A Magazine, How Quaint

I received a subscription to a gaming magazine free with a discount club. In the midst of an ongoing internet explosion, we are still seeing weekly and monthly magazines expanding. Maybe they are all being given away, because most of their content is given away online before they see print.

In this issue, we learn that the Nintendo Revolution will have a funny looking controller, there is a good buzz about FEAR, several extremely popular series have sequels coming out before Christmas, and hey some photos of an upcoming movie that has a video game tie-in. I imagine that some console gamers are not online very much, but what what are the odds on you or I hearing something for the first time in a monthly magazine?

Apparently, games are rated on a scale of 5-10. I say this because one of the harshest reviews I have ever seen got a 5. The reviewer expected the game’s protagonist to leap from the screen and kill babies IRL. I guess a 2 would require that actually happening. Is it a sign of cynicism if I see a 10 rating and wonder, “How many ads did they buy?

: Zubon

Choices = Fun?

Off and on lately, I have been having scattered thoughts about a subject about which others have surely written more coherently. The impetus was the announcement of ED around the same time as the announcement of the Nobel prize in economics. The winners this year work in game theory, and some of Thomas Schelling’s work can be summarized as, “You can be better off, either individually, or institutionally, if your choices are limited in advance. ” (Yes, it means something different in-context.)

We take it as an article of faith that games should offer more choices. When does less choice mean more fun?

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Lower Level Lackeys

cov[City of Villains] Good lord, my teams have been getting rocked this week. Not that everyone is hitting the hospital, but we have been a lot less successful than during that pre-release weekend. I think that Lackeys are the main reason.

“Lackey” is the CoV word for a CoH “sidekick.” If you don’t know the system, it means that a lower level character can tag along with you, with their numbers ratcheted up to about your level. They do not get new powers or enhancements, but they are otherwise treated as a higher level character. Obviously, a sidekick or lackey is not as good as someone of the appropriate level. Having more or better powers is good. If you want to play with your friends, however, it is the next best thing.

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Accuracy has been nerfed!

coh[City of Heroes] Time to poke fun at the developers. Geko has had this signature on the forums for the past year or so:

This is Rumor Control – Accuracy has not been nerfed! It is still 75% to hit target unless the power says otherwise, there are buff/debuffs used, or the target is not your level.

Today, new board friend Castle posted this:

Accuracy: Base accuracy for Hero v. Hero in Warburg seems to be floating around 50%. Due to the nature of the equation, this is a serious defense against anyone who does not have +to-hit buffs, and a minimal defense against those who do have such buffs. This does not trouble me, as the resist based sets offer little-to-no mitigation in many cases now, so balance is not implicated. But is that 50% number an ‘intended condition’, that we can expect to see propigating throughout PvP? Or is it a bug?

We’ve reduced base To Hit from 75% to 50% for PvP purposes. This change was made to give Defense sets more effectiveness. With the ED changes, coupled with the prevalence of +To Hit buffs it was necessary.

Woo, stealth nerf on Accuracy! *poke poke* *Tee hee hee*

: Zubon

City of Hybrid Damage Dealers

cov[City of Villains] City of Villains does not have healers or tanks. The holy trinity of healer, tank, and damage? We are down two. Stop for a moment and think about what your current MMO would look like without those two.

There are characters that can heal, and some who can take some damage. Still, your Paladin is not a Priest, and my Dark/Thermal Corruptor is certainly not an Empathy Defender. Every character has some sort of damage power and some sort of defense or utility power. We are all hybrid damage dealers.

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Direct attack on Kill Ten Rats

kol[Kingdom of Loathing] Starting up in the Kingdom of Loathing is pretty simple. Your first quest is to visit the Toot Oriole and complete the tutorial. Your second quest gets you a familiar. Your third quest is to kill ten rats.

Well, “was.” The quest was revised last week, and while it is still rat-related, it is no longer simply “kill ten rats.” And we cried.

: Zubon

So I Married a Superhero

coh[City of Heroes] My wife hated MMOs. Before we got married, she saw them as competition for limited attention, something distracting from time we could be together, and could you and your friends shut up about that #@%^ game for once? Of course, now that we are married, she is quite happy for us each to have things for “me time.” You can run out of things to talk about just staring at each other all day.

She was never interested in playing them. Besides the horror of having met gamers, there is a lot of pressure in online games. You are playing with other people, and they are depending on you. If you mess up, you are interfering with others’ lives. You and I have seen a thousand people who apparently have no skills other than wasting your time and getting the whole group killed, so that view is novel and refreshing. Besides, many games are tedious, difficult, or just ugly, and who wants to play those?

Then we got City of Heroes.

Continue reading So I Married a Superhero

City of Villains write-up

cov[City of Villains] That villain planner I linked before seems to be unavailable, so the quick version of “everything you want to know” is here (well written). At least, that’s everything I wanted to know, except specific powers. You can find specific powers elsewhere, in a lot of places, if you’re that interested. Yes, A LOT of them repeat COH powers, so you’ll mostly be interested in the new ones, which mostly means Mastermind primaries. (You get three summon powers that can all be active at once, some minion buffs, and some attacks).

The very quick summary? “There’s lots of really cool stuff, so if you’re a COH player who isn’t so upset about Enhancement Diversity that you’re planning to hate Cryptic forever, you’ll want to buy this.” Not that there’s anything wrong with either choice.

: Zubon

COV NDA kthxbye

cov[City of Villains] The NDA for City of Villains is gone, so anyone who was looking for info about it may now be successful. The most amusing comment I’ve seen to date is, “You know everything you wanted them to do with COH? They did that with COV.” The most interesting info I’ve seen to date is this, which is Hero Planner with the COV powers instead of COH powers – not pretty, but it works. I have no idea if that thing is up to date, though.

So if anyone who has been testing it wants to say something, consider it an open comments thread. Oh, and I hear good things about COV inherent powers, so feel free to mention those if you know them. :)

: Zubon