The Controller

I haven’t mentioned Melmoth enough, which is a shame, because Melmoth is pretty awesome. Also, I still need to read Melmoth the Wanderer, but that’s a different issue. Anyway…

“We could be heroes” is his meditation on crowd control, something City of Heroes does with the usual crazy awesomeness that comes from embracing AE gameplay. He shares my usual lament of tank-and-spank MMO heroism, usually based around fighting one thing at a time. Because the hero’s journey goes from one pig to one slightly larger pig.

In City of Heroes, if you can still see your character under the pile of mobs that you’re fighting ‘you’re undertaking the task in an incorrect fashion’, as I believe the cool kids say down on the MMO street. … crowd control in PvE is a viable and interesting game-play alternative to the soft “Yo mamma!” control that the average MMO tank possesses. The controller could be the enabler to huge battles in other MMOs, without having to unbalance the player characters such that they must always face an entire battalion of enemies at a time in order to feel any challenge, and where any lone mobs would therefore simply implode the moment a hero arrived in their zone. Controlling a battle can be tremendously rewarding as a player, watching the ebb and flow of the various enemy groups and locking down those that might otherwise overwhelm your party, judging when to use AoE powers that will inevitably draw massive amounts of ire from the mobs when they eventually break free, and when to simply neutralise the more potent individuals of a wave of mobs – the healers for example … and unlike healing it would be very hard to reduce it down to a bunch of bars that you simply play whack-a-mez on.

City of Heroes crowd control was toned down years ago, on the theory that fighting a bunch of statues is no fun, but it is still head and shoulders above what any other game will let you do. And admit it, you want a confuse spell for the enemy healer/debuffer, to make him work for your team until your sudden but inevitable betrayal.

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “The Controller”

  1. I played a controller back in CoH along with a buddy who was melee dps (can’t remember all the types, sorry) and, as a duo, it was a heck of a lot of fun managing all the mobs while he would go around and take them out. Sometimes it would just get crazy especially when I’d lose control or more mobs would join the fight. But it really did feel like we were superheroes taking on so many at once. But then, CoH did a lot of refreshing things.

  2. Melmoth the Wanderer, is a rather splendid tale, although I’m not sure what sort of score it would get on Zubon Book Reviews, possibly a ‘Rating – 3: worth reading once (download it for free from Project Gutenburg’’ There are some lovely passages; one of my favourites, talking about the fear of lightning in a storm:

    “he stood collected, and for a moment felt that defiance of danger which danger itself excites, and we love to encounter it as a physical enemy, to bid it “do its worst,” and feel that its worst will perhaps be ultimately its best for us”

    Melmoth Reconciled is an interesting follow-up to the story by a different author, and is also available on PG –

    Back on a more MMO related vein: I really do miss the Controller archetype in other games, it was a fantastic and unique role in CoH, and its rarely been replicated in other MMOs to the same extent, if it all.

    And thank you for the pimpage, you’re too kind.

  3. CoH’s use of Really Big Hordes of Enemies really should be a cue to other MMORPGs. It and Diablo have the right idea.

  4. With COH as my first serious MMORPG all later games have made me feel like a total wuss when I have to start running when I solo and OH NO AN ADD I’M GONNA DIE! Very heroic. I remember the scene in lord of the rings where Aragorn is fighting an orc and then another one comes so he uses his health potion and then a third one comes so he runs back to town.

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