City of Heroes:
Costume Contest

By Shamus Posted Thursday Oct 16, 2008

Filed under: Video Games 41 comments

City of Heroes / Villains is having a costume contest. I entered.

I expect there will be tens of thousands of entrants. Many of those entrants are people who have been using the costume creator for years. And those people have access to various costume parts that I don’t. (From veteran rewards, bonus packs, and long-past giveaways.) And of course lots of people are just going to have a better sense of fashion and style.

So I don’t expect to win, but it was fun to enter anyway.

The only thing that I didn’t like was the ambiguity of the rules. Stuff like, “All three screenshots should be the character in the same pose, just taken from different vantage points.” Er. Does this mean the exact same pose? Because their idle animation has a few similar poses that they cycle through. They look around, fold their arms, unfold them, stand with one foot in front, and generally fidget around quite a bit. The wording makes it sound like they need the exact same point in the animation, but common sense suggests that what they’re after is just the character standing and not performing crazy emotes or leaping around.

Another one: “Entrants should crop their screenshots so that only the main character and the immediate background are visible.” Er. Okay. Except: “All attachments must be in 800×600 resolution or better […]” Which seem to be contradictory. A standing character and the immediate background aren’t going to fill 800×600. Should I chop the sides off to meet the cropping rules, or leave them on to keep the size rules? Hmmmm. Again, you can assume that they really just don’t want to have to hunt for your character in a crowd, and that they don’t want some crappy low-res picture.

So, I did my best to adhere to the rules within reason, although you could still make the case that I broke them. As an entrant this is really frustrating. I’m fine with not winning because someone else is better, which is pretty much inevitable. But I want to lose because someone beat me, not because I was disqualified over screenshot technicalities.

My character:





I wanted to enter Detective Grimm, who I think is a more unique and interesting character. But he’s also not very photogenic. He’s one color (brown) and his hat covers his face from most angles. He’s just a big brown boulder. So, I went with the more photogenic Fullmetal Jackie. The only other character I’ve really leveled is Star on Chest, who is deliberately cliche and unremarkable, because it makes his name funnier. I wouldn’t even bother entering him into the contest. (And he won’t look right unless / until I can get him to level 20 so he can have a cape.)

What CoX really needs is the ability to link to the character database and see everyone’s characters, as they do in World of Warcraft. Right now there’s no good way to share with each other. I’d love it if people could just link their heroes in the comments. Right now if someone wanted to respond to this in kind, they’d have to take screenshots, upload them someplace, and then come back here and link them. And then the links would get stuck in the moderation queue until I could approve the comment. Boo.

This game, above all others, demands seamless sharing. I want to see everyone’s characters, and this screenshot business is simply too tedious.

Still: If you have shots of your hero available somewhere, by all means: Please post a link.


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41 thoughts on “City of Heroes:
Costume Contest

  1. GreyDuck says:

    Hmm. I thought I had more screenies in my gallery than this, but apparently it’s just some of my “motivator posters” which feature CoH characters. I should do something about that.

  2. Alexis Li says:

    Damn and I’ve been resisting so hard.
    Screenshots coming when my project architect has left the room…

    I agree a CoH armory would be insanely cool. Especially some of the fan-tooling which could be built from that, eg frequency charts. Bizarrely there seems to be a Blaster shortage on Defiant – DPS characters are very popular in WoW. Maybe everyone has an L50 blaster with full 50IOs, that is therefore no longer worth playing.

    @GreyDuck: those are pretty great :D

  3. krellen says:

    Here’s my oft-mentioned Lapin Lazuli.

    The Virtue server actually has a nice tool for sharing characters in the form of a wiki called VirtueVerse. Here’s a link to my Mastermind, who is my “main” character and my only 50.

    Oh, and Shamus? Fullmetal Jackie gives me the giggles. I love the valley-girl hero thing you’ve done there.

  4. TehShrike says:

    I don’t know if your bolder/boulder typo was intentional, but it made me giggle anyways :-)

  5. Gabriel Mobius says:

    My main hero character, Captain Ion. I really need to start back playing CoH. It amuses me.

