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Welcome! If you're just starting a trial account, or don't have the game yet but want to know more about it, you're at the right page!
What Is City of Heroes All About?
City of Heroes is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (abbreviated as MMORPG) that focuses around the concept of thousands of superheroes defending Paragon City. With five different basic archetypes of heroes to build off of, and dozens of different powersets to choose from, you can build any type of hero you desire! (Just don't copy an already copyrighted hero. Building yourself a nice little Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or Captain America ripoff is a fast track to getting banned. Be original!)
Within the game, the main goal is to use your hero to battle against the "bad guys" (who may be street thugs, mobs, evil aliens, or other such villainous characters). Your hero gains certain amounts of experience (abbreviated as XP) from defeating bad guys, and will "level up" as you gain more and more XP. The occasion of leveling up is kind of like a birthday for your hero--as you level up your hero, he or she will be able to learn new powers and become stronger, quite literally "growing up" before your eyes.
Once your hero hits Level 50, he or she is "done" leveling up, gaining XP, and getting new powers. However, you can still use the character for MUCH, MUCH more gameplay, even after they can no longer gain experience. For some players, life begins at Level 50, since the character can still play through missions, and is strong enough to defeat even the toughest bad guys--even Rikti! Also, since Level 50 characters have been collecting influence (that's City of Heroes' money) from 50 levels' worth of missions, they can often buy some of the rarer items in the game, like costume pieces and enhancement sets. Not to mention all the post-level-50 content that has just been added--check the Life After Level 50 section to learn about the Incarnate System and its myriad new bonuses!
So What Do Heroes Actually Do?
Outside of playing through missions where you save the day rescuing people and defeating groups of baddies, you can also sell various items at Wentworth's (think eBay for CoH) for profit, as well as write your own missions and play through them with your friends in the Architect Entertainment Building. You can also be very social--you can chat with other people on your server and also across servers, as well as participate in costume contests, and be part of a cooperative group of superheroes as well (this is called a "supergroup"). Supergroups have common bases, which can house each member's items as well as provide ways to access almost any area of Paragon City that you wish!
Finally, sometimes it's just fun to "stop and smell the roses"--with the "Print Screen" key on your keyboard, you can take screenshots of some of the most beautiful computer-generated landscapes and seascapes, or capture a hilarious moment or two (your whole team doing the "Dance5" emote, or a shot of an enemy slung halfway through a wall). You can also edit your original costume, create additional costumes, and get additions to your costume like capes, wings, and auras as you level up. There is also something to be said for stopping to help a fellow hero in trouble--a random heal or an offer to help beat up a few random thugs on the street can start a great friendship.
I Have A Question About _____.
This site is dedicated to helping players learn about the various parts of CoH. A complete sitemap is available on this page, showing you all the topics that Skies over Atlas covers, from building your hero to creating teams and supergroups of heroes, and everything in between.