Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

While I continue to play CoH, and have lots of opinions on the game and things therein, I haven't had time or enough inclination to post them here. This post is simply to get a picture online for my CoH forums profile to reference.

If someone actually misses my writings here, let me know.

...Otherwise, carry on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Champions Online Without Me

Dear Cryptic,

Jeez guys, the least you could do is slip me the beta. My enthusiasm is tarnished.

-Doug (The guy who originally posted that idea for creating nemeses, among other things)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Multiple-Man Revisited

Some time ago, I hatched this hairbrained egg of creative juices. Decoy, the Multiple Man was designed using Phantom Army to simulate a hero who could create duplicates of himself. A great idea, with lots of limitations, which I thought would never work well. Well, it took 18 levels to get him from a goofy looking lame-ass hero to one who could actually get Phantom Army, but I did it. Even if he isn't the most effect character I've ever created, he does indeed look cool as hell rolling into a fight surrounded by 4 duplicates of himself, all blasting and punching away.

City of Hero, Coming Soon to a Macintosh Near You

Well, they're finally porting it over. Will wonders never cease? Not that I'm complaining, but maybe you could cut a discount on the Mac version to those of us who bought it anyway and had to suffer through using it on a Windows torture device. Just a helpful suggestion.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Farming and Power Leveling: Why You Shouldn't Give a Shit

I've been excited about the upcoming issue 14 which will let me design my own missions... a creative outlet that I crave in these games. But a dark cloud looms on the horizon of my good time. NCsoft, in their attempts to prevent the new mission design system from being abused by farmers and power levelers, have alluded to the fact that the number of villains and their placement on mission maps will be preset to the map you choose. [pauses briefly to bang head on keyboard] One of the things that grates on me in this game is how you can memorize where villains will always be on these maps. They're always there. And they're never where you think they should be, based on the nature of the missions. Mobsters who are supposedly searching the office building for the deed to the orphanage are always milling around in the hallways and are never in the offices. This has always sapped the mission of a sense of realism for me.

So, with the upcoming ability to custom-build missions for yourself and others, I should be able to place villains logically on the map, right? RIGHT?? Ooooh, no, says NCsoft. No, we have to control how many villains are on each map to prevent those naughty players from farming til the cows come home, creating endless masses of fleshy targets to generate Experience as fast as possible. Farming is bad. Power leveling is bad.

Yes, farming and power leveling are bad. I don't think people should do it either. But for some people, that's the fun of the game, zooming up to level 50 as fast as their pudgy, Mountain Dew-fueled fingers can carry them. Whatever. To each his own. But my response to NCsoft's heavy-handed, creativity-destroying security action is "WHO CARES??" I think the point that they've all missed is that every character on CoH basically exists in a vacuum. No amount of cheating by character A is going to effect character B one little bit. At the end of the day, your toon who got himself to level 50 by farming and power leveling for a few days is going to have no advantage over my level 50 who got there over many months of normal game play. Level 50 is level 50. It may rub you rules lawyering balance-monkeys the wrong way when some yahoo takes your shiny rules and subverts them for his own ends, but it really doesn't effect game play for anyone else. I promise. The rest of the game is set up to police itself.

(As a brief aside, I'd like to point out that this argument also applies to powers. I'm sick to death of reading how power X needs to be adjusted to "bring it into balance" with power Y. No! It doesn't! Powers should be designed and balanced based solely on what the power should do. )

Please, NCsoft... I've got brilliant, rave-inspiring adventures to bring to the game. Don't ruin the fun for 90% of your loyal player base just to try to slap a leash on the 10% of players you don't really need to mess with anyway. They're not hurting us, they're just hurting your egos.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The State of my CoH Union

AKA, "This, That, Some of That, and a Smidge of That Over There."

Oh, the places I've been, the things I've done since my last post back in friggin' August (some in CoH, some elsewheres). I've finally accumulated a random smattering of tidbits I'd like to lay on the 4 or 5 of you who stumble in here from the CoH fan site page.

The Coolness that will Never Be.
From August pretty much through December of 2007, I was drawn away from our beloved game to the virtual land of Second Life. Called a "game," it's essentially a glorified, graphics-based, 3D chat environment IRC with pictures. While many tout SL as the be-all and end-all of online socializing, I scoff heartily. However, I have enjoyed myself there and do still donate a fair portion of my usual CoH hours to it. Mainly for the socializing, but partly for the things it offers that CoH doesn't. While the differences at the core programming levels just differ too much for CoH to ever adopt most of SL's cooly-bits, they would, in fact, revolutionize the game. For example... You can make things. ANYTHING you want. Yep... just build it yourself. Second Life is a 100% user-created environment. From buildings, to world to items. Wish your battle axe had a blade of glowing glass and a handle made of human skulls with a rubber duck dangling from the end? [buildbuildbuild] Here ya go. Enjoy. Same with costumes. Imagine hundreds of zones designed by people whose intelligence ranges from Nobels to numbskulls. Never be bored again!

The Reason I Started Playing CoH?
....because there was no such thing as Champions Online. Uh oh..... Tremble in fear, NCSoft, and prepare for an exodus the likes of which hasn't been seen since biblical times. Champions Online is now being created by Cryptic Studio (creators of CoH, so you know they've got experience at these sorts of things), and the things I'm hearing that they've got planned could potentially spell the end of CoH. Exhibit A: Point-based character creation! Create a hero with any fekkin' powers you want!! I need clean underwear just thinking about it.

Somebody's Listening: Volume 3 ... and 4
Once again my ego will not allow me to accept the possibility that anyone else could conceive this idea... therefore, someone at NCSoft and/or Cryptic Studio must be reading my blog and blatantly stealing ideas. Steal way, boys! My first example comes from the Champions Online site which describes: "Keep your enemies close: Every hero must have an archenemy. In Champions Online, you design your character's supreme adversary, choosing a name, powers and costume for a superpowered foe to bedevil your hero throughout his or her career." Now doesn't this sound an awful lot like:
In our second bit of "coincidence," I see Issue 12 has been announced..... including mention of the mysterious group "Midnight Squadron." I believe someone [cough] started an ill-fated supergroup of mysterious 30's-era heroes on Virtue server named "Midnight Squadron." Why, they even have a logo, seen here.
Hmmmmm..... part deux!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Come for the Milestone, Stay for the Complaints

The first of all my many characters has finally broken the Level 40 barrier. (Terrorgeist.) Yay me! What does this get me?? An anticlimactic "3 more power slots" and the opening of Epic Power Pools! ...oh, but you don't actually get any of them yet. But they're there. Trust us. Would we lie to you? [cue the sound of my pretty red balloon deflating.]

