An interview with veteran supergroups in City of Heroes

Eliot Lefebvre
E. Lefebvre|04.28.10

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An interview with veteran supergroups in City of Heroes
Today is rather the day of City of Heroes, and with good cause -- six years old, with many changes and exciting new parts in the wings. And the game is still open to new players of all sorts, with plenty to enrapture players who've never once set foot in Paragon City. But there's also a special place for players and groupings that have been around for nearly all of the game's lifespan -- something that's quite an accomplishment for more than half a decade.

We were lucky enough to have a chance to speak with two veteran supergroups as part of the anniversary celebration: ICONS and Fusion Force. To help compare and contrast responses, we asked both groups the same set of questions, and what follows is their responses. Some of them are close to one another (for instance, everyone seems to want to go into space), but others are very different, even with similar amounts of experience. Whether you're a City of Heroes veteran yourself or just curious about the game's history, jump on past the cut for our chat with some of the game's longer-running player groups.
Massively: What would you say is the biggest reason you've stuck with City of Heroes through its long history?

ICONS: I've always known I'd play this game until it went away. Being a life long comics fans I just love making and playing heroes. I've really enjoyed watching my oldest heroes and villains become completely fleshed out characters with personality and back history. The Issue system has also kept me coming back, I'm always excited to see what kinda changes are coming.

Fusion Force: The amazing community! Fusion Force, the Triumph Server, and the entire CoH community are full of fun, friendly, and helpful players!

Out of all the issue updates, which one would you say was the best?

ICONS: I'd have to go with Issue 12: The Midnight Hour. So many great things about that one. I remember being insanely excited about the villain epic archetypes. And the Roman themed zone was just bad ass!

Fusion Force: There are so many great issues it's hard to choose just one. Along Came a Spider, Architect, Power Spectrum are a few of my favorites. The best Issue is probably Issue 15: Anniversary, due to the return of the Fifth Column!

Which one changed the game the most and made it a different creature than it was before?

ICONS: I'd have to go with Issue 9: Breakthrough. That one was really a game changer. The invention system added a new level of depth to other characters and opened up all kinds of customization. And the Statesman Task Force is still regarded as true achievement if you can master it. I would be remiss though if I didn't mention Issue 11 A Stitch in Time which brought us Ouroboros and those beloved purple recipes.

Fusion Force: Without a doubt, Along Came a Spider changed the game like no other issue.

Which updates have had the biggest impact on the game overall, good and bad?

ICONS: Without a doubt it was the Enhancement Diversification that came with Issue 6 and City of Villains. I remember not being thrilled by the changes but I have to say the change was absolutely necessary for the balance of the game and it gave us reason to enhance those secondary power effects. CoH gambled on that one but I believe it really paid off.

Fusion Force: The introduction of PVP in Issue 4: Colosseum and the Invention system in Issue 9: Breakthrough both had a huge impact on the game.

How would you say the group currently feels about City of Heroes?

ICONS: We're all still in it for the long haul. We all get very excited when we discover a new tidbit about an upcoming issue, booster pack or QoL change. Members have come and gone, just like any other supergroup but we still have members that founded the team with me back in 2004.

Fusion Force: Fusion Force is very excited about Issue 17: Dark Mirror as well as Going Rogue. Several of our members are creating multiple new characters for both, and we're planning to run the new story arcs and the revised Positron Task Force as soon as the new issue goes live!

How social is the group outside of City of Heroes?

ICONS: Very. Our members are largely in Texas, Georgia, and California. Last year another Texas member and I flew out to Aiken, GA and rented out a hall for a CoH LAN party with like 12 other teammates (Shout outs to Pagentek, Green Bear and Gargog for that!) We even had a GO ICONS! cake (our battle cry). It was very cool.

Fusion Force: Fusion Force members are all over the United States and Canada so we haven't had too many real life meetings, but we stay in contact daily on our website, We have several real life friends and couples in the group. A few years ago, we even had an in-game wedding to coincide with a real life wedding between two members, Catwhoorg and Magrat!

How do you plan to handle Going Rogue's faction switches?

ICONS: Well, my teammate Green Bear made an all-ninja SG that he plans to migrate en masse to hero side. As for the ICONS, I plan to make a Dark Icons team for switchers.

Fusion Force: Most of our members already have specific characters they are planning to take to the opposite side. Our villain group, Shadow Syndicate will take in our Heroes that go Vigilante, and Fusion Force will welcome our Villains that go Rogue.

Do you put any emphasis on role playing in the game?

ICONS: Strangely enough most of our off-the-cuff role playing comes out on our villains. ESPECIALLY in mixed hero/villain teams. Our villains do so love to taunt their hero teammates. We also write A LOT of character-driven fiction on our team's forum board.

Fusion Force: We don't really roleplay much in-game, but most of us do have extensive biographies for our characters and we have a fiction forum on our website with hundreds of posts from our members.

What excites you the most and the least about the known future of the game?

ICONS: I'm very interested to see what the Coming Storm subplot is all about. I really would like to know the identity of the person talking to Romulus at the end of the Imperious Task Force. The Incarnate system has me excited about the prospect of further improvement on my level 50s. Going Rogue is looking great. I think my only disappointment is I wish Praetoria was a fully fleshed-out world like the Rogue Isles instead of a 1-20 zone.

Fusion Force: I'm most excited about the new high-level content that has been briefly mentioned, the new powersets in GR like Kinetic Melee, the return of the Cathedral of Pain Trial in whatever form, and more character slots! I can't really say I'm least excited about anything.

Where would you really like the game to expand?

ICONS: Hey, I'm sure I'm not the only one that wants to see that northeast wall in Steel Canyon finally come down like in the the old CoV pack-in map and start doing some cosmic superhero adventures! Also I really would like to see bases get a big update. New travel powers would be great! And this is a tiny thing but it has bothered me for years: lets see some proper superhero masks with whited-out eyes like in comic books! I mean no one sees Wolverine's or Batman's eyes when the mask is on, give me that option with my heroes!

Fusion Force: I've would love to see a Zig Prison Trial in Brickstown. I'd also like to see the Shadow Shard opened up to the villain side, with co-op Shadow Shard Task Forces. The community has asked for a Moon Zone or a Space Zone for years, and that would be really cool to see too.

Lastly... Loyalist or Resistance?

ICONS: Resistance! Damn the Man!

Fusion Force: I'm a hero at heart, so Resistance for me!

We'd like to thank both groups for taking the time to reflect on the game on its sixth anniversary.
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