Player made dungeons in Diablo 3

[youtube id=”4ygZnbFEdBg” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Player made dungeons in Diablo 3

One of the problems I had with City of heroes back in the day was the lack of tile sets for instance zones. What this means is how the layout and design of a map looks. In COH, you often had the same four types of maps, sewer, office building, warehouse and the laboratory.

diablo 3 rifts

Now I get it, we are in a modern city, how many unique places can there be? My answer is, have you been around a modern city? Why were we not fighting in grocery stores, sport stadiums, malls, jails? As time went on a few more were added, but nothing near what it should have been.

[youtube id=”PSLuoRXkf2w” width=”633″ height=”356″]

In Diablo you have adventures, you can do bounties or rifts and the levels rotate so one moment you are in Hell and when you zone to level 2 you might be in a cave or one of the open zones. In addition, the maps themselves can rotate so it might be the same storage room, but the layout is different enough that it almost feels new.

While this is a nice touch I still feel as if more could have been done. Consider, in previous games not only could you play via LAN, but you could make your own maps. In the original StarCraft people would make some fantastic maps and they were fun to play.

city of heroes

Now there is a bad way to implement maps and sadly City of Heroes did so at first. People would make maps specifically to herd enemies and level up quickly. Little time or design was put in and the result was a flood of bad maps.

[youtube id=”JfVXp-9T__A” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Dungeons and Dragons online did player map maps well, where they are not only approved by the developers but by key players and bad maps don’t make the cut.

dungeons and dragons online, neverwinter. foundry

Let’s face facts, we are not going to get fast expansions and content, but another fact is we as gamers eat through content. I believe the fix is to allow players to design maps, leave monster and loot placement up to the developers. It is not a perfect system, but I believe it could bring more uniqueness to the maps and improve gameplay overall.

City of Heroes: Issue 22

I still have a special place in my heart for City of Heroes. Now free to play, it is good they continue to release new content and updates for the fanbase. A lot of big MMO’s could learn from this. Anywho, on with the news:

City-Of-Heroes

Today, NCsoft and Paragon Studios have announced that the highly anticipated City of Heroes Issue 22: Death Incarnate has launched!

As the first major content update since the launch City of Heroes Freedom, Issue 22 begins after the death of the Statesman, Paragon City’s prime defender and protector. In these times of strife, the search is on for the next hero of Paragon City and there’s no telling where or how this hero will emerge.

To mark this shift in Paragon City, we’ve unveiled what is possibly the most powerful and exciting trailer in City of Heroes’ history. The trailer for Issue 22: Death Incarnate captures the tension of the times in City of Heroes, and calls out the dire need for one hero to stand above all others.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8FEan6NFrk[/youtube]

There is no better time to join the people of Paragon City and try your hand at becoming the new champion of good!

Issue 22: Death Incarnate unveils a bevy of new content on the denizens of City of Heroes. Below is a quick breakdown of the key features, items and events taking place in this monumental update.

  • Dark Astoria Incarnate Zone: Dark Astoria becomes a Co-op Incarnate Zone in Death Incarnate, allowing level +50 players to participate in the “danse macabre” co-op style gameplay as they traverse the dark, twisted, undead nightmare that has become Dark Astoria.
  • Darkness Power Set: A horrifying new Power Set for Controllers and Dominators, Darkness Control allows players to command shadows and spectral minions to terrorize their foes.
  • Dilemma Diabolique Incarnate Trial: Heroes and Villains must band together against the evil sorceress Diabolique as she wrests the power from the banished god Mot. If she succeeds in her plans, all of creation will be in jeopardy as she moves to take her “rightful” role as the master of all creation.
  • More content for all levels: Fight off the Shivans as they attack Bloody Bay by grouping up in in the new PvE Trial Drowning in Blood. Take your Hero or Villain through new Mission Arcs in Steel Canyon and Cap au Diable. Save Talos Island and Sharkhead Isle from Adamastor’s rage as he cuts a wave of destruction across the islands in the new Adamastor Zone Event.

