Greater of Two Evils

So last night I received the message that my trial period is over. After spending about an hour pondering, I signed up for a month of the City. It’s disappointing to me that the choice for a subscription came down to “well, am I masochistic enough to see if I can get to mid-level and see if the grind is still as bad as it was?”

The answer to this question, incidentally, was yes.

As I said in my “Thanks for the trial!” feedback form I got, City is a good game. It’s not a great game. It’s a game that has as big of a bait and switch as WoW, although it occurs much earlier and with a much bigger drop off. At 60, now 70 in WoW, there is raiding to be done, farming to be had, instances to be run, but not a lot of character building. It’s annoying how you go from fun to farming, but there is some growth for a while. At 50 in CoH, you are, simply, done. The increments from Hami raids are tiny, and now with the invention system, seemingly not worth the effort. Of course, this is from my limited perspective. I welcome other points of view to explain why this is not the case.

What CoH has is fun, although it used to rapidly fade at 32. I plan to find out if this is still the case. It’s fun to get your travel power (although now, this is less vital – I have 3 jetpacks in temporary powers already, and just burned a 2 hour use jumping pack, and these were all mission rewards), fun to get a new power and the boost from it, and the crazy character creation is, as I’ve said before, hands down the best there is in any game. The badge system gives you something to pass the time with, and can give you some minor character edges.

It still has some shameful bugs, however. Mission entrances that are wrong, or impossible to get to is one that has been there since Day 1. For the people who just jumped on the MMORPG wagon when WoW came along, the big daddies EQ and UO didn’t have instances. In fact, EQ was dead set against them. AO was the first game to have them, and had they not had such a miserable launch and first year, they could have monopolized on it. CoH made instancing more mainstream, forcing EQ to come out with LDoN – instanced dungeons you got orders to go to…eerily similar, no? They went on later to do more and more instancing, although the wisdom of that is for another post series altogether. WoW, of course, instances EVERYTHING. But CoH was the real trailblazer on it, but despite it being a vital core of the game, instances always have been buggy. It’s hard to imply how annoying it is to come back after 2 years and see something I saw back then still haunting the game. In my ten days, I had 5 bad mission entrances in my roughly 13 hours of play time.

Server lag, random disconnects, NPCs getting stuck in walls, and unspawned missions – these are old, old bugs that are still wandering around in CoH. It’s annoying to run down a street and suddenly get warped back two blocks and have to do it again. Or be close to finishing a mission and suddenly having the mission server crash (and knowing it’s not your connection since you have another PC or window running on it fine) and having to start all over is annoying the first time, but aggravating the fifth.

Nine free expansions in three years, plus one, truly optional one, is a good record. They’ve done a good job, and there are things I see in the game now that I wish were there when I started. It’s a helluva lot more stable, despite the crashes. Villains has fantastic detail, mobs that fight each other (you rarely, if ever, saw two groups of bad guys jumping each other in Heroes), and humor. I’ve got about a week and a half where I have to pretty much stay home-bound, so I plan to play some more, and see what else has changed since launch. It should be a fun experiment. Well, after I get my Children’s Week pets in WoW of course. Let’s not be crazy.


Big Jimmy, Pinacle’s newest crime lord. Drop me a line, if you choose. I’m sure I have an offer…well, you know the rest.

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Jaded old gamer, and father of gamers, who's been around long enough. Still, he's always up for giving the Next Big Thing a whirl.

13 thoughts on “Greater of Two Evils”

  1. I’m still fond of the CoH late-game, because that is when you have all of your resources available. You have all of your powers with all of their enhancements. Everything you can do, you can now do. I am sure that some people enjoy looking forward to getting that power they have been waiting for, but I like using it. That is especially true for my favored support classes, where the new power is not just another way to hit things or avoid being hit.

    You shall know joy when you have multiple Corruptors and Masterminds on the same team, all using their assorted support abilities. Few things on the Heroes side are as fun as a team with multiple Kinetics Defenders/Controllers. It’s all rock ’em sock ’em.

    And then I get tired of the same thing or the bugs after a few months and lapse for a while. But still, rock ’em sock ’em superhero action, woo! We race and fly and make things explode in large groups!

