City of Heroes Beta Impressions

It's open, come in. My attorney will be in touch with you about the damage to the door. Otis, take the gentleman's cape, would you? - Lex Luthor

Sure he can fly, but can he spin a basketball on the tip of his finger? I don't think so!

One of great things about the Gamers With Jobs community is that our forums are teeming with gamers who also happen to be excellent writers. Paladin is no exception and today he has been kind enough to send in his impressions of the City of Heroes beta. He's been playing since January and he's been lucky enough to have played right through to the highest level range the game has to offer. This article is not to be missed if you have any interest in the now-gold MMORPG. Get to it! Introduction

City of Heroes – long touted as the last, best hope of comic book fans everywhere, this MMORPG is finally nearing release. After years in development, a major change in the gameÂ's fundamental design, and fears of vaporware, comic book junkies everywhere will finally have a chance to get their gaming fix. Before I begin, a disclaimer: I am not a critic, or a professional reviewer, and this article is in no way intended to be an objective review of City of Heroes. Neither am I in any way associated with or employed by Cryptic Studios or NCSoft. I am, however, a long time tester and fan of the game. IÂ've been waiting for this since I signed up on the City of Heroes forums in October of 2001. ItÂ's been a long wait, and to my delight IÂ'm not disappointed.

In the Beginning

When you start up the game for the first time you have to create a character. Character creation is definitely one of the high points of City of Heroes, and most people will spend a lot of time making character after character. I know I did. I managed to fill up all eight slots on each of my two beta accounts (closed and pre-order).

The first decision is to pick an Origin. The Origins are Natural, Technology, Magic, Science, and Mutant. At this point, Origin has little effect on gameplay other than to determine who your first enemies will be, and what enhancements you can use. This may change at a later date but at this point itÂ's more of a role-playing, character concept choice than anything else. I decided to pick Science, as it fit my character concept.

 

The second decision is to choose an archetype. There are five archetypes in the game, which roughly correspond to the basic classes of other games. Each archetype has a primary and a secondary powerset. The primary powerset is the defining power group for the character, and represents their most powerful abilities. The secondary powerset is used to supplement their primary abilities, and isnÂ't as powerful. The archetypes are as follows:

Tanker:
City of HeroesÂ' immovable object. Tanks are designed to soak damage for their team, and do so far better than any other archetype in the game. The Tanker is also an able bodied meleer, able to dish out decent damage at melee range. Tankers get to choose a Defense powerset as primary, and a Melee powerset as secondary.

Scrapper:
Equivalent to a light tank, the Scrapper specializes in dealing out mass amounts of melee damage as quickly as possible. Scrappers are more fragile than Tankers though, so donÂ't really want to be the focus of enemy attention. Scrappers get to choose a Melee powerset as their primary, and a Defense powerset as their secondary. One quick note hereÂ"”the powers available to Scrappers and Tankers are different, with only a few sets overlapping. Both have access to the Defense powerset Invulnerability, but all Scrapper melee sets are unique to Scrappers, as are their other defenses.

Defender:
Defenders are the closest thing youÂ'll find to a cleric in this game. Healing, while nice, is not a necessity in City of Heroes, and many Defenders donÂ't even have healing powers. Defenders get to choose a Buff/Heal powerset as primary, and a Ranged attack powerset as secondary. Sadly, the Buff/Heal powersets available to Defenders are exactly the same as the ones available to Controllers, except that the Defender powers are stronger in effect.

Blaster:
The ranged damage king, this is City of HeroesÂ' nuker archetype. As fragile as most mages, they pack an arsenal capable of leveling most foes before they even get close. Blasters get to choose a Ranged attack powerset as primary, and a Support/Melee powerset as secondary. There is some overlap between the Blaster ranged choices and the Defender ranged choices, but both have unique powers as well. Only Blasters can shoot fire, for example, and only Defenders can shoot mental blasts.

Controller:
The only archetype with access to true crowd control abilities, the Controller is a difficult class to solo, but an invaluable addition to any team. Controllers choose a Control powerset as primary, and a Buff/Heal powerset as secondary. Controllers are physically weak, but the only archetype capable of manipulating enemy behavior.

I chose to play a Defender, so now I had to choose my starting powersets and powers. Players get to choose one primary powerset and one secondary powerset from the appropriate lists. After choosing powersets, I had to choose my powers. The primary powerset gives a choice between one of two different powers at level one, while with the secondary powerset youÂ're pretty much stuck with the first power on the list.

Finally, the fun partÂ"”costume creation. While lacking the in-depth face and hair options of Star Wars Galaxies, City of Heroes boasts a very robust character generator that will letÂ's players make almost anything they could want. Sorry, no capes. No, donÂ't ask about them. Please.