Let's Talk About Lag, Bay-bee!
ok, look.... This lag issue needs to be resolved, it's getting out of hand. Cryptic has cast us all as frogs in their little pot of quickly-heating water, and I'm starting to sweat. I got used to the rubberbanding whenever I approached the Atlas statue. I grumbled but tolerated the snapping-back-and-slapping-to-the-ground whenever I try to superleap anywhere. Then came the consignment market. Every time I click on a Wentworths employee, I freeze up for 5 minutes, then disconnect. The only time this doesn't happen is when I immediately log back on after the dump and reclick the employee. Every other time, blammo! This is intolerable. I've begun getting up and puttering around the house after clicking a WW employee, knowing I now have time on my hands that would be better spent picking up clutter or making a sandwich.

A random poster to the CoH forum spake:
Using SYSINTERNALS program called FILEMON , I note that the "City of Heroes" Updater and the "City of Heroes" program itself are accessing the DMA process very weirdly. All of my other programs access my hard drive in 64 KB chunks. It appears that the "City of Heroes" program is failing to honor the DMA BUFFER SIZE of Windows (Vista may use a differing method, but we're not all running Vista are we).

I have noted that when I access the Wentworths Consignment House that the "City of Heroes" program is trying to load up a 1.23 MB block through the DMA but without chunking it into 64 KB segments. In fact, when the "City of Heroes" client is pulling a few *.PIGG files off the hard drive, it regularly exceeds the DMA BUFFER SIZE without care.

I have yet to see another program I own or use fail to honor the DMA BUFFER SIZE like "City of Heroes" does regularly.

This explains the needless (and ultimately non-functional) problems with the new Wentworths market and most likely is also the source of woe for mission map and zone loading.
I have only a vague inkling of what he's saying, but he certainly sounds like he knows exactly what he's talking about. This man should be paid attention to and probably also given an offer of employment from Cryptic.

I'd really like to blame the freeze-up that occurs during the bigass Rikti battles on this same issue, but I'm not sure it isn't my mediocre graphics card. Has you tried taking part in the battle in Talos? It goes like this:
  • Enter battle zone on hilltop outside train station.
  • Watch as your screen freezes.
  • Collect 5-10 snapshots of a battle going on around you as you frantically press buttons hoping it's doing something.
  • See that you're now dead. Go to hospital.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat.
It's annoying... Like having a hive of angry bees in your underwear.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yeah, I'm Still Around.

Actually, I've been playing CoH more than usual, I just haven't been posting here for some reason.

My initial impression of this whole invention thing is disappointment. It seems to me the only thing these Enhancements do is take your money and make good characters better. In the Magic card game, it's referred to as a "win more" situation, as in, if you're already winning, you simply win faster. A few "IO"s give you a brief effect you wouldn't normally get, but these things are almost impossible to find and cost millions ...many millions... on the market. And the chances of me getting one of these (or a costume) drops? I stand a better chance of having a real thug in real Chicago drop a real recipe for real wings.

An interesting side effect seems to be that I don't switch toons/servers nearly as much. Greed perhaps, but I prefer to think of it as a renewed interest in fleshing out my primary toons. It could also be greed.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'm the Multiple Man! .....ok, not really.

It occurred to me last night that I could make a passable "multiple man" character if I used Phantom Army and made a few concessions.

The Cool Factors:
1: Multiple man/duplication powers would be fairly unique in CoH. (And you know how much I like "unique.")
2: ....uh, that's about it. It's a big one though.

The Concessions:
1: The only way to mimic this power is to use Phantom Army. Among other things, this locks me into playing a Controller.
2: The nature of Phantom Army means that all phantoms (ie, my "duplicates") look the same. This means that my costume has to resemble the phantoms' costumes as closely as possible... which is incredibly boring.
3: Similarly, to fully simulate the multiple man effect as much as possible, my name is chosen for me: "Decoy." Not surprisingly, "Decoy" is taken is "Decoy.". I choose "Decoy ." (Decoy-SPACE-PERIOD).
4: Finally, and most annoyingly, until I can get to level 18, I'm just a dopey mook with a stupid name. (Phantom Army isn't available til 18.) And we know how long it takes me to level a character. (This is similar to trying to create a speedster, only worse.)

Upon hatching this ill-conceived scheme, I did manage to leap into a sewer team for a couple hours, getting me to level 7. But at that point, progress came to a grinding halt. To make matters worse, I mated the mandatory Illusion Control power set with Storm Summoning, which stinks on toast. Watch in horror as the dopey mook with the stupid name goes toe to toe with a minion of equal level and nearly exhausts his Endurance defeating him. Oh, the shame.

I'll probably shred the first draft and take another shot at this, but I think I'm going to have to put my artistic pride aside and crock the powers to make him as effective and team-attractive as possible.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Ass-kickery.

Yeah, I've had better things to do recently than post here. But now with the holidays thankfully behind me, I'm playing again. Nothing major tonight... Just getting back into the swing of things.

Musing #1: I think I've noticed it for a long time, but I've never put it to words. Why is it that every criminal in Paragon City is part of a villain faction?? What, no random muggings? No unauthorized vandalism? No ski-masked mooks pulling bank heists? those are some hardcore villain unions they've got around there.

Musing #2: I played an average amount of time over the "Double XP Weekend." I found it odd that none of the characters I played leveled.

Musing #3: After spending hours "recording" every character emote available in game so I could whip together a cool, useful site, someone beat me to it. Cryptic posted it on the login splash page too. Bastards.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Well, That was Exhilarating.

Curse you, false vertigo! Jumping from the roof of a tall building in City of Heroes makes my stomach flop as much as jumping off a real building (or, so I imagine). Even worse, I did this as a frail, fragile level 1 blaster.

I have no idea why, after creating eleventy-berzillion characters, I haven't explored the Outbreak zone, but I haven't. Until tonight. So, I'm wandering around the zone, hither and yon, glowy-eyed thugs pitching rocks at me, when I muse... "huh. I wonder if I can get on top of any of the buildings in here." And, if fact, there are a few whose fire escapes are low enough that if you spring off some nearby refuse, you can just reach it. That's the easy part. None of these things go all the way to the top. Oh, no... Once you get as far as the ladders will take you, you have to figure out a way to leap 7+ stories from window ledge to window ledge until you reach the roof, and brother, that ain't easy.

