Super-powered MMO City Of Heroes closed down in November 2012, but in recent years it has been revived by industrious fans via privately-hosted servers. While those servers allowed caped crusaders to continue roleplaying, the caveat was that they could be shut down at any moment by the most dastardly supervillains of all: lawyers.
That should be less of an issue in future. One of those community-hosted servers, Homecoming, has been granted an official license to operate by City Of Heroes’ IP owners NCSoft.
“We’ll have much more to share on this in the coming months, however right now we’d like to make a few things clear: Your accounts and characters are safe,” says the announcement by the Homecoming team. Access to the game and its server will continue to be completely free, too, with support coming via player donations.
The Homecoming team will continue to develop new content for City Of Heroes. They’ve previously added a new Archetype (basically a class), called the Sentinel, as well as new powersets and new stories and missions.
Homecoming is just one of many fan-run servers, and as the only one to receive an official license, its leaders are now hoping to consolidate the community under a single home. To that end, they’re “forming a new leadership group” called the City Council which will consist of Homecoming’s current development team and “representatives from the other servers we have been working with.”
They’re also looking to recruit more volunteer developers and Game Masters to help with its operation, and plan on registering as an NPO – a non-profit organisation.
City Of Heroes was developed by Cryptic Studios and launched in 2004, the same year as genre titan World Of Warcraft. Cryptic sold the IP outright to publisher NCSoft in 2007 and several of the game’s development team transferred to a new studio, Paragon. Paragon Studios continued to maintain City Of Heoes until the closure of both the game and the company in 2012.
It was an also important game in the pre-history of Rock Paper Shotgun, as one of the few that all four founders played together in the years before the site launched. If you want to read Kieron “comics” Gillen write about the making of City Of Heroes, that’s a thing you can do.
If you’re interested in playing City Of Heroes in 2024, there’s a Getting Started guide on the Homcoming website, which includes download links for the launcher and instructions on creating an account.