I’ve been a fan of City of Heroes since it came out. I’ve played on and off, as my financial and time situation have allowed, but since it was sometimes a year or more between plays, and sometimes on other people’s accounts, I’ve lost more characters than I can remember, but the game has always called to me.
When I heard City of Heroes was going free to play, I was excited and worried. I didn’t quite know what to expect. I played Champions Online as free to play and saw a lot of options limited, and I hoped that I would be in the same situation.
There are limitations. There are several limitations even. You are limited on your choice of Arch-types, powers and costumes, but not greatly. None of those limits require a paid account though, but have a purchase price of credits that once you pay, it unlocks the option for future characters. The pricing isn’t horrible, and since you only have to pay it once for your account, it’s actually pretty good.
Some of the other “purchasable” content includes auras for your character, character slots (you only start with 2), power sets, costume pieces and special custom adventures. The free content doesn’t limit you however, and there is still plenty to do and from what I’ve seen no level limit.
There are a few downsides to playing free. Going Rogue, the newest expansion, is only available through subscription. Talking on global chat and PMing other people is not allowed in free play either. Also, with your paid subscription you get 400 free credits to spend on purchasable content each month. All in all though, the only thing I wish I got to play was the Going Rogue expansion.
Overall, the game is better. The free play works great for me, since I’m not available to play very often. The free to play upgrade also changed the world a little and the tutorial is now the same for both heroes and villains, so once you play it, it’s no longer new. I did get my first morality mission last night, right after I hit 20th level, and I’ve never played with them before, so hopefully it allows a richer story.
The game is what it always has been, a fun romp with a good, deep story. The people who make City of Heroes work hard to make the world intricate and fun and to develop a story you want to experience and read about. I’ve enjoyed my first 20 levels, and I plan on enjoying several more. I already have my son addicted too, but he’s a little too young to let him run free on the game, so I’m waiting for a while before I start playing with him on a regular basis.
I give City of Heroes Freedom 4 out of 5 radioactive spider bites.