So once I was up there, I admired the view, took a few pictures, and then ...of course... had to find out if a level 1 would splatter from this height. After several moments that were equal parts anxiety and foolishness that actually made my palms begin to sweat, I took the leap (pictured here). After the rush had passed, I learned that even this wouldn't kill a hero in the tutorial zone, but it does slam you right down in the land of blinking red life bars. After the landing, I decided to let the local citizenry have their way with me just to see where you'd go if you died in the tutorial. (Same place... zone hospital ...which, I didn't realize, was right at the beginning of the zone.)

So, if it's just a video game, why was my heart pounding before the leap? The answer, of course: because I'm a half-wit.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's Squat-o-ween Time Again.

squat·ter: noun : a person who occupies real property without a claim of right or title.
There ya go, brain trust. You wanted to know how I defined "squatter"..... Same as Merriam-Webster.

It's Halloween time again and on City of Heroes that means encounters with the delightful little hand-me-downs from Everquest who think they "own" something, in-game, just because they say they do. Look, fucktards (and I hate using that kind of immature pronoun, but you deserve it) I pay my fifteen beans a month, just like you do, so that door you've been camped out in front of ...chasing off all other interested parties... is as much mine as yours. So if, in this joyous holiday season that just brings out the very best in you little darlings, I want to "knock" on any given door, collect my "treat" (or trick, as the case may be) and move on, by God I'm going to.

This all stems from my last visit to the highways and byways of Paragon City being ruined by a gaggle of mouthy halfwits. You all know how it works... Some doors in the city trigger prizes or monsters when you click on em. I tend to treat this seasonal offering from Cryptic in the spirit it's intended. I hop hither and yon around the city clicking on every door I can find ...usually only once each... hoping (in my case) to score the necessary goodies to trade up for the extra costume slot. God knows why I want em ...once made, I'm usually pretty set in my costumes designs... but I do want em. Other people like to think of look at this as an opportunity to power-level, standing in groups in front of a door, each taking a turn activating it as they all kill whatever comes out. Lather, rinse, repeat. These are the fateful, star-crossed pathes that brought me verbally face to face with some Gomer named Brownwynde and his posse. I stood a moment near the door, waited until there was a brief lull in their orchestrated muggings, and then clicked on the door, figuring I'd collect my treat, or deal with my trick, and move along. (I got monsters, btw.) But no, this guy decides to open up with a barrage of of profanity-laced tirades and accusations about how this was "their" door and I should "go find my own" (among other things). They'd been working it for an hour and it was theirs and I was kill-stealing from them.

Now, I know I could have just blown them off and gone on my way. I know I could have. There's nothing they can do to me in-game just as there's nothing I can do to drive a meat-hook of common sense into their digitally-neanderthalic skulls. But, no.... Something always prevents me from letting people like this just get away with it unscathed. So out comes my dual-edged blade of patience and logic. (S'cuse me while I whip this out!) I calmly and politely explain to them my reasoning hoping, like hoping to win the Powerball, that they'll understand. See, I've learned in my many years of experience, that the key to success in these situations is to be calm and polite. It will either: A) Help your tone be more condusive to proving your case, or B) piss them the hell off that you're not willing to get as enraged as they are. In this case, after 20 minutes of "discussion" (I'll use that term loosely), they were simply not to be reasoned with. They started out being verbally abusive, thinking they'd just chase me away. When they realized this wasn't going to work, they actually switched tone mid-tirade to "look friend... we just got off on the wrong foot." Look, Poindexter... you don't follow up a verbal assault with civility. That ship has sailed. Ultimately, he was having none of my logic. In his eyes I had raped his wife and taken food from the mouths of his children, and he wasn't going to be convinced otherwise, which I told him I recognized. I wasn't going to waste any more of my breath on him. I finally told him I thought he was a squatter (to which he brilliantly responded "how do you define 'squatter'?") and told him maybe he should get a nice "NO TRESPASSING" sign for his door.

You know, in real life when one goes trick-or-treating, you don't get to stand guard in front of one house and chase off every other kid who wants some candy while you repeatedly ring the doorbell. Why the hell do you think you should get to in an online trick-or-treat simulation? This kind of thing seriously chaps my ass. Yes, probably more than it should, but it does. I'd like to see Cryptic give some serious thought to how they can curtail this kind of behavior. Perhaps allowing only one "knock" per door per character... Maybe offset by bigger "treats" and/or more doors being active. Alternately, make me a GM and give me the power to stake these people's asses out in the middle of the Perez Park swamp.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How About a Costume Party?

With Halloween coming up and Halloween festivities in Paragon City already underway, I thought it was time for a costume party in Pocket D..... a real costume party. Now when I suggest this, I know you folks at Cryptic are going to freak out and say "Heavens, no! That breaks the rules! Civilization as we know it would come crashing down!" Well hear me out. We're already capable of having "costume" parties in "D" where we change our costumes and prance around socializing. But this exercise doesn't really reflect the spirit of costumes in the real world. No identities are hidden... We still recognize each other by reticle names which remain constant in the game (and for obvious reasons). Well, there's my suggestion: Optional name changes while at the costume party in Pocket D. Think about it... The reasons we mandate different names in game really don't apply (or more precisely, don't have to apply) at such a function in "D". There's no combat in "D". It's a strictly social environment. The biggest stumbling block I can think of is that /tells would be limited. You can't just shoot off a message to one of the dozen "Statesman"s in the room and expect it to reach your friend, Charlie, who's dressed as Statesman. Sending /tells to people you know would still rely on using their actual hero name, which would reach them normally and wouldn't have to give away their location in the zone. Beyond that, private conversations are initiated the old fashioned way... By walking up to someone, right-clicking on their toon, and initiating a chat that way.

This kind of brings me to my second suggestion, which will also rub some Cryptic folks the wrong way: Have Serge set up a costume kiosk in Pocket D for the occasion. At this kiosk (and only at this kiosk) characters will have access to costume parts only used by the game's hallmark characters. (C'mon guys, I know you've got those costume parts coded in, they're just not accessible to the public... again, for obvious reasons). But this is a party, and there's absolutely no reason why a dozen Statesman's couldn't be running around in here. Costumes would revert to the character's last used slot if they leave the club.

Imagine being able to really dress up as Statesman or Lord Recluse or Miss Liberty. It'd be great fun.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Veteran Rewards: Dangerously Timely Commentary

I'm not here to answer any questions about the sexy new Vetaran Rewards program. Go read that nonsense here. I'm just fairly psyched (in a hot-and-cold sort of way) about the new goodie-bits and felt I should extend my shiny new 2 pennies worth to the hard-workin' folks at Cryptic. (And, as we all know, they read my site religiously for sure-fire suggestions.) Here's the goods, followed by my scentilating pearls of wisdom.
3 Month Milestone: Trustworthy
• Trustworthy badge
• Costume Piece: Trenchcoats
• Costume Change Token given to all characters on account

OK, right up front, let me say the badges for all these things are a good idea. They seem to resemble cyber-crack for a lot of folks who make special "day trips" through the city just to gather them up. Yeah, you're supposed to get em just for paying the bills for as long as you have, but should you have to work for them? a little mission or something first? I dunno.

