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Role Playing (Games)

City of Heroes Issue Four Released 39

The fourth free expansions pack for City of Heroes has been released, and it's quite a doozy. Included in the latest release are a ton of new costume options, new content, and (most significantly) large coliseum where heroes can battle it out in PvP battles. Statement by Jack Emmert from the article: "I believe PVP will supplement the game while not detracting from City of Heroes' missions or story arcs...I see the PVP arenas as a way for players to hone their skills and as a change of pace from arresting villains."
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City of Heroes Issue Four Released

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  • Is it any good? This is online only, correct? Is it anything like Freedom Force? It must be good with four expansions.
    • by 2Flower ( 216318 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:01PM (#12454070) Homepage
      It's an MMORPG, like Everquest or World of Warcraft -- but with superheroes and more focus on casual gameplay (no loot, instanced missions instead of spawn camping, sidekick system so you can fight across levels, etc.)

      It's a lot of fun, been playing it for a year. To play devil's advocate, because it's casual oriented, it's not as deep as other MMO's; more like Final Fight than Street Fighter, swapping action and simplicity for pacing and depth.
      • So... can you be evil? Can you mow down civilians?
        • by 2Flower ( 216318 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:13PM (#12454249) Homepage
          So... can you be evil? Can you mow down civilians?

          Not yet. That's in City of Villains, which is due out later this year / early next year / dunno. It's practically ANOTHER MMORPG, rather than an expansion pack, since villains have their own areas, own missions, own power sets, etc.

          I kinda doubt they'll let you wander into Atlas Park and start ganking 1st level heroes and civilian NPCs, though. They've said all along PVP will always be consentual; and Arena PVP definitely is.
    • I play it... It's fun as MMOGs game because it combines the ability to build and level characters from MMORPGs with the ability to just get in and play for fun for a bit that you get from FPS's. It's a decent attempt at getting the best from both worlds, in my opinion. Yup, it's online only.
      • It's pretty good. There's not a HUGE variety of things to do, basically its focus is on combat. There's no crafting, just lots of questing and beating-up of criminals. Personally, I found that once I tired of beating things up there wasn't much else to hold my interest. But that's just me. :)
    • They aren't what most people would call expansions. You don't buy a new box and install some more content. These "expansions" are really massive patches that come out every ~2months. They introduce new zones, in this case pvp (arena) and occasionally new powers/powersets.
  • by 2Flower ( 216318 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:06PM (#12454150) Homepage
    There's a lot of contention over what Issue #4 has done to the game, good and bad. Lemme give a brief overview of the changes.

    1. A PVP arena. It's really an amazing piece of work, a huge addition to the game. The question is, will you really want to play in it? Certain classes ("archetypes") have innate advantages due to higher offense and defensive mixes, while others suffer because they don't have enough of either. Odds are more balancing will take place as the days go on; they've come far from when the beta of the arena went up, but still have farther yet to go.

    2. New costuming. The costuming system in COH is already top notch, and this adds more elements to it. Mostly it's asian-themed items but there are other generic items in too. Some have clipping issues which will need to be resolved, but it's not too shabby. It also introduces body physique / face sliders like in Star Wars Galaxies.

    3. Power changes. The alien archetype they introduced got serious boosts, other powers got little boosts... but as with ANY MMORPG IN THE HISTORY OF TIME, some changes are going to be downward rather than upward. (You can't "buff everybody, nerf nobody" without ending up in a nuclear arms race.) So, if you hit COH forums you'll see OMG sky is falling type posts from folks who now have to change their play style. But... again, to be fair, some of the changes are really phenominally heavy handed. The devs have admitted that they're looking at alternate ways to get the effect they want without harsh penalties, and they're starting to analyze the archetypes one at a time to bring them into balance. It'll take time.

    Like any MMO it's got plusses and minuses. Each issue releases new toys to play with and new changes to deal with. City of Heroes gets a big fat recommendation from me; even with the issues-with-its-issues, it's still a lot of fun and very good for casual gamers who want to try an MMO but don't want it to be a second job.
  • I play City of Heroes and it's a fun game, especially for people who don't have a lot of time to play every night and just want some villain-bashing action.

    The weird thing I've noticed is that a lot of the new costume options are restricted to one gender or the other for no real reason. Quick background here, most costume options are unisex, but there are some obvious ones, like metal bikini-thing, that are restriced.

    Some of the items restricted in the new patch include:
    Wooden sandals (simple, flat, wood
    • The weird thing I've noticed is that a lot of the new costume options are restricted to one gender or the other for no real reason. Quick background here, most costume options are unisex, but there are some obvious ones, like metal bikini-thing, that are restriced.

      The developers have stated several times in the CoH Forums [cityofheroes.com] that the new costume elements were added for the official release of CoH in Japan and Korea, and that the American and European players got the new costume elements because it was rel

      • Wow, that's news to me. I thought I had been watching the official boards pretty well, but I guess I was slack. This is exactly the kind of information that I was looking for, thanks for posting!
        • Wow, that's news to me. I thought I had been watching the official boards pretty well, but I guess I was slack. This is exactly the kind of information that I was looking for, thanks for posting!

