On the urgings of a new co-worker friend, I hopped on over to http://www.plaync.com and purchased City of Heroes. As it turns out, one can purchase the combo set of Cities of Heroes and Villians for $29.95 USD. The downside of course, would be the $14.99 USD a month subscription fee (the 1st month is for free.) It is worth pointing out that if you buy in 3 / 6 / or 12 month blocks, the per month fee is somewhat lowered.
Now, PlayNC is the same guys who brought you Guild Wars and Dungeons Runners. All 3 of these games are VASTLY different. Though I believe they all run on the same 3rd person based game engine.
Once you buy the game online and download it (it can also be purchased in stores and activated online). It hooks to your exising plaync account and while the client is a hefty 2.4 GB of download, the servers seem to be pretty responsive. A few hours and you're good to go.
When you login, you create a character and pick a server. Each server seems to be named for various virtues like Liberty, Freedom, Gaurdian, etc. It also seems that you have 12 character slots per server. Apparently there is a way to transfer between them at a $9.99 USD. cost.
At any rate, the character designer is pretty damn AWESOME!! You could seriously just make heroes or villains all day in whatever depth of customizable skins and powers as you can dream.
Of course, you start with just a few powers and as you progress through the game more and more unlock and are available to you.
I've only created a single hero and am just getting used to the interface. It differs from guild wars. It is themed well for a super hero type game, but it seems more… N00bish, if you will. I guess I can't say thats a bad thing but it has a ton of features and I find them pretty difficulat to find wheras, Guild Wars seemed much more intuitive. Although, I have played many Fantasy themed RPG's in the past so maybe it's just more of a mature and demanding market.
Any way you slice it, it's a fun game. I probably will not extend the original month much past 1 perhaps as I have an erratic gaming schedule and would like to allow myself the chance to find something new.
Anyway, I recommend it, it's fun. You know you've always wanted to be a super hero and villain, you know it!