Trenchcoats. Aaaah, say it with me... "T R E N C H C O A T S!" I spoke, they listened. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Fulfilling, and a nice opener to the list. OK, you've got my attention.

6 Month Milestone: Faithful
• Faithful badge
• Costume Piece: Greek Alphabet Chest Emblems
• Costume Change Token given to all characters on account

And now!..... "Greek Alphabet Chest Emblems"!! [cue screeching, wipe-out noise] After trenchcoats, that was kind of a shock.... like stepping from the warm warm sun into the ice cold pool. I almost had shrinkage. After giving it some thought though, I understand. The list of goodies should start small and grow. The first reward needed to get everyone's attention though, so was abnormally large for this end of the scale. If not for that decision, the Greeks here would probably be reward #1. Still..... weeeaaak.

9 Month Milestone: Dependable
• Dependable badge
• Costume Piece: Belly Shirt for Females, Scottish Kilts for Males
• Respec given to all characters on account
• Costume Change Token given to all characters on account

Daaamn. Chicks got screwed. Belly shirts? [yawn] Kilts for the guys? Cool for those who dig 'em, and fairly easy to accomplish graphically. Well done. And a handy respec... They're like car insurance.... you seldom need 'em, but you're happy to have 'em when the need arises.

12 Month Milestone: Loyal
• Loyal badge
• Temporary Power: CHOICE: Permanent Ghost Slaying Axe or Permanent Sands of Mu
• Pre-Order Sprints: Rush, Dash, Quick, Surge
• Base Item: Wall Mounted Weapon Displays

Bonus powers! Now we're talking! At one year, you get choices. I like that. I can guess what the axe does. I have no clue what the hell "Sands of Mu" is or what it does. Same with these cool-looking "Sprint" things. I'm going to have to dig to find that out. Woulda been nice if it'd been on the FAQ page (being as "what do these things do?" is probably going to be a frequently asked question).

Weapons displays for bases? Meh. I try to think what rationale conjured these up, but nothing kind comes to mind. Moving on....

15 Month Milestone: Zealous
• Zealous badge
• Costume Piece: Angelic Wings, Demon Wings
• Costume Change Token given to all characters on account

Now this is a meaty reward. But, boy howdy, are whiners gonna rally 'round this one. "You mean I gotta play for over a year before I can have wings?? That sucks!" Sorry, junior. That's why they call it "Veteran Rewards." You get rewarded for being a veteran. Clever, huh? I think it would be funny as hell to monitor the boards over the next month and count the whines. But I'm not nearly that bored. As for the wings themselves, I'm pretty impressed. My only comments would be that I'm a little concerned about the size of em (they seem a touch small) and the fact that you only get to choose between bird or bat wings. I don't think butterfly, fly, dragonfly, or even mechanical wings (maybe even a jet pack?) would go unappreciated. I suppose it'd take additional animation though.

18 Month Milestone: Unwavering
• Unwavering badge
• Costume Piece: Samurai Armor
• Costume Change Token given to all characters on account

Hey, snazzy. I'm thinking, not nearly as groovy as wings though, so they really belong below them on the scale.

21 Month Milestone: Steadfast
• Steadfast badge
• Costume Piece: Shoulder Cape
• Respec given to all characters on account
• Costume Change Token given to all characters on account

Shoulder capes for 21 months? Show hands, who thinks this is that cool? Yeah, I thought so too. Belongs somewhere below the Samurai armor. How about truly "full length" capes? ...something that touches the ground? Maybe the combination would earn this slot.

24 Month Milestone: Devoted
• Devoted badge
• Prestige Power: Emergency Base Teleporter (long recharge item that teleports you to your Base)
• Base Item: Posters of the City of Heroes Comic Covers
• Veteran's Titles for Level 15 characters

This would be worth the "wait" if it either A: was fast but intruptable, or B: was slow but uninteruptable. But it's both slow and interuptable? So it's barely convenient, and hardly life-saving. Pass.

On the whole, I like the reward system, especially in concept if not always in practice. But it strikes me as fairly obvious that someone decided "we wanna give em coats at 3 months and wings at about a year. Now we just have to fill in the in-between slots." I wish a little more effort had been put into some of the choices.

Grade?: B+

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Now There's Something You Don't See Every Day...

I'm hanging out in Atlas Park the other night, watching the freaks, and up rolls a level 6 Ninja Mastermind and his ninja henchmen. Apparently he ran into a bug during villain creation and popped out in Atlas Park. He said he's already filed a bug report. Man, I wouldn't.... Being the only Ninja master running around Paragon City would kick wild ass! And, buddy, that shit gets folded right into the character background. He'd be the only guy who could legitimately say "I used to be a supervillain but went straight."

Here's to you, master of ninjas!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wanted: Super Group

I think I'm coming to the end of my grieving period for my super group on Protector. They were the best, and I mean that literally. But, like a carelessly-stacked Jenga tower, once a couple key pieces were removed, the whole thing came tumbling down. From here we went to my forming my own group, which lasted all of 5 minutes, mainly because all our schedules were incompatible. I was psyched about it, but I recognize why it failed.

So here I am back at square one. I'm getting really tired of soloing, and I refuse to lower myself to joining pickup groups (which I consider akin to picking up a hooker in Brazil.... chances are you're going to regret it and you'll be left with some lasting scars that only 15cc's of penicilin are going to wash out of you). I want .....nay, need.... a suitable super group to throw in with. I don't plan to change my play style or schedule and, without sounding like a prima-donna, I don't think I should have to. There's so many groups packed into those 11 servers that surely there's one taylored to my personal wants. So here it is. Let me lay out my ideal super group for you. If anyone out there who stumbles across this knows of the perfect group for me, for the love of God, shoot a flaming arrow my way!

