City of Heroes Homecoming players have rolled almost a million toons to date


I’ve always said that if I could do one thing in video games – you know, besides what I already love and do – it’d be play with metrics. (I have no intention of ever doing this – would you, after covering this clusterfudge industry for a decade?!) But longtime readers know that it’s like pulling teeth to get valuable data out of big video game studios. When they do pony up real numbers we can do something with, it’s a rarity.

Rogue servers, however, have no such compunctions. Over the weekend, the City of Heroes Homecoming team posted a detailed breakdown of all the characters created on its five servers since April, looking at everything from the total counts to archetype distribution. Here are some of the highlights:

  • You folks rolled 911,434 characters.
  • Excelsior is still the biggest server, with 233,576 toons.
  • Over 60,000 of those characters actually made it to level 50.
  • “People have spent 17,422,975 hours playing on Homecoming.”
  • Waaaaay more folks roll Brutes than anything else, followed by Blasters and Masterminds.
  • People seriously do not play the the four epic archetypes: They’re all four at the bottom of the pile, beaten out by even the likes of Stalkers and Dominators.

The team breaks it down by powerset combos too, and here’s where it gets really interesting. Would you have guessed that more Blasters roll Dual Pistols than Fire Blast? It’s close, but there it is. Notably:

  • Blasters love Dual Pistols and Fireblast, with Energy Manipulation and Gadgets secondaries. Sonic Attack and Plant Manipulation are at the bottom. But Corruptors are all about Fire and Water Blast plus Kinetics and Dark Miasma, and they’re not falling for Assault Rifle or Trick Arrow.
  • Brutes go for Spines and Super Strength plus Fiery Aura, while Scrappers lean more on Martial Arts and Street Justice and Regen. Tankers go straight for Super Strength at two and a half times the rate of anything else. Stalkers, naturally, focus on Ninja Sword. Ice Melee and Ice Armor are very much unloved by all four melee classes, though Tankers skip Super Reflexes even more.
  • Controllers dig Illusion and Kinetics. Electric Control and Trick Arrow, not so much. Dominators, however, head for the new shiny in Darkness Control.
  • Defenders are clearly playing City of Heroes wrong since people roll Empathy at three times the rate of any other primary set. That was a joke. Defenders also skip Traps, Trick Arrow, and Assault Rifle, which all clearly need buffs.
  • Masterminds know Bots are best, but dang, Dark Miasma as a runaway favorite for secondary surprises me.
  • The new archetype, Sentinel, also sees a ton of folks running Dual Pistols and Regen.

Want the level 1 characters weeded out of the count? Referring back to the Blasters count, I’ve played Dual Pistols repeatedly and been repeatedly let down, so I’d have guessed most of those toons don’t last because the concept and animations are better than the actual gameplay power and effect. And I’d be right: While DP slightly edges out FB up to level 31, it falls well behind after 32. Heck, it falls behind both Fire and Ice Blast at level 50. So those stats are worth a looksee too.

It’s a curiosity for us, of course, allowing us to peek into what the greater playerbase is rolling and interested in stylistically and power-wise, but for player devs, well, it’s a clear indicator for where development time ought to be spent.

Source: Homecoming. Thanks, Yrys!
In the spring of 2019, gamers uncovered a secret City of Heroes server running using the sunsetted game’s original code, which was ultimately turned over to the community. There are now multiple public and private servers for the beloved superhero MMORPG, with over 100,000 people on Homecoming alone. NCsoft has not commented publicly or taken legal action on them and is still in talks regarding the game’s future as of September 2019.
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