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As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.


'City of Heroes' - Second Expansion Goes Live

by Judy on Sept. 16, 2004 @ 12:57 p.m. PDT

NCsoft and Cryptic Studios have released the second update to the best selling and critically acclaimed City of Heroes massively multiplayer game, Issue 2: A Shadow of the Past.

While the invasion marks the release of the new update, A Shadow of the Past also provides capes for heroes who have reached level 20 in the game. Capes are one of the most anticipated features for City of Heroes players. Heroes at level 24 will also be able to adjust their super powers in a special mission in the Terra Volta trial zone. Players at level 30 can also receive new visual effects such as auras, and all heroes can earn badges for major accomplishments in Paragon City.

With adjusted powers, new capes, badges and effects, the heroes of Paragon City will immediately have to fight off an invasion of hosts from the Shadow Shard, one of two new zones added to City of Heroes in this expansion. The invasion will be marked by destructible dimension gateway rifts that appear at random in every Paragon City zone. From these zones new monsters will appear from the dark dimension of the Shadow Shard. All heroes, regardless of their level, can participate in fighting off the invasion.

“Fans of City of Heroes are going to get a kick out of this new update because it has so much for everyone,” said Jack Emmert, lead designer of City of Heroes and creative director at Cryptic Studios. “Our players aren’t just going to get new capes, badges and effects and go on with business as usual. They will immediately be able to show off their new looks in a global battle with never-before-seen monsters from another dimension. We think this raises the bar for MMO expansions.”

In addition to the Shadow Shard zone, a new hazard zone, the Hollows, has been established for players at levels 5 to 15. Occupying the Hollows is another new group of stone and fire enemies called Magmites and Pumicites.

“Between the first and second updates, we have added eight new zones,” Emmert said. “This now makes Paragon City nearly the size of Manhattan and the addition of Hollows gives new content to those players relatively new to City of Heroes.”

A Shadow of the Past also includes many other new features, including new trial missions in Terra Volta, Eden and in the caverns of the Hollows. The update also includes many “quality of life” improvements such as user interface changes to the sidekick system, viewing inventory, trading, group seek, e-mail notification and teleportation/resurrection powers. Another feature is a new chat system which provides communication across servers and allows players to create custom chat channels.

City of Heroes is available at most North American computer game retail outlets at a suggested retail price of US$49.99, which includes the first month of online game play. After the first month, players will be charged a monthly subscription fee of US$14.95. Sixty-day game time cards are also available at many North American retailers for a suggested retail price of US $29.99. The game is rated Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

For complete details on Issue 2: A Shadow of the Past, visit

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