Monday, January 31, 2011

CoH: Hanging up the tights?

Can't believe it's been a month already, so much for MMO-playing goals. Had a busy month and didn't get to play CoH as much as I set out in the beginning, so much for getting a few characters to level 20. In the end got three characters to level 10-12, and that was only taking advantage of a big play session yesterday with double XP. Did get a little deeper understanding than my first impressions, but only just and kinda undecided if I'll be making a return trip,

One of the biggest problems I had initially was character builds, but since then it's only gotten better. I made a dominator with Earth/Fire powersets, going on recommendations on the archetype forum and had a lot of fun with that, the combination of control primary and damage secondary was a nice playstyle and those two powersets were fun. The brute I'd made without much imput was actually fun as well, though it's hard to go wrong with a high hp berserker. The defender I'd made first was actually starting to be fun when I got him a few more powers, though was having really bad endurance issues. I was just thinking of improving that by boosting stamina and reducing endurance costs of the toggle skills, by making some crafted level 15 enhancements and slotting at least two endurance reduction per toggle power. Didn't get time to test that out, but the fact that enhancements can improve a build like so is a nice feature.

Other than that, I really like the new 'Going Rogue' content and the choice between factions. Though a few of the storylines were a little hard to follow especially returning midway through an arc and trying to remember who Paulo was and why you had to 'kidnap' his father. I did read all the text and dialogue, but still ended up stumped in places, things just not making sense and some occurances were just unexpected, 'but didn't he just say...'. Most of the time it was fine, guess other games don't bother with complex scenarios and like to spell things out, so spoiled in a way. Anyways it was enough to keep me engaged even if it was just trying hard to remember who everyone and the organisations were, and if they were good or bad, or undercover or other.

A few things I didn't realise at first was how you can go undercover and do the opposing factions missions, seems it is as easy as just finding the contacts and accepting their missions, which is easier to do when you've played both sides and been shown where the contacts are located. The other thing that is really nice is that the storyline missions scale to your level when you accept them, I'm not sure how extensive this is but it is giving more options, without danger of outleveling content and being able to experience it all on one character.

So am I going back, not at the moment I think, even though I left plenty undone and mid-action, might give Champions Online a spin first, but done something completely different. On the whole I enjoyed the month playing at superheroes, even though I'm not subscribing for another month I'll be returning some other time to finish the 'Going Rogue' areas. Just in case I took pictures of my heroes, the Earth/Fire dominator is below, which I think is a really cool appropiately themed costume, though maybe a little unoriginal.

Monday, January 10, 2011

CoH: First Impressions

Having recently picked up a complete edition of City of Heroes: Going Rogue in a Steam sale, spent the last week getting to grips with it. It has not being an easy game to begin, but that's probably why I've stuck with it.

First off, character creation is vast and overwhelming and spent a good portion of playtime at the creation screens. A lot more time was spent outside of game on the forums trying to get a feel for what archetypes would be a good fit for me, and how to build them without ending up with a gimp character. The freedom is welcome but with very little in-game guidance it felt a bit daunting. I suppose the counter argument would be just going with the flow and experiencing the game with one character to make better informed choices with a subsequent character. Surprisingly I think Cryptic has the best solution for this when Champions Online goes free to play, to give non-subscribers a pre-set character that would be decent (I hope) for a particularly role and allow subscribers the full gamut of character creation. It's effectively a step by step tutorial on how to build a character for new players just trying out the game, then when they have the experience to fully understand the value of a more free-form character creation then they can subscribe.

For now my solution is to roll a selection of characters to level 20 and see how I feel about them then, it also fits in with my goal of experiencing the hero/villain/praetorian areas. Have picked a brute, defender, dominator and blaster, might add in scrapper and corrupter later if I have time or subscribe for another month, we'll see. But worryingly I already built a defender that was surprisingly squishy, will have to get a few more defensive powers on him to offset that, then again maybe a corrupter who has an inverse role (more damage than buffing) to defender might be a better fit.

I think the biggest difficulty initially was with questing, quest givers? Started in the villain area, worked through first contact (quest-giver), he introduced me to the next contact, when I was done with him I was at a bit of a loss. Maybe I missed something but it took a while to find the area to go next, found another slightly higher area first via the flying transports but what I needed to have done was to get on a boat to the next island. Then when I got there it was a while before I figured out the connection between the broker and the newspaper, I should pay more attention. The hero area I got dropped in after the tutorial had even less pointers, I had to work out the symbol for a contact to know where to go. On the other hand the newer praetorian area is much improved.

Despite these initial hiccups, I think I'm warming to this style of questing, where some contacts need to be found or you need to complete achievements before they will talk to you, oh and the mobile phone to call contacts and hand in quests is a nice idea.

The thing I've most liked about what I've played so far is the new area and the choices that must be made, either to favour the Resistance of the Loyalist faction, it is very nicely done and is definitely tempting to see both sides of the story. Already there has been a very tough decision, whether to take part in a summary execution or to stop it, took a moment of thought to go through with it and remain on the Loyalist side. And seeing as GW2 comes from the same stable I'm expecting similar moral choices, hopefully as good as this one, and better than the hospital versus orphanage choice that seems a bit simple in comparison.