City of Heroes Issue 22: Death Incarnate comes to terms with the death of a hero by embracing the darkness itself with powers, costumes and quality of life upgrades across the board. To learn more about these deadly new upgrades, visit http://www.cityofheroes.com for a complete list of Death Incarnate content.

Are we what is wrong with MMO’s?

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. ~J.A. Laraque

Are we what is wrong with MMO’s?

When you get above age 30 a lot is changing and a lot of has to do with what you believe you should be doing and the direction you should be going. For many gamers there comes a time where they decide if gaming in part of their lifestyle or something they did in their youth and now it becomes something they need to leave behind. For those who continue gaming it will always be different, not only because we are older with different responsibilities, but because many who we used to game with will have moved on.

mmo cafe

When talking about MMO’s many people talk about Everquest and the early days of World of Warcraft the way a man might talk about his college days. You remember a time when you were free and could do what you want and it was celebrated as well as expected. Now, you have to “grow up” and “be an adult” and the fun times as you knew them are over. This is not to mean that there will not be fun times ahead, but that it will never be like it was before and depending on the person this may make them feel that anything that comes next just could never live up to the old and really for the most part, it cannot.

Everquest Friends

So when you talk about that 48-hour camp in the Efreeti room was it that the time spent killing the same placeholder over and over was so much fun or that it was the time in your life that it happened more fun than now. With many of the new MMO’s being released the idea is the teenager with tons of time on his hand in the past now has work, marriage, kids and so on to deal with and cannot spend time playing 12 hours a day. Of course, there is also the people used to having everything handed to them to consider as well.

If you associate, your fun days with a MMO and now those fun days are over then it will be almost impossible to get that happy feeling back no matter what a game does. You could make an exact copy of a game, but now its 10 years later and maybe that awesome boyfriend lost his job and does not do what he used to or your sexy girlfriend is pregnant and angry. So you load up an MMO and hope to have those fun filled nights you had fighting twin emperors and you just cannot find it and you blame the game.

World of Warcraft Guild

I have always said it is the people who make the game so if you played with great friends in EQ then most likely many of those friends have moved on. Now, you have to try and make new friends or gather the few you have left in a new game, but you cannot bring that magic back. This does not remove responsibility from the game makers. Many MMO’s are just lazy and they rather copy and play it safe than innovate. However, many of the arguments comparing the old to the new are the same we do with movies or television shows. The glasses are rosy and the memories seem so much better than the present or the future.

Perhaps this is the reason MMO’s can be played alone more now than in the past. The EQ and even vanilla WOW generation is much older. Can most of you who raided in EQ find 40 good people to raid and play with day after day, week after week. Can you find 25 or even 15 and if so is it just as fun being with them in the game regardless of the game?

Wow guild

Many who find games like Star Wars, The Old Republic fun are not just fanboi’s. I have found people who like to solo like the game. Many who did not have big guilds in EQ or Wow like the game and those who have retained a good core of gamer friends like it because they get together and enjoy each other’s company in the game first and the actual game second.

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. In between game time, you would hang out, talk with your friends and interact with the gaming community. Now, you have many more responsibilities and less time.

thunderboss

So for many when a new MMO is announced, especially if you have not played an MMO in a while and have friends interested in giving it a try. You end up putting more than hopes of a good game on the product. People hope it will rekindle that fire, bring friends back together, improve your life and games by themselves cannot do that. There are documented reports that leaving an MMO can end relationships, friendships and even marriages so it is understandable that people think an MMO might create what it can also destroy.

We still have to make sure MMO makers do a good job, and create and maintain the game they promised. However, we should also realize you cannot relive Woodstock, and for many games our “Woodstock” was EQ or WOW.

MMO Rewrite

In the end we must support what we thing is salvageable not what is perfect out the gate, because nothing is. Big MMO’s are like network television, they release a good show but their expectations are so high they cancel it if it does not live up to their unattainable unrealistic goals. We need a cable TV solution where a show can grow and become a hit with true fans who appreciate it. ~J.A. Laraque

MMO Rewrite

I think it might be time to rethink the MMO model. Just as many people get older and make adjustments to their lifestyle the same has to be done with MMO’s and it’s not just graphics or even just game mechanics. The change has to come based on how the community has grown and changed and adjusted to these types of games.

mmo boxes

Let’s look at Everquest, a game many people look back on with rose colored glasses. Most people never did more than a few quests in vanilla EQ. You would run out and start killing rats, bats and beetles, but because it was new and different it was fun, and many accepted it for what it was.

