A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) where combat is an integral part of gameplay. Players will attack and kill computer and human-controlled opponents with their superpowers. Hero costumes can be mildly racy, although no more so than a typical comic book. While the game does have a profanity filter, online interactions can vary widely and there are very few restrictions on what people can communicate. In addition to the initial cost, a monthly subscription fee of $14.99 is required to play this game.
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What's it about?
In CITY OF HEROES, players take on the role of a person gifted -- or perhaps cursed -- with supernatural abilities. Players create their own hero using the game's sophisticated character creation system, which gives them control over everything from their character's origins, i.e. where their superpowers come from, to the color of their shoes.
Players begin their career as a hero by beating up on lowly thugs and riff-raff, but with experience and well-honed skills, they will eventually take on mad scientists, criminal masterminds, and power-mad arch-villains. Players may also battle against players from City of Heroes' sister game City of Villains, although player-versus-player (PvP) engagements are optional.
Is it any good?
City of Heroes is unusual among massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) for its character-creation capabilities. The skill system provides ample choices for developing superpowers that fit the character's origin and archetype. There are so many costuming choices that it's rare to see any two characters that are similar in design. However, the game adheres to the traditional character classes used by other MMOGs, such as tankers and healers, so that players who have played in other worlds, should find actual game play here fairly familiar.
Another strength of City of Heroes is that it encourages players to form teams to tackle more challenging quest objectives. While the game is not difficult to play solo, it's much more enjoyable playing alongside other costumed heroes. Large numbers of players can create supergroups, permanent associations of like-minded heroes who enjoy beating up on baddies in good company.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online safety and etiquette with their teenage children. Why shouldn't you give out personal details online? Is everyone always who they claim to be? What effect does online anonymity have on people's behavior? Families can also discuss the differences between fantasy superheroes and real-life heroes. What behavior truly makes a hero? Are heroes always virtuous, or can they be flawed?
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