This post is gonna get a little personal.
City of Heroes is closing down. This is coming at a time in my life where, as the title implies, I'm tired of saying goodbye to things in my life. You see, these past two years have been pretty rough for my family. Starting two years ago, my Oma (dutch for Grandmother) passed away. Then six months later, my Abuelita. Then my Opa. Less than a month ago, I found out my Abuelito is dying from cancer, and has six months to live.
I'm not comparing the shutting down of a video game to these personal tragedies, not at all. I would gladly give up every game I own for the chance to see them again, twice over. But online games have always been a refuge for me. When I don't want to worry about money, I figure out which WoW class I want to level next, or a concept for a City of Heroes character. It's been a constant in my life, a place where I can go to socialize with people who share a common interest, are nerdy like me and I don't have to worry about things going on in my personal life.
These past five years, City of Heroes has been a reliable place I can go. In Paragon City, I could fly around, run at super speeds or leap tall buildings while beating up the various (and sometimes ridiculous) villains of the universe. Or be a cheesy, dastardly villain who steals P.L.O.T. devices. I knew Paragon City, and I fit in there.
This post is delayed because I didn't know how to respond to the announcement. I read it on Twitter and thought it was a joke. City of Heroes had endured through many of the ups and downs of the industry, surely they wouldn't shut it down out of nowhere. But they did, and I felt kicked in the gut. Now, as this is sinking in I find myself in the predicament of trying to figure out how to say goodbye. There is so much I have never experienced. I have never had a max level character. I have never gone on a Hami Raid, or defeated Statesman or Lord Recluse.
I could try to do these things, to flesh out my experience in the game before I leave. Or I could sit and remember the times we had. The many Frostfire runs, the ridiculous adventures of myself and my friend, The Boogie Knight, and the times I spent with the Jerks Super Group started by Scott Sharkey. Words cannot express the quality of the community and the Roleplay I experienced in this game as well.
I find myself groping for another game to fill the void before this one leaves me, and I'm coming up empty. I bought Guild Wars 2 today, a decision many may disagree with due to NCSoft being the one who shut down the game. I don't blame them, I've seen the quarter call earnings. Aion brought in twice as much money as City of Heroes, and nobody I know has heard of anything from that game in months. I hope it will fill the void but I truly don't know. Even World of Warcraft cannot provide me the experience I found in that game. I doubt anything ever will.
What I am left with is a profound sense that no part of my life is sacred from the feeling of loss. Online games used to be my refuge, and now I am acutely aware that this ground is not safe either. It is difficult for me to trust to begin with, and investing myself in a new game will be significantly harder. You never do trust as easily as you do the first time.