People claimed there was a better community in the past and it was true because it was so hard to level and groups meant everything so you were forced to play nice where today you can dump and find groups so fast many will not tolerate even one death much less wipe after wipe like was the norm in Everquest.

Everquest

People look at Star Wars the Old Republic and complain because you can solo to 50 and the companion system makes the game more like a single player game. However, even in early World of Warcraft most people could solo to 50 and sure there were zones that needed a group, but it was not a requirement and a good number of people were denied groups for level 45-50 zones due to their class or other factors.

Turning back to Everquest, people forget that grouping was more about locking down a spawn than the fact that you really loved to group. In Lower Guk your group would camp one room and if it had a drop like the Flowing Black Sash there would be a rotation. You would be in the same group for hours because if you left good luck getting back in.

Everquest 2

So where did the change start? First, it began when people realized some classes could kite in EQ like Druids or Wizard. In games like City of Heroes, we saw people really begin to only group to finish their mission and then they would quit. When World of Warcraft went from 40-man to 25-man raids and the birth of the clicks occurred grouping took another hit because people were forced to do pugs and then the idea of pubs became so repugnant that if anything went wrong people would leave in a second.

In Everquest 2’s early days, groups would share Exp debt when someone died, so if you made a mistake the whole group might disband. All this, along with the increasing drama on message board forums, and more and more people joining the world of MMO has led to its decay.

City of Heroes

Originally a “server first” meant something, but soon it became a job with people working in teams to reach max level first. The idea of eating through content was considered a virtue as everyone wanted to be first and honestly, many learned back in the days of EQ that it was the first guilds to encounter new content that were the ones to find bugs and exploits and reap gains from them before they were removed, fixed or nerfed.

Then the great expansion came and MMO’s started popping up overnight and just like 3D movies we realized many should not have been made. We were already paying $15 for one MMO, who in their right mind would pay two or three of them. Free to play was enviable, but it also had flaws due to things like having the richest person gain an advantage or companies charging for the smallest things just to nickel and dime you to death.

Players saw games close for the first time and companies abandon their player base by offering little or no new content or support. The insert game here killer became a running joke and it was expected that any game to come out was doomed to fail because either it was not enough like game X or too much like it.

World of Warcraft

Finally, we all got older. The teenager is now in college, the young man now has a wife and kids and the basement dweller has a full time job. Want to know another effect of having a casual friendly game, when they are done with it they are less likely to move on to another and more likely to just stop gaming altogether.

There has been a lot of heat on Star Wars and they deserve a lot of it, but we as gamers need to realize that MMO’s need a rewrite. There will never be an Everquest or Dark Age of Camelot or World of Warcraft experience again. Even those who were the ten-year-old gamers will not experience games the way we did because the times are different and because of this MMO’s need to adjust just as our expectations of them should.

My prediction, games will get smaller not larger. Remember the, it’s time to slay the dragon commercial for EQ? Sure, it was made fun of, but there was something important there. It was about 5 or 6 friends coming together in a game. I believe that is our future. The large raids and guilds of 200 plus members are over. MMO’s will become games where you can solo and then call a few friends to do larger content.

star-wars-the-old-republic

Also, MMO’s have to drop the monthly fee. Remember EQ 2 and their 5-dollar content updates? It was a complete joke at the time, but I see that as the future. No monthly fee, weekly bug fixes, maintenance and patches, but every few months you buy a chapter consisting of new quests and zones for a small fee with one big paid expansion per year.

This allows gamers to switch between MMO’s , but still provides enough revenue to keep games going. If companies keep looking to have 20 million subscribers, they will continue to fall short. We have all grown and changed and its time MMO’s followed suit.

