Friday, August 24, 2012

It Was Never Just a Game

Earlier this week, I found out that an old friend from City of Heroes had passed away. Lucas had left the game long before I did, but his passing affected me greatly. He had always been a fun person to team with, bullshit with, and get ganked by. 

Lucas was a prankster and jokester. No, that's too mild. Lucas made griefing an art form. His first masterpiece was to pull a giant robot, The Kronos Titan, into a Hamidon Raid:

Some folks didn't find it funny, but now it's a Justice server legend. When people complained (at the time), Lucas just shouted "KRONOS IS A HOLD, NOOB!" - a phrase which also became the stuff of legend. In fact, the devs of the game changed the coding so this couldn't happen again, all because of Lucas. 

So tonight, we had a memorial in game for Lucas, and in true Justice fashion, we started with a Hamidon raid. 

After the first round, this happened:

CoH Community Manager Andy "Zwillinger" Belford showed up as the Kronos Titan (a cheat, because of the aforementioned code change), and even announced himself with Lucas's "KRONOS IS A HOLD, NOOB!" I would be lying if I said it didn't bring a tear to my eye. But it also made me laugh, as Zwill made the Kronos indestructible, but able to kill all of us. It was the kind of shenanigans that Lucas loved best. 

But more than this, what touched me is how many old players came back just for this. Many of them had been gone for over two years. Looking to the sea of old friends from Justice drove home that City of Heroes was never "just a game" for us. Though we have had our drama (and not everyone I have met through CoH has been awesome), we are still a big ol' family at the end of the day. We have been there through romances, weddings, babies, funerals, job loss, job gain, and all the moments that make life great. One person tonight remembered Lucas as being very proud of his daughter and her softball team. In other MMOs I play/have played, I barely talked to anyone I met. 

I spent a lot of time playing CoH during my time there, and I spent many, many hours with those great folks. And I miss them all terribly. I am very grateful for the connections I made in game, grateful for meeting John and falling in love. Grateful for all the fun times, and also grateful that I was allowed into their lives so that they were more than pixels to me. 

There was a kind of magic to Justice back in the old days, and I grieve for the loss of it as much as I grieve for my friend. I am both sad that I will never have those days again, and also quite happy that I got to share them with those people in the first place. There has rarely been a better time in my life to use the word "bittersweet." 

Rest in peace, Lucas. I'm not sure what you are up to right now, but as one friend theorized, I'm sure you're showing "meatspin" to the angels.