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YMMV / City of Heroes

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  • Alternative 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.
    • This extends to in-universe, with the Council leadership calling him out on it. Mind, the Council's also not above this...
  • Alt-itis:
    • With all the power and costume options, it's not unusual for one person to have 20 or more characters.
    • Given 573 672 (as of Issue 18) possible archetype/power set combinations, 20 is few. This is probably the game whose players named Altoholism.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: City of Heroes never took off in South Korea, with the full game release actually being cancelled there after the beta failed miserably. Considering that its publisher NCSoft was based in South Korea, and are first-and-foremost looking after the Korean market, this is believed to be a major factor in the eventual shutdown of the game.
  • Broken Base:
    • Munchkins and roleplayers each look down on each other as the nerdier way to play the game.
    • Ironic, considering that a small portion of the fanbase consider themselves both, and come up with long, intricate storylinIes explaining why their character can now use Fire/Kin control powers.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • 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.)
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    • 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).
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Ghost Widow. Scirocco also gets this occasionally.
    • 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.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Becky the Tarantula Mistress, Blue Steel, Foreshadow...
  • Evil Is Cool: Lord Recluse, natch. In-Universe, he even receives Rooting for the Empire (see below).
  • 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 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!
  • Fridge Horror: Some might notice that the entangles produced by the Carrion Crawlers power continue to deal damage to the defeated enemies. Apparently dead bodies are tasty.
    • A late mission reveals that Nemesis had drone copies of Rikti, which itself isn't a big deal until recalling that the drone predates the Rikti invasion, suggesting Nemesis intentionally provoked an interdimensional war to cover his escape.
    • Most players found this on their own the first run through of the game, when they find out the exact cause of the Lost's mutations: they're turning into Rikti.
  • 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 a certain story arc featured a faction of villainous rogue PPD. Cue hero-players horrified at how overpowered the 'new' group was.
    • Mu Mystics. Against Arachnos as a whole, many characters have to prioritize Mu enemies or lose their endurance quickly. A few missions pit you against nothing but Mu Mystics.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Countless pop up every now and then. From the ability to make illegal but cool (and lag-causing) outfits, through captives being replaced by harmless killer robots, to ten foot tall robots trying to ma- er.. combine with players. And succeeding.
  • 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...)
  • It's Personal: Fans of C.o.H. still speak of NC Soft in absolutely scathing terms over the loss of the game.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • 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.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Go. Hunt. Kill Skuls.
    • Also, it's all a Nemesis plot.
      • It gets somewhat circular in one specific tip mission, involving a hacker on a forum devoted to this meme discovering an actual Nemesis plot in his workplace.
      • Because of Jerk Hackers dupin rares.
    • Freem!
    • Devs hate red.
      • Which is rather ironic, since the Dev's Names on the Fora are in red.
    • *Hoorbnote 
    • Real life badge pics Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • 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.
    • The Crusader Rebels of Praetoria are a good example of what happens when a Well-Intentioned Extremist goes waay over the line. And these guys are supposed to be working for the traditionally morally superior faction.
    • 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.
  • Never Live It Down: City of Heroes is still remembered fondly by its playerbase, and NC Soft has never fully recovered from the blow it took to its image as a result of their shutdown of the game. The fact that their hope in seeing those players migrate to their other games didn't pan out pretty much at all has lead many to think they will never be forgiven for it by players of CoH. Given the vitriol they still get to this day, that theory may well be correct.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • 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 Praetorian Clockwork 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.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The fight between the Loyalist Praetorians and the Resistance was supposed to be various shades of grey for the Going Rogue expansion, with logic being more or less "At what point is peace oppressive, and at what point is a noble rebel cause anarchy"; But Emperor Cole and his Praetors, with possible exception of Praetor White, are so corrupt/insane that you really can't fault the rebels for anything they do even when blatant terrorism is on the menu.
    • As Lord Recluse points out to Emperor Cole, he is an unapologetic Card-Carrying Villain and even he is supported by the populace once they find out the sort of things Cole was doing. He literally marches into the city with his army of doom, stating he is there to takeover the world and is cheered on for it. - That was how low Emperor Cole had inadvertently set the bar.
    • Even prior to Praetoria this was the case for many. The Rogue Isles are a playground of scum and villainy, but there is zero pretense as to what they are. It is a Social Darwinist's utopia, dedicated to hedonism in which Ass Kicking Equals Authority. After looking at the conspiracies, corruption and, in some cases, stupidity, that pops up through-out Paragon law-making, to maintain the status-quo, it is hard not to root for the society breeding new evils as the intended end goal instead of as an accident due to an incompetent system.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Jack "Statesman" Emmert, especially after he left the team.
  • The Scrappy: Fusionette, especially to anyone playing a melee character at the time.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Seems to be mandatory that each endgame raid have one:
    • Behavioral Adjustment Facility trial: In the second phase of the trial, gameplay changes from traditional MMORPG to Tower Defense, with the players acting as the towers. (This was usually handled by just having everyone summon their Lore Pets, putting them on aggro, and letting them go to town. Other summon powers and ground-targeted abilities were also recommended)
    • Original Keyes Island Reactor trial: Every 30 seconds, an unresistable damage pulse takes off half your hitpoints. It was toned down in the later version of the trial.
    • Underground trial: The final room of the map contains a strong confuse effect, which, if not protected against, causes players to see enemies as allies and vice-versa. Particularly bad because for most players, it's the only time they've ever been on the receiving end of a confuse effect, so it's a good bet that someone will let off a nuke while confused.
