Archive for City of Heroes

A Belated Farewell to City of Heroes

Posted in City of Heroes, Games with tags , on May 29, 2013 by pieman70

A Belated Farewell to City of Heroes.

It was near the end of last year City of Heroes closed its doors.  So I’d like to take a bit of time to look at the game which held my attention for around 6 years.  For those who didn’t know, City of Heroes was a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Game, or MMORPG based around Super-Heroes.  Initially the game only supported Heroes but eventually expanded to include Villains.  Create a character and go off to fight/commit crime.

Off the bat I will say that Villainy wasn’t all that great, however it did inadvertently give a very good reason why the myriad of baddies never sweep over the heroes, quite frankly a good chunk of your missions are in-fighting with other villainous factions.  Saying that while more raids on Paragon city would have been nice in general the Villain faction was at least as well realised as the Hero.

One of the ways City of Heroes stayed fresh was by constantly changing, while City of Villains and the later Going Rogue were bought expansions (Admittedly both were eventually merged in to the main game) subscribers could still enjoy regular “Issues” which would add in game content, from the minor, such as Power Spectrum which allowed players to change the colouring on the effects of some powers, to others that opened up  whole new mission areas and game play systems like crafting.  This was usually enough to bring people who had let accounts lapse back into the game if nothing else to check out new content.

One of the biggest shakeups was when the game went free to play under the banner of City of Heroes: Freedom.  Arguably, one of the better executed free to play systems.  While most content was available on micropayment, and features like new costumes and power sets were now bought add-ons, a VIP member (One still paying a sub) got a monthly amount of in-game money which covered most new additions, plus free VIP exclusive costumes through veteran rewards.  VIPs also got automatic access to the Going Rogue expansion.

Going Rogue was very interesting, taking place in Pretoria, what should be the “Evil” mirror universe of City of Heroes.  While undoubtedly the main heroes in Pretoria are definitely more villainous, the choices you are given are much more morally ambiguous.  While your faction choices of Loyalist and Resistance sound pretty straight forward the game included a “Power or Responsibility” arc, basically you could be a Loyalist without being evil, instead you try to keep order and help people but from within the confines of a potentially corrupt system.  Similarly a Rebel may be more like a rabid terrorist than a noble freedom fighter, not caring too much about civilian casualties.  These shades were well realised and made for interesting game play.

Similarly the alignment system released with Going Rogue allowed your Hero to act more like a Vigilante or villain less villainously and all this made the basic grind-emup game play more textured.  There were also attempts to make missions more varied and interesting than merely kill all mooks, press a button etc.

For me, while City of Heroes was definitely a grind at times the setting and feel of the game usually made up for this, plus with my altitis there were always new characters to create and new parts of the game to explore and when all else failed, new costumes to create.  In fact arguably the strongest part of the game was costume creation.  A part that was further enhanced in freedom which took away the faction binding to classes.  While most classes were similar, there were subtle and often not so subtle differences, for example a Scrapper and Stalker do the same job in a group but are pretty different beasts.  To be able to create a heroic mastermind was a real bonus.

While Star Trek Online has now filled the CoH hole in my free time I do miss roaming the streets of Paragon City fighting the various forces of evil, it was my first MMO, and while even playing STO has highlighted the flaws in COH I still have a soft spot for the game play and plotting that kept my attention all this time.

City of Heroes – My Characters – The Scarlet Swordsmistress

Posted in City of Heroes, Computers, Games with tags , , on June 20, 2009 by pieman70

The scarlet Swordsmistres sis a Katana based scrapper with increased agility powers. My goal here was to try and make a Natural based character with mostly real world powers, so she dodges attacks using martial arts and uses skills with a sword in combat. I actually quite like the close quarters slugging of playing a scrapper, but do have to remember that the don’t have the resilience of a tank.

Character wise I opted for scantily clad woman in stripper boots, this was deliberate, but not for the more obvious reason. My origin for her was of a woman who was supremely confident in everything, her skills, appearance, and was loud and forthright with it. In fact often she gets to the point of being annoyingly sure of herself and could be deaf to other ideas. To this end she has a bright but revealing costume. (Working on her opinion that she has it and may as well flaunt it)

I also decided that an aspect of her personality would be a slight superiority complex, particularly to heroes with non-natural powers, her only concession to her powers being purely her own ability is a gravity belt that allows her to leap great distances for travel purposes. Otherwise the most high tech thing she’ll generally use is her trusty katana.

