Monday, October 19

Too good?

Yesterday I got the change to play my beloved City of Villains again with the usual Sunday gang. Due to travelling both by me (mostly me) and them we have hardly played at all the last few months. Thus this Sunday almost felt like a reunion event. With the latest issue (issue 16?) they have improved the ease at which to team up and specify the challenge even further.

City of Heroes/Villians already had the best team friendly features available with their sidekick/mentor options, but they now went even a step further. Now anybody can join any group, and everybody gets scaled to settings and level of owner of the chosen mission. You can now specify how big the groups of enemies should be, how many levels above your level (that was already there), whether you want bosses when playing solo, whether you want arch villains or 'just' elite bosses.

After playing together for over 4 years now we are a well oiled killing machine, so we pushed everything to the max. Enemy groups are scaled to 8 player, +4 in level, with multiple bosses. It was hectic! We died a few times due to just too much spandex, but we always got our revenge. The only thing we couldn't handle were the Arch Villains. They became 6 levels above us, and they just healed faster than we could scratch them. Especially against Lord Recluse himself we got seriously whipped.

So what am I crying about in the title of this post? I am not sure really. But I have the feeling they are grasping for straws. The community is ever swindling down. Champions Online is pulling the already not too big superhero players away (for a while). The great thing about these changes is that I can always play with my friends, which is brilliant. I wish I could do that in Aion. But it also means for most players the story of the game is becoming less and less relevant. It is more and more just about the action, xp and grind. It is also enabling solo play even further. That does allow you to get the story, so maybe my point is not so valid. I don't know. It is probably just all good. Especially for a close group like the one I am part of. But I still have a lingering feel of loss. It is just another piece of the original charm of COH/V that got lost.

PS. I still don't understand why no other MMO has ever bothered to implement even close to the same sidekick/mentor system. It is an essential feature if you want people to sticking to your game.


  1. I'd read about those chances Phè, and I must admit that right now CoX has a lot more appeal to me than the Aion I still have some free time for.

    Your criticism, or better said concerns coincide with what I feared would be the case. Champions Online feels soulless to me, but with that aspect of CoX being what's been whittled away at the most over the years, it's no surprise the game bleeds subscribers to the Cryptic game.

    I've always felt that the CoX engine, with maybe some beefing up of the avatar textures as they've been slowly doing, would be very suited to generic Fantasy or Cyberpunk MMORPGs with a strong emphasis on group play. It's Mentoring system is simply the best. I suspect part of why they pull it of where others can't has to do with the different way characters are built up. In CoX you level you powers rather than your basic stats. That might make it easier to do.

    The only other MMORPG that comes close in this regard is the one you stubbornly refuse to play :-)

  2. I should give NCSoft West more credit. They actually did try to do things with story. A for effort on the Ourobouros and 300-esque storylines.
    Can't give them an even a C for creativity or execution on those though.

    They also made a great leap with the Mission Architect feature. I can't comment on how well that panned out though.

  3. I am a bit at a loss at the moment. Before I went to Chicago I really had fun in Aion. It was a in a weird grindy kind of way, but fun nonetheless. And I should pick up on that again. But somehow I couldn't get myself to log in over the weekend. And I am worried tonight will be no different. On one hand I really like being part of the MuTants, but at the same time I know Aion is not really my game. Especially now that I am so far behind I will basically be playing guildless with a guild chat window.

    COH/V is still what it is. Since it is a game I have played nearly 5 years I do play it pure for the action. Which is still fun. If you think of coming back for a month or so, I will be waiting there for you. I am sure we'll have fun again. The mission architect spoiled the game for many. Or at least 'they' use it as the scapegoat for the declining community. A few players made really great stories. But they are such standalone arcs that it doesn't match in with the natural progression of your character. And those are the good arcs. The majority of the user created content is of course just crap. And then there is another big chunk that is created purely to boost powerleveling and grinding. And that is what 'they' blame is the real COH/V killer.

    I have no real reason anymore to not play that other MMORPG anymore. It is still installed on my PC and ready to roll. But a bit like Aion at the moment, I can't really get myself to play. It feels so useless.

  4. One of the links I shared recently has a nice view on Aion grind vs old skool grind you might appreciate.

    Your qualms about the game seem to be an echo of someone else's arguments I've heard recently :-/

    I'm not sure firing up 'the other' game (EverQuest II) will help any. While it's a great game, 90% of the populace is level 60+ (cap at 80) and in a group oriënted game that is a bit of a problem. Yes there is a great Mentoring system in place, but it's not perfect.
    It misses the other je-ne-sais-quoi that makes people in CoX altoholics :-)

    P.s. are you currently still in the US or back already?

  5. Yeah, I read that post by Keen. Nice post. It didn't push me one or the other though. I was still confused. I also read Syncaine's post. His post actually made some sense. But I will post more about that later (maybe).

    I actually thought you meant LOTRO as the other game. I do have an EQ2 box sitting around somewhere too, but that feels even more an excise in futility.

    And yes, I am back home since Saturday morning. But this coming weekend I am off again. To Holland this time.

  6. Hmmm, I'd forgotten about LoTRO, maybe because everyone is so lukewarm about the deflection, I mean expansion "Siege of Mirkwood" which is a gross deviation from the LoTRO timeline.

    It is a good game though, but I don't recall if it had a mentoring system. Syncaine made a lot more sense than usual in that article, yes :-)