Even in City of Heroes' heyday, it was extremely rare to see more than two instances of a zone; normally, there was only one.
I canceled my account in January of this year, because the truth was that I had not played since October 2011. Even when the game went free-to-play, I didn't come back to look at it. Not even when they announced they were canceling it.
But at 10PM tonight, I decided to go in.
kagetsume was on too, so I chatted with him for a bit -- we haven't talked in ages. I couldn't get to Atlas Park 33 -- it was full -- so I went to Atlas Park 6. I didn't know where to go, so I flew up to the top of the globe that rests on the giant shoulders of Atlas's statue. There were three other people up there. One of them was DJing a tribute to CoH on Dimensional.Net, so I tuned in. His selection was broad, including instrumentals and a wide range of rock and eras. Almost all with a theme of heroes, rescuing, etc. Related to the theme.
Lut suggested I get some screenshots, so I brought in different characters, my favorites from across several servers. Virtue kicked me several times and crashed once. The queue to log in at one point was over a thousand.
I hadn't meant to stay to the end -- it's three hours past my usual bedtime -- but it's only 24 minutes away now, and oddly I am not sleepy. The music and taking screenshots, getting shots of Lut's characters, talking to people, has kept me up. I logged out Kasadya to bring on another character, Alice Bocor, to get screenshots of her. It's ten minutes to the end now, and I am in the queue to log Kasadya back in after getting kicked. I got back in, and got kicked again in less than a minute. Five minutes to go, and Virtue cannot bear up under the weight of its players' grief, the thousands who want to be there in the end. I am position 84 of 370 in the queue for Virtue, and it's 2AM CST, midnight Pacific: closing time.
At 2:03AM, three minutes after the servers were set to go down, I reconnected with Kasadya. She rose into the air and broadcasted a triumphant "I'm still alive!" An instant later, the server went down for the last time.
But you know, I cannot believe this is the end. Even if NCSoft never sells the game or resurrects it, when I think of all the bootleg WoW servers out there, I have to believe that somewhere, someone -- some hacker or dev who managed to sneak it out -- is running a CoH server. Paragon City is still out there, even if I can't visit it now.
Farewell, City of Heroes. You were the best of the MMOs; I fear we will not see your like again.