City of Heroes: Six Months Later


City of Heroes: Six Months Later
Written by Aaron Daigle

Originally Published on December 5, 2004

Paragon City has for over six months now shown like a beacon of justice, hailing heroes from across the globe to join in the fight against the scourge of crime and chaos sullying her fair streets. In the last two months players have gotten access to a few very nifty new features that really have polished the Paragon experience to a high gloss shine. From new rewards and missions to helpful new features, Cryptic Studios and NCSoft have so far shown a tireless drive to hone their game into one of the finest online gaming experiences around.

One of the loudest complaints heard ‘cross the net has been roughly along the lines of: OMGZ wh4r r teh C4pes!!!!!111~!11 This GAM SUX0rs witout teh CAPES@!!@!@!!!1 YOU r teh GAY Craptic studios!!!!111!

Now all you cape whoring miscreants can pipe down. Not only did Issue 2 give us capes, Cryptic went out of their way to explain their prior absence in the in game lore. Why were there no capes? The heroes of Paragon doffed them in honor of the sacrifice of Hero 1 who perished taking the fight to the Rikti menace. Now that the official period of mourning is over, heroes of security level 20 and up can under take a mission to prove themselves worthy of wearing a cape. They look really great too; some rather skillful collision and physics programming must have gone into them to make them turn out this well. And it doesn’t end at level 20, when you hit thirty you can earn “Effects,” think a corona of electricity or glowing eyes.

Along with capes, Badges are now awarded for certain accomplishments in the game. These feats range from simply visiting significant locations, to completing some of the more complex storylines. Most badges seem to be strictly for bragging rights, while others have bonuses tied to them like additional powers. Badges have, for me at least, provided an activity to work on while I wait for a group.

And speaking of groups, the new player search system has been rolled out. Those of you who have played the game will remember that prior to update 2 you could only see players looking for groups that were in the same part of the city as you. And you still can, but now you have the option of looking at everyone that playing never mind if they want to group or not, you can sort and filter them by level, Archetype, Origin, hell you can even search for a specific character by name! This was really a much needed feature, and if they would be so kind as to allow you to make a note to go along with your listing, ala Everquest, it will be perfect.

Maybe you’re like me and picked up the odd power that you never use or worse yet doesn’t really make sense for your character to possess. Now at level 24 you have to option heading to the Terra Volta reactor and completing a harrowing Taskforce Mission to earn a badge you can then turn in to reconfigure your powers. Basically it allows you to wipe the slate clean to a certain point and pick your powers and enhancement slots again as though you were just earning them. You have to keep your Archetype, Origin and primary and secondary power sets but everything else can be changed to suit your tastes.

In addition to the nifty new stuff above, we’ve been introduced to two new game zones, the Shadow Shard and the Hollows. And like in any MMO worth its bandwidth, the new zones come fully populated with brand new hostile entities ready and waiting to pound the odd hero to paste! Other little other little tweaks include the choice to turn down a teleport or resurrection. It used to be so frustrating when you’d be doing your thing and some dork would teleport you across the damn map with out your permission.

The bottom line I think is that Cryptic has given away more content in the last six months than most MMOs make you pay for at least once a year with their expansions. So, what do we have to look forward to in the future? Content update number 3, titled “A Council of War”, ought to be out sometime by the end of the month, bringing with it two freaky new archetypes available to players with a level 50 character, global chat, and much more. Cryptic may be getting your fifteen bucks a month, but at least they are spending a good chunk of it on you!