Paragon City is the setting for the Cryptic Studios game, City of Heroes. Filled with superheroes, it is also quite a nasty place, as it is also the home to numerous and varied villainous groups.

Paragon City is meant to be part of the "real world" which adds to its realism and draws the players in. Examples of this are the reference to Paragon City holding the United States oil reserves, and connections between some of the villainous mobs and, say, Germany. User Jet_Poop notes that "Paragon City is supposed to be located in Rhode Island." Interesting!

Paragon City, like and large city, has varied architecture depending on where you are. The only common and biggest distinguishing features are the massive walls surrounding the large superhero protected/villain filled areas. These walls are hundreds of feet high, topped with further hundreds of feet of a blue, impenetrable force field. They effectively divide up each area of the city (as a whole) in to various "zones". The only way in or out of these protected zones are through road underpasses, via the Paragon Transport Authority monorail, through a protected security checkpoint to a hazard zone (see below), by ferry to some of the outlying islands, or should you be so lucky, by teleporter or wormhole...

The different zones reflect the "feel" of the zone you are in. There are business districts, with smart professional skyscrapers, manicured lawns and pools and well laid-out roads. There are industrial areas, with factories, smokestacks and warehouses. There are ports, with dry docks, container yards and elevated bridges. Slums, with run-down low-rise brick buildings and garbage everywhere. There are wild zones, overrun by vegetation or indeed totally wild, with streams, mountains, volcanoes, and islands.

Overall, Paragon City would be a picturesque place to visit, if it wasn't crammed full of people trying to cause "mischief"...

There are three broad categories of people existing within Paragon City - plain old ordinary people, going about their ordinary lives; the superheroes, those with powers straight out of our comics, who bravely battle...; villains, from ordinary street thugs to trans-dimensional horrors and monsters of our own creation.

The ordinary inhabitants walk around, chatting to one another occasionally, sometimes responding to a hero with useful bits of information, or generally being prey for the villains. They can be mugged, prepared for sacrifice, held hostage, turned in to hideous monsters and generally not be treated very well. They rely on the superheroes, who can, if they choose to, rescue them from whatever mischief the villains have inflicted upon them. Villains also take to espionage, murder, arson, sabotage, poisoning and mind control, all of which can only be stopped by the continuous vigilance of the superheroes.

Areas within Paragon City
Paragon City is roughly divided in to two types of zone (although some aren't technically IN Paragon City, but are only accessed as another dimension THROUGH areas within Paragon City). City zones are "safe", filled with ordinary inhabitants and the occasional mob of bad guys, ranging from one villain causing havoc, to full on gun battles between opposing groups. They are kept safe by the presence of not only superheroes, but also the Paragon City Police Force (PCPF), whose headquarters is in Kings Row. While not being directly involved with the superheroes, your contacts may point you in the direction of a detective, or a Police Chief of a zone, for help with a particularly nasty problem with villains. The PCPF have enlisted the limited use of Police Drones, developed by the Portal Corporation, equipped with technology allowing the drones to teleport enemies directly to jail. To avoid potential lawsuits while the drones are being tested, they are stationed in small numbers only near hospitals and zone exits, be they security checkpoints or train stations.

Distinguishable from these "safe" City zones are Hazard Zones, where the majority of the ordinary populace have fled or been killed, and villains, superheroes and a very limited police presence duke it out. With only 2 police drones waiting at the entrance to the zone, pretty much the entire zone is a character death waiting to happen. In Hazard Zones there are mobs of foes almost everywhere, usually in greater average number than the safe zones, forcing even a prepared superhero to be on the lookout.

City Zones (as roughly ordered in lethality of the foes within them)

