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    On August 31, 2012, NCSoft announced they were pulling the plug on City of Heroes, for reasons fans have yet to find satisfactory. Rather than give up, I probably played more in the final three months than I'd played in the six months before that, and thanks for focusing pretty intensely on Virtue (with a little play on a few other characters outside it) I ended up getting four new characters to L50, and a few older ones as well. I even made a character specifically for the end of the world, Doctor Aeschaton, and got him to level 51 before the end.

    I didn't use Titan Network's extractor to make copies of my characters. I figured, either the game would be saved and all the data would transfer smoothly, or it wouldn't and any revival that happened would start fresh with a new back end. But I did participate in some of the final days prep, including helping make demorecords of various arcs.

    This page documents some of the things I did as the game headed kicking and screaming towards the abyss.

The Immortal Game

    Arcanaville worked out a semi-canonical "end of the world" story (which doesn't mesh with my own, but that's fine) on the beta server, using some of the new development tools that were going to be part of Issue 24. The eight part story that accompanied it (I'll try to remember to link to a stable copy of it at some point) told of how Dream Doctor enlisted the help of Prometheus and Mender Silos in an attempt to save Earth from the Battalion. Silos, for his part, reverted to Nemesis Plot mode and brought in Emperor Cole and two versions of Hamidon to make it work. The playable part was set in the Rikti War Zone, with RulaCole (Emperor Cole given temporary control over Rularuu as Darrin Wade had once done) destroying the Mothership and its last link out of the dimensional barrier the Battalion had placed around Earth.

    You see, the plan was to turn Battalion's trap around on them, and the portal to Rikti-Earth was the only escape route the Battalion could use. But they would detect the action and try to stop it, so the massed might of the fully realized Incarnates (Prometheus unlocked everyone's slots up through Hybrid and gave us access to all of the stuff to put in them) was necessary to hold off Battalion long enough for Silos's plan to go through. You see, he had a second string to his bow, getting both versions of Hamidon to come and merge (which required they be "defeated" by the Incarnates first), Ascending into a force that could destroy the trapped Battalion and prevent them from ever figuring out how to get out of the trap. Meanwhile, Dream Doctor and Prometheus would save Earth by moving it though dreamspace, which the Battalion had no concept of. And Silos got stuck in a third, empty, spawning of Earth as a necessary side effect.

Farewell Tour

    While logging into every one of my 127 characters was prohibitive, I did decide to run a farewell tour Friday night and say goodbye to every server I'd played on. I started with the two European servers, since I didn't have to think about which characters to use, and then went through the rest in alphabetical order. Most servers I just said my farewells in the LFG channel, since it was the biggest megaphone on each server, but a few places I bid special goodbyes on broadcast or in server-specific chat channels. Beware, a lot of the images here and in the later sections are full screen captures, half a meg in size.

  • Zukunft - I bid the server Auf Wiedersehen on Zukunftmensch and then left him on the shoulder of the Tank statue in the middle of Steel Canyon. No screenshots.
  • Union - Anneke also perched on Tank at the end. No screenshots.
  • Champion - Doctor Dave was the natural choice here. He wasn't my first character on Champion, or my highest level, but he was me.
  • Exalted - Pinkemina was the one I picked here, as the leader of the only successful supergroup I ever founded. I'd taken over many, but this was mine from the word go. And most of my experience with the base editor was here.
  • Freedom - I had largely abandoned this server months before the end was announced, so I didn't have many characters there anymore. But Geoff Peterson seemed a good choice to say goodbye to Freedom forever on. Balls.
  • Guardian - I ended up going back after the goodbye, due to Virtue's instability, but my initial farewell to Guardian was with a non-native. Penny Gunn had started on Virtue, then moved to Pinnacle, and finally moved to Guardian to replace Server Wench as my Incarnate on that server. I left her hovering in the mouth of Mot before going back and taking her to the end of the world.
  • Infinity - I moved Ol' Jed to Waylon's farmhouse in Croatoa, a stand-in for his own farm as seen in ASH #119. No screenshots, sorry.
  • Justice - Solar Max started on Virtue, but when I decided Justice was the ASH server, I moved him there. He said goodbye from Orobouros. However the heck it's spelled.
  • Liberty - After some thought, I decided to leave Server Wench eternally discussing IT policy with Lord Recluse after bidding farewell to the server. Born on Guardian, she'd moved to Liberty to follow the shifting sands of activity.
  • Pinnacle - Hard to choose, given how many characters I had on the server. But I decided to go with Enforcer 1003, my first character on the server and one of my first 50s. Silos is kinda tall, but Enforcer is also pretty short, as you can see here.
  • Protector - This was a late bloomer for me, initially a dump server, but it flourished as an LNH/SG server for me shortly before the end was announced. With no significant attachment to the server per se, I decided to say goodbye with Kopikat, then finally have her turn into a panther.
  • Triumph - Goodbyes were a bit longer here, for a couple of reasons. One is that The Cell was one of my few active groups in the final three months, helping me get a few characters to 50 before the end and providing me with experiences I hadn't even thought to put on my bucket list, like the Abandoned Sewer Trial. So I chatted longer with them before moving on. Also, I wanted to get a picture of K-Type fighting monsters in Monster Island, but when I arrived a Rikti Invasion was underway, and that makes outdoor foes vanish. (Oh, and K-Type actually survived aggroing a trio of Monsters.)
  • Victory - A definite dump server for me, I don't think any of the characters there were native to the server. But if I could say goodbye to Freedom, I could do it here too. Afterward, I got some pics of Vultarr and the Atlas Park blimp. I remember trying to land on the blimp with Sharon Venturi once she learned to I suppose I was saying farewell to the blimp as much as to the server.

