City of Heroes Wiki

Facts and Myths[]

  • The game client is used to play both City of Heroes and City of Villains. Both games are available regardless of the background image.
  • All character data is stored on the servers. You can access your account and character data from any computer that has the game client.
    • One caveat, the new options introduced in Issue 12, such as Character Select sorting and Player Ratings, are stored in text files on the client hard drive.
  • Patches are installed prior to logon and the latest version is required to play.
  • The client loads in two stages: the Updater, which downloads patches and checks the client for the latest version; this is followed by the game itself.
  • The updater can be downloaded to install the game without the original CD/DVD's (Download here). Note: this is a 2.5 GB download and may take a long while.
  • Skipping the Updater is not supported by NCsoft/Cryptic.
  • You can change the install directory after installation is complete (registry: HKCU/Software/Cryptic/Coh )
  • You can replace almost any resource you want using the data directory, however this action is not supported by NCsoft/Cryptic nor their EULA.
    • This does not modify any Cryptic owned resource/file. This adds a directory which the game client then interprets as replacing the resource once the game is launched. Removal of this change simply means deleting the \data directory. More info below.

Launching the Game[]

These can be run from the command prompt or entered into your shortcut. You can do the latter by right clicking on your shortcut to the updater and selecting properties then adding these to the end of the target box. So, for instance, if you want to change your game to start up with the villain skin and your target box currently contains: "C:\Games\City Of Heroes\CohStarter.exe" then you would change it to say: "C:\Games\City Of Heroes\CohStarter.exe" -cov.

cohupdater.exe (no switches)

  • Launches the Updater which will check for updates and modify/verify files if needed. City of Heroes skin/branding.

cohupdater.exe -compatiblecursors 1

  • Uses compatible 16-color cursors to solve compatiblity issues with Windows Vista and others.

cohupdater.exe -usetexenvcombine

  • Enables simple rendering path, which may help fix issues with certain video cards and drivers.

cohupdater.exe -renderthread 1

  • Forces the game to run using both processors on a dual processor computer, rather than just one.

cohupdater.exe -cov

  • Launch the Updater as above, however with with the City of Villains skin. Login screen will be City of Villains.


  • Launch Updater, use City of Villains skin.

cohupdater.exe -test

  • Launches the Updater, uses registry settings in HKCU/Software/Cryptic/Cohtest instead. Allows access to Training Room.

cityofheroes.exe -console

  • NOT SUPPORTED Launches the game client displaying a console with each element being loaded. Useful if your client is freezing on load, if you want time statistics for how long it takes to load, or to see other debugging info.

cityofheroes.exe -project "coh"

  • NOT SUPPORTED Launches the game client without looking for the updater. If any patches have been applied since the last time you used the Updater, you may be able to login, but you will get a version conflict'.

cityofheroes.exe -project "coh" -cov

  • NOT SUPPORTED same as above with City of Villains skin

cityofheroes.exe -project "cohtest"

  • Training Room version.

Installing the Game[]

There are several methods to installing the game client, they all boil down to having an up-to-date copy of the necessary files.

You do not need your 'CD-Key' to install the game client.
The 'CD-Key' is for the website for the creation/upgrade of your game account.

Original CD/DVD[]

Install as you would any other program. Basically it will extract a copy of the game client as it was when the CD/DVD was created. You can then run the updater and patch to the current version.

  • CoH Collectors DVD current through Issue 2
  • CoV Collectors DVD current through Issue 6
  • Good vs. Evil Edition DVD current through Issue 7

Burned CD/DVD[]

Effectively a second copy step similar to installing the Training Room. One copies the entire City of Heroes directory to multiple CDs or a single DVD. Then one can copy that folder back to his/her computer or give to someone else to copy to their computer. Then create a copy of the cohupdater.exe file, run it and point it to the folder on your HD where you copied CoH back to.


You can install the Game Client starting with only the cohupdater.exe file (or covupdater.exe). This file cannot be in the directory you will be installing to, as it will attempt to create a new cohupdater.exe and will fail if it's already there.

Whenever cohupdater is launched, it checks the registry to see if there is anything in HKCU/Software/Cryptic/Coh. If there is, then the updater proceeds normally, patches the game if needed. If there is no entry under HKCU/Software/Cryptic/Coh, then it asks the user where they would like to install the Game Client (default is C:\Program Files\City of Heroes). Once the user clicks Yes, the updater writes to HKCU/Software/Cryptic/Coh with default settings and the installdir.

Training Room[]

The simplest way to install the Training Room involves creating a copy of the live game, to avoid downloading the entire client (currently 2.3GB) all over again.

