City of Heroes’ progeny: City of Titans

There’s nothing that makes you miss a thing like dwelling on what you used to have and can’t have right now, and having spent several weeks working up a series on City of Heroes’ history for Massively OP has me missing that MMO like crazy. It’s really bad, as in, “That game would totally hit the spot for me right now and I’d play it extensively, even in 2018.”

I kick myself that I wandered away from City of Heroes and didn’t get more time in with that title, but what’s done is done. City of Heroes is gone and it’s not coming back. There’s no changing that.

But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon as not one, not two, but three significant MMO projects arose from the shared passion of City of Heroes and sought to claim (or at least share) the throne as “worthy spiritual successor.” All of these have been in early development for a while, but now I think we’re getting to an interesting period where these teams are starting to show off more and the possibility of launch is starting to rise. We’re probably still two or more years away for these, but at least they’ve moved from concept to something more substantial.

So I wanted to do a limited series in which I’d look at the three progeny of City of Heroes and see what they have, where they’re at, and how I feel about them. Today, we’re going to start with City of Titans.

When City of Heroes was shut down, there was a lot of anger, energy, and a desire to do something to save the game — and barring that, to preserve its legacy. A lot of discussion went on in the various fan forums, and out of this emerged a movement to create a superhero MMO that would be City of Heroes in all but (partial) name.

Originally called the Phoenix Project, City of Titans took to Kickstarter in October 2013 and raised a rather impressive $678,189 for this vision (this was back when everyone threw gobs of money at crowdfunding if it promised enough). The team of various skilled volunteers solidified as Missing Worlds Media, and work begun on the game proper.

Obviously, it’s been years. And years. And years since this project was first announced, and we are not anywhere near a live test server or beta or launch or anything like that. City of Titans has featured a development pace so slow as to be glacial, although to MWM’s credit, it’s never stopped or fallen off the map. There have been some interesting reveals lately, like sneak peeks at auras and costume unlocks and a Fourth of July City of Heroes homage. But the “drips and drabs” pace of development, coupled with the rather unimpressive website, has left me cold on the project.

It’s just been out there so long that I don’t see a lot of hype or momentum going for Titans right now. Maybe that would change if they get something playable out there, and according to a video teaser, the avatar builder beta is coming some time this year to give backers something to fiddle with. I’m all for costume creation, but the visuals we’ve seen so far are… not great. Out of the the three projects, I’d have to say that what we’ve seen of City of Titans’ models and mock-ups are the least visually exciting.

I’m also a little underwhelmed when I look at the structure of the classes and sub-classes. To be honest, all of these games follow the structure of City of Heroes pretty closely, so it’s hard to see exactly how they will feel and play differently. But while City of Heroes had really exciting and easy-to-grasp archetypes and powersets, City of Titans has several that sound befuddling. Stalwart? Partisan? Vindicator? Director? These aren’t doing much for my imagination.

Then again, City of Heroes has (had?) some serious money behind it and a lot of time to ramp up to something real. And the fact that it is still chugging along and hasn’t given up gives me some measure of hope. I appreciate that they’re thinking through the various systems, I just worry they don’t have the team or know-how to create the tech and code necessary to run a legitimate MMO.

2 thoughts on “City of Heroes’ progeny: City of Titans

  1. You have a typo in the final paragraph where you call say “City of Heroes” but clearly mean “City of Titans”. I was never very fond of CoH, which I betaed and chose not to play when it went live but i would like a good Superhero MMO that isn’t DCUO. Of the three contenders the ony one I’ve really been paying any attention to is Valliance. The early pre-alphas for that seemed promising. Like all of them, though, it’s taking forever.

  2. These projects tend to fail / drift-forever because they’re a whole lot more work than most fanfiction projects. Plus while there are many things I loved about City of Heroes, bringing it back wouldn’t actually take me back to the magic of 2004.

    The better way for a game to be a good successor to City of Heroes, is to not specifically try to BE City of Heroes. Instead, take the elements that made it amazing and reiterate upon MMORPG designs overall.

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