Three basic build types exist – male, female, and huge. All three can be adjusted using sliders for height and muscle mass, ranging from about 3 feet to 9 feet tall, and slim and athletic to bulging with massive muscles. The female models are attractive without being too, uh, excessive, and easily reflect the traits found in comic book heroines. The male models are fittingÂ"”think Captain America or Cyclops and you have your basic, median male character. The huge model is used to create heroes similar to The Hulk, huge bulky characters that take up a lot of room. Using the sliders though, you can still create short or tall characters, and with muscle mass reduced to minimum the huge character can still attain a sleek look.

I then named my character (Nuclear Force), added a backstory, a battle cry, and entered the tutorial. Most players can blow through the tutorial in about 6-8 minutes. ItÂ's fast, easy, and gets you up to level 2 by the time youÂ're done. Once finished with the tutorial I was offered a choice between Atlas Park or Galaxy City as my starting zone. I chose Atlas Park and finally entered Paragon proper.

 

When I entered City of Heroes for the first time, one of the things that quickly grabbed my attention was the scale--the towering statues, the twenty story buildings, the looming forcefield walls that stop masses of gibbering aliens from overflowing the city and turning the civilians into lunchmeat. The second thing that grabbed me were the civilians themselvesÂ"”there are tons of them, theyÂ're everywhere, and they move around like real civilians would. The only thing that breaks the touch of realism is that civilians will ignore bad guys unless theyÂ're the ones directly being assaulted. Purse snatcher fighting with a woman on the sidewalk? Civilians just pass on by, unconcerned. I just shrugged it off and assumed Paragonians are like New Yorkers.

A Fledgling Hero

Upon loading Atlas Park I was plopped down in front of the hero trainer for the zone, Ms. Liberty. Speaking to Ms. Liberty allowed me to train to level 2 and choose a new power. Characters get a new power for every even numbered level they attain. For every odd level they get enhancement slots that can be used to improve an existing power. IÂ'll go into enhancements and enhancement slots later.

Now I was a mighty level 2 hero, and villains everywhere were no doubt trembling in fear. I had two options at this point, I could go beat up some street punks, or I could visit my first contact (listed in my contact list). Contacts are Non-player Characters (NPCs) that give out missions. I decided to visit my contact and get a mission, rather than just wander aimlessly. I followed a waypoint on the compass to my contact, spoke to him, and got a mission. I then followed the new mission waypoint on my compass to the mission door. Contacts give out missions that fall into one of two categoriesÂ"”door missions and patrol missions. Door missions require you to travel to a building, and go through a door into an instanced zone. While in the mission zone youÂ're on your own unless part of a team. No kill stealing or griefing is possible. Patrol missions require you to roam the streets of Paragon and defeat a certain number of a specific type of foe. These missions can be fairly aggravating, as greedy players may KO that last enemy you needed right under your nose. Nevertheless, this isnÂ't a rampant problem, as most players are pretty friendly in City of Heroes.

Health, Endurance, and Experience

All characters have three bars in the top right corner of the interface. The green bar represents hit points, which go down every time you take damage. All characters heal hit points gradually over time, even in combat. The blue bar represents endurance. Every character has 100 endurance and this number never increases. All powers use endurance, so if you run out of endurance in the middle of a fight youÂ're in big trouble. Endurance management is an important tactical aspect of combat. The final, pink, bar is experience. As you defeat enemies and gain experience the bar fills up. When you attain a new level the bar resets to zero.

Defeating enemies and completing missions also awards the player influence. Influence is used to buy enhancements and inspirations, and may have additional uses in the future.

Combat

Unlike almost every other MMORPG out there, combat in City of Heroes is designed to be fast paced and fun. Even at level one, all characters will have a basic attack (Brawl) and an attack power of some sort. By level 2, that can easily be Brawl plus two attack powers. There is no auto-combat in this game, you canÂ't just click on an enemy and go make a sandwich. You can set one (and only one) ability to auto-attack, which means as soon as the power recycles and a target is available it will go off. Many players use this for buffs or defensive abilities rather than attacks though. In combat, players have to choose which powers to use and when, then wait for them to recycle. Balancing endurance use, recycle time, and damage output are all important parts of combat. Do you really want to waste that high damage, high endurance, long recycle power on the minion with just a few hit points left? One of the best things (other than the pace) about combat in City of Heroes is that youÂ'll almost never be fighting a single opponent. Fighting groups is the norm, and heroes and villains are balanced towards that. ThereÂ's no need to be timid in City of Heroes, youÂ're supposed to be mixing it up!