          Just for reference, one of the references was in this thread [cityofheroes.com] in the forums, citing an article in the March 2005 issue of PC Gamer:

          The "Issue #4" update will also introduce amazing "body scaling" technology to Paragon City's protectors, allowing them to tweak the size of waists, arms, and cheekbones... among o

    • "Wooden sandals.....pirate's parrot...female-only"

      Someone better give Hercules and Long John Silver the news.

    • Just becuase I feel like being picky, Inu-Yasha had dog ears.
      • >Just becuase I feel like being picky, Inu-Yasha had dog ears.

        I said "catlike" not "cat."

        Yes, Inu-Yasha is a dog half-demon, not a cat half-demon. And his ears are pointy and furry. I was trying not to confuse people because they are called "Cat Ears" in the game, but if you made them white and put them on a guy in a red robe, you would have a passable Inu-Yasha.
  • the Arena (Score:3, Informative)

    by MattW ( 97290 ) <matt@ender.com> on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:19PM (#12454347) Homepage
    The Arena is fun, I'll give it that. The intuitive easy gameplay remains. There's a bit of a fly in the ointment, in the sense that right now, there's "loot" unbalancing the game. Specifically, "Hamidon Enhancements". Enhancements boost a power in CoH, and come in 3 varieties: the +8.3%, the +16.6%, and +33.3% variety, available as you get higher level. The raid reward enhancement (for killing the Hamidon) is +50% to *2* aspects. So the best enhancement available to most L22+ players is, say +33% accuracy or +33% damage. A "Hami-O", as they're called, could be +50%dmg&+50% acc.

    I have about 30 myself. Experimentation has shown that when I'm fighting in a lower weight class, the power of the hami-Os may scale down, but they're still obviously WAY too good and I absolutely terrorize people I shouldn't be able to.

    So for the casual player vs the hami-O laden veteran, there's a serious mismatch.

    Otherwise, it's a blast.

    There are definitely some great new options in the costume department - lots of jackets, several types of martial arts gear - pants, shirts, even kung fu shoes.

    There's a lot of crying over nerfs right now, as scrappers took a hit to their defenses in I4 for the most part, but game balance has improved if you ask me.

    Really, while the arena is great, it is obviously also laying ground and gathering data for City of Villains, which has Villain vs Hero pvp as a real theme. It's not mandatory, but it will obviously play an important part for those who are interested. This is a good first step to making sure that is not unbalanced.
    • Re:the Arena (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snuf23 ( 182335 )
      Damn. If you ran 30 Hamidon raids you practically deserve to kick my ass in the arena.
      I agree they unbalance the high end PVP, but they are the ONLY thing you can do to enhance your characters after level 50. And they aren't exactly easy to get - well ok, not hard but time consuming. I did notice that PVP seems to work best with mixed teams as one on one duels are usually horribly unbalance. I'm also not sure about how the holds are working in the arena. My main character is a 50 Illusion/Kinetics controlle
      • Damn. If you ran 30 Hamidon raids you practically deserve to kick my ass in the arena.

        If he runs hours and hours and hours of (debatably, but certainly to many people) tedious Hamidon raids, he deserves to kick ass in a totally unrelated game context? I can't get behind that game decision. PvP should be as much about the relative skill of the players in constructing and using their characters, not about who spends more of their free time stomping on Mitos.
        • I agree compeltely. I did run 30 hami raids, but:

          (1) I did it to keep up with the Joneses. Given the choice between getting the HOs or sucking, I will get the HOs. But I'd prefer it not be an issue, and on the CoH forums, I publically advocate nerfing HOs even if it nerfs mine too. There are people with 100+ raids under their belt but I've done enough that I obviously have a stake.

          (2) For me at least, it's a bit of a joke. My Hami raider is a fire/dev (Plasma on Virtue, in case there are any virtue player
          • Yeah I agree as well. The line about deserving to kick my ass was a joke. I've only done one Hamidon raid and - stupid me - I did that one before I hit level 50. Nothing like getting to see the maximum debt the game will throw at you.
            At least you get to shoot during the Hami-raid, my controller spent most of the time crumpled on the ground waiting for a res. Nice that single shot from the mitos did more than my total health. More than my total health at lvl 50 for that matter.
            I wouldn't be surprised to see
            • There's a lot of content you can access at 50. You can exemp down to play with anyone doing anything (although doing TFs on exemp can be frustrating if anyone has a bad link). And now there's the Arena - I've had it keep me up until 4am twice this week so far. And then there's alts. I have all 8 slots on Virtue filled and I want more. *Especially* with PvP, which motivates me even more to want to play with different builds. There's also badge collecting, souvenir collecting, and I5 will add skills - the "no
              • I'm not arguing that there is not a lot of content - but what you describe (aside from the PVP which is new) is the same basic gameplay I've been doing for the last 50 levels (actually over a 100 levels if you add up my alts).
                I don't find it terribly interesting to run old TFs or something with my 50. I mean there is no real progress point, short of small benefits in accolades. I don't mind helping people with Arch Villian missions as they are a little more interesting.
                Badges and souvenirs? Doing the kill X
                • I'm hanging out with one character in the shadow shard, the much-maligned place that it is. I have group fly and am hoping to even run the TFs there. Tons of people flood the new zones - the hollows is the most popular place for its level, and Striga is also quite popular, especially the TF.
                  • New players pretty much get herded into the Hollows since many of the missions and contacts occur there. I think that's a good thing, as I much prefer the zone to Perez Park's maze of trees. The Hollows is a challenging zone to get through without a travel power - it's huge and those gaping pits are instant death to lowbies who accidentally take the plunge. Striga Isle is a really nice zone as well. Kudos to the devs for that one.
                    I actually like the crash site, although it's somewhat repetitive as you prett
                    • Well, I mostly like the Shard simply because it's so graphically stunning - especially when you get out to the storm palace and see the battlestation thing under seige, it looks amazing. First time I made it, I did it using superleap and superspeed only - well, and the little gravity launchers, but a few times I had to hop across tiny rocks using superleap because I couldn't find a path via the launchers. But it's pretty cool. If I6 ends up being a high-level update with new 40+ content, I hope there's more
  • Outsider's view (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tprime ( 673835 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:45PM (#12454749)
    I don't play MMORPGS. Not because they don't look like fun, but because I don't have the time to commit. However, watching the genre is always interesting.