In the end we must support what we thing is salvageable not what is perfect out the gate, because nothing is. Big MMO’s are like network television, they release a good show but their expectations are so high they cancel it if it does not live up to their unattainable unrealistic goals. We need a cable TV solution where a show can grow and become a hit with true fans who appreciate it.

Otherwise, we will just jump from bandwagon to bandwagon waiting for the would-be giant to tumble and laugh as it falls right on top of us.

Subscription MMO’s soon to be a thing of the past?

DDO Free-to-play

Is the writing on the wall that paying monthly for MMO’s is soon to be a thing of the past? When some of us started playing text based adventures the idea of paying by the minute for internet service was acceptable, but soon unlimited plans became the way of the land and everyone had to jump on board. Fast forward to the early days of Everquest, when the decision was made to raise the price of their monthly subscription. The player base revolted saying EQ would be done for if this move was made, but as how addiction works, we continued playing.

Perhaps that was a turning point, when these companies knew they could push their customers just far enough if their game was good/addictive enough to keep people from quitting. We learned with games such as Asheron’s Call 2, that if a game sucks people will run away, but we also learned that if a game is good enough one could make money without being number one.

When World of Warcraft exploded the common wisdom was that no other company would dethrone Blizzard anytime soon, but they could offer an alternative, just enough to make a profit. We saw a boom of new MMO’s show up with many I am sure you have never heard of. However, many of these MMO’s were turning a profit, enough to keep going and the industry thought things would level off.

guild-wars

When Guild Wars dumped the idea of monthly subscriptions, many people laughed at the idea. Even after the early failure of Everquest 2, most MMO’s were doing fine even in the large shadow cast by World of Warcraft. Not everyone was laughing because not only was Guild Wars a good game, but there was not a model that could be used that had already been used with many Asian MMO’s.

When we first saw a MMO go free-to-play it was thought that it meant a game was failing and in many cases that was true. Games like Age of Conan saw a mass exodus, but it was still salvageable so going free-to-play made sense. The same happened with Lord of the Rings, less players, but worth keeping up.

When Sony Online Entertainment launched the Everquest 2 free-to-play it became more common place to offer a subscription service alongside a free-to-play where you could sell additional perks and services. Not only did that extra revenue work for the free-to-play side, but for the subscription side as well.

Now seeing MMO’s go free-to-play alongside a subscription service is a normal occurrence. If the game is older, like City of Heroes it may bring in new blood. If the game is newer, like DC Universe Online it may give a dying game some new life. In SOE’s case if nothing else, they can convince their subscribers to go All Access to help pad their subscription numbers.

aoc_free-to-play

Even the MMO superpower World of Warcraft has seen its numbers drop sharply and not just people who stop logging in but keep their account active. Blizzard has been losing subscribers by the boatload and they are not just waiting for the next expansion, they want a new game. On the horizon, we have Old Republic. While it looks as if this game will be a hit so did DCUO.

There are many gamers from the early EQ days that consider themselves retired from MMO’s for a variety of reasons. Some of the newer gamers are burned out and they experienced an over saturation of MMO’s some good, some not so good, but the key was there were too many to subscribe to. Now many people are getting used to the free-to-play model and with W.O.W. perhaps beginning its slide down, the field may open up. Not to one dominate MMO, but a widening choice were you don’t have to slap down $50 plus $14.99 just to see if it makes it past the first month or not.

Studies show that if you charge ten bucks for a 15-episode television show, it may or may not sell well, but if you offer each episode for 99 cents, you will end up making more money in the long run. If you play a game for free and a one-time fee of five bucks gets you that new mount you will feel more inclined to buy it. American’s have run into debt because we don’t realize a three dollar cup of coffee three times a week is four hundred and sixty-eight dollars a year.

everquest 2 free to play

Only time will tell how free-to-play will change the MMO landscape. For those of us who can enjoy a game and walk away it may become a great opportunity to experience many new games. For those that have to have it all, it may start up a new debate about MMO addiction and how people go broke by purchasing a two-dollar sword here and a ten-dollar name change there. Think it cannot happen, look for the headlines on Second Life where people pay two hundred bucks a month for a virtual condo. Kind of makes you wonder why they didn’t think of this sooner.

