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Role Playing (Games)

City of Heroes Purchased By NCsoft 127

Posted by Zonk
from the wait-wait-no-need-to-fly-off dept.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun comments on the big news from late last night: NCsoft has announced that it has purchased City of Heroes/Villains from Cryptic Studios, the Massive game's original developer. Everyone on the team has been offered a new position with the newly formed NCsoft NorCal studio, and many of them have accepted. As far as the players are concerned, NCsoft only intends for them to see freebies as a result of this deal: "Now back to you, the players. You are the lifeblood of our game. In celebration of our new studio and our exciting plans, and in order to thank you for the fantastic community that you have built, we are pleased to announce the following: All players with City of Heroes retail accounts will now have access to City of Villains, and all City of Villains retail accounts will now have access to City of Heroes. Players that didn't previously have access to "the other side" will find that they do now. Just log in to check it out! After the launch of Issue 11: A Stitch in Time this Fall, we are removing Debt from all characters and giving you a fresh start ... Also after the launch of Issue 11, all Supergroups will receive an additional 20,000 Prestige per Supergroup member."
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City of Heroes Purchased By NCsoft

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  • Chalk this up to stupidity but I always assumed it was NCSoft for both because of adverts from NCSoft portraying the two together.

    I've had a CoV account a while back and stopped playing... I may have to start again if all this is more than a rumor.
    • by shinma (106792)
      Since one of the two links from the summary is an official statement, I'm guessing this is more than a rumor.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by MaXimillion (856525)

      Chalk this up to stupidity but I always assumed it was NCSoft for both because of adverts from NCSoft portraying the two together.
      City of Heroes and Villains were both developed by cryptic and published by NCSoft. NCSoft now bought all the right to both games, and will continue to develop them.
    • Actually, it's even funnier. COH and COV are the same game. Whether you have "both" installed, or only one of them, you run the exact same executable, use the exact same resource files, and connect to the exact same servers, and your stuff is saved in the exact same database.

      The only difference between COH, COV or both, was your account. If the account says you only paid for COV, then their server will only let you play on the COV side. But, again, you already had both.

      And yeah, "both" were published by NCS
  • I have no experience with either, but allowing access to both cities is a great move. Forgiving debts, giving away points, etc not so much. Smart players will exploit this and just run up debts. Dumb players won't, either because of misplaced ethics or because they don't know how to read.

    Maybe it's not the same, but in the games I play online, I hate to see this kind of virtual pandering.
    • Re:No Free Lunch (Score:4, Informative)

      by thesandtiger (819476) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @11:35AM (#21268361)
      Debt doesn't work like that in CoH. It's essentially negative experience points that accrue when a player is defeated - having it halves the rate of experience gain until it is paid off. It isn't like debt in the sense we usually think of it, where you get something in exchange for a future obligation; the player gets nothing for their debt in CoH.

      • The only positive effect of debt that I know of is that paying it off can get you certain badges, but I'd think that forgiven debt wouldn't count toward those.
        • by Babbster (107076)
          It had better, since people do purposely accrue debt in order to pay it back and get the badges (in fact, said badges can lead to a special power in combination with others). If not, then it would actually be a penalty to those players, forcing them to take extra time to die a bunch of times again.

          Oh, and there's a debt penalty cap, so there's a limit to how much benefit could be realized (per character) from this relief.
        • by kunwon1 (795332) *
          Best /. username evar.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It has been a long time since I played COH so I might have the details wrong, but I remember that debt wasn't monetary, but rather experience realted. Death (getting teleported to the hospital) resulted in an experience point debt that could put you in the hole on your way to the next level. You could work it off directly, but it also encouraged you to go on lower level missions and sidekick/mentor newer players to work it off faster.

      So there isn't much abuse possible, it's more a "wipe the slate clean" dea
      • I would never have thought that is what they were talking about. Thanks everyone.

        Still, not sure how that would really help anyone. Bad players will likely still be bad players.
    • by Moraelin (679338)
      Debt was already capped, so you're not getting that much. Plus for everyone who was at level 50, debt had no effect whatsoever, so, you know, why bother?

      And running an xp debt on purpose is a bad idea anyway.