1. I'd like to be a part of a group that I can contribute to but who won't feel a loss if I'm not around for several days. My schedule is spuratic at best. Sometimes I'll put in a couple hours, several nights in a row, and sometimes it's 3 or 4 days between logons. It just depends on my mood and workload. This would mean a fairly large group, many of whom are on at all hours of the day and night and who'd welcome my participation when I can be on.
2. I need a moderately mature, fun loving bunch who aren't a bunch of competative nimrods who're only interested in how fast they can get to the next level (or worse, how fast I can get to the next level).
3. Similarly, I think I'd enjoy some light roleplaying. I don't want to spend my nights pounding out angst-ridden prose while standing under the statue of Atlas instead of going on missions, but it'd be nice to have a group who'd appreciate the character bits, that many of my toons lend themselves to, during missions.
4. I got no intention of saddling any of my current characters with a group "uniform." I spend a lot of time on character concept, and part of that is the look. About all I'm willing to do in that department is shift to some team colors, if possible, whenever I'm running with the group. On the other hand, I might not mind creating a character from scratch to fit in with a group's theme if it's a cool one. There's a lot of themed groups out there.... Some are even pretty cool.
5. I've got characters spread all across City of Heroes. Server is no object.
6. I'm here to play the game, not beat the game. If your first reaction was "what's the difference," move on.

What I bring to the table:Honestly, I think I'm an asset to a group.
• I'm a careful player with good instincts and the wellbeing of my team always foremost in mind. (I think the abreviated form of that sentence is, "I'm not reckless.")
• I have a good sense of humor (as illustrated by most of my character concepts), but I can play seriously even amidst my own personal silliness and merry-making.
• I know my play style and I'm good with my toons. While I'm capable of team-tanking, I'm not particularly good at it. I'm better as a scrapper. Where I perform best is in a supporting role such as with a blaster, controller, or defender. (This is all a little relative though, since I build characters by concept first and foremost, not based on what my role in the team is going to be.)
• I'm an artist and graphic designer by trade. What's that have to do with anything? I'm good at base design and decorating. I've also helped put together group web sites in the past and cranked out pretty sweet graphics for the team. (Logo for my last super group. And for my own ill-fated 1920's themed group.)
• I've been outside the walls of Paragon City and have photographic proof of what's out there.

As the saying goes, "If interested, please send tell."

[yaaawn] ...Fire & Ice...

I finally let something gel in my mind that's kind of been haunting me for quite a while. In all my mass of characters, I really don't have many fire or ice users. I've decided the reason for this is that they're just too easy, conceptually, and hence, too boring. Solar-Man! Captain Frost! ....Please. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary. From the standpoint of player curiosity, I'd like to explore the power sets; but from a character creation standpoint, I can't bring myself to make a boring toon. So I'm faced with trying to come up with something innovative that isn't "just another fire/ice character."

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I think music in CoH isn't living up to its potential. You drop the boombox and you get a goodly number of musical genres to choose from. The music is in what's called MIDI form (it's all electronically produced), which isn't particularly jam-worthy in a long term sense, and only plays when you're standing around to drop the box. With the hero "radio" looming on the horizon, it would be nice if we could tune in assorted "radio stations" as well as the police band. That way we could have music to fight by. Further, it'd be nice if you could flick a switch in your options window to substitute your own MP3 library on your computer for the chirpy MIDI tunes. No one else would hear the MP3s but you, of course, but it'd sound groovier than the CoH tunes. As a tweak, I'd also suggest the zone music be disabled when the radio's playing.

I'd like to take this suggestion one step further. There's a very old bit of IRC (internet chat) programming that I'd think would be fairly easy to impliment in CoH. It allows you to activate MP3 files on your computer through a command sent to the chat window. The further groovy bit is that if the people you're chatting with have the same MP3 file in their computer library, the command activates it for them as well. ...As close to shared music as you can get on the internet without everyone going to Live365 at the same time.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Man, what I wouldn't give to smack someone with a car.

With CoH slowly moving into the realm of environment interactivity, this may not be too far down the road, and I couldn't be more thrilled by the idea. With this dream fresh in my mind, I'd like to propose a radical change to the Super Strength power set. A half dozen "powers" which all basically translate to "punch" is incredibly boring. I'd love to see "Improvised Weapon" (ie, grabbin' something and smackin' someone with it) dropped in in place of Knockout Blow or Hand Clap. (No one ever liked Hand Clap anyway.) And "Improvised Projectile" in place of Hurl (and maybe bump it down a little on the "available at level X" hierarchy.... I mean, c'mon guys...).

This way, the hero can now grab some nearby piece of scenery and bash some bozo's brains out with it.... or knock some nitwit out of the air. Sure, it leaves him at the mercy of his environment to provide something to use, but there's almost always something around to grab. I would also strongly encourage some built in variation on damage based on the type of item used. Who knows... it might even lead to using heroes and villains as projectiles.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I Know You're Listening....

I'd like to say hello to my secret friends out there at Cryptic. Once again a feature in an upcoming Issue sounds suspiciously like something I've suggested here. I will, of course, be happy to take full credit for the idea. Stop by any time, guys... I'm just filled with helpful suggestions! (...among other things...)

Flash back to last year, about this time...
Me: "... what if the heroes of Paragon City united to take back these [hazzard zone] neighborhoods? What if they could be reopened to the "public"? That would be a heroic accomplishment." (My full post can be found here.)

Now look at the press release for the upcoming Issue 8...
Them: "Faultline Reborn (Heroes only) Faultline transforms from a hazard zone to a city zone! Paragon City's Measure X has passed, reconstruction of Faultline has begun, and the effort has revealed some major surprises."

Sound similar? Yes. Coincidence? I think not!

Seriously, guys.... I'm unable to move to sunny California, but I'd be happy to work from here. My mailbox is always open.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gone to the Con

I'm taking off Wednesday to go to the Gen Con game fair in Indianapolis. I won't be back til Sunday night. I'll have my computer with me, but chances are, what with all the "Gamers Gone Wild" parties I'll be attending, I may not do much posting. Hopefully I'll get a chance to say hello to CoH crew at the Cryptic booth.

Don't get too lonely without me.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Defenders, Repeat After Me: "Sorry About That."

Yaknow, after the failed activation of "Teleport Foe," there's nothing more frustrating than healing powers that "miss." Boy howdy, that chaps my ass. ...and probably the asses of those I fail to save before the big dirt nap. I face-planted The Frightener twice last night from healing failure. I haven't checked... do these powers do appreciably more points of healing to warrent the chance of failure?


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Since I'm Self-Stimulating My Own Ego Today...

I'll take this opportunity to mention a couple landmarks for two of my primary characters.

During the "Double XP Weekend" I pushed SomethingWicked over the level 30 threshold so he could finally have the flaming head I'd wanted him to have from the beginning. We also swapped out his moldy shoulderpads for some wicked shoulder ribs. He's so proud!

And, while I always loved Prankenstein's name and concept, his original costume just didn't capture the full depths of his wackiness. So we finally headed over to the taylor for new threads (and to see if Serge was hiding all those missing trash can lids). In true What Not To Wear fashion, here's the pranktastic before 'n after! Prank and all his imaginary friends are quite pleased!