 

City of Heroes Freedom

city_of_heroes_freedom

After several years and a ton of expansions, the first superhero MMO is set to offer a free to play version of its game. Recently publisher NCSoft and developer Paragon Studios laid out their plan to offer a free-to-play version of their successful MMO.

For veterans of the game you can keep your subscription and become a VIP member, which will grant you additional features, services and rewards. People who are new to COH will also be able to choose between the free-to-play game and the subscription service.

Here is a comparison chart breaking down the differences.

The move to free-to-play hopes to bring in new heroes to Paragon City. As expected with more MMO’s being created almost every month it seems and the addition of two other superhero MMO’s since COH’s launch it is understandable that this move was made. In addition, many MMO’s have decided to go this route and many more (cough – DC Universe Online – cough) look to be headed that way.

Free-to-play for City of Heroes is set to launch this fall.

 

Cryptic Studio Has Moved On But Have Their Games?: Star Trek Edition


For those of you eagerly waiting for this review after the sudden ending of the previous portion of this two-part article, I apologize. I wasn’t having problems with time or just pure laziness. No, I had problems with how to word my feelings towards Star Trek Online and how best to give an honest review without completely belittling the game. I know, I know. You’re used to that kind of response from me but I decided to be a bit more delicate with how I explain the faults and pluses of STO.

So here goes…

It is laughable to think that Cryptic Studios thinks of STO as an MMORPG. While all the big boys in the room strut their stuff with content, gameplay, character growth, and easily defined instructions, Star Trek Online stumbles and fumbles around the room like a drunk teenage girl at a frat party. At the end of the night, the only ones with a grin on their faces are the real MMOs while STO is dabbing off semen from its face with wet naps.


Wow… I feel uncomfortable reading this. I’m going to just-

What could possess me to attack Star Trek Online in such an unrelenting manner? Is it because I could barely give the game a shot beyond level 4? Yes, it is! I got to level 11 in FF XIV and that game is the equivalent of dining on Indian food , beautiful to look at but horrible to digest. I have never been unable to hit at least level 10 in an MMORPG but Star Trek Online managed to prove me wrong.

That sounds horrible, Mr. Khan! Why was it so god awful?

That’s an easy question to answer, Little Timmy. The game’s initial tutorial manages to be not only fast paced but slow at the same time. There’s a ton of jargon thrown around that doesn’t make sense to begin with and there isn’t much of an explanation as to what any of it means. All I got from the tutorial was that I could shoot lasers and photon torpedoes when I’m in my ship and when I’m on a ground mission I can shoot laser beams and “backstab” the enemy when I attack from their blindside. There really isn’t a clear definition in the beginning what role your class plays or what kind of ships you are able to command. I was certain I was limited to Science Ships since I chose the Scientist profession but I later found out from a friend that I could pilot any ship. Oh, that’s fucking fantastic to know.


For those of you who enjoy looking at your character and face stomping the enemy while adoring how badass you made your Vulcan or Custom Alien, sorry to disappoint but the game is lacking in ground missions and you are spending most of your time viewing the ass tail of your ship. How engrossing! Yes, you can customize your ship but the differences aren’t that vast aside from size. The ship customization is as in-depth as the shape variations presented in a Lego Kit. Everything is a block except some are half a blocks! Whoop-dee-fucking-doo!

From a game with such an absorbing avatar customization, it’s a shame that you spend your time running slow naval circles around enemy space bandits. As far as I could grasp the tactic was to go half speed and adjust your acceleration and deceleration to complete this amazingly slow circle strafe around your enemy to knock out their shields and ass fuck them with photon torpedoes. Combat got repetitive quickly.

The game’s missions were probably the most bland I’ve ever seen in an MMO post 2006. “What was that, Ensign? There’s no one in the quadrant? I guess everything is… Oh my god! Space Bandits out of fucking nowhere!” That was as in depth as the missions got at level 4. They didn’t want to showcase more early on maybe because there wasn’t anything left to show.