      1. It means running up a lot of death, which means a lot of running back to your corpse instead of doing quests and killing NPCs. Plus, it's demoralizing for most people. It's associated with a failure, no matter how minor.

      2. Until NCSoft forgives it, you'll get half xp, as the other half goes to paying
      • Actually, there is no running back to your corpse in City of Heroes. When you return the the hospital, you don't even leave a corpse, and all of your possessions are carried with you.
        • Yes, yes, I know nitpicking at the details is a national sport on Slashdot, but take a pause and think about it a bit. You get to run back to the mission, if you want to continue it, and to roughly where you were when you faceplanted. Because, you know, you have to continue from there. Same thing, whether there's a corpse on the ground or not.
          • Especially at low levels, it's often efficient to die, using the hospital teleport as a shortcut if it's at the direction where you were headed anyways. So certainly no need to return where you died always.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Moraelin (679338)
              Until level 10 there is no debt at all, and below 20 or so, debt is a silly joke. Doubly so between levels 10 and 13, which is where people do it the most. (Because at 14, as you know, they get a travel power.) That's why people do that: because it doesn't matter at that level. The first couple of groups in a solo mission will clear that hospital teleport debt.

              So now look at the GGP post or so, claiming that people will abuse that debt forgiving. What's the worst that can happen there? That a couple of frus
      • Unless they changed something in the last year, CoH and CoV didn't have corpse-running. When you died you had a choice.
        • Wait around for someone to rez you
        • Click the popup to be revived at the nearest hospital
      • by Bieeanda (961632) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @12:16PM (#21269037)
        When I was more obsessive about not out-leveling story arcs and hidden contacts, I would regularly run a character into groups of tough mobs and politely wait for them to hand my ass to me. Fortunately, that particular stunt is going to become unnecessary when the Flashback system goes live.

        I can see some people running up debt on their idle 50's, in order to get a sliver further into the various XP debt badges, but overall this seems to be nothing more than a nice (if kind of empty) gesture.

        I'm definitely turning 'ignore Supergroup invites' on for my unaffiliated characters, though. Random pubbie invites were common enough before; the prospect of signing bonuses is going to whip them into a frenzy.

    • On the official forums, the moderators have stated that they're going to tell exactly when the debt eradication will happen, as in a time and date. They have explicitly said that one of the purposes of doing so is specifically so day/night/whatever before, people can do something they're not really used to being able to do because it's a PITA to work off the debt: go out and go nuts.

      Want to take on the hardest über-mission that people normally don't work on because they know that they'll spend the n

    • by sanjacguy (908392)

      I have no experience with either, but allowing access to both cities is a great move. Forgiving debts, giving away points, etc not so much. Smart players will exploit this and just run up debts. Dumb players won't, either because of misplaced ethics or because they don't know how to read. Maybe it's not the same, but in the games I play online, I hate to see this kind of virtual pandering.

      Taking a different tack here - the entire point of COH and COV is ethics - it's a superhero universe. You can have great, fantastic ethical issues that come up - for example Watchmen (spoilers) deals with a superhero who fakes an alien invasion of New York City, kills about a third of the state, but actually brings about world peace. The other main characters have to make a choice, to cover up and keep world peace, or to reveal the truth and have the people who died die for naught. While you don't get

  • Bought my mac in January and dumped this game and moved to WoW. Theres a reason why WoW has a couple million players and these guys don't... it's because you can play Wow on ALL platforms due to them supporting openGL and not DirectX. More game developers should start learning that open game development especially now that VISTA has bombed is in their best interest; other OS sales numbers are not going down and we are just going to dump your game when we switch.
    • by Aeonite (263338)
      The reason everyone plays WOW and not COH/COV is critical mass. People play WOW because people play WOW. I stopped playing COV because no one else was playing and it was impossible to find anyone to group with.
      • by Foofoobar (318279)
        I found tons to group with. Had a lvl 50 hero and lvl 50 villain. Don't know your problem. As for critical mass, by your logic everyone in the world should be Islamic since thats the most popular religion. Critical mass explains mob mentallity, not the reason why people purchase a product; thats called a monopoly... like iPods and Microsoft. And last that I heard of, WoW was NOT a monopoly.
      • Did you only play at 3:00am on a low-population server or something? Whenever I'm around, there are plenty of other people. Hell, half of the complaints on the official forums are people griping about all of the broadcast clutter and blind invites.