A Final Night Of Play

    In addition to the farewells and my plan for the very end (hatched during the tour), I wanted to spend as much time as possible actually playing the game. My intent was to get Zane Ryder as high as I could manage, but instability on Virtue scuttled that plan in the end, and I finished the evening of play on Bright Girl.

  • Shimmer-Strike's Final Mothership Raid - Friday nights on Virtue for the last three years you could count on a Rikti Mothership Raid led by Shimmer-Strike, who I'd first met in the Abandoned Warehouse SG during my first fling at playing Ol' Jed as a serious character rather than an AE farmer. While every week seemed like it might be the last one, the final three months were never without a weekly Shim-Sham Rikti Slam. While I took no pictures of it, I got in late with Doctor Aeschaton on the early-launched first run of the night, in which Shim accomplished her Holy Grail: a raid in which all 18 bombs were placed. She agreed to run one more, though, and I switched to Zane for that.
  • Mishes with Bishes - After the raid I finished my farewell tour, then came back and joined Captain Bishie and some other Livejournal regulars on some missions. Once we got enough people, we tried doing a Sutter TF, which would have gotten Zane to L38, but alas....
    • Tip mission - They said I was mad to hide trip mines under the Lifegiving Spores....
    • Sutter Fail - We were just about to clear the last ship, too.
    • More fail - The mapserve was clearly not just me at this point.
    • Queued - Definitely wasn't just me. Black Pebble got in touch with the skeleton crew running the servers, but none of them had the ability to reboot Virtue, and it wouldn't reboot on its own unless it totally failed, which it never quite did.
    • Try two - We actually did all get back into Virtue and launch again, but this time it crashed some of us out before we even finished clearing the first ship. So we moved to Liberty to finish it off, and rather than try to transfer Zane, I just played Bright Girl one last time. Got her to L40, barely.
    • Hello, sewer-dwelling War Walker! - Seriously, how did they get that thing in there?
    • Fusion and Temblor - The other mystery of the Sutter Taskforce...why Rule 63?


    For days I'd wondered how I wanted to spend the final moments, and during my farewell tour it finally hit me. Where better to do it than the first mission of Mender Ramiel's arc, where you're at the height of your powers and at the end of the world? And since I'd been buying Alpha Unlocks since they became available, I had a LOT of incarnates who hadn't done the arc yet, including Doctor Aeschaton. But after the crashiness with Zane, I set up Penny Gunn as a backup, in case I couldn't be on Virtue at the end.

  • The end of time
  • LIMITLESS RADIAL FREEEEM! - FREEEEM is a running joke in the game, based on a written sound effect, and coming to mean "nifty but possibly overpowered stuff". Here there's no possibly about it. The three powers you get in this mission essentially shove all the sliders as far as they'll go in your favor. Sure, it takes time to defeat the ultra powerful foes in this mission, but they're lucky to get even a single point of damage on you. Unless, um, the mission gets bugged and someone enters without the powers. Which has happened to friends of mine while I was mission holder.
  • Ruladak the Strong - Initially, I just hovered around, my FREEEEM making me 100% invisible to the NPCs as long as I didn't attack. So I got a nice shot of Ruladak, the guy you have to beat to win the mission.
  • Doomed Cimerorans - Hero, can fight 'em all here. I started with Imperious and Romulus.
  • One more echo - An Echo of Stateman is one of the people you can fight, but I had charges of the Summon Statesman power left, so why not?
  • Bad touch? - Both Statesmen ran around like crazed wombats, so it was hard to get a screenshot with both in view...but this was unintentionally hilarious.
  • QUAKE WITH FEAR! - Not sure if it was the FREEEEM or the Divine Core Oscillation, but either way I was able to Terrorize Ruladak.
  • D'oh! - One last crash for the road. And I didn't even get to finish Ruladak off and save Mender Ramiel.
  • Once more, with feeling - Activate the backup plan, Penny Gunn didn't have time to mess around with the others and headed straight for Ruladak. Ice chunks flew pretty far.
  • Rulapop! - If he can be terrorized, he can be held, eh?
  • View from the end of the world - With Ruladak defeated and Ramiel saved, I flew to the top of the zone and waited for the end. A couple of minutes before the shutdown, global chat channels and tell shut off, cutting my connection to my friends. LFG was still yammering away until the end, so I said my very final goodbyes. My last words were cut off by the server winking out...unlike many others, I didn't get a disconnect message, the program simply blinked out, quitting to desktop.