The ground missions were probably the worst part about leveling. I should be excited to see my captain running about shooting bitches in the face and parachuting off planet sized drills like in the movie, right? Too bad! I was limited to picking up resources on a planet and randomly getting jumped by “Unknown villain #3” and then transporting back to the ship. Oh wait, I forgot. There were more options. I was able to go to a mining site to speak with a couple of diggers to see how they felt about their jobs and report back to their manager. Yup! They called in the space fleets special forces to settle a dispute about a broken holodeck in the break room.

"Come on, Team! Lets pick up some rocks!"

Now, I understand I have been harsh on the game and there is a reason for that. If STO were a free to play MMORPG, I would dress it with every accolade known in the universe. A free to play space RPG? Sign me up! Let me have fleeting moments of fun!

Unfortunately, the game isn’t F2P. It’s Pay to Play and it’s $15 a fucking month. This game has a huge pair of balls to even consider charging people. Cryptic was fortunate enough that people even purchased fucking the game. It has the depth of a game developed for a smart phone.

STO lacks the environment, quests, gameplay, and depth of games like World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, and even City of Heroes. Quite a bold statement coming from a level 4 Lieutenant, right? That’s why I’m not saying for people to keep away from this game. Play it if you like, it’s your money. I personally don’t see the justification of this game being $15 a month. You’d probably find more fun in Runescape for a cheaper price.

Perfect Worlds purchased this title when they acquired Cryptic Studios. What potential they see in this hunk of shit I will never know. The game is an MMO-abomination and is better served on a free to play model or simply a box sale model like Guild Wars. Then and maybe then it would be worth the time it takes to patch and login. Until that unlikely day comes about, STO will remain uninstalled and far, far away from my computer.

Things you do in MMOs you wouldn’t do otherwise

mmorpg demotivational poster
mmorpg demotivational poster

Things you do in MMOs you wouldn’t do otherwise

We are all gamers here and we know there are a lot of things gamers do in their lives that “normal” or non-gamers don’t or wouldn’t do like camping outside of a Gamestop or EB Games for Halo. However, when you toss in the MMO world there are some things that even your most sunless gamer wouldn’t do.

Leave Ventrilo on all night

I may be wrong and maybe one of you Count strike or FPS ninja’s will correct me, but leaving Ventrilo on all night listening to people talk about any old thing seems so MMO. I admit I have done this while writing or working on something. It is worse when you forgot to turn Ventrilo off an in the middle of the night some dickbag screams into the channel. One time I heard a guy talking with his girlfriend for hours about how he can split his time between, work, school, sex and World of Warcraft. I found it funny he didn’t say “girlfriend” or “relationship” instead he said sex.

How many of you have listened in on a raid that you weren’t on? I have to tell you I doubt you listen in to a FPS Vent channel when not playing, that is totally MMO.

Sit staring at the ground in a game for 12+ hours

This goes back to the days of Everquest when you would have to find some item or another on the ground and since it was a random spawn and anyone could ninja it from you. There was no choice but to sit there staring at the ground with your finger on the mouse button as if you were playing family feud. The worst was when you thought your item spawned and it turned out to be some graphic glitch or when you had to go to the bathroom fearing it would spawn while you were gone.

Turn down a woman

No, I don’t mean telling your girlfriend to watch another season of Sex in the City while you make your final push toward level 85. I am talking about rejecting any female in a MMO that you haven’t verified is really a woman. Unfortunately too many gamers have made playing a girl character look bad by doing awful things to get in groups, guilds and just begging for gold or loot. Now in games like World of Warcraft you just can’t trust a woman and for the most part will stay away unless boobage is confirmed.

Spent more time dancing in game than out

In City of Heroes one of the things to do was to make a level 1 character in the craziest costume you could and hang in the center of Atlas Park and dance. Dancing became so popular in COH that they created clubs where people could dance, but strangely they were hardly used. I guess when your superhero can pull a boom box from thin air on command who needs a club. If your girl ever wants to go dancing you can get her a copy and take her to Pocket D.

