These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: City of Heroes
Alternate Character Interpretation: Nemesis is either a brilliant schemer with a hand in friggin' everything, or an egotistical blowhard who keeps trying to take credit for other people's work.
The Malta Group have been one of the most-loathed enemy groups in the game since they first appeared, generally having the right abilities to eventually hose any PC trying to fight them.
The Knives of Artemis are also deserving of this. Knives can see through stealth, can easily keep player characters stunned permanently, and they stack Caltrops to a ridiculous level, ensuring that most players can barely move while taking damage. Unless there's a character on the team with Speed Boost to free others from Caltrops, teamwipes happen on every single Knives of Artemis mission. Fortunately there aren't that many. (You can save yourself through use of flight. And, if you have the team teleport power, you can teleport all your teammates in range to a safer spot.)
Historically, players have given the role to the Rikti (when they first started invading and everyone panicked because they were showing up everywhere, only to calm down once they realized they weren't so bad once you became powerful enough), the Malta (Sappers used to be much more plentiful than they are now, and their spawn rates were decreased as a result of player complaints feedback), and the Rularuu (which have ridiculously powerful and accurate powers and are extremely hard to kill, but thankfully only show up in Those Four Zones that are entirely optional).
They're the most borderline-good of the Arachnos patrons. A planned future update would even have seen Scirocco abandon Arachnos to turn fully heroic (and, in the process, allow heroes access to previously villain-only Patron Power Pools without having to switch sides), justifying his "leather pants," had the game not been shut down.
Fandom Rivalry: Champions Online is headed up by the Scapegoat Creator of CoH, and was accused at times of trying to "poach" players from CoH and "borrowing" certain mechanics while both games were running. The results were not pretty. Champions then "winning" by default only served to further embitter many former CoH players.
Fridge Horror: Some might notice that the entangles produced by the CarrionCrawlers power continue to deal damage to the defeated enemies. Apparently dead bodies are tasty.
Fridge Brilliance: the Cosmic Retcon above also explains where every new character has to do similar missions: Time gets rewound. Making the ever repeating missions your alts have to do perfectly Justified!
Goddamned Bats: Exactly which enemy type fits the trope depends on the individual player.
However, PPD Equalizers and Ghosts are a very common offender. If you don't kill one immediately, they will use a very long duration debuff. The Equalizers have a Glue grenade that is autohit and slows you to a crawl, while the Ghosts' Flashbang, if it hits, neuters your chance of hitting and dodging.
It's especially noticeable because heroes never really fought the PPD - until recently, when a recent story arc featured a faction of villainous rogue PPD. Cue hero-players horrified at how overpowered the 'new' group was.
Growing the Beard: Early in its life, the game was littered with poor design choices, uninteresting quests, and a lack of incentive (there was no economy, for one). But starting at around the release of City of Villains (a year after the game originally launched, coinciding with the release of Issue 8), the devs eventually proved themselves ready and willing to listen and communicate with the playerbase, and steadily made several quality-of-life enhancements along with adding genuinely interesting new content — this is a large part of the reason the game survived as long as it did against so much competition. Many players agree that the turning point was when Cryptic Studios, the game's original developers, sold the rights to NCSoft, who created a division called Paragon Studios to exclusively work on the game — which coincided with the departure of the game's Scapegoat Creator, Jack "Statesman" Emmert. (Though, in the long run, people wonder just how well that ended for CoH and Paragon...)
Blue Steel is responsible for so many Deus ex Machina rescues in City of Villains that fans hail him as a Super Super Hero. He has a fact list similar to "Chuck Norris" facts. Until recently, his shield-based power set was impossible to show in game, making him even more awesome.
Amusingly, when he finally showed up as a fightable entity, his defensive power set was a mashup of Shield Defense and Willpower. Fans of the game would recognize these as two sets which could buff the user's HP with auto powers. Blue Steel apparently had both of them, as he had nearly twice the health of an Elite Boss of his level - More than Tub Ci, leader of the Tsoo; More than the Mother Keres, leader of the Talons of Vengeance; More than the SENTINEL OF MOT, the avatar of a god of death; More than the AVATAR OF HAMIDON, who sadly only showed up as an Elite Boss in an arc that never made it to live. Suffice it to say, the devs grabbed Blue Steel's Memetic Badass status with all available hands, affixed it to the nearest super speedster's back, and let him run with it.