  • Tutorial ZoneOutbreak - An optional run through of the game mechanics. Set in a run-down part of the City, with a strong police presence, Outbreak is populated by "contaminated" foes. The cause of the contamination is unknown. As you progress through the tutorial you are gifted the highest benefit (+50%) Damage and Health Inspirations, which can really help a developing character in the early stages. You are also guaranteed to reach level 2 in the tutorial (not that big a deal), handy for complete novices. This is the only place to get the Isolator badge, by killing 100 of the infected enemies.
  • Atlas Park - Along with Galaxy City, one of the two starting zones for a new hero (Barring the Tutorial zone). Contains the Paragon City Town Hall and is named after the late hero Atlas, whose mighty deeds are remembered in plaques and exploration badges throughout Paragon City. Home to the thuggish Helions and inscrutable Clockwork villain mobs, it is a very pretty and rather small zone, with Ms Liberty as the trainer. A mix of skyscrapers, light industrial and parkland, Atlas Park is quite nice to spend time in.
  • Galaxy City - unpopular as far as a starting zone, to get the easiest accolade you have to visit it for a History badge. With Back Alley Brawler as the trainer, it is also home to the Freedom Force headquarters and one of the Arenas. Again a mix of light industrial, park and skyscrapers
  • Kings Row - a run down and industrial zone, home to Blue Steel as a trainer.
  • Steel Canyon - the business area of Paragon City. Mainly skyscrapers, with Vakyrie as trainer and Positron's taskforce.
  • Skyway City - a tangled mess of overpasses, with slowly degenerating houses below, Mynx as the trainer and Synapse's taskforce, also known to hold Troll raves...
  • Talos Island - a large zone with multiple outlying islands around a large central island, it is still accessible by road. Luminary is the trainer, and home to Citadel's taskforce. Sightings of a Ghost Ship have been reported... Players looking to test their mettle can do so in the Arena built here.
  • Independence Port - almost overrun by the Paragon City equivalent of "The Mob", this port is one of the physically longest zones in the game. Again, sightings of a Ghost Ship have been reported, as well as a Giant Octopus... Aurora Borealis is the trainer, home to Jane Hallaway's Level 24 respec trial and Sister Psyche's taskforce
  • Croatoa - a new zone with Issue 5, it is a predominantly wild, wooded zone, with numerous villain factions vying for power. War Witch is the trainer, and is home to Katie Hannon's taskforce, although there are rumours of an aquatic menace, a la the Loch Ness Monster...
  • Brickstown - home to the infamous Ziggurat, Paragon City's prison, it has the Manticore taskforce and Swan is the trainer.
  • Founders' Falls - a beautiful zone, this Venice-inspired zone contains a University, has the Numina taskforce, Maren MacGregor's Sewer Trial and Captain James Harlan's Level 34 respec trial. Watch out - along with Peregrine Island, it contains snipers on rooftops.
  • Peregrine Island - almost lethal just to be here, Peregrine Island is the research centre of Paragon City. Home to Portal Corporation, it is the centre of excellence for inter-dimensional travel. With an Arena, there is no trainer for those powerful enough to survive here. One of the reasons this zone is so dangerous is the fact that this City zone contains snipers.

Hazard Zones
Hazard zones are where the real fun begins. Filled with larger mobs of enemies, these areas of Paragon City present some of the greatest challenges to even complete teams of superheroes. These areas are controlled by the villains, not the police or heroes, and they make their presence felt.