Understand Economics

You have student loans, credit card debt and no savings and yet in the MMO world you are Bill Gates. Sure, there are some in RPG land that overspend and can’t afford that damn new flying mount requirement, but for most of us we know how to make and spend money. Not only can we control our personal finances in game, but we can also control the auction house knowing when to sell, when not to sell and when to be an undercutting asshat. Remember when your teacher taught you about supply and demand, of course you don’t, but you’re using it now, congrats.

In which world are you better?

The world of MMO’s has defiantly had an impact on us all for better and for worse. There are tons of things we do in MMO’s that we never did in life or other games before. So how about you, what have you done?

Lincoln Davis: NCsoft

NCSoft logo
NCSoft logo

Name: Lincoln Davis

Company: NCsoft

Profession: Senior Public Relations Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Contra on NES

Quote: Contra was the first game I was able to complete without dying once. Super Spreads rocks!

Current Event: I’m currently driving the PR surrounding the upcoming launch of Guild Wars 2, sustained PR for Aion and City of Heroes while preparing for other projects we have yet to announce.

City of Heroes: The Best and Worse

City of Heroes
City of Heroes

I have always loved Superhero’s ever since I was a kid and after playing Everquest for several years I was looking forward to something old and something new. The old was Everquest 2 which turned out to be a failure for me in its opening few weeks. The new was City of Heroes, which I felt was a breath of fresh air to the MMO scene.

The Best:

Total Costume Customization

City of Heroes
City of Heroes

Since there was no real loot in the game besides enhancement tokens your costume was extremely important and to this day I believe COH has the best costume creator out there. You could pick from a template, go simple or spend hours designing an outfit that matched the hero you wanted to create.

Some people spent hours on their costume alone and who could blame them, you could pretty much make anything, including replicas of your favorite superheroes which got many in trouble. Later you could add capes and special lights and auras and additional costume slots which just added to the awesomeness.

Travel Powers

City of Heroes
City of Heroes

Today various travel abilities are available in many different MMO’s, that wasn’t the case during City of Heroes time. COH gave players a ton of abilities, allowing you to fly, teleport, jump and speed your way across their world. You could even enhance those powers to go faster than the default speed and it really made you feel like a superhero. It also showed you how big the zones were when you have fully upgraded super speed and it still took time to travel across the map.

You could even add additional travel abilities so you could fly and jump and teleport. Of course this meant less offensive and defensive ability slots, but for some it was perfect fit for this hero design.

Massive Battles

City of Heroes
City of Heroes

In Everquest it was almost impossible to fight more than one mob at once if it was anywhere near your level. Sure, you had classes that could kite, but it was a long, boring, slow process. Pretty much the name of the game for EQ was tank and spank. This meant the tank turned the mob towards him in a corner or some such obstruction and everyone else pounds from behind.

What thrilled me about COH is that even at level 1 most classes could fight more than one mob at a time. The game was designed so you could take on a ton of minions, a few Lt.’s and one Boss or Arch Villain. It made sense to be swarmed by ten plus minions only to take them out easily and then you see the big bad boss in the background. The thing was, even though they were weaker, you still needed to be on your toes or you would be on your back. This made for some great fights and powerful action.

The Worst:

Tile Sets

City of Heroes
City of Heroes

Freeport, East Commons, Estate of Unrest, Lower Guk, Plane of Fear, these are some memorable places from Everquest. The problem with COH was not many of the mission zones or tile sets were memorable at all. Honestly, they were downright pathetic and repetitive.

I completely understand that COH is in the real world, but to fight in the same, office building, warehouse and sewer, got real old real fast. Yes there were budget issues with COH, but honestly, even adding smaller missions in grocery stores or people homes could have helped immensely. They did add more in later months, but not nearly enough and by then new MMO’s were released and many walked away.

Suppression

City of Heroes
City of Heroes

Originally when you had a travel power you could easily kite mobs using them. You could fly in, rain down the firepower and fly away. I get that it was kind of cheap, but honestly, so many people were creating new characters to try out new power and costumes, this was an issue that really could have waited.

What suppression did was make it so if you used an offensive power near a mob you would not be able to use your full travel power for a few seconds. This allowed the mobs to hit you with their opening or alpha strike.

