It was seven years ago today that NCsoft and Cryptic Studios launched a new Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game called "City of Heroes", inviting people of all ages to come to Paragon City in Rhode Island and be heroes and superheroes.
This was a time when Worlds of Warcraft was the 800-lbs gorilla for MMO activity. Often-imitated, never duplicated, and with big money to have celebrity advertising. It still is the king for its genre. You'll find plenty of similar games trying to be like them, trying to replace them, and many people still want to put City of Heroes in the same category.
City of Heroes has gone through two expansions and twenty updates or "issues". In 2005, one year after the launch of the game, the "City of Villains" expansion was launched, giving players the ability to go through MMO life as a villain. In 2010, "Going Rogue" opened a whole new world, and the means to go from a hero to a villain and back again by the alignment system. In between these events there have been invasions, bank robberies, time travel, zombie apocalypses, and hundreds of new ways to customize and improve one's character. All this without big name celebrities and mainstream media commercials.
Today, City of Heroes is the measuring stick for the superhero-genre MMO. Champions Online (created by the same people that started City of Heroes) and DC Universe Online both compete against City of Heroes and are measured BY City of Heroes standards. Sure they provide some things that City of Heroes don't, and DC obviously has the mighty corporate dollar behind them for advertising. But money doesn't provide experience or a track record of loyalty and dedication. Even during hard times, City of Heroes players find ways to go online and keep the game going.
No, City of Heroes is not Worlds of Warcraft, and it doesn't try to be Worlds of Warcraft. It doesn't have to.