City of Heroes – My Characters – Tanko the Human Tank

Posted in City of Heroes with tags , , on June 12, 2009 by pieman70

Tanko the Human Tank

Tanko the human tank is a Controller. Of course I’m kidding, tanko is a tank, Based around Invincibility and Super Strength. I designed him, initially for a laugh, so much so that I still retain his comedy origin story. I do enjoy playing a tank. He is also the first character I created on Union.
Tanko was a mild mannered worker at a tank factory until one day the tank he was working on fell into a sizable vat of toxic waste which was then struck by lightening and probably bathed on cosmic rays. On emerging he had gained mysterious tank like powers, based around increased strength and invulnerability. In fact his skin is now plate metal, like tank armour.
With the factory he worked in now closed due to health and safety reasons he retreated to the Hollows where he lived as a recluse for some time, fighting trolls and saving the odd hero, over this time he built some extra armour pieces on to his skin and formed a costume. Eventually he was discovered by the superhuman Strike force freedom and returned to society in general. As well as general heroing he works part time as a bouncer and has even found a big and tall store to get clothes that fit.

I designed Tanko for fun, but always liked the idea of him as a Ben Grimm type character, huge and quite terrifying, but a big softy at heart (I was a hair away from giving him the little cat on his shoulder, it may still show up in a later alt. Other than that, he’s a slugger, noting clever, goes in with great pounding fists and tries to be the centre of the brawl. A fun guy to know.

City of Heroes – My Characters – Bob Stranger PI

Posted in City of Heroes, Computers with tags , , on June 6, 2009 by pieman70

I decided to shamelessly steal this idea from Reilly 2040 who has been doing something similar on his blog http://reilly2040.co.uk/blog/2009/05/12/coh-characters-the-reillys/

Basically, the idea is to list the origins of my Characters in City of Heroes. I have a Gnat-like attention span so I have many alts.

Bob Stranger – PI/Doctor Bob Stranger
Bob Stranger PI is a magic base controller with fire and weather control based powers. He is my main alt and sits at around level 25. Doctor Bob Stranger is Bob’s Nemesis, A necromancer and practitioner of the dark arts. More on him later.

The main concept behind Bob Stranger PI was to have a reluctant Hero, slowly drawn into the world of heroes by his PI day job. Dr Bob was to be a Nemesis, but not the usual evil twin idea, more someone riffing his look to discredit him.

Bob stranger is a Private Detective based in Paragon city, he solves mysteries, locates objects and people for a small fee plus expenses. Bob was not always superhuman. During a case where he was sent to track down a mysterious amulet for M.A.G.I. He located the item being held by a gang of Hellions. Pinned down by fire while trying to retrieve it the amulet mysteriously absorbed into Bob’s body. He discovered that he could control fire and the elements. On returning to M.A.G.I. they confirmed the amulet was embedded in his chest and was providing him with magical powers. Thing is, Bob Doesn’t believe in Magic. Nonetheless he started using his powers to assist him in the tight scrapes his PI work so often gets him into.

The Amulet itself was actually one of a pair. Many hundreds of years ago there were two mages, one good, one an evil necromancer. In a pitched battle the Evil mage had the upper hand, and in his desperation the good mage cast a spell that transformed both mages into gemstones. The gemstone bearing the Good Mage’s power is benign, and merely bestows power on those it finds Worthy for the duration of their lives. The Evil stone however, takes control of its host and uses its power to try and exact revenge on the owner of the good stone. In this case it took control of a mild mannered Doctor called Steve, who had discovered the stone in a curio shop. Taking control of Steve the stone looked for its rival.

Reading of Bob’s exploits Dr Steve soon became almost obsessed with Bob Stranger, even changing his name to match. He decided to discredit Bob in the eyes of Paragon City’s heroes. To this end he acquired a similar wardrobe and started wreaking havoc. Bob Stranger PI was now wanted, and had to adopt a makeshift costume to keep working without risking constant attacks from other heroes. Bob set about trying to clear his name. He caught up with Dr Bob Stranger and a battle ensued. Bob had the advantage, as the stone powering Dr Bob was still adapting to its new body. Bob Stranger PI won the day and Dr bob was sent to the Ziggaraut. However, after being sprung by Arachnos he quickly turned his back on them and is now working through the Rouge island’s underworld, building up his power to take on Bob Stranger PI again.

During the second Rikiti invasion Bob Stranger Defended his old neighborhood in Kings Row and teamed up with other heroes to thwart the Rikiti’s plans. Using his powers caused strange markings to appear on his skin, like mystic symbols, and as his power grew suddenly he was engulfed in a bright light, emerging in a mystical costume. He still prefers his usual suit and hat, but often uses his costume when working with other heroes.

