Tour Beautiful Striga Isle!

[City of Heroes] To my mind, the reason to play City of Heroes right now is to play through the 20s. Issue 3 brought some of the best content in the game, and you should go play it right now. Not everyone likes it, but Striga Isle has higher design standards then pretty much any zone in the game. Statesman, our fearless leader in CoH, has said that Striga is the design standard for other zones. This makes me hopeful for a new place expected in Issue 5, as well as potential retrofitting of zones to be more user-friendly. Care for a brief guided tour?

Your first contact in the 20s will send you to Striga to meet the first contact there. You can ignore her, or you can follow the line of four contacts in Striga. These combine to 25-or-so missions of various types. You have the standard “Arrest all villains in base,” “Defeat 15 Council in The Bog,” “Defeat base commander and his men”; the most innovative involves attacking a Council vampyre creation plant, in which you must fight vampyres as they come out of the transformation capsules. Striga introduces a new tile set, the boat, and has a few vertical shafts in missions (think Castlevania, the original, when you drop down that long shaft into the underworld). One mission uses two different tile sets, which I have not seen anywhere else.

There are four different temporary powers, all useful. One gives resistance to all (including psionic, and it is a toggle), another lets you summon a Council War Wolf boss as a pet (5 charges, they do *nice* damage to Archvillains). You also get your zombie-hunting shotgun, so you can pretend to be Ash. “Defender with boomstick? Check.”

Striga includes two task forces. One gets you most of the way through your Silver Bullet and Slayer badges, so you can get the Atlas Medallion accolade (passive +5 endurance). The other is the best task force in the game, and you need to go do it right now. The 26-30 TF has several unique maps, including the spectacular last mission. You get previews of this last one in the missions leading up to it, which have windows facing into the last chamber. Yeah, you see that thing? That’s the final showdown. :)

All that, three exploration badges and one history, plus a trainer in-zone. So what about the zone itself? Striga is designed rather nicely, with a main island and several smaller ones around it. The contacts lead you logically from the docks, through the defenses and the monster-infested jungle, and into the Council’s secret volcano lair. Zombies, werewolves, and vampyres abound in the jungle and graveyard. There are zombies hiding beneath the waters, ready to swarm up around you. There are fights between the various factions who want control of the island. There are dogfights between Sky Raider Sky Skiffs and Council Hoverbots. There are robots on patrol. There is a new enemy group in the form of missile turrets.

I am probably leaving out some things, which is for the best. I have already outlined most of the sights to see, so come see the rest. Stand on top of a volcano that stretches from the ground almost to the flight ceiling. Check out the sprawling Council compound and watch them fight off invaders. Join the attack and protect Paragon City from the Council’s new schemes. Find your favorite little touches in an excellent use of space.

One hint: the road runs straight through, from the entrance to the Council base. If you cannot find the Wolf’s Throat, just follow the road into the tunnel. The tunnel is the Throat.

: Zubon