A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Moving forward after City of Heroes

Hopefully you didn't just start crying again.

Last week was painful, not just for me but for a lot of you was well. I'm touched by the number of comments I received on last week's article, and I can understand why a lot of you thought that this was curtains for the column as well as for the game. It was a sad ending, with a note of hope almost buried by all of the crushing emotion. You and I lost a friend that's been with us for more than eight years; it's hard to be optimistic.

But I'm still here. And I'm still the same person I was a week ago, if somewhat diminished by loss. And now it's time to move along.

I've written the last word there is for me to write on the subject of City of Heroes, but as it turns out, I still have a lot more to say about the genre. This probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to regular readers. I'm a guy who loves superheroes, and losing a home hurts, but it doesn't mean I'm hanging up my cape. It means that I need to find a new home. And I'd be remiss in not asking anyone else along for the ride.


As of right now, there are two other superheroic games on the market, one more in beta, and one more that's just recently been announced. Heroes and Villains is the last one, and while I'm worried that this is going to be one of those projects that shows promise and then fades away, it's clear that the people in charge are keenly aware of just how much the community lost when City of Heroes went dark.

The folks behind Champions Online is aware of it as well; they posted a front-page farewell when its rival shut down, which struck me as being extremely classy. I was a bit surprised that the folks at DC Universe Online didn't do anything, but perhaps they're a bit insulated from the rest of the world. (You know, like DC Comics itself. Zing.)

My old home is gone. It's time to start moving to new homes. From now on, I'm going to be covering all of the above in this column, and I hope you're still going to be reading.

The retooling

Changing the format of the column isn't something that's being done on a whim; it was something I'd been thinking about months ago, and it's been the plan for a while since it was clear that City of Heroes would be ripped away. That having been said, I'm still up in the air about how exactly the column will work from here on out, simply because I haven't yet had a chance to work the column in a new format.

So it's going to be an experiment. And that means that I'm going to be turning to you fine readers a bit more than usual to find out what works, what doesn't, and what I should be doing instead. You know, the usual stuff, only in greater quantities.

Right now, I'm turning over the question to you about where you want me to start. Maybe you're eager for more information or opinion-based nattering on one active game or the other (I don't have many strong feelings on Marvel Heroes, seeing as it's not yet released), or maybe you'd prefer a more general roundup. You might even prefer for me to start talking about why The Incredibles is arguably not a superhero movie, but that falls a bit outside of my duties here on the site.

So, behold! A poll. You can give feedback for the next several days, and I will internalize its deep wisdom.

At least for the moment, I'd like to focus loosely on one game for a month, talking about other news a bit more intermittently, but that's not set in stone. If I try it for a couple of months and it doesn't work, it can change. Not coincidentally, that'll be right around the column's three-year anniversary.

Zoom, zoom, zoom.  Yeah, zoom zoom zoom zoom.

But why?

A case could be made for just letting the column go altogether; it had a run during the last years of CoH's life, so it is what it is. And there are going to be some of you who may see this as an attempt to replace CoH or forget about it.

Nothing can replace CoH, though. All that we can do is move on to the future.

As I mentioned about, changing the format is something I considered months ago, long before we got the horrible announcement that our game of choice would be going away, not out of a lack of love for CoH but for a simple interest in seeing more of the field as a whole. I'm passionate about superheroes, so it makes no small amount of sense that I would want to keep talking about superheroic games even when my first choice is no more.

So instead of throwing in the towel, I want to try something a little bit broader. I imagine I'm not the only person still looking for a new home after the loss of our city, and giving an overview of some of our potential new homes may help some of you find a single permanent home.

If all of that fails, I can at least hope that the whole thing is entertaining.

Feedback is welcome below or via mail to In fact, starting now until I get more solid sense of how the new format will work, feedback is quite actively encouraged because I need to figure this all out as I go. Next week, I'll talk about the poll results and start planning the first steps of the new column.

By day a mild-mannered reporter, Eliot Lefebvre spent years in City of Heroes before the world-shattering event that destroyed his home world. But he remains as intrpeid as ever, traveling to other superheroic games and dispensing his unique brand of justice or lack thereof.