  2. I have yet to push a character past 35, despite my current intentions to bring my Ice/Kin controller to 50 so I can play with the peacebringer/warshade archtypes. Part of the reason it’ll be a while yet is that I’d be really hard-pressed to go back to my mastermind, having come back to find Dark Miasma been nerfed to hell (mostly in that even six-slotted control powers won’t recharge before they run out)… *even* if I admit that Ninjas/Dark was quite possibly the most unbalanced setup in CoV.

    I guess I’m tired of needless grinding. If you’ve kept yourself mostly out of debt, the early thirties is not only when xp costs start getting exponential, but it’s the first place you’ll run out of contact missions before you move up to the next zone (I can’t speak for CoH, yet). So not only are we doing more of the same, we’re doing it without plot or story. I think that’s a good thing to start asking for in I-10: more high-level contacts.

  3. Jeze and I hung out last night (my blonde hair became very obvious I’m afraid), and I can now say that it’s official, The Blog Roll is up and running on Victory. (I couldn’t come up with a good name, figured it was as good as any all things considered.) So Oz, Foton, I fully expect a global tell sometime soon =p

  4. Damnit all – I really really really need to be able to edit. That and I need to not be doing about 10 things at once, with very little sleep. I just got done reading AFK Gamer and my memory clearly failing me in older age has confused the names Foton and Zubon (it’s the on at the end, I swear!) Apologies.

  5. Ooh I am Bacteriord on Pinnacle. I’ll say hi. Of course he’s level 5. I’m still working on my trial, day 3 I think.

    He is a corruptor, radiation/kinetics. I guess I am too used to playing a shadowpriest. I can’t stand not being able to heal. :) I did meet a nice just-unfrozen-Nazi teeny female mastermind.

  6. I honestly have no idea how to do the global tell thing. More features introduced when I left. I know my global handle is “Ojo”, however.

  7. Cool. I’ll get a toon up and running on Victory soon. Villain or hero side? My global is (surprise!) @BitterCupOJoe

  8. 5 bugged mission doors in _13 hours_?

    Wow. That’s about a hundred times the rate I get them at.

    Were they all in Port Oakes/Cap Au? Under the map where there shouldn’t have been an under the map?

    There are sewers running under some of Cap Au. But also technically under the map are building interiors. Waypoints used to be very good at this, pointing at a building’s door when the instanced mission was inside the room you got to by going through it. I have not played a villain in Port Oakes in a while, so perhaps this bug was introduced and never caught for lack of testing. (Also a rollicking good time – a waypoint on a building where one pair of double doors goes to the building interior and the other pair goes to a mission entrance.)

    I don’t get many map disconnects either, and I think this is ironically because I’m on dialup. I remember a lot of cases on the boards where failures were localized to specific cable providers. If you’re on cable, look up yours, see if anybody else is complaining about it.


  9. Global tells are sent with /t @gname, tell. For example, sending my Gattsuru account a global tell asking about Hurricane would be

    /t @gattsuru, So how about that Hurricane?

    Note that global tells will be *saved* if they are sent to an individual who is currently logged off, and then played when they log back in, so it’s considered very impolite to spam global tell.

    You also shouldn’t run out of 30-35 and 35-40 contacts if you play the game on a difficulty higher than heroic, do task forces, or team much.

    I’d really consider taking a hard look at your connection. Even some things that seem perfect are really due to ISP or routing problems.

  10. Yup, all in Cap/Port. And for all but two, a GM flew over, then teamed up, flew to the mission and responded that it was bugged. One other I got an email on stating it was a notoriously bugged mission and my best bet was to log off and on until the mission target changed, and the last one I simply gave up on.

    FWIW, I’m a bug magnet, so this doesn’t surprise me at all.

  11. Heh, I continue to be a bug magnet. Last night, all of my characters below 10th disappeared. Weeee

  12. I’ll say you’re a bug magnet. I hadn’t ever experienced any “mission door” failure you’re mentioning in three years until once last week when ALL the doors in steel canyon appeared as black voids. Relogging and it was gone.

    IRL, I’m the “weirdness magnet” but ingame, I’ll let you keep that distinction.

  13. I had the what I’d like to call the “stalker appreciation bug” last night. I entered a mission, got unnerved by the complete lack of mobs, and searched out the whole first floor without finding any. I went upstairs and the boss room was around the corner. If I’d been playing a stalker at the time, I would have suspected they’d known my intent and decided not to waste server resources. I’ll not deny the convenience. Hope it happens more often.

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