  6. Alexis Li says:

    So does VirtueVerse mind being jacked by the nonVirtuous?

  7. Roy says:

    I’ll totally admit it, this series of posts got me to reinstall CoX and start playing again. That’s after about 4 years of not playing. Needless to say, there have been a lot of changes in that time. Also, I can now play CoV without ever having bought it. Neat.
    Let’s see… I’ve got The Arbiter of Truth (Who I think is hilarious when he’s shrugging like that).
    I still use Red Cross Robot sometimes. Shockingly enough, he’s a healer. Go figure.
    My main alts are Doctor Nothing (who sometimes employs non-violent means to explain the law to hooligans and ne’r-do-wells) and The Inexorable Man who, as the image suggests, spends a lot of time in hospitals. *sigh*
    I’m not a very good tank, apparently.

    One of the things that I enjoy doing is setting up characters so that going into and out of SG mode makes it look like parts of the costume are “activating” using the circuit skin. My electricity blaster, Electrobot, for example. Normally the circuit pattern on him is black, but I’ve got a key bound so that when I turn on the lightning aura, he goes into SG mode, and the dark circuit lines on his body “light up” by turning that bright blue. It’s a pretty cool effect, I think.

  8. krellen says:

    Probably. The about page specifically references it being for the Virtue server.

  9. GreyDuck says:

    Alexis: Much thanks!

    I won’t be able to update this until I get home, but I just imported my old Gallery 1 CoH album. I can’t remember if that’s ProPaine v1 or v2 (up to v5 now)…

    Newer pics will appear in that space within the next day or so.

  10. DaveMc says:

    Thanks for all the hero/villain links, all – this is a fun way to get a little COX goodness in the middle of the work day, normally an impossible feat. I have no pictures of my horde of alts, but in any case I lean towards pretty standard spandex or trenchcoats, nothing as nifty as the things I’m seeing here. (I did just do my first crossover character: Dark Thermodyne is the COV version of my level 50 fire/kinetics controller in COH, Thermodyne: she split off a copy of her personality into one of her fire imps, see, after being hit by a psionic blast in battle, and the former Imp is out for revenge. It has a campy comic-book flavour to it, I think.)

    From the contest page: “NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.” I don’t think I’ve *ever* seen a contest whose rules didn’t start with this phrase. What catastrophe befalls them if purchase is necessary and/or it’s not void where prohibited?

  11. Cuthalion says:

    Well, photobucket’s blocked on my network’s firewall, but I did look at your links, GreyDuck. I must say I found those posters greatly amusing. Especially “Initiative” and “Obsession”. And nice job on some of those hero costumes.

  12. Deoxy says:

    I think the “No Purchase Necessary” thing makes entries officially valueless, which makes them not have to pay you for them, or something related to that.

    I’m really surprised CoX doesn’t have something that shows the characters – heck, MAPLE STORY has that!

    Edit: oddly enough, photobucket isn’t blocked here at work, but GreyDuck’s link IS. What’s up with that?

  13. karln says:

    Netherdance, my half-demon Brute, sporting her new second costume slot (her ‘standard’ look has no jacket, a pink spiked collar instead of the chains, and a more mainstream hairstyle). Sorry Cuth, it’s photobucket :( Anybody have a better (less blocked) alternative?

  14. Nilus says:

    Here is my newest baby Cyber Samurai X2. Cyber Samurai X was my original character on Liberty but when I started playing again last week I decided I liked the look of the character but not his power set so I made his sister robot.

  15. Chris says:

    Portraits of my characters can be found here.

    And yes, CoX is ripe for something like the WoW armory. I love seeing other people’s characters. Anyone else have problems getting a good photo of their CoX characters? Unlike other MMOs I can’t swing the camera around – I must have accidentally checked something in settings or something. It’s a pain to stage the photos without that.

    Anyway, I’ve been meaning to do a post on my blog to chronical all my avatars across all the MMOs I’ve ever played (I think I even have some UO screenshots sitting around on a disk somewhere). But basically CoX puts all the others to shame :)

  16. krellen says:

    Lapin Lazuli at an alternate host.