  • Sewer Network - Beneath the streets of Atlas Park, Kings Row, Steel Canyon, Skyway City and Boomtown, this trial zone is known to be filled with zombies, thugs and people looking for a way out of their miserable way of life...
  • The Hollows - This area used to be a picturesque area of Paragon City, until a group of near-humans called the Trolls attempted to expand their already-extensive cave systems with explosives... The resulting cave in destroyed much of the area, leaving shattered buildings and gigantic rifts in the ground. The cause was later found to be the presence of what appeared to be living rock men, mainly composed of pumice, already having constructed further tunnels in the same area. You can meet Karsis, who sets you a trial to head in to the The Tunnels to uncover the TRUE cause of this dark mystery.
  • Perez Park - the corrupted aquatic and woods playground of Paragon City, this central zone is home to shambolic creatures and thugs of all descriptions. Again, rumours of a strange rare creature abound.
  • Boomtown - a bustling business district was destroyed by malicious acts, leading to entire buildings being destroyed. The stunning cityscape is now filled with toppled skyscrapers, a sight that is a disaster movie lover's wet dream. Whispered tales are told of a sentient machine, set on wreaking further destruction.
  • Striga Isle - Volcano? Check. Militant Right Wing extremists thought to be affected by the moon? Check. Mob activity? Check. Crazy high-tech fly boys bent on world domination? Check. Walking dead? Check. Rumours of a giant robot being constructed using the heat of the volcano as a fuel source? You'll have to ask Moonfire and Ernesto Hess, who's taskforces will hopefully have you heading to Ravenstorm, the trainer.
  • The Tunnels - buried far below The Hollows, hushed words are spoken of a Cavern of great power. Pity about the Trolls standing in your way...
  • Faultline - Another idyllic region that was hit by a massive earthquake. Now, the previous business districts remaining skyscrapers are matched by equally dizzying chasms. The Paragon City dam under construction here has been abandoned, and only the heroes can protect it. No individual has stepped forward to allow heroes access as yet, although only time will tell.
  • Dark Astoria - A normal part of the city, Dark Astoria has the best backstory of any zone in the game, with everyone in the zone being sacrificed to an eldritch god and continuing to walk the streets as ghosts. This area has a perpetual darkness and unnatural mist without fail all year around. Large concentrations of walking dead and rumours of an undead being of great power make this a very unpopular place, even for heroes seeking fame. On visiting Dark Astoria, you first see people walking around, perfectly normally. However, when you approach them, they dissapear - ghosts! Ghosts of the population! Run!
  • Terra Volta - home to Paragon City's main power supply, the Terra Volta nuclear reactor, this pure industrial zone, guarded in the heart of Independence Port, is now a tangle of competing villainous groups, all eager to gain access to the reactor. One such group has main numerous raids against it, which can only be stopped by a taskforce of superheroes. Those that return successfully from such a battle are strangely changed, muttering "Terra Volta", but laugh at what they refer to as "the common man's spelling".
  • Crey's Folly - Home to the Paragon City Water Works, this area has been taken over by super-powered carnival freaks, a secretive branch of the richest and most powerful corporation in Paragon City, crazed militants with snipers, high-tech weapons and tactics but old-school uniforms, aliens and mutated creatures bent on returning Earth to it's natural beauty, through force if necessary. These creatures have been known to summon a giant animated rock, whose idea of a club is an entire tree with a car wedged in its branches.
  • Eden - once peaceful, this area is now a garden. A garden of terror thanks to the sentient plantlife overrunning the area with vegetation, with the richest lady in Paragon City devoting her malicious mind to turning the tide back in mankind's favour. Woodsman, a hero that has returned from the dead thanks to the efforts of his fellow heroes may send you in to the depths of the...
  • ...Abandoned Sewer Network - Dark, damp, remarkably similar to the Sewer Network, but filled with inhuman monsters, aliens and mystics, far more powerful than previously encountered.
  • Ritki Crash Site - There have been mentions of aliens prowling the streets of Paragon City. After the great Ritki War, where an attack fleet of aliens was barely beaten off by the might of a united superhero front, there were reports of a great Ritki mothership crashing directly in to a suburb of Paragon City. This ship is still here, serving as a base of operations for the alien menace. The zone with the least police presence, at least while still on Earth, only truly skilled superheroes are even allowed to enter.

Alternate dimensions
Portal Corporation, established to analyse the alien technology used in the Ritki War, has discovered that the Earth we inhabit is just one of many dimensions, and has discovered methods of reaching far in to space using the newly-discovered teleportation and wormhole technology. Those superheroes who have survived all that Paragon City can throw at them are allowed to visit these terrifying parallel and bizarre worlds, known as the Shadow Shard. Little is known of them, save for the coded references to them in military transmissions. They are:

Special areas
Even superheroes need to relax. Together with the superpowered team of Paragon City's very own radio station, KPOW, found at, those and ONLY those "in the know" can visit the Paragon Dance Party, catch up with their favourite DJ, and chew the fat of all things superhero. A real-world radio station streaming over the 'net, Justice Radio is THE perfect soundtrack to bad-guy blasting fun.

Rumours and speculation...
The local newspaper, the Paragon Times, has recently published an article about the potential re-opening of Siren's Call, an area that has been mostly forgotten. Once a thriving port, it housed a number of nuclear reactors, however an "accident" (sabotage?) involving the hero Sunburst caused the area to be deemed unlivable. Recent reports indicate that the City Representative may be considering opening the are to heroes, to help secure the return of the normal populace. More information as it comes to hand...
As you can see, Paragon City is a varied place, home to all sorts of menaces. Only you, a superhero-in-waiting, can turn back the tide, and make Paragon City safe for its citizens!
Evil Catullus says: The Hive is not in the Shadow Shard, rather it's accessible from the back end of the Eden. It's not in an alternate dimension, but rather a terrifying place on Earth where the Hamidon is intent on assimilating everything...

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