To do this, open the Windows explorer, locate your City of Heroes folder, select it, and drag it to a blank space in the explorer (not above any other folder) while keeping the Ctrl key held. If done properly, a folder called Copy of City of Heroes with all your files in it will appear. Change its name to CohTest.

Afterwards, double-click the CohTest folder in order to enter it. Locate the file CohUpdater.exe and drag it to your desktop while keeping both the Ctrl and Shift keys held. It will create a Shortcut to CohUpdater.exe in your desktop. You can now close the explorer window.

Rename the newly created shortcut to a more descriptive CoH Test Server or similar. Right-click the shortcut and select Properties. The Target line will read something like: C:\Program Files\CohTest\CohUpdater.exe. You need to change this line to read: "C:\Program Files\CohTest\CohUpdater.exe" -test. Please note how quotes were added to the existing path, and the -test parameter was added. You must keep the original command line intact, only adding the quotes and the -test parameter.

Now, double-click this shortcut. If you did everything correctly, the updater will start, and then display the following message: CohTest will be installed to C:\Program Files\CohTest. Select NO to choose a different folder. If the displayed path matches where you made the copy of your City of Heroes folder, click Yes. Otherwise, click No and a Browse for folder dialog will appear. Locate the CohTest folder and click OK. The first dialog box will appear again, this time displaying the path you choose. Click Yes to continue.

Important note: At this point, you might get a dialog box stating Error opening file CohUpdater.exe. You may be out of disk space or you may be trying to install to a location where you have insufficient permissions. If this happens to you, do not close the updater or answer the dialog box. Open an Explorer window and go to the CohTest folder you created; inside, you will find a file named CohUpdater.exe. You must rename this file to something else; anything at all will do. Once the file is renamed, go back to the updater and click OK to the error message. The updater will succesfully complete and copy itself to the original location, so you don't need to worry about the renamed file anymore. You can safely delete it.

Running the game from a DVD-R[]

If for some reason you would like to run the game from a DVD-R, or maybe a 4GB flash drive, this is possible. Being a read-only device, a DVD-R will only work as long as you burn the latest version with the current patches. However, if your goal is to play at a Net Cafe during a weekend away from home, this will be more than enough.

The steps are:

  • Log into the game and set all your graphics settings to low. Maybe enable windowed mode. This is to ensure the game will work properly in whichever computer you end up running it in. If you're going to be playing the game in a decent computer which can handle your current graphics settings, you can skip this step.
  • Click Start, Run, and enter regedit. Navigate the left panel to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cryptic. Right-click the Cryptic folder and select Export. Save as Settings.reg somewhere.
  • Burn your City of Heroes folder and the Settings.reg file to a DVD-R.
  • Take the DVD to the computer you want to play the game on. Go to the DVD drive and double-click the Settings.reg file. You only need to do this step the first time you run the game on a computer.
  • Click Start, Run, then enter "D:\City of Heroes\CityOfHeroes.exe" -project coh. Replace D: with whatever letter the DVD drive is.
  • Play! You can change the graphics settings on the new computer to whatever you like, and they'll be saved locally.

Registry information[]

The game stores its configuration information in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cryptic\Coh; even if you installed City of Villains, the key name is still Coh. If you use the Test server, its configuration is stored in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cryptic\CohTest.

The Installation Directory parameter is useful in case you want to move the game client to another directory or partition. Enter the full path to the game's executable.

The VerifyOnNextUpdate parameter is created every time the game crashes. When the updater starts, it checks for this flag in order to decide whether to verify all files for corruption before loading the file. Thus, clearing this flag is a good way to avoid the slow verification process.

If you crash often and would like to skip the verification process every time, simply create a text file named NoVerify.reg with the following contents, and double-click it before loading the updater:




Network information[]


In the event of connectivity problems, the route to the following servers should be checked:

  • Updater
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
    • (
  • Game Client
    • Login:
    • Login (Europe):
    • West coast:
    • East coast:
    • Europe:

Game Ports[]

The game updater allows you to select the port to be used for data transfers. Simply add the -port flag followed by the port you would like to use in the City of Heroes shortcut. Example:

"C:\Program Files\City of Heroes\CohUpdater.exe" -port 80

The game client is somewhat Firewall and NAT friendly, however any issues can be resolved by opening the following ports.

    • TCP:
      • 6994
      • 2104
      • 2106
    • UDP:
      • 7000-7100.
  • One of the following ports:
    • TCP
      • 6994
      • 13094
      • 23094

Official City of Heroes/Villains Knowledge Base article on ports required to patch and play the game.

This article is currently a work in progress. As such, it may contain some editing notes in addition to information. Please be patient, it is being worked on and will be in a finished state before long!