      • by Onan (25162)
        But a big part of the reason behind that critical mass is that Blizzard has chosen to make WoW available to twenty million people that Cryptic has mysteriously chosen to ignore.

        • by chrish (4714)
          Co[HV] runs just peachy with BootCamp, even on the meagre GMA950 integrated video on the low-end machines. Once Parallels and/or VMWare get hardware 3D acceleration worked out, it'll be awesome.

          I'm hoping the move to NCSoft will add some QA/testing muscle to the development team. The Co[HV] client has always been a bit iffy on ATI video cards (pretty sure that's a potential market of more than 20 million) and it really doesn't run well on Vista (another large potential market).

          I'd really like to see them
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by MaXimillion (856525)

      it's because you can play Wow on ALL platforms due to them supporting openGL and not DirectX.
      Considering Co(H/V) is an OpenGL game as well, I find it unlikely that that's the reason.
      • by Aedrin (1175509)
        Chalk that one up to another Linux Fanboy who doesn't understand simple concepts. Vista bombed? Right.
        • by paganizer (566360)
          If you consider actual sales, it is bombing.
          I'm talking people purposefully buying it, not getting it with a new computer whether they like it or not, or getting a free copy from their school or any of a myriad number of ways that MS has artificially inflated the sales figures on Vista.
          I can not back this up with numbers, as number are very hard to get on this subject; the only things available are fuzzy percentages.
          • by Aedrin (1175509)
            I bought it. Just because most people are on the anti-microsoft bandwagon doesn't mean there is any value to their statements.
            • by paganizer (566360)
              I pretty much value my statements.
              I'm curious, which version did you buy? was there any primary underlying reason? I have heard a couple of reasons I can't argue with, like better integrated tablet PC support and a requirement for robust DRM (long story).

              • by Aedrin (1175509)
                Home Premium. And it was all based on one single article that I read a while ago, detailing the architecture plans/updates to Vista. I've lost the link however so I can't give many more details. I had also used some Beta/RC versions and I'd grown towards the OS enough that I chose it over Linux. It might help that I'm not an average user, but a developer and I play no games on the PC. So performance issues are less important to me.
          • by Foofoobar (318279)
            I know several people here at work in Bellevue WA (right across from Redmond) who weren't happy with VISTA and I told them they could request XP installed from their OEM, they instantly brightened up and started asking how. LOL.

            I had to send links to articles to about 5 different people talking about how they could return their Dells and get XP installed and they said they were planning on doing it that weekend.

            Another guy I knew had the 90% bandwidth throttling problem and couldn't figure out what wa

    • by Phrogman (80473)
      Yeah, I just switched to running a new iMac (having been a PC/Windows user since my 286 back in 1989 or so), and I am sure not looking back. However, while I wish that more games supported the Mac natively (and I expect they will as the platform has some real growth now it seems), it doesn't mean you can't play the old games. Bootcamp and a copy of WinXP SP2 ensure that when I want a gaming fix, I can get it pretty easily, then its back to the MacOSX side for serious computer use.

      MacOSX is such a superior c
    • by samkass (174571)
      I stopped playing CoH for the same reason. I got tired of keeping a second "gaming" Windows PC up to date with reasonable parts and software, and just starting using my home Mac full-time. Any game popular enough to matter gets ported anyway these days. That CoH isn't ported says more about CoH than it does about the Mac, IMHO.
      • by Babbster (107076)
        Actually, it says more about the fact that there aren't enough Macs to make it worthwhile for [most] MMOGs to maintain two separate versions of their software...and Boot Camp gives them further disincentive.
        • by Onan (25162)
          Twenty million recent macs in use leaves plenty of market for a playerbase larger than nearly any game ever sees.

          Boot Camp, however, changes pretty much nothing. Most people who choose macs are very much choosing to not use Windows. Giving them a new way to run the exact OS they don't want to run does not appeal to very many of them.