Hello. I'm Doug and I'm a Toon-o-holic.

(Apologies in advance to those with slow graphics load times.)

I think it's time I exposed my addiction to the harsh light of day. I'm jokingly known to have a lot of characters spread across all the various servers, but I don't think anyone knows just how many I really have. It's time to come clean. They say the first step towards curing an addiction is admitting you have a problem. I'm not willing to admit to that yet don't expect to see an end to these any time soon... but even I was a little unnerved when I tallied up just how many character I've created. I still have my primary set (proudly illustrated here), so I won't give them duplicate coverage here. I've also mentioned Victroller, Crosstown, and the Crimson Brain elsewhere. Some of the toons depicted here maybe have been mentioned before but this is their first public appearance. I'll add scintillating commentary where appropriate.

We'll start with my contributions to the "Bad Food" villain theme group mentioned earlier this year. While I find most of them a hoot, by far my favorites are Spam-Thing and Baby Back. "Where's the vomit emote when I need it??" was commented about Spam-Thing by someone playing a knockoff of The Monarch from Venture Bros. High praise indeed. The rest of the motley (moldy?) crew are: Macho Cheese, Salad Shooter, Canned Ham, Psi Ala'mode, and Bananas Flambe.

The next more or less related group of characters are the ones inspired by my time on the Underground roleplaying game. In the instances of The Stigmatador (long running toon pictured in my original family of characters), The Testosteronin, and The Crimson Ka-boom I've simply lifted the names from the game and made them my own. The Atomic Kennedy (also from my original family), American Lesion, and Line-Item Vito were designed with the hope of capturing the actual Underground look and feel as best I could with available CoH costume bits, as well as the "Cyber-Celebs" Charnel Houser MD (Neil Patrick Harris), Apollo Creep (Carl Weathers), and Iron Will (William Shatner). I love the over-the-top look of The Ka-boom and, combined with my love of his Energy/Energy power set, would probably play him like wild if I didn't already have Turbulence (pictured shortly) leveled up so far. He also, sadly, calls attention to the lack of a "blowing shit up" power set for blasters.

Next are two additions to my 1920's hero group, The Midnight Squadron... Tesla's Monster and The Frightener.

And now a parade of assorted inspirations, some successful, some.... not so much.
Turbulence: I love playing this guy. There's something immensely satisfying about blasting villains all over the map, and the knockback-rich Energy/Energy power set does that with gusto!
Hawkeyee: My place on the new archery power bandwagon. Now with 75% less copyright infringement!

That Crazy Guy (mentioned previously here): A regular joe running around beating down thugs with nothing more than his raw punch?? He must be ...well... crazy. Here he is in his dirty wife-beater and faded jeans.
Captain Aztec: Sure, the idea is dumb as hell, but I was just too tempted by the costume posibilities.

Dr. Necropolis: The cool, slick bridge between this world and the next!
Absolute Zero: I'd never made an ice-powered guy before and decided it was time to try it. In hindsight, I question my double-edged naming wisdom.

Ampere: Because I just wanted to make a guy with a giant cranium who's covered in glowing circuitry. Abandoned almost immediately for the infinately more humorous Ampiere!
Ampiere!: The electrical Frenchman! Oui!

Poultrygeist: Vengeance most fowl from beyond the grave! Fun to play and darkly humorous, he also calls attention to the need for "beaks and bills" costume options. Oh, the slight....!
Houn'gan: The illusions power set lends itself nicely to a voodoo character, and I wanted one. Strangely, I spent literally 2 hours trying to come up with just the right "cool" name for him, failed, and used this.

Sea Urchin: Conceived from the realization that there aren't many aquatic heroes in CoH. Now I know why. Nothing currently exists in CoH to make an aquatic hero particularly.... aquatic. No water powers [grumble] and no swimming travel power.
Helena Handbasket: 'Nihilistic punker chick with a giant gat! I don't normally play with female toons, but some concepts simply require it.

Bronze Bombshell: Ditto here. My female Doc savage.
Pale Shadow: One day only one server was up. I hurredly spat this guy out to have someone to play there.

Kiln Lord: I'd wanted to make a character with the name Kiln God (a common ceramics term) but apparently divine names are forbotten. I wanted his armor to look like it was glowing, but there's no good costume option for that. When his fire powers are active, it helps.
The Rhino of Righteousness!: was late....

The Clockwork Juggernaut: An attempt to create a character as huge and imposing as possible in CoH. Having viewed him from head on, charging down the street, I think I succeeded. If I was a Hellion, I'd be scared if I saw this thing crashing down on me!
Titanium Man: If I was going to make a wicked-ass Iron Man, what would he look like?

Lastly, the only villains I've bothered to create other than the Bad Food guys. None of these guys has gone anywhere, mainly because I'm just not into playing villains on CoH. There's also the issue that villains can't really be villainous that makes it a waste of time.
The Atomic Lenin: Arch-nemesis of The Atomic Kennedy!
Slice-cicle: He'll stab you to death with vicious pointy ice!

Zombettie: What if Bettie Page rose from the grave?
Naughty Gras: I was feeling festive in February.

Burning Itch: Oh, the things we think of at 4am. I have no idea what I was thinking here, but I really shouldn't be allowed to log on after 2:00. At least it successfully embodies the name?

I think that's the whole sweaty lot. I'm proud of them! Well..... most of them......

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Teamless Teams

Well, here's a wild, half-assed idea.

Once again, my supergroup-mates seem a little light on the being around to team with. My problem is, I'm spoiled. I'd rather not team at all than team with people I don't know or people who aren't as good as our group. (Yes, they really are that good.) It got me to thinking about solutions. I stumbled into one that, while I don't think it would satisfy my personal needs, might still make an interesting concept. I'll call it "Press-Teams."

I've noticed that there are roving, interactive bands of Longbow agents wandering around many zones now. What if a hero could press one of these groups into service and take them on missions or through zones with him? Instant team! Sure, they're not as good as a real team, but they could provide necessary support for the hero in times of need. It also fills some potholes of annoyance in the game. Dread the thought of crossing a hazardous zone alone? Press a Longbow squad into escorting you to your destination, drawing fire from those pesky villains who're 5 levels bigger than you are. Had half your team bail out on you halfway through your task force? Call in the "small guns" to help you finish. Almost all the necessary mechanics are already programmed into the game... The Longbows are programmed to engage enemies on sight; There are already missions in which rescued hostages take up guns and help the hero; etc.