This caused an uproar within the community and many people did quit because of this. The biggest gripe was that farming was the best way to gain experience quickly and yet it had not been removed, but suppression was added.

For those that don’t know how farming in COH worked, one way was to have a tanker class select a specific mission with specific mobs he could gather in a specific place and use taunt so everyone else could burn them down. It was like AOE farming in World of Warcraft mixed in with tank and spank.

Many felt weakened and less super after the nerf and so began the  mass exodus of COH players.

Mission Architect

City of Heroes
City of Heroes

Believe it or not this one is recent, but if COH was already dead to many this was its burial. The idea behind the Architect was to give players the tools to create their own missions using the same tile sets and mobs the developers used. It sounded like a good idea until you remember this is the MMO community we are talking about.

What happened is farm missions were created and dominated the game. Sure, there were some real map developers out there who made awesome missions, but not many played them. One reason for this was because of a bug where you could add in a specific mob that registered at boss level and gave boss level EXP, but was as easy to kill as a minion. This led to people making tons of these maps and players who wanted to level fast played them until it was removed by the developers.

Unfortunately, it was not just the farm maps. People felt no real need to travel the COH world anymore. All you had to do is log into AI headquarters and shout for a group. It turned a massive world into a sandbox and let’s face it, a sandbox just isn’t that interesting.

Fond Memories

COH is still alive which considering how many other MMO’s have come and gone is something of a miracle One reason is because it was the only superhero MMO and Champions just isn’t doing it for many. The community is very loyal and many of them hate W.O.W for whatever reason. With that said the new DC MMO looks promising and though it is part of the evil SOE Empire, many may give it a try and if they have learned from COH’s mistakes, they might have a winner on their hands.

The End of the Lich King

The Lich King WoW
The Lich King WoW

While it is true that everyone and their mother plays World of Warcraft that doesn’t mean that when something is done well you ignore it because it is massive and mainstream. The team over at Blizzard did a pretty good job with their cinematic’s after the death of Arthas, the Lich King.

Spoiler Alert! Yes, we all know the Lich King dies, but just in case you don’t want to know what happens next don’t click the video or read what is below.

Of course there are rumblings across the net about the need to be a Lich King, however, I think the lore team has set themselves up well.

A good summed up response to those who questioned the need for a Lich King and the choice in who became Arthas’s successor came from, believe it or not, the City of Heroes official forums where member Talia Rayvyn said:

The reason they needed another host is because the first Lich King (Ner’zhul) would have full control over the Scourge or if Ner’zhul without a body had no control over the Scourge they would just follow their instinct to destroy all life.

When Ner’zhul fused with Arthas they both became stronger because he had a physhical body BUT deep down Arthas was still a good person and was using what influence he had to hold the Scourge back. I’m not sure if you play/played WoW, but during the Wrath World Event they unleashd the Scourge plague and it did not take long before everything was a zombie wasteland. That’s exactly how the world should be, but since it’s not, that hinted at the fact that something was holding the Scourge back. I just assumed that Arthas was building up a bigger force but when Uther tells you that he is actually holding the Scourge back it makes just as much sense.

Also Bolvar was the best man for the job to be the new Lich King. The first important fact is that he is not in possession of Frostmourne. That sword was the major reason for Arthas’ downfall because it stole his soul and made him a slave to its hunger and Ner’zhul since the sword is ultimately tied to him. The second factor is that he is covered in head to toe in fire from the Red Dragons. That fire embodies the very essence of life an was probably one of the main reasons that Arthas could never convert him into a Death Knight. So as long as the fire burns he is resistant to the undead of the Scourge. So between those two things it made him a perfect “jailer” rather than host for Ner’zhul and the Scourge.

From a lore-standpoint the Scourge will no longer be a threat to Azeroth and will probably just lethargically shamble around Northrend. Blizzard could also eventually evolve the Scourge to the point that they are able function as well as the Forsaken.

I also expect this was a means to set-up the scenario a few expansions down the road when we assault the Burning Legion that the Alliance and Horde will be joined by Bolvar and the Scourge in overthrowing Sargeras.

Overall, a good job was done, at least visually. We will see what Cataclysm brings us.