          • by Babbster (107076)
            How many of your "twenty million" are interested in City of Heroes/Villains? How many would buy the game and then maintain a subscription? How much would it cost to develop and maintain the OSX client? What would be even more interesting: How many of your "twenty million" are Mac Minis with minimal gaming capability, and how many are truly new Mac users as opposed to Mac users who buy every upgrade?

            I simply don't believe that large publishers (and NCSoft has become a large publisher) ignore the Mac use
            • by Onan (25162)

              How many of your "twenty million" are interested in City of Heroes/Villains? How many would buy the game and then maintain a subscription? How much would it cost to develop and maintain the OSX client? What would be even more interesting: How many of your "twenty million" are Mac Minis with minimal gaming capability, and how many are truly new Mac users as opposed to Mac users who buy every upgrade?

              Perhaps a slightly lower percentage of those mac users are interested in games as a whole, but there are

              • by Babbster (107076)
                I should mention here that I am not at all against the idea of creating OSX-compatible versions of PC games. I'd be particularly happy if this became the norm with MMOGs since when I play one, I'd like there to be as many players in my community as possible. I believe, though, that there are good reasons to eschew OSX in the gaming area, not the least of which is Apple's lack of encouragement. Microsoft has DirectX which has clearly won over the game development community. If Apple would create and supp
        • Actually, it says more about the fact that there aren't enough Macs to make it worthwhile for [most] MMOGs to maintain two separate versions of their software...and Boot Camp gives them further disincentive.

          There are plenty of Macs to make the market profitable for game developers, if the game is a success to start with. There are really several types of games:

          • Games that the developers know are going to be successful and which plan for the Mac port immediately (think WoW) - these are usually released on both platforms simultaneously or with a slight delay for the Mac version.
          • Games where the developer is owned by MS and develops exclusively with DirectX - some of these get ported after some delay when MS g
    • you can play Wow on ALL platforms

      Where is that WoW native Linux client? Oh yeah, there isn't one.

      due to them supporting openGL and not DirectX

      City of Heroes is built on OpenGL also, go figure. However, the graphics aren't the only thing to a game client does, and the non-graphics part of City of Heroes is built for Windows only. This wasn't a malicious decision, it was a practical one. NCsoft isn't as big as Blizzard, it never has been. Hopefully, as demand for the game grows, they'll be able to g

    • by downix (84795)
      I run it on Linux using Wine.
    • by Cheapy (809643)
      Are you seriously saying that the only reason WoW has millions of users is because it can be played on all platforms and using OpenGL instead of directx?

      You sir, are a loon.
  • To be exact, all but one member of the dev team are moving to NCSoft
    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      This is why I'm not terribly concerned about NCSoft buying CoX outright. With almost the same dev team there, it's probably going to stick with the same general vision that it's been operating under so far, and NCSoft hopefully won't be inclined to mess around with it too much. If only one of them were sticking around (even if it was Prime Mover Positron), I'd be much more worried about the future of a game I've been playing on and off since launch.
  • by GammaKitsune (826576) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @11:41AM (#21268471)
    I've got to say that I'm kind of worried. One of the best things about CoH is that the developers seem to focus a lot on what the players want. There have been several instances of major changes being brought to the game simply on player request, and it's greatly appreciated. I'll be kind of upset if NCSoft abandons this policy in favor of their plan to "aggressively develop and expand the franchise."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      I think you're worried for nothing. NCSoft makes GuildWars under the ArenaNet name and they definitely DO listen to the players and the internet in general. The game is filled with references to popular internet sites and phenomena and each new version has things that people have been asking for. I don't see why they'd nix this policy when they make sure liberal use of it themselves.

      That's not even mentioning that the majority of the dev team will remain the same, and it's only an ownership change.
      • by JanusFury (452699)
        ArenaNet is an independent studio, like Cryptic was. NCSoft doesn't have much direct influence on anything as far as maintenance and game updates go.

        However, since NCSoft is hiring as many of the Cryptic guys as possible, it's plausible that they'll still have the freedom to take customer feedback and maintain the game. It's less likely, though, since they'll be more directly influenced by publisher upper management now.
  • I mean, was it just that NCSoft offered unrefuseably large piles of cash?