    For all those without access to Photobucket.

  17. Penn says:

    I don’t have screenshots, but my favourite character concept is my fire/fire Dominator, Death Warmed Over. He’s all zombified and fiery, in the suit he was buried in after dying in a rage, and resurrecting himself through the sheer power of his anger, in the middle of his own funeral.
    He likes burning things.

  18. mistergreen says:

    They are working on an offline character database code named “The Vault” but various coding problems have pushed it back a few times already. I do believe it would show offline your global name, character name, last costume log out in, influence/infamy, powers. Anything can be op-out of so you can hide everything if you are a PvPer and don’t want your opposition to know what you have.

  19. karln says:

    I moved my CoX images to an album on Photobucket and it tells me the above link will now be broken. They’re now at
    and will be joined by more later, probably.

  20. Veylon says:

    Here’s one of my Verya (When you can’t find a name, use Elvish!) character Here.

    And, because there aren’t enough Communist Supervillains anymore, I give you Red Shell holding forth on the principles of dialectic materialism.

    Also, for anyone wondering, you hold the middle mouse button to rotate around your character instead of rotating them.

  21. Derek K. says:

    I’m so resisting the urge to restart 2 accounts just to post screenshots.

    My favs are: Kulte. Reformed Blood Brother. My happiest time was when some one said “man, I kept clicking on you to attack and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.”

    Boxer Rebellion: EM Scranker. Kung fu outfit required.

    Purple Cobra: You’d be surprised how easy Globo Gym outfits can be made.

    And then my entire SG of Pretenders, who are all knockoffs of real heroes. I have Kiyote, Valkyrie, Freedom’s Core, and Ravin Storm that I’m very proud of.

  22. My husband and I were such dorks when we played City of Heroes.

    He created a character named Crayola Girl, who looked as much like me as possible.

    And I created a character named Captain Correction, who looked just like him – to include long hair, jeans and sneakers.

    It confused the heck out of everyone who grouped with us.

    “’re playing EACH OTHER???”


  23. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    “I think the “No Purchase Necessary” thing makes entries officially valueless, which makes them not have to pay you for them, or something related to that.”

    If a purchase were necessary they could run afoul of gambling laws.

  24. I assume they mean a screen shot taken with the display set at 800 x 600 and then cropped.

  25. Amstrad says:

    Yeah, as Stephen mentioned, I imagine they’re asking for players to be playing in at least 800×600 resolution as anything below that results in a horribly ugly mess of pixels and blobby textures. Really, the people who can run the game maxed out and understand the fine art of taking quality screenshots have a leg up here.

  26. Noumenon says:

    common sense suggests that what they're after is just the character standing and not performing crazy emotes or leaping around.

    Looking at these screenshots, making people post just standing there would really kill a lot of cool shots.

  27. Heph says:

    As far as “no purchase necessary” goes, it just means you can enter the competition without having to buy anything. e. g. You do’nt need to buy a coke to be able to enter a contest by Coca Cola.
    “Void where prohibited” simply means that, whatever they promise you, if it’s technically illegal where you live, they don’t have to deliver. Say McD did a contest where you could win a couple of prostitutes to come and liven up your next visit, it’d be illegal in…well, I think all of the US :-P
    It’s just standard disclaimer stuff…Some town somewhere in the middle of nowhere might have laws specifically forbidding the holding of contests whose prize is a T-shirt. If you live there, enter a contest, and win, you can’t receive your T-shirt.

    On anthoer note, I don’t play CoX and I’m starting to feel left out…and eager to go play it. Which would be a bad idea all round.
    Though my Belgian Beer Man would be a cool hero, I tell you :-P

  28. Goodson says:

    No pictures yet, but I just started the trial. I’ve come up with “The Geat” a 8th century Anglo-Saxon scrapper pulled through time to the present day. He decided to ditch the mail and go with jeans and a t-shirt. He loves t-shirts.

