I used to play City of Heroes when it was first released back in 2004. The server used by the updater was sometimes unavailable which would stop me from playing the game. This was even when the server used for playing the game was fine, but it wouldn’t let me past the updating stage.
There was a quick workaround for this, which was to create a shortcut to the cityofheroes.exe file, and add “-project coh” to the target.
Nowadays, however, I play on the European servers, and their internal name for the game is no longer “coh”, but “eucoh”. Therefore in order to skip the updater the target must have “-project eucoh”. Again this is a shortcut of the cityofheroes.exe and not the updater.
This also allows a non-administrative user to play City of Heroes on Windows Vista as the updater requires Admin rights to run, but the game does not.