    • TPN Campus trial: During one phase of the trial, any time you're moving around outdoors you've got a chance to be one-shotted by the trial boss. As a bonus, if you're the only one outside (say, because you're running back from the hospital after being one-shotted), guess who said villain will target?
      • The fact that the mind-controlled protestors can kill you just by throwing rocks (even though they're supposed to be just normal humans while you're literally a godlike superbeing), but you're not allowed to fight back against them or your ratings go down (you need ratings of 500 to finish a phase), was also a very unpopular mechanic.
      • Also the boss himself, who in all his appearances in other content, is a C-list villain at best. He's literally just a normal human with normal handguns. But here, with no explanation, he's suddenly strong enough to take on entire groups of Incarnates (even one-shotting them with some of his skills), and you have to beat him three times before he stays down.
      • Minds of Mayhem trial: An NPC ally will offer to revive any defeated players, at the cost of shortening the time limit to complete the trial by 30 seconds. Virtually every raid leader opens their instructions with "If Desdemonia offers to rez you, refuse".
    • In general, any signature or high-level character is canonically an archvillain/hero or elite boss, making them strictly better than the player's character. This is true no matter the character's significance to the story, how many times you have defeated them in the story, or even their health in the story. This gets truly irritating toward end-game for City of Villains, where players may have to team up to defeat the Vindicators, Teen Titans expies, making it the equivalent of Lex Luthor summoning the Legion of Doom together to defeat Beast Boy.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: For younger gamers who never played City of Heroes/Villians, and are more familiar with DC Universe Online and Marvel Heroes may look at City of Heroes and wonder what the big deal is. But it's hard to understate how big a part of internet culture City was in the mid to late 2000's. In its heyday, the game enjoyed a popularity (in culture if not an actual headcount) on par with World of Warcraft!!
  • That One Boss:
    • 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.
    • Kadabra Kill.
    • 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.
    • Night Widows have high damage output and the very annoying ability to blind players (now reduced, thankfully), as well as very strong recharge debuffs. Mu Guardians heal their allies and heavily drain a player's endurance. Tarantula Mistresses and Queens combine blinding, strong recharge debuffs and very high damage output of the rarely resisted Psychic type.
    • A much, much earlier example would be the Headmen Swordsmen in The Lost enemy group. They have giant swords they pull out of nowhere, possibly their asses, that deal insane damage. Needless to say, Headman Swordsmen can be a pain for Scrappers, who are melee-based and not that good in defense, as well as Stalkers.
    • The Arachnos Patrons. Especially to members of their own arch-type who serve under, and ultimately need to fight them.
      • Ghost Widow is a Dominator who has heavy resistance to control effects. - With control moves rendered pretty much useless all a Dominator can do is keep at a distance and peck away at her health.
      • Black Scorpion is a Brute who could take a few hundred missiles to the face without being fazed. - Which makes a battle of brawn a very big uphill battle for another Brute.
      • Mako is a Stalker and well... The game devs put a safety measure on enemies to prevent them from one-shotting anyone less than five levels away from them.... Mako is the only boss in the game that does not have this feature! - So if you are a Stalker and will only get one shot off before he sees you...
      • Scirocco is a Corrupter who has long range endurance drain moves and personal knock-back armor. - Particularly devastating to Corrupters who need to ration their endurance.
  • 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.
  • Values Dissonance: A key factor in why the game was shut down, and remains as such, is the differences between South Korean and American/western cultures with NC Soft representing the former and the gamers and developers representing the latter.
    • Superheroes are a distinctly American phenomena, much in the way of Baseball and hot dogs. As such, the game was by far the most popular in North America, and as mentioned above, the beta was such a bomb in South Korea that it wasn't even released there. South Korea heavily emphasizes the need to look out for their own, and the fact that City of Heroes wasn't even a thing in NCSoft's home country played a big role in why they didn't think it was worth keeping. The fact that it was popular overseas meant little.
    • The game was shut down in part because even though the game was profitable and had a devoted fanbase, it didn't rake in the same money as their other products like Guild Wars, Aion and Lineage. All of them were more profitable in part due to their greater grind which City of Heroes lacked, on top of its superhero premise not meshing with the fantasy themes of the other titles that gave them far greater appeal in their native Korea and other Asian countries. Its generally believed their idea was that if they shut down City of Heroes, the player base would've migrated to the other games. Not only did this fail, it actually caused many if not most to swear off all NCSoft products forever, and their name remains akin to a curse word in many western communities and fan successor sites.
    • Finally, after City of Heroes closed, there were a number of companies, and even celebrities who were fans of the game, that offered NCSoft big bucks to buy the IP and resurrect the title. Many companies would've taken it, but not NCSoft. In South Korean business culture, it's frowned upon to sell your failed product to someone else and see it perform better, as the stigma was that it made the original owner look bad and seem like they were holding it back from greatness. They view it better to leave the series dead so they can look good in South Korea, an idea that's held with widespread bafflement everywhere else.
  • Wangst: Scirocco is downright maudlin over his curse.
  • 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.
    • Unlike the other Patrons who may speak in hushed tones or instruct villains from the mission via radio contact, Black Scorpion will shout at the top of his lungs about his "brilliant" plans to go behind Lord Recluse's back, even with a couple of Arachnos'-payroll scientists right next to him, in the heart of the lair of his boss and with said boss less than ten feet away from him!
    • This was the collective player reaction villain-side when Darrin Wade killed Statesman. Have fun dealing with a super pissed-off Lord Recluse, moron.

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