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.