 

Villains

There are three (technically four) levels to enemiesÂ"”Minion, Lieutenant, and Boss (plus Arch-Villain). Minions are easy, and a minion the same level as you will con white (even). Heroes should be able to fight three white minions at once (solo) and win pretty much every time. Lieutenants are tougher than minions. TheyÂ're the right-hand men of the Bosses, and order the minions around. A lieutenant of the same level as the hero will con yellow (somewhat tough). A single hero should be able to take a single yellow lt. and win. The final category of enemy are Bosses. Bosses are very very tough, and a Boss the same level as your hero will con orange or red (tough). Some archetype/powerset combinations are incapable of beating a same-level boss solo, but most heroes can do it with proper tactics and the use of inspirations. Arch-Villains are special bosses, the leaders of their particular villain organization and are tougher still. IÂ've never actually faced an Arch-Villain, so canÂ't say much about them.

Enhancements

After completing a few missions, Nuclear Force had leveled up a few times, gotten some new powers, and had a bunch of enhancement slots on his powers. City of Heroes has been described by detractors as a lootless, itemless game. This isnÂ't exactly true. Enhancements are the loot and items of this game, and theyÂ're vitally important to keeping your hero in fighting shape. Enhancements are bonuses that can be added to a power that are dropped by enemies or bought in stores. Nuclear Force had several ranged attack powers capable of taking a few enhancements each. I could choose to increase damage, increase range, reduce recycle time, reduce endurance cost, or increase accuracy. The higher level you get the more powerful enhancements become and the more enhancement slots you can have in a single power. Powers can have up to six enhancement slots, but even at maximum level not all powers will have six slots, so placing enhancement slots carefully is important. For Nuclear Force, I chose to increase his damage and decrease his endurance costs.

Inspirations

Inspirations are temporary buffs that any archetype can get and use. Think of them like potions in a fantasy game and youÂ'll have the right idea. Enemies drop inspirations, or they can be bought from contacts. Inspirations can be used to increase damage, accuracy, or defense, or to replenish health or endurance. The rarest and most expensive inspirations will allow you to Â"ressurectÂ" yourself after a defeat.

The Pool Powers

Upon reaching level 6, Nuclear Force became eligible to select his first pool power. Pool powers are powersets open to every archetype. While not as powerful as Primary or Secondary powersets, they give players the ability to round out their character and make them even more unique. I chose Hover from the Flying power pool, so that I could take true flight later on. Hover allowed me to fly up out of reach of the enemy and blast them with my powers in return for a constant endurance drain.

Super Group

One of the most frequent questions IÂ've heard from people is, Â"Are there guilds? Can I make a superteam?Â" The answer is yes. A player of at least level 10 can form his own Super Group. ThatÂ's the only requirement. If you want to be a group of two, you can. If you want 74 of your friends, you can do that too. Upon creating a Super Group you choose a name and select the team colors. Every member of your Super Group can then go into the Super Group menu and choose where they want the team colors applied on their costume. After that is complete, members can switch between their original costume and their team costume at will. Although not in the initial release, teams will eventually be able to create their own bases (Justice Hall style) with a vault to store and share enhancements.

A Rising Star

About halfway through the beta, the development team announced they wanted experienced players to volunteer to test certain archetype/powerset combinations at higher levels. I volunteered, and Soulchill, the level 24 Controller was born.

The game at level 24 was both drastically different and yet fundamentally the same as the game at lower levels. I suddenly had a plethora of powers, including one of the coveted travel powers. Travel powers do just thatÂ"”allow you to travel around the city much faster than normal. All players have access to travel powers by level 14 through the pool powers. I also had a much larger number of more powerful enhancements, allowing my powers to hit harder for less endurance with longer durations. Missions truly start coming into their own at this level. Missions can be huge and story arcs can continue through quite a few missions. There is also the possibility of encountering the first Arch-Villains, though I unfortunately never had that pleasure. Soloing is still possible, but group play is the norm, and is loads of fun. Teams at this level can fight hordes of enemies, unleashing a huge array of powers on them in a fantastic display of special effects. Each archetype is fully realized at this point, as their specialization has become truly apparent. Nobody can tank like a Tanker, nobody can blast like a Blaster. At lower levels the differences are less apparent.

 

Unlike most MMORPGS, the game hasnÂ't slowed down, if anything itÂ's sped up. Combat is still a blast, even moreso than before because nobody is waiting on powers to rechargeÂ"”youÂ've always got something else you can do. Yes, level gain slows down dramatically the higher level you get, but gameplay itself never seems to slow down.

A Legend at Last

A few weeks after the bump to level 24, the development team did another bump to level 34. This puts characters squarely into the endgame areas of the game, and allows them access to all of their Primary powers and most of their Secondaries. The missions and mission areas are nothing short of spectacular, from vast underground caverns for the Circle of Thorns and their summoned demon minions, hi tech labs for Crey and their heavily armed operatives, to underground bunkers filled with 5th Column cyborgs and genetically altered humans. Story arcs can go for mission after mission, leading up to conflicts with the mightiest Arch-Villains the game has to offer. And the best part? Gameplay still hasnÂ't slowed down. A good team can still engage in frantic, exciting combat. No camping. No single pulling. No waiting for rare spawns, just constant, aggressive, fast-paced fun.

