City of Heroes kicked off the MMO superhero genre back in 2004. For several years it's led the field, due to being the only superhero MMO out there, but now direct competition is appearing. Cryptic Studios, the original developers of CoX, recently sent their own title Champions Online into Closed Beta. Sony's DC Universe Online, which at one point had gone so quiet that people wondered if it was still being made, has recently produced gameplay footage, stacks of art and a detailed analysis of how the game will work.
So what's with all the cape games? Although the superhero genre has been a steady burner outside of the MMO context, it's not the most obvious kind of world to set an MMO in, and designers trying to adapt comic-book themes and events to MMO gameplay face some pretty stiff challenges. Massively is going to walk through all three games, explain the differences, and try to answer that question.