This is all rough, of course. There would have to be rules and limits to prevent abuse. (Avoiding the now famous "Go hunt. Kill Skuls." scenario for example.) Team experience would have to be cancelled or severely curtailed. There would have to be a time and/or frequency limit on commandering Longbow squads.

Innovation or can of worms? You decide. But I think it's an interesting idea.

XP for Healing: The Final Revisit

I'm such a dumbass. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. (Maybe because I do this as a hobby... It's not my job.) I always figured the major stumbling block of awarding XP for healing was because a character could just stand near a crowd and auto-heal til he had Experience dripping out his ass. Awarding XP for healing shouldn't be based on amount of healing delivered, but on amount of Hit Points restored. Say, Tankerboy is down 100 HP, and Healer-Man shoots off 200 points worth of healing. Experience is only awarded for the 100 points restored to Tankerboy, not the full 200 delivered. Experience shouldn't be awarded for healing at the same rate it is for dishing out damage's simply easier and less dangerous.... but perhaps at something like a 2-for-1 rate. (A healer would have to restore 2 HP to gain the same XP as dealing 1 point of damage would gain him.)

But what about Area of Effect heals?, you say? Don't they crock XP-gaining in favor of the healer? No, says I. The failsafe is already built into AoE heals, as they already deliver less healing than single-target heals. So there!

I'll leave this alone now. I've finally worked out the basic mechanics to my own twisted satisfaction.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hello, World!

Well, smell me!

I just received notification from Cryptic that they're going to add my little self-satisfying gripefest to the official page of "Fan Sites." Don't worry, I've prepared myself for the flood of 5 or even 6 new readers to the site!

I'm sure no good will come of this, but for now I'm basking in the glow of corporate recognition.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Supergroup Concept: The Classic "Mirror Universe" Adversaries

Here's an idea I had for a dedicated group of friends or supergroup to try that I think would be a lot of fun. I'd love to be part of a group dedicated to trying this out. If 9 or 10 of you would like to give this a shot, drop me a line... I want in!

The concept is the classic "Mirror Universe" hero/villain clash. Of course it was done in (and the name derived from) the original Star Trek series, but the idea spills into the comics all the time. Your Honor, I give you people's exibit A: The Justice League and the Squadron Supreme. The latter is (by design) a mirror image of the former. There's also the gazillion examples of [insert any comic book hero here] who must, at some point in his career, face his evil duplicate. I asked myself one night what it would take to reproduce this in CoH, and what I came up with sounded genuinely fun. Here's the plan....

A group of players (for purposes of our example, let's say 10) construct a typical hero supergroup, each making the kind of character they enjoy playing. Now the names of all of the characters are tossed in a hat, and each player randomly chooses one. That player now builds a villain based on the concept of the hero they've selected. The villain should be similar enough to the original hero, either in powers, theme, or concept, to be recognizable as the mirror of the original. Costumes should be thematically similar to the original. Each group is played at roughly the same rate for leveling purposes. Now comes the fun part. Once the characters are all at least level 20, five characters are selected. Those five and their alter egoes meet in Siren's Call to face off, mirror image vs mirror image. Sure, the same idea can be accomplished in the arenas. but it loses the purity that one mirror image is truly a "villain."

Anyway.... I ....think it sounds fun.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I realize you don't want to actually encourage people to build Captain America, but I think it's time we added a few options to the scrapper power choices, and shields fit here nicely.

* Related Aside: Not only would I like to see shields added to the list of power options, I'd like to see some size & shape options. This harkens back to a lot of comments I've been hearing that reflect my own opinion: "Weapon" power sets should have special costume options. I'd like some optional looks for things like maces, broadswords, assault rifles, and ...yes... shields. You could choose them along with your other costume pieces during character creation and costume changes. Of course, I'd love to see a complete power effect choice system at character creation, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

Back to shields....

New power set: Shields (Scrapper primary power set)

Shield Bash: Smack your target with the face of the shield. Minor smashing damage. Fast recharge. Chance to stun.
Shield Punch: Strike target with the edge of the shield. High lethal damage. Moderate recharge.
Shield Defense: Toggle power. Increases hero's defense. Animation shows hero automatically blocking attack if added defense would make the difference between hero being hit and missed.
Shield Swipe: Strikes targets in an arc in front of the hero. High lethal damage. Long recharge.
Throw Shield: Ranged attack with moderate damage. Shield returns when thrown.
Deflect: Toggle power. High chance that the next attack directed at the hero will be deflected to hero's current target.
Take Cover: Hero takes refuge behind his shield. Hero is unable to move or attack, but almost all damage is prevented for a while.
Shield Spin: The hero spins with his shield, striking all foes around him. Superior lethal damage divided among all targets effected. Very long recharge.
Shield Charge: When activated, the hero is able to charge past several foes at once dealing moderate damage to each. Defense is also increased. Long recharge.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

ooOOOooo.... Ghooooostly Naaaazis.....

Just had the weirdest graphics glitch tonight. We were doing a Council mission and at random times, whether we were engaging them or not, the villains would just slowly fade away and disappear. Not just turn invisible, all the while continuing to attack you like happens in some missions, but completely gone. My phantasms would also disappear.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

CoH: Underground

It's all about fun names and interesting characters for me lately. I've had Stigmatador and The Atomic Kennedy for a while, then made Poultrygeist (undead fowl), Ampierre (the electrical Frenchman), and assorted other experimentations. I know that this harkens back to my day at Mayfair working on the Underground RPG with Ray and Alex and Brian and Ghoulboy. And while the visual style of that dear departed freakshow of a game can't be reproduced by the CoH costume options, I do make an attempt to capture that feel. To that end, I dug through a lot of old files to find an old catalog of character names from the game. So look for names like Papa Bloodvessel, Daddy Warcrimes, and the American Lesion to be making appearances sometime soon.

I also remember liking the Underground concept of "cyber-celebs".... B-list celebrities from the 20th century who freeze their heads to find them attached to cybernetic bodies in the future. The Atomic Kennedy is one of these. I'm also messing around with "Iron Will" (William Shatner), "Apollo Creep" (Carl Weathers), "The Meat Substitute" (George Hamilton), and "Snarlin' Dick" (Richard Dawson). These guys would make an excellent roleplaying opportunity for a bunch of willing nutjobs. Underground also comes with some fun super group concepts if anyone's interested.

So, that's where I'm at right now. It's 2021, and the dream is dead.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It Shouldn't Feel Like a Hoop, Even While You're Jumping Through it.

