His spinning foot sweep attack can change his costume to all-brown, in a move dubbed "the chocolate swirl." In emergencies, his outfit turns green as Instant Healing activates and he "gets sour." And let's not even talk about what happens when he "goes strawberry." His default badge is from the Winter Event... "Frosty."

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Ellen: Lord Omi (left)

I played Lord Omi for three years. I have 2,000 hours in-game logged as him. Do him justice. Please.

Pat: Blades Dancer (center)

Since his origins farming the demon dimension mission in Peregrine to help level up friends, he evolved into a beloved RP character. Blades Dancer was an important character for me. I found in my goals of accomplishing a truly wise and ancient samurai that I found myself learning a lot in the process. I've found more appreciation for the philosophies of life and ethics than I did before, learned a lot about different cultures, especially Japan's, and grew a lot as a person because of it. This is possibly one of the game experiences I'll miss the most, as the RP community within CoH is deep and inspiring, completely unlike those in most other online games.

Dustin: DustMonkey (right)

I started playing when I was in middle school (I'm in college now) and have grown attached to this massive human/primate hybrid. He wasn't my first hero, but he quickly became my favorite. When I first made him, I was thinking, "I'm going to make Wolverine," but this train of thought was abandoned before I could finish the costume. Instead I thought, "Screw Wolverine; everyone and his dog has made Wolverine at one point. I'm gonna make someone I can get to level 50 and be proud of."

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Joe: Midnight Visage (left)

Steve: Whiskey Woman (center)

This is Whiskey Woman, a blaster vigilante rolled originally as a hero. She wields dual pistols. After the car crash, the steel plate they put in her head told her whom she needs to kill. Her battlecry: "Whiskey and pistols go together!"

Nicholas: Malleable Mechanic (right)

The Malleable Mechanic was born in the summer of 2010, and while I do not remember the exact date of his creation, I do know that the idea for it popped into my head suddenly during a time I had planned to take a short, yet needed, hiatus. It was one of those moments that I knew if I didn't act on my sudden inspiration, I would lose the chance to remember it.

It was a choice that I do not regret.

The trickiest part of the character design, from the standpoint of the costume creator, was that there was no real way to stylistically make his black skin look anything tire-like, down to the grooves. To that end, I compromised by using a design pattern that was "close enough" to the idea. I'm happy with the way it turned out. Of course, I can imagine that now, he might be a little worn from all the fighting he's had to do, so his body could be all black now without details!

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Abigail: Lady Talonfist (left)

Though this character existed far long before it hit CoH, it was CoH that brought her to life. I came in just before the end of Issue 3. I've had so many memories with this character that are way too hard to even pinpoint what was my favorite of times playing her. I spent almost all my time with this toon since it's become my flagship when we were able to move characters to other servers. At the same time of doing character development through roleplaying, I also was an avid badge hunter, busting my buns to at least make it to a badge count of 1286 out of 1457. I've done almost all the trials and task forces that this game has to offer.

Trey: The Weretrout (center)

During the summer of 2005, I went camping with a group of friends. One of them asked me if I was secretly a werewolf, and I told him, "I'd make a terrible werewolf; I'm more of a weretrout." And "Weretrout" immediately became my nickname. Naturally, as soon as I got home I logged into City of Heroes and created Weretrout. He's a drug-addicted fish man who traded Arachnos secrets for a reduced sentence.

James: The Third Man (right)

The Third Man, true identity unknown, was originally thought to have been a hero from another dimension. It would be later discovered he was not only from another mirror dimension containing Paragon City but also from a good 786 years into the future. The swordsman appeared in Paragon City one day in 2004 under mysterious circumstances.

Despite his strange background, Third soon proved to be a mostly lighthearted hero, only to show his primal side in combat or when the situation called for seriousness.

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Robert: Munin Arshe (left)

She hails from the world of Chrono Trigger. As a member of Queen Zeal's arcane technology team that created the mammon machine and undersea facilities, she is highly intelligent, versed in the use of a pair of shortswords, and highly capable with shadow magics.

Ken: Radiant Ivy (center)

This toon is dedicated to my big sister Rhonda Lynn, who showed bravery every day in her heroic battle with cancer. When I started it, I still had hopes that she would beat the cancer. I described the toon to her and her powers. She said, and I quote, "I sound pretty cool."

Sadly, she passed away on Sept 9th, 2009. She was only 47. This toon will serve as a memorial to her; may she rest in peace.

John: Soulbright, Soullight, and Soulmight (right)

After my son was born, I found my shoulder quickly became his bed of choice. I had many evenings looking for something to do on the computer with the sound off and using only one hand on the mouse. A tanker in City of Heroes was just indestructible enough to be played while reclining in an executive chair using minimal wrist action so as not to wake the kid. As soon as he was old enough, my son and his older sister both took to the skies of the same game. Today he is eight, my daughter is 11, and we play Soulbright, Soullight and Soulmight. We are a family of Kheldians who have come to earth to help save the world from alien threats. This game has been such a great way for me to bond with my children all of these years. We will miss it terribly.

The Game Archaeologist A City of Heroes memorial, part 2
Michael: CapeMike (left)

Here's my beloved Scrapper, relaxing in Pocket D!

Doug: John Bryne

One night, the Circle kidnapped John's daughter Amber. Using all the skills he learned as a youth, he entered a Circle-created portal and found himself literally in Hell. John was on a mission to rescue his daughter. Armed with his rock-solid faith in God, John continued to battle the demons. He fought all this way to the throne room of Satan himself. John wrestled him for three days and was not defeated. Satan conditionally surrendered. John asked only for his daughter's release, for both of them to be able to go back to Paragon City, and for never-ending protection for his daughter. These were granted.

Scott and Misty's wedding

I have played City of Heroes since it launched. I met my wife in the game when we lived on opposite coasts. We played together for two months before she even realized I was male (I was playing female characters at the time). After we became engaged in real life, we decided to have a wedding in-game. The developers worked with us to open the ski chalet in May for the ceremony (it's usually open only for the winter event).

When not clawing his eyes out at the atrocious state of general chat channels, Justin "Syp" Olivetti pulls out his history textbook for a lecture or two on the good ol' days of MMOs in The Game Archaeologist. You can contact him via email at or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.
This article was originally published on Massively.