  29. GreyDuck says:

    Cuthalion: Thank you! Cranking out more of those is another of the things on my “round to it” list…

    Deoxy: There’s a chance that the blockage is due to one of my friends’ sites. Nothing pornographic, but the blog title is “Intellectual Orgy,” which has gotten us banned on some of the finickier lists. Figures.

    Now to add some current screenies to my gallery. All of the ones there now are from years ago!

  30. Von Krieger says:

    City of Heroes will be getting something like you mentioned sometime soon.

    Dubbed the “City Vault” it’s been in the works for awhile, but hasn’t seen release yet.

  31. Alexis Li says:

    Here they are at last, my two cuties.
    I also have an extremely short Huge MM named Bugby, but he’s literally wearing a costume set as I didn’t know if I’d like MM. I’m rerolling zombie or robot MM anyway I think. The thunderous running from such a tiny character does amuse me.

    You can’t especially see it in the photos but Felrose and Jenni are both shortasses. Jenni is min height, Felrose 4’6″ or so.

    Felrose is an ice demon, summoned by a sorcerer who it turns out really liked pink. The straps are mystical, the legwarmers and bunches are just to accessorize.
    (unfortunately there aren’t feet in the Angelic scheme)

    Jenni’s boots administer a constant cocktail of drugs into her bloodstream. These drugs provide the regenerative capability to survive the punishment she throws herself into, and also augment her strength. The boots serve a secondary purpose as anchors.

    I’m thinking a Ben Grimm type for my Empath…

  32. Kevin says:

    The character creator was nearly half the game in CoH for me.

  33. rose glace says:

    my namesake is at

    the costume, i think, i threw together in about 5 minutes
    because, well, the above screenie is with one toggle running.
    she usually runs 6, at which point the costume is completely
    invisible anyway. :-)

  34. Noah Lesgold says:

    The 9783 Dollar Man (they had the technology, but not the budget)!

  35. Dragonbane says:

    My first character:
    Dr Redante. Also my worst name. :)

    Favorite concept that I didn’t enjoy playing:
    Conan the Librarian. Love that shot.

    An artsy shot, my invisible True Phantasm standing in front of a friend’s Fire tank.

    I know there is a picture of PyroTech Nik over at but I can’t get to it from work. :(

  36. Jamey says:

    Well, my main is not particularly photogenic either. But here is a link to my entry into the aforementioned contest. Mrs. Paul

  37. Jack V says:

    “Fall afoul of gambling regulations”

    I’d heard something similar. (FWIW, links to some good descriptions of “void where prohibited” though some are dead links, if someone wants more information.)

    But now I wonder. Do they mean you don’t have to buy CoH to enter the contest? That would seem difficult. Presumably, you’re not specifically required to purchase something, eg. you can use a friend’s copy of the character generator? And quite possibly the disclaimer was written without every possible legal nuance.

    As an entrant this is really frustrating.

    Yeah, I agree very much. I sympathise with someone phrasing the rules, who probably had in mind what they wanted (or to be more exact, what they didn’t want), but not how the rules would be read. I think you’re right, that what they want is fairly obvious. An examples (while occasionally patronising on passport application forms) can really help clear up what’s wanted in this sort of thing, without having to create increasingly detailed rules.

    Another interpretation would be that the screen shot should be taken at 600×800 resolution, ie. that the character should fill up as much of a 600×800 screen as possible, but can then be cropped (but you can’t enlarge a little picture).

  38. james says:

    I can think of aload of areas in which Coh/v could do wityh improving the Character creator is one of then, why have they stop doing a stand alone version? now the only way to create or modify a costume is to load the game up and create a new character or hang arround the tailor or facemaker, which may not be the most pritical option.

    one thing we could do with is “toys” how is Jack Nicholson (the joker out of Batman) gonna ask us where do we get these wonderful toys, if we got no toys?

    Alexis Li

    I done know about the american servers, but I live over here in europe, and all my female characters are 3 ft 10 1/2 (i know i took a screenshot and counted the pixels)

  39. Craig T. says:

    Hey, is this thing on?

    Does anyone know where the video contests were saved? I’m trying to re-locate them.


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