Some Things City of Villains Did/Does Right

cov[City of Villains] We conclude Shiny Happy Week with the follow-up to yesterday’s post, the other side of our superhero game. Does it merit it’s own write-up? It is a standalone game, and I have more hours playing it than whatever the next MMO down the list would have been, so yes. We can talk about the things that City of Villains does uniquely that City of Heroes does not (or does not yet, or did not at CoV release, etc.). Also, I have remembered a couple of other things I wanted to note about City of Heroes, so flip over there to see my love for the sidekick/exemplar system.

I have, of course, written quite a lot about City of Villains, since I have been KTR’s lone representative there. New game, exciting things, so I have had various things to say here, here, here, here, and here, and those are the varieties of “CoV is pretty cool” posts. So you can look at those to see some things I have enjoyed.

CoH With a Year’s Experience

The main strength of City of Villains is that Cryptic had another year’s experience before they made it. They saw how things worked in the early stages of City of Heroes and could correct things. They had time to make new tools that City of Heroes did not get. Have you ever wondered how cool your current game could be if they just re-did some fundamentals? But you can’t do that after everyone has been playing for a year or more, right?

You might end up with Star Wars Galaxies. You might end up with A Tale in the Desert, which does that intentionally. Or you might end up with City of Villains, which would be a good thing. (Another option: EVE Online could try a little of this going live in China, but that is intended to eventually merge with the original game servers, so a separate system there might not work too well.)

Lots of little things fixed, several big things. Contacts let you call them earlier. Newspaper missions fill out some gaps in the mission system. There is less running between zones for missions. Zone design is improved, with more hand-designed bits instead of random gang spawns. Though no one really liked Enhancement Diversification, it was probably best for the game considering what players could do when fully slotted with damage — my Stalker two-shots squishy heroes as it is.

Better Archetypes

I will re-blog rather than repeat myself on some class specifics, since I have already talked about the play and feel of the new archetypes.

The new archetypes work differently and in many ways better than their City of Heroes equivalent. There is debate about this with respect to PvP, but I am mostly a PvE guy anyway. Corruptors are what many Defenders wanted to be, and we the Corruptors have the inherent power (Scourge) that we the Blasters would really enjoy. Brutes bring something to the table that neither Scrappers nor Tankers do, and while they lack Tankers’ nigh-invulnerability, people seem to have more fun playing them; if you like massive defense more than smashing things, though, keep your Tanker. People have been making ninja and assassins in City of Heroes for two years now, so it is nice that they can officially do so with a Stalker. Dominators…are not working as well as hoped. Masterminds are the cool new class, enormously popular, and they combine great offense and defense PvE. Having a half-dozen henchmen to do your bidding is rather fun and convenient, especially since I have always enjoyed pet classes.

Flavorful Setting

City of Vilains has attitude. There is more humor in the game, most of it somewhat dark. It is hard to represent without just quoting a lot verbatim.

We have Vivacious Verandi, who sends you on a spree of chaos and destruction. Doc Buzzsaw sends you around to repossess cybernetic enhancements from people who did not pay up. She is amongst several mad scientists you work for/with/against, who wonder what could possibly go wrong when they create cyborg killing machines fueled by little-understood magic crystals. One early contact gives you a temporary power that lets you detonate members of an enemy group. Villains and heroes both talk smack. In the upcoming 45+ content, a flower child seizes mental control of part of the Hamidon, so you fight giant rock monsters shouting about love and understanding (the flower child also speaks exclusively in haiku).

There are also many of those classic comic moments when you show up at just the wrong moment, usually as your opponents are feeling either really smug or really insecure.

Zone design is uniformly well done, although there are some oddities about its use (say, level 24+ respec door next to level 35+ enemies?). The layout makes more sense. The villains scattered about the map are integrated into it, not so much a random addition. Longbow owns this island, the Circle of Thorns owns that island, and they fight on the beaches as they attack each other. The police are trying to keep the peace here, but they ignore any Arachnos actions just behind them. There are snakes in the snake nest. There is a link between the high-tech city and the mystic elements in the hills. Sharkhead is an interesting mash-up of several factions.

Contacts are more unique. Some City of Heroes contacts can give the same mission; it really doesn’t matter which guy in the suit tells you about the Council. It does matter that one de-powered former hero has a grudge against her former compatriots. It does matter that the several casino contacts have their different fields of interest. You see loyalty to a group or intentional deceit. One Arachnos operative has all the business buzzwords going, and he wants to synergize your talents to create a win-win situation!

Some of the contacts really are horrible people. This is not the standard sense in which all the contacts are basically, “Go beat up my enemies”; frankly, there is not much difference between “hunt down Luminary” and “hunt down Nighstar.” Peter Themari, on the other hand, really is an evil person who wants to corrupt people and make others suffer on a very personal basis. Mr. Bocor asks you to return a woman to him with a solid hint that the specifics would change the game’s rating.

And of course, Radio Free Opportunity!

More of the Same

All those things we enjoyed in City of Heroes? They’re here, too.

Have you crushed the forces of good lately?

: Zubon

(Please remember, comments may be moderated for Shiny Happy Week posts. This is a festival of joy, not complaints.)

5 thoughts on “Some Things City of Villains Did/Does Right”

  1. CoV took the whole “cyber frat-boy” thing the Freaks had going in original CoH and turned it up to 11, with hilarious results. One recurring NPC is t3h s00p4rfr34k, spelling intentional, who drowns you in a sea of l33t every time he shows up with increasingly cracked-out powers.

    But my own personal favorite moment from CoV was going back to the prison break tutorial, only this time I was doing the breaking. (And HOW did that spaz Jenkins make Huntsman?)

    More games should let you back into the tutorial zone under new pretenses.

    –GF

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