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City of Heroes

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City of Heroes

cohtitle.jpgCity of Heroes was free over the weekend. “City of Heroes® brings the world of comic books alive in a massively multiplayer 3D online universe.” CoH is not associated with any specific comic publisher, so while you can design and play a character, hero or villain, from almost infinite possibilities, you cannot make a character with a Marvel or DC costume or name. Image either. You get the idea. There was talk of a Marvel MMO and a DC one is still in development for 2011 when last I looked.

I had played CoH in 2004 and was interested in seeing how it had changed. The mechanics should be familiar to anyone who plays MMORPGs. There are hit points and endurance bars (for how many abilities you can use, successively) plus your powers, inspirations and enhancements (which improve powers). The maps and areas were familiar and nothing seemed to have radically changed, except: They were just introducing the ability to play a villain when I quit playing. There is something satisfying about being able to be the bad guy (or girl … gal … female, whatever the distaff analogue is).

[end_news_blurb]

I went from first to eighth level. My son played it more and got a character to eleventh. Like all video games, especially games where you earn experience or new abilities, I find the game addictive. Cracked magazine has an article on why I fall prey to the these types of games (and, presumably, people other than myself.)

coh-1.jpgThe game is great fun to play in a group. I used to have four or five people I played with all the time. A league of superheroes battling evil, joking and uttering heroic battle cries. The single experience I found more repetitive. There's the grind everyone is used to to earn xp, but the missions also seem to run in a handful of categories.

As I have and will mentioned in other blog entries, there is something infinitely more satisfying about having a human design and run the missions, responding to the unexpected and taking missions in new direction, than there is about competing against an AI. The old Marvel Superheroes game and Champions were great fun, with Champions having an amazingly involved and expansive character creation process. Champions has an MMORPG which I have not played; I will get to it in a future review.

One thing I noticed: there were not as many people playing as there were in the past. It used to be packed around trainers and requests for teaming were constantly broadcasting. It seemed lonely on the streets, and this was on a Friday and Saturday. There are lots of possible reasons but it felt like there were fewer players. Did Champions siphon some people or has time eroded the player base?

Wow announced it's 12 millionth player. I had a couple of accounts but I never play anymore. I wonder how many of the 12 million are still active.

Dungeons and Dragons Online

dungeons_and_dragons_online.jpgThe game I currently play is Dungeons and Dragons Online, DDO. My son and I both have character, within 2 levels of one another, and we play for an hour or two a couple of times a week. Playing it has tapered quite a bit after hitting 17th level as the grind is just not that enjoyable anymore and the constantly added new missions all feel … empty.

The game uses 3.5 edition rules and after reading through the players handbooks 1 and 2 I wish it would switch to the 4th edition rules. The game is very restricted in terms of character class and customization. I have wanted to play a Warlock since seeing the class added, enough so that I have looked recently at joining a group that plays on Wednesdays at a local game store.

A word or two: CoH and DDO are fun. Really. There is the initial excitement of exploration, of discovering and fighting new enemies, of going up levels and becoming more powerful. My complaints all stem from having played them for thousands of hours and getting to a point where there is not much excitement, for me, to be found. Both games add new content in major updates frequently. DDO is releasing update 7, for instance, introducing half-orcs, half-elves and half-bloods as PC races. CoH has provided the free weekend to announce the expansion Going Rogue. The problem, if there is one, is that I mostly play solo, or with my son, so there is not a communal experience, which means I miss out on part of the MMO moniker.

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Actually Wow has 11,999,998 because I know my wife and I haven't played in several years. wink

As for CoH. I did sign in for a few minutes during the free weekend and I too noticed what you did. The place seemed like a ghost town compared to the past. Now, that could be just as simple as the fact that everyone was out playing the new Praetorian content and there weren't many people playing around in the old areas, but from the little I saw I wasn't impressed enough to start spending my money again. That's not to say that I wouldn't recommend the game to others. I still believe it is one of the best looking games out there, and if you do join and run with a group of others it is a ton of fun. I've just put too many hours into leveling up characters played the content to death, but even so if a group from this site ever wanted to get together to play, I'd do it in a heartbeat just for the camaraderie of it.

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I played my main (US Titan) up to level 30, and my main villain (A.I.) up to level 20, and just lost interest. I had every intention of getting online this weekend and playing, but when all was said and done, I found other stuff I wanted to do more. I don't know if it was just the game, or if I'm growing out of video games (I have probably thirty 360 games that I keep meaning to play, but I doubt I've put 10 total hours into them. There are a couple I've never even fired up...::shrug::)

I am moderately interested in DC Universe, but Champions was a yawn for me, though I loved the RPG.

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