    I met & interviewed Jack Emmert at E3 the year before CoH released - if there's anyone who was developing a game as a labor of love, it was him. He was almost a caricature of the Simpsons' comic book guy, but it was in a charming way because he was so genuine. I agree with his characterization of comic books as 'modern day mythology' and while I can't quite yet personally consider them quite 'literature', there are some fantastic
    • He hasn't been involved with CoH on personal level for quite a while, having left the position of lead designer and moved to general supervision of all Cryptic titles.

      I'd assume he's more interested about MUO, or some unnannouced title nowdays.
    • Jack Emmert, and the rest of Cryptic, has been working on Marvel Universe Online for awhile now. Cryptic found themselves in a situation many developers would kill to be in -- they owned too many game franchises that competed with each other.

      From this deal, Cryptic gets cash and the ability to do MUO with no conflict of interest. Win-win.

      NCSoft gets a very loyal playerbase, a larger share of the CoX revenue stream, and a critically acclaimed game franchise. Win-win.

      The players get to keep the same devs,
      • The players... are being promised many things that they used to say were impossible, such as the holy grail of MMORPGs, the 'one server' environment.
        Point of order: The players have never been promised this. They've made asides to the effect of "It'd be cool if we could do this", but they've never confirmed that it's coming or even planned.
  • I really hope this helps expand the audience for this game in some manner. It deserves more exposure in my opinion. I have always thought of this as one of the best designed games I have ever seen. Cryptic just seemed to do everything right for the most part. The game has always represented top quality design and development for me.

    Sure, its a niche market, its not for everyone, and its got a narrow focus. I admit its limits. But in my opinion no other MMORPG out there (past or present) can hold a candle to
  • My "supergroup" and I left CoH a long time ago. Why?

    Because we no longer felt heroic. We had run every taskforce (Including the first from that portal realm - 11 HOUR MARATHON), done everything - we knew the game, constantly created new characters ... AND we were still having a blast!

    The characters we had planned out ... from level 1 to 50 were all suddenly useless. All the planning and effort to tweak builds, respec builds and come out with something of 'heroic' proportions were deemed 'too powerful' and
    • I actually felt more heroic after the 'great nerf bat' of GDN and ED, but that was because it was no longer a simple curb-stomp-fest.

      Heroes are meant to be challenged, not unassailable gods with perfect morals.
      • by garylian (870843)
        Using the terms "nerf bat" and "ED" in the same sentence... It's Viagra/Cialis/Levitra time!
      • Bzzt, wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @02:26PM (#21271077) Journal
        Bzzt, wrong. Look at some of the early comics, and super-heroes were just that: unassailable gods with perfect morals.

        Superman, for example, started with no vulnerability whatsoever. The whole "kryptonite" thing was invented as a tongue-in-cheek explanation when they had to skip an episode or two for the radio version later, for example because the actor was on vacation. And even there it wasn't actually used _in_ any story line. Superman didn't have to battle anyone wielding kryptonite at that point.

        Mind you, if you're going to say that that's not (necessarily) much fun in a game, we can even aggree quickly.

        But that's a limitation of video games, not a limitation of super-heroes. Literary or comic book characters can be as god-like as the author wants, and still be fun and popular.

        Heck, you don't even have to look only at superhero comics. Take Terry Prattchett's Diskworld books, for example. Cohen the barbarian is, for example, so good at dodging that in Interesting Times he even dodges a cannonball from a gun that got teleported right in front of him and fired. Rincewind is comically incompetent except he always ends up on top, even if by sheer luck and without fully realizing what he's done. The witches are just short of god-like in their own right, and can pretty much get what they want even from Death himself. Wossname the monk learned from yetis how to "save and reload" IRL, so he just comes back after being beheaded. Etc, etc, etc. Almost every single major character in those books has some kind of super-power that makes him completely invincible and unstoppable, even by the whole freakin' army of China (or the DW equivalent of it.)

        Does that make the books any less fun to read? Nope.

        Think action movies. Rambo can stand tall with a machinegun in front of a whole tank division, or get in a pissing... err... shooting contest with a gunship and come out on top. Jedi in SW movies are just about gods that can only kill each other. But they're way out of the league of mortal soldiers or drones, even when those are in brigade-sized formations and with AT-AT and air support. Etc.