The exact opposite happened to the NPC hero, Fusionette, and owner of the MAGI vault, Azuria. Their incompetence (in the case of Azuria, someone else's incompetence) has been played up to ridiculousness.
Villain alignment missions (the ones which cement your alignment as villain after you have done ten morality missions with the villain choices) generally feel like you are crossing one of these. As they should.
War Dog's story arc provides Resistance characters with unparalleled opportunities to went Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. In one mission, he sends the PC to kidnap and threaten the family of a PPD officer War Dog is interrogating. After the cop sings like a canary, War Dog kills him, and orders the PC to kill his family. Later on, War Dog lets the PC in on his master plan: to set off a neutron bomb in the heart of the city, in a gambit to destabilize Tyrant's regime.
Maelstrom's transition from "Hero" to "Vigilante", when he turned to his only friend in the world and shot him in the face, just to improve his own bargaining position with Tyrant.
When you idle in the game by civilians, sometimes they'll talk about your exploits. Nemesis is fond of using Automatons that perfectly resemble normal people. If you've encountered Nemesis troops lately, you might hear a comment like this:
"I can't believe how Carol behaved today at the — Lord Nemesis is watching you, $CHARACTER_NAME. He will not let this transgression pass without punishment. We know who you are — before the toner ran out and I had to get more."
A couple of tip missions in the 30-40 range revolve around a former hero who falls foul of this, and ends up being driven Ax-Crazy by the belief that anyone can be a Nemesis automaton. In one Vigilante mission it's actually the player character that does so, blowing up a Longbow base and killing everyone inside in the belief that they're all automatons. One possible interpretation of the whole affair, bearing in mind Nemesis' nature as a chessmaster and his "Heroes are a threat" propaganda, is that this actually his real goal rather than successful infiltration.
Metronome, the PraetorianClockwork King. He has no physical body. You can't kill him, because he's already dead. He can possess any robot by telekinetically rewriting the operating system on its hard drive (which he knows how to do because he helped Anti-Matter design them). You know, those robots that Praetoria uses for everything. Throw a stick and you'll hit three of them, and now every single one of them could, at any time, suddenly drop what it's doing, turn around, and try to murder you. He's not just a ghost in the machine, but a ghost in any machine, in every machine. And since Anti-Matter murdered him, and Penelope Yin spurned his affections, he's angry.
Which boss is That One depends on the PC's powers — Malta Gunslingers and Carnie Master Illusionists tend to be much-hated.
Also the Carnie Ring Mistresses. They are completely normal bosses, except for one power, Mask of Vitiation. Said power:
Almost autohits any character without defenses.
Lasts twice as long as it takes to recharge.
Completely shuts off the target's Health and Endurance recovery (in a group famous for Endurance drain)
Makes any other attack against the target pretty much autohit, roughly doubling the damage intake.
Oh, and it drains a fair chunk of Endurance, too.
Romulus (in One-Winged Angel form) is often very difficult for unprepared teams, as can be Reichsman.
When Going Rogue came out, a new boss class enemy was added to the Freakshow lineup: the Super Stunner. Along with being able to kill most characters' recharge, they have endurance drain abilities just this side of a Malta Sapper, and they always come back to life the first time they're KO'd, so you have to defeat them twice to get rid of them.
Issue 19 added two new task forces, with two more contenders for the title: Battle Maiden (as she appears in the Apex TF) and Director 11 of the Malta Group (in Tin Mage's). Possibly also Bobcat in the latter, if you hit her Berserk Button.
That One Level: Certain mission tilesets, including the "layer cake" room in several caves and the Circle of Thorns' city, Oranbega. The Shadow Shard consists of four entire zones of scrappyness and are all but deserted nowadays.
Uncanny Valley: There are a number of strange creatures in the game, but the Uncanny Valley-est are, by far, the Arachnoids, part-human/part-spider creature that lurk beneath Grandville. They have eight eyes, no ears, and four extra limbs growing from their back. They have an exoskeleton that is pushing through their skin, in such a way that it looks like their skin is peeling away in layers, and to top it off, a portion of their abdomen is missing, allowing you to see the inner side of their spines through where their stomach should be.
What an Idiot: Some of the plot points in arcs are fairly contrived. An example, a warrant is put out for the arrest of the second Ajax after he revealed in his time capsule letter he killed the original Ajax even though at that point the character in question had redeemed himself beyond a shadow of a doubt. Although there is still the fact that he murdered a superhero. Regardless of redemption, the law still has to figure in.