In Game Advertising

Posted in City of Heroes, Games with tags , on September 15, 2008 by pieman70

City of Heroes has decided to start selling ad space in game, and I for one, don’t mind.

There is almost always uproar when this sort of thing happens, but I’m finding it hard to get riled, particularly if it keeps subscription costs down, and in this case, can be switched off. The picture here shows one of the best uses of it, a movie ad, outside an in-game cinema, some of the other boards look added but overall, ads seem to be on in-game billboards not plastered on the sides of buildings or flashed up on every loading screen.

There was initial controversy when Battlefield 2142 announced there would be in game advertising, although this was in part due to a myth that your browsing habits would be analysed and advertising targeted to you. To be honest Battlefields ads aren’t too bad either.

I really don’t know where the opposition comes from. Yes, I’ve seen games where buildings are more or less replaced by blocks of advertising, and that is poor, but this is just replacing in game fake billboards, for Vanguard or Crey, with a poster plugging a Vin Diesel film. And as always, if this keeps subscription costs down, I’m all for it.

Naturally, not every game can take ads, I somehow don’t think a bar in World Of Warcraft would look particularly good with a Babylon AD poster in it. But so far the whole thing seems sane and normal.

Now, Issue 13, Architect.

The mission designer sounds interesting, more on my part to see how they’ve managed to avoid making them XP farms. However the part that really appeals is the Day job, where you gain points depending on where you leave your character when you log off, so Logging off near a hospital means you’re doing hospital work and will give health benefits which is tantalisingly close to being able to engineer a secret identity. I like it.

Happy Birthday to Me

Posted in City of Heroes, Life, Me with tags , , on June 15, 2007 by pieman70

Yes, celebrations for it is National Pie Man appreciation day. I am told that in fact this day is now so sacred that not only is the UK Government planning a national holiday on that day (They say it’s the signing of the Magna Carta but we all know)

Also, and more importantly, City of Heroes have decreed a Double XP weekend. Now all I have to do is find time between drinking and partying to actually play some CoH.

Thought I’d ramble a bit about ageing. See I know people who often make great efforts to ignore their birthdays, as if shunning cards, presents and celebration will hold back the passing of another year. Now, letting off hugely deep personal information on the off chance that anyone apart from people I know actually reads this, I’m 28. Perhaps I don’t understand the feeling of death rolling every closer that is rumoured to come with 30, or perhaps I’m just that narcissistic that I really like a day where everyone is there for me, or perhaps I like presents. But I’ve rarely had a down birthday. 19th and 20th were at most a bit of a non event but then sitting between 18 and 21 do that, but otherwise I tend to use it as an opportunity to enjoy the fact that I’ve survived another year. It could be related also to the fact that I’m in not a bad place at the moment, I own a flat, have a beautiful, patient loving soon to be wife and a job that has its downs but still may actually be going somewhere.

Long Weekend

Posted in City of Heroes, Games, Movies, Neds, Weddings, Work with tags , , , , , on May 8, 2007 by pieman70

Hard to believe its already tuesday. Visited my wedding venu and started allcoating who we’re going to offer rooms to. Seems like we’re being nice, and we are, all these people we want to see in the morning after. At the same time for the most part we’re really saying “Hello, We’ve picked you from everyone to pay for a room at the Venue.” Also saw SPider-man 3 and my only gripe is I’d really like to see what Raimi coudl ahev done with no studio interfearence and a guarantee that McGuire and Dunst would be available for Spider-Man 4.On Sundya had a day to myself, and since there’s a free badge for any character who logs on during May, I made an effort to complete 1 mission with all of my alts on both servers. Nice to play a bit of CoV and to have outings with some lesser used alts like Sergent Jackson and Frozen Bolt.Had to call the police on our Neighbours again on sat. I think I do the woman living tehre a disservice as when she’s in with just her friends we don’t have noise troubles, they don’t pester Mr. Dog and make him bark and when she takes aformentioend dog on a walk she at least knows that due to inadequate trining he can’t be let off a leash, the bloke however is very lucky a situation wher ethe dog was harassing a small child didn’t escalate or he would have found himself, quite correctly with a dead dog and hopefully would never be allowed to own another animal or have children (Well come on, you can’t keep a dog under control how the hell can you cope with a human) and it is him and his friends who play the loud music.Will have to call the council again now.