        And you know what? I dare say that that's actually good character design. People want to be told a nice story where the hero overcomes everything, and everything ends with a happy ending.

        Not many people want to be told a tale where the hero thought he could fly circles around the Death Star, but the laws of firepower always beat the rules of literature. Or not many want to be told the story of the guy who thought he could jump in front of the enemy company with a pistol, and was riddled with bullets before he even finished the clip. Those are depressing stories of failure. They're not fun.

        We want to be told stories where one determined guy changes the world for the better, and nothing whatsoever can stay in his way. Not one where he fails in the first 15 minutes.

        But, again, I can see how that doesn't translate into a fun video game. We just have to accept that it's simply different media, with different rules.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Haeleth (414428)

          Bzzt, wrong. Look at some of the early comics, and super-heroes were just that: unassailable gods with perfect morals.

          Did you ever wonder why that only happened in early comics? Has the possibility crossed your mind that the reason modern comics feature almost exclusively complex, flawed heroes is that comics about flawed heroes are more popular than comics about unassailable gods with perfect morals?

          But that's a limitation of video games, not a limitation of super-heroes. Literary or comic book characters

          • Did you ever wonder why that only happened in early comics? Has the possibility crossed your mind that the reason modern comics feature almost exclusively complex, flawed heroes is that comics about flawed heroes are more popular than comics about unassailable gods with perfect morals?

            And did you ever wonder why those modern comics with weak and morally ambiguous heroes only sell a tiny fraction of what comics used to sell? Why now it's regarded as a weird geek hobby, when it used to be entertainment for th

            • Actually that would probably have more to do with the fact that forms of entertainment have changed. It's the same reason that you see music and movie sales falling.
    • by downix (84795)
      Pity you've missed the best parts of the game. I find ED expanded the definition of a Hero, not diminished it. What is heroic to you, sitting there for hours nose to nose with the Kronos Titan without it making a scratch, or hammering it while coming within an inch of your life yet coming out on top!

      I am Blaster, as I go through the valley of debt I shall know no fear!
      • ED was the best thing that could happen to Electric Blasters. Back in the days before I4, we had all six-slotted for damage because we were the weakest Blaster powerset. ED grabbed us by the lapels and screamed "You're supposed to be Sappers! Slot some Endurance Drains!"

        Now my Elec/Elec eats bosses for lunch, solo. Pop an anti-mez inspiration (if necessary), run in, Short Circuit, Power Sink. I'm at full endurance, the boss is sucked dry, and with Endurance Mods on all my attacks, that boss won't come back
    • I was extremely happy when the system was changed (commonly referred to as "Enhancement Diversification" among the players). Before that happened, the Tank archetypes were invincible. It was common practice to create what were known as "burn" tankers, which were tanks that could absorb an infinite amount of damage without consequence and that would deal out massive amounts of damage with their auras. Other variations on powersets provided similar characteristics.

      If you were on a team with a burn tank,

      • by jayveekay (735967)
        Good gameplay requires that the player be presented with interesting choices. If a tank character can kill a hundred mobs at a time with no risk by just doing the same routine over and over, then that's not interesting. I can understand why the developers would want to fix that. What I can't understand is why professional game designers would create such a system in the first place. Since they create the rules, it's hard to fathom how they would be unable to see how their game system would work out once pl
        • You're right, that was my main problem. The developers harped on the concept of risk versus reward for a long time, and a small element of the player base (such as the poster I replied to) hated it. They only want the reward, not the risk.

          As the poster himself pointed out:

          the system was changed to what we were told was "How the devs originally wanted it"

          The developers weren't clueless, they knew from the outset that it was an issue. However, I understand that they wanted to get the game out even if

          • > You're right, that was my main problem. The developers harped on the concept of risk versus reward for a long time, and a small element of the player base (such as the poster I replied to) hated it. They only want the reward, not the risk.

            I actually wanted 'epic risk' ... and a matching reward. But the rewards were all canned / weren't interesting for the most part. The difficulty slider helped with that some, but majority of the game was 'zone into boring warehouse, kill all, repeat'. So now I have bo
  • My impressions. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @02:06PM (#21270759)
    I played City of Heroes for a couple of years, from a few months after initial launch up until shortly after the launch of City of Villains. I experimented with a few alternate characters but I had reached level 45 with my main; 5 levels below the level 50 cap.

