Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Just (Haven't) Played: City of Heroes

Big Headed Simon just remined me about this rant I've been meaning to write for a while. So here it is.

In my quest to find another MMORPG as fun as World of Warcraft, I decided I wanted to give City of Heroes a go. After my success with getting a free trial of Eve Online, I figured I might be able to do the same for CoH. So I did a quick google for "City of Heroes Free Trial", and found that the first hit looked pretty promising (I've linked to the caches version, for reasons that should become apparent). No where on the page said that the trial had expired or wasn't happening any more, so I filled in my details and hit send. Shortly afterwards I got an email back:

Thank you for your interest in City of Heroes. Your
serial code is the following:


In order to play City of Heroes, you must first have a PlayNC master account
and then a City of Heroes game account under that master account. If you are
an existing PlayNC customer or a returning City of Heroes player and want to
create a new game account, you can skip directly down to the "To Add a City
of Heroes Game Account ONLY" directions below.

"Awesome!" I thought, and so proceeded to set up an account and download the client application. Which was close to 2gig, but I could cope. So I finally had it all ready to go, then I went to enter the code they'd sent me. Turns out the code had expired. I figured that's fair enough, their promotion must be over. But I figured I'd tell them about how their system is still sending out codes, and maybe see if they'd give me a trial anyway.

I applied for the City of Heroes free trial (https://secure.plaync.com/cgi-bin/coh_free_trial.pl), and was sent an access code. Unfortunately when I tried to add CoH to my account, I was told that the code had expired.

I've since realised that the free trial was an offer from 2005. The link to the site is the top hit in Google for "city of heroes free trial", there's nothing on the page to indicate that the trial had expired and I was still sent an email with an activation code. Is there an updated code I can be sent?
I got a (very long and ugly looking) response telling me that they'd sent my query to someone else, and that they'd get to me eventually. A little bit later they sent me another email asking for the access code I was sent. Of course, to reply, I had to copy and paste their original email, and then type my reply in between two markers.
Hello Simon,
Thank you for contacting PlayNC Support!
The 20 digit serial code you have provide is an expired Penny Arcade Beta code for Auto Assault.
Please provide the serial code that was given to your for City of Heroes or City of
We look forward to your response.

Hmmm. Okay...
As I explained in my first email, after Googling for "City of Heroes free trial", I was directed to this ( https://secure.plaync.com/cgi-bin/coh_free_trial.pl) page on the offical City of Heroes site. I filled in my details, and was sent an email with instructions on how to download the client and start the free trial. The serial number I listed in my previous email was copied from that email (I have included this email at the end of my reply). As I downloaded the client following the instructions given in the email, I don't have any other serial number.

I did sign up for the Auto Assault beta, and checking that email, the codes are identical. Could being part of the beta program have caused an incorrect key to be sent to me?

[snip copy of original email]
This obviously confused them somewhat, because they decided they needed to escalate it again.
Hello Simon,

Thank you for your response. In order to further investigate this, please take a screenshot of the e-mail you received regarding the City of Heroes Trial containing the serial code. You can attach the image to your response. Once we have reviewed the e-mail, we will be able to further assist you.

We look forward to your response.

Okay, well I can do that. Which I guess they weren't expecting, because they had to escalate it yet again. But eventually I got this back
Hi Simon,

Thank you for your patience.

At this time, we are not running any trial promotions for City of Heroes. The page that you used is not an active page on City of Heroes and the offer for City of HeroesCity of Heroeswww.cityofheroes.com.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused.
trial codes are only valid when that page is linked directly to the main website. All future promotions will be posted on the website,
Yes, I know that. I even said I knew that in my original email. And so why did it take this long for someone to say that? Oh, never mind, I don't care anymore.

After the serious lack of joy I had with Auto Assault and now the City of Heroes runaround, I have absolutely no interest in ever bothering with an PlayNC game. So I guess they've saved me some money.

Try out Shadowbane man, it's just been made free :) Just google for it!
Well, Shadowbane is also being cancelled. On the other hand, the City of Villian Free-Trial is now being offered excusively by MMORPG.com:

-: http://www.mmorpg.com/cov_trial.cfm?val=1&auto=false&fp=1280,1024,1144866438167,20060412142718

As a side note, I play Dungeons & Dragons Online and Asheron's Call. As a long time AC player, I'd suggest it over WoW any day of the week.
Damn I knew the Shadowbane thing was too good to be true! Oh well it's a good thing I jumped onto the Guild Wars bandwagon, go Guild Wars!
How is Guild Wars? I quit shortly after launch with a capped out Elementalist. It was alright, but I didn't enjoy the PvP and the PvM was a total grind.
I need a link to where I can sign up for another free trail I had 2 put sadly got them has 2 serpate acocounts THEY DON'T TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN ADD THESE GAMES TOGETHER!!! anyways I woudl like a link to a free-trail of City of Hero's NOT CIty FO VILLAINS either known you get to higher npc's ta help you I liek city of hero's cuso f all the npc's that walk around..you don't always havet a hidey aself ya know???
hide ya self ya know*
Man, I just got one today here:


Even though it was supposedely expired. Just received and applied the code at plaync's site.
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