I recently did the cape missions a couple times and came to a conclusion: This is pathetic. You make a couple of stops then you end up in Perez Park where you find a secret, high-tech base where the shrine of "Hero One" is just sitting in some room that looks like a reactor. (What the hell's it doing there??) Man, this feels contrived. I know you want the cape mission to feel significant, but it doesn't. How about something more like this....

City Representative: (paraphrasing) "You need to learn more about Hero One. You should talk to his old teammate, Justin Greene. Greene's in the field... Sgt Suzanne Bernhard coordinates with him. She probably knows where he is right now... Go tell her what you're up to." Mission: Talk to Sgt Suzanne Bernhard.

Sgt Suzanne Bernhard: "I don't bother Greene with every cape-craving wannabe who comes along. You want this, you've gotta earn the privelege. You wanna show Hero One your respect, you've got to show respect for all the heroes who have fallen in the pursuit of justice. Dr. Vahzilok defiles those fallen heroes by using their stolen bodies to create those horrible Eidolon of his. Get out there and defeat 10 of those things so their bodies can finally be put to rest, and I'll tell you where you can find Greene." Mission: Defeat 10 Eidolon. Protect each defeated body until city representatives can arrive to retrieve it. (Combining a serious hunting mission with a standard "protect" mission. The hero must defeat each Eidolon then prevent 2 or 3 waves of Vahz from recovering its body until city reps arrive and cart it off.) Upon returning to the contact: "Well, you've caused quite a stir. Dr. Vahzilok has heard about what you've done and has ordered a retaliation, so be careful. I've marked Greene's location on your map, but you'll have to move. Dr. V's minions will likely catch up with you within the hour." [When the mission is selected, a 60 minute countdown clock starts.] Mission: Carry out assignment from Justin Greene.

Justin Greene: "Hero One was laid to rest in the Paragon Cemetery where I'm sure by now the Vahz will have laid traps for you. Hero One never considered himself above other heroes, but one of them and carried this belief with him to the grave." [Click "NEXT"] "You will find him in the cemetery in one of the... ...GAAAHH!!" Greene crumples to the ground, struck down. A Vahz ambush attacks while the timer continues to tick. The mission destination reads "Board the train." Mission: Find Hero One's grave. Pay your respects.

The train deposits the hero on the cemetery map (the one with lots of mausoleums, cliffs, and the very large mausoleum). Scattered all around the cemetery are groups of Vahz with a larger group, led by a Mortificator named Dr. Sin near the large mausoleum ("If [hero's name] wants Hero One, we'll give him Hero One. He will be our finest Eidolon! Find his grave!"). There is a higher than normal number of wandering groups of villains. There are no glowies here, nor has the mission changed to "defeat all." The hero will have to learn (which will certainly happen as he moves around) that every grave and mausoleum is clickable, just like the memorial plaques scattered around Paragon City. When clicked, every grave will display the name of who's buried there and a small epitaph. The hero must check graves and mausoleums until he finds Hero One's grave (which is one of the common graves, not a mausoleum... something Justin Greene hinted at) and click it to read the epitaph. At this point the mission ends. The epitaph reads: "Here lies Hero One, an extaordinary hero who insisted he was no better than the common man. He fell in the Rikti Wars, struck down by the Chief Mesmerist leading the invasion. His body was displayed in the Paragon City Hall for 3 days, watched over by representatives from every super group in the city. On the day he was interred, not a single crime was committed in the city." Mission: Return to City Representative.

City Representative: "We got Justin Greene to the hospital, and he's going to be fine. He wanted me to ask you a question to see if you truly learned about Hero One." The contact screen then displays one of two or three possible multiple choice questions about Hero One, based on the information displayed in his epitaph. If the hero bothered to read the epitaph, the answer should be easy. If he answers incorrectly, the City Rep says "You have earned the right to wear a cape in Paragon City. I hope you will continue to fight the forces of evil and become the kind of hero that Hero One always believe the city had in her." The "New costume part" message is displayed and the hero may buy a cape at the taylor. If the hero answers correctly, the Rep says "I believe you truly understand what it is to be a hero cut from the same cloth as Hero One. Please accept this token of a grateful city." In addition to the new costume part message, the fee for the hero's costume change is waved.

Now that's got some balls and some meaning. It rewards players who actually pay attention to the missions while not penalizing those who just want to click buttons only as a means to get to the next mob. The mission is achievable but not a cake walk and might make a hero feel a little more proud about being able to wear a cape.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Hollow Defeat

May I make a request? Look, we all know that the Hollows missions are an unavoidable, mind-numbingly monotonous grind. And it's bad enough that I'm now being sent in there at level 5. (????) But can we please not put the "bust gang leaders" mission locations at the ass-end of the zone where I'm forced to hike for 20 minutes (at least once) dodging huge gangs of thugs 3x my level and giant, concealed lava monsters??

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Best Name of the Day:

"Bjorn Yesterday."

I've also gone character creation crazy again. Like one of the gods of old, I have scatter my offspring across the known world (servers).

Recent additions:
-Helena Handbasket
-Bronze Bombshell

I'm really not given to playing female toons, but the first two names demanded they be chicks, so...

I'm really enjoying Turbulence. There's something about blasting a target all over the map that's very satisfying.

And why the hell is it that every power combination required to fulfill one of my concepts can only be provided by the Blaster sets? What's up with that??

Monday, May 29, 2006

High-Demand Graphics: A Suggestion

I realize that the real reason heroes don't start with capes or auras as costume options is because of the high toll they take on the average graphics card. Their solution to this is the make getting capes & auras "special" and only attainable by players who are committed enough to reach levels 20 and 30. As far as I know, this has indeed solved the problem. But, from my perspective as a player, I have characters who I'd rather give an aura as soon as possible and have no interesting in be-caping. Is there any reason why, at level 20, you can't choose one or the other and then gain the unchosen option at level 30?

Anyway... Give it some thought.

Your Turn: XP Where XP is Due

So, I've been thinking about a solution to the "you only get XP for beatin' people up" problem. My idea is this. There should be a changable preference that pops up with each mission that lets you chose what your primary "role" will be in the mission. Options could be things like:
-Dealing damage.
-Taking damage.
-"Stealthing." (Resolving "glowie" missions with minimum kills.)

Each member of the team get's the option box pop-up when they join the mission. This rewards each hero for fulfilling their role in the mission. XP awards wouldn't come exclusively for their chosen role (a healer, for example, would still get some XP for defeating a foe) but a largest percentage of their total XP would come from the one chosen.

This doesn't fix the problem of Illusion controllers lack of XP for Deceived foes (which should definately be fixed as well), but it rewards Defenders for healing damage, invisible characters for stealthing, and tanks for taking the brunt of the damage.