    I got into the game on the recommendation of my brother and another friend of ours. I played Everquest years earlier for a few months, shortly after the first expansion. The demanding nature of that game, including the reliance on grouping burned me out quickly. What attracted me to CoH was the ability to solo and lack of reliance on gear. It was kind of like a socialist MMO.

    What really hooked me was the pace of combat. The game gets really exciting during a fight; I don't think there's been another MMO yet that matches the pace of that game. It's as close to direct, active control as I've seen thus far. Apparently a new powerset is being introduced which even allows for combos.

    Additionally, a lone hero could face a group of upwards of 5 foes and emerge victorious, depending on the class. It was fun to jump into the midst of some villains and beat the hell out of them all. So in that regard, it was a very satisfying game.

    The pace of leveling was fairly quick but, like all other MMOs it still had considerable grind. And that's really where things broke down. There was nothing else to do but fight. Every single thing in the game revolve around beating up badguys. There were conditions for some missions, like clicking on glowing items, but even then it required getting past hordes of villains. Story was presented in dialog boxes; at the time there were no cutscenes. Alternative skills, comparable to blacksmithing in fantasy MMOs were finally introduced a few months ago. This was after years of promising they were coming soon.

    Apparently the skill system was completely redesigned at least 3 times over because it was deemed to not be fun enough. I haven't played what was finally implemented but from what I've read I'm not impressed. It looks like it's merely an adaptation of the supergroup base item building feature.

    The character customization is excellent, and probably still surpasses what's available in most other MMOs. Beyond that, however, there's only one way to improve a character. And that's through enhancements which is comparable to stats for other games. Basically, enemies "drop" these enhancements which are then applied to a character's powers. So a player can boost damage, or the power's secondary debuff effect. That was all well and good until the developers decided they didn't want people focusing on a single aspect of any given power. So, every power has 5 slots, if I remember correctly, but using more than two slots for the same boost was essentially a waste. This was supposed to encourage enhancement diversity but I think it resulted in standard ideal templates for specific powers.

    There was also the incessant complaining by those who had chosen classes that were less effective solo who felt it was unfair that other classes could solo so effective. Nevermind the fact that the best solo builds weren't always well-suited for groups. So a lot of work went into addressing that with mixed results and to, I feel, the general detriment of the game.

    Another problem I came to find with the game was the excessive reliance on templates for environmental design. Basically, upon entering a zone the first time a player had a good sense for how the rest of the zone looked. And many of those features were reused in most other zones. So where other MMOs have a varied and dynamic landscape City of Hero's was a bit contrived. It was tiring running through the same laboratory with a random, nonsensical layout for the 5th time in a few hours. Despite that, the art style was great. It was a lot of fun traveling amongst those skyscrapers. The game simply could have benefited from more variety.

    One thing that was good about CoH/CoV was how Cryptic has maintained a close relationship with the players. They've n
    • by Finnius (1166527)

      "What really hooked me was the pace of combat. The game gets really exciting during a fight; I don't think there's been another MMO yet that matches the pace of that game. It's as close to direct, active control as I've seen thus far. Apparently a new powerset is being introduced which even allows for combos."

      If you like an active style of gameplay, I strongly suggest you check out Dungeons and Dragons Online. It plays much more like an action game than an MMO, including the player having to hit a target

  • NCsoft plans to install it on Friday and just play like, all weekend.
  • So glad I don't play this anymore. A part of me was pissed that I bought both versions, now they are just giving the other side away for free. I'd play again if they gave everyone a free month if they already owned COV and COH.
  • I've been with City of Heroes since open beta 3.5 years ago (just missed the closed beta). I've seen several posts here on /. saying basically "Been to CoH, didn't like it, left the game" and I'd like to say a little about how the game has matured since then.

    Today's CoX (so abbreviated since both City of Heroes and City of Villains is really the same game) has changed massively during those 3.5 years. There's City of Villains, 2 years old as of last week, which nearly doubled the number of playable archetyp

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents

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