    To me, it seems like COH has been much quieter about its game than EQ2, WoW or SWG. While not drawing much attention to itself, it has done a good job of giving most of the people who play it what they are looking for. EQ2 has the criticism that it is still just a huge grindfest. If it wasn't for WoWs stability issues, it would have probably built up enough steam to send EverQuest2 into the night. As far as SWG goes, just do a search on here for articles. It seems like LucasArts and SOE can't go a month without finding a way to piss off a userbase that will do anything to play StarWars.

    COH sounds like they are just trying to make the game fun without being overly complex. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is to City of Villains is when it comes out. It would create a totally different model where actual characters create work for the Heroes.

    Regardless of whether or not I ever play it, they are still fun to follow.
    • Re:Outsider's view (Score:4, Informative)

      by snuf23 ( 182335 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @03:54PM (#12455892)
      City of Heroes was the first MMO I ever played. I don't have a huge amount of time to invest in gaming, so a more casual MMO was a good start. It took me a total of 10 months to hit level cap, which probably sounds ridiculous to some people. I just took my time, played a few different characters and generally enjoyed myself.
      I really have to commend CoH for making a relatively bug free MMO. Sure there have been bugs, but nothing game killing and for the most part not highly irritating. In contrast World of Warcraft which I am now playing is still extremely buggy more than 6 months after launch. I've had my character in WoW stuck logged in to the game after a crash for an entire day.
      The one thing about CoH is that it really is a fairly simple game. The game revolves around combat, and most of the depth comes from combat tactics. With so many power sets to choose from, there's a lot of flexibility in developing your characters. Outside of combat, there really isn't anything to do except maybe play with changing up your costume.
      This is both good and bad. On the one hand CoH is free from a lot of the standard MMO bullshit (crafting, seeking out mad loot, running out of money), on the other hand it doesn't offer any additional gameplay options outside of combat. I can't really say that having to spend time working your day job as your secret identity would help the game much.
      I'd really love to see super bases or something that would give incentive for super groups to be more than just a convenient chat channel. More large scale raids like the end game Hamidon run would be cool too.
      Oh yeah and we have alternate dimensions - but where is the secret Moon base? :D
    • The only people who say that EQ2 is a major grindfest are thoses that have never played the game, those that require PvP and since EQ2 will not have it for a few more month do everything to bad mouth it or thoses that require that they be at max level in 2-3 months.
  • But you can thank World of Warcraft for the PvP coliseum.

    I think it's absolutely great that the MMORPG market appears to be thriving - each attempting to out-do the other. It can only benefit the consumer.
    • Re:Not flamebait... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don' tthink you can thank WoW. It's something that's been on the drawing board for a while, hell CoV was on the drawing board form the start. I know the arena isn't CoV, but the concept was there. If anything we can perhaps thank WoW for helping them to move up their schedule a bit.
      • "WoW for helping them to move up their schedule a bit"

        Erm, that's kinda what I meant. Do you think Cryptic would have bothered with a coliseum before CoV if WoW hadn't captured such a large portion of the market and given PvP out of the box? Sincerely doubt it.

    • There have been a pvp arena in Anarchy Online for quite a few years, and it probably wasn't the first.
      • AO isn't relevant in the marketplace anymore.

        If WoW hadn't pushed Cryptic (and Sony, for that matter, with EQ2) to do more, faster, you would never have seen a coliseum before CoV. That's my contention.

        Regardless, point is that I'm glad to see several MMORPG's thriving and giving each other healthy competition. The EQ/Sony dominance was particularly unhealthy for its own playerbase, as most had nowhere to turn (DAOC notwithstanding).
  • I really don't care for MMORPG's. I wish they would have come out with this extremely cool concept of a game in a self-contained version. I have had the experience of sports games played online with other gamers and it just sucks. Constantly running into people who cheat gets old. I prefer the old fashioned Me vs CPU games with the option of online game play, not the requirement of it.

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