Heroes at this level have a large variety of powers and plenty of options while playing. Just to give you an idea IÂ'm going to list SoulchillÂ's powers, though I wonÂ't go into any detail about them.

Primary:

Chillblain
Block of Ice
Frostbite
Shiver
Arctic Air
Flash Freeze
Ice Slick
Glacier
Jack Frost

Secondary:

Personal Force Field
Force Bolt
Detention Field
Dispersion Bubble

Pool Powers:

Combat Jumping
Super Leap
Boxing
Kick
Invisibility

So IÂ'm Uber, Now What?

City of Heroes does have an Â"elderÂ" or endgame that begins once characters reach their mid 30s. Throughout the game world are what the developers have termed Trial Zones. If you think of these like Dark Age of CamelotÂ's epic zones or EverquestÂ's Planes youÂ'll be on the right track. A Trial Zone is an area completely dominated by an amazingly powerful villain and its minions. One Trial Zone, for instance, contains The Hamidon, the near god-like source of all the Devouring Earth villains that plague Paragon City. The Hamidon is a gigantic villain, hundreds of times larger than any hero, and requires dozens and dozens of heroes working together to bring down. And thatÂ's after fighting through all his minions to get to him. Defeating The Hamidon results in special rewards for the players that participate. Currently these are special Enhancers that increase two stats with a single slot. So you might get a damage increase/endurance reducer enhancer, freeing up a slot for something else.

Failure to defeat The Hamidon on a regular basis is supposed to have a detrimental effect on Paragon City. As of this writing the exact effect hasnÂ't been determined, but is likely to involve increased spawning of Devouring Earth villains, and high level Devouring Earth showing up in lower level zones.

Conclusion:

Should you rush out and buy this game on release day? Maybe not, but only in order to avoid the initial crush in the newbie zones. IÂ'd highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of comic books, super hero movies, or just plain action packed MMORPG fun. A comic book background is a plus, so long as you can accept that Cryptic studios has had to make some allowances to make the game fit the MMORPG model and maintain balanced gameplay. ItÂ's not a perfect superhero game, but itÂ's a very good superhero MMORPG. Despite having already played for three months every chance I get, IÂ'm looking forward to City of Heroes hitting retail so I can start the character I really want to play.

- Paladin

Comments

Great read!

Interesting. I agree, it was a good read.

Off all the MMORPG's that aare out there only this Final Fantasy XI, and World of Warcraft have sparked my interest. None of them will get my money though.

psst....NDA hasn't been lifted....just FYI....maybe first impressions later before you receive a cease and desist...just incase...
**edit**
NDA was lifted 04.12.04....woopee! And I agree with him...very good game and worth buying for the mmorpg savy!

City of Heroes – long touted as the last, best hope of comic book fans everywhere, this MMORPG is finally nearing release. After years in development, a major change in the game's fundamental design, and fears of vaporware, comic book junkies everywhere will finally have a chance to get their gaming fix.

Just out of curiosity, did you not like Freedom Force?

Great read Paladin, thanks!

Must...resist...another...monthly...bill.

If we had a GWJ SUPER TEAM!!! that played pretty regularly, I might try it.

Just curious about the state of the game? Almost all Beta MMO's that have gone gold are still considered "beta" quality.

What types of things do you see on a regular basis, in terms of game stability, have you seen?

How is the CS portion of the game? Have you had issues and have you had contact with the CSR's.

How is lag? In many MMO's, if there are many people the game is pretty much a slide show with the best machine/connection.

Great preview - sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks Paladin!

Despite the bits about having classes, levels and all the other trappings of another cookie cutter MMORPG this still sounds fun. I wonder if they'll do a 7-day demo or something like that.

I wonder as well Pyro, I am very interested after reading this....thanks Paladin, that was excellent.

I have a few specific questions Paladin, can I send you a PM?

Feeling... tingly...
Getting... urges... to wear... spandex...

Man, I'd pretty much gotten over my desperate need to be a super hero... Now it's back full force. The game sounds fun, and the sidekick system in CoH strikes me as the best MMOG idea I've ever heard. Maybe just until WoW...

What sidekick system? I missed that.

OMG11!!111!!1 No CAPES WTF!@@!!1!!

J/k, good review Paladin.

Sure I read comic books as a kid and still have them stashed away in the closet so that one day they will make me filthy rich, however, I wouldn't call myself a comic book fanatic. That doesn't stop me from enjoying CoH. I'm a fan of MMORPG's and CoH isn't much different, minus the game's setting. Only real difference I see is there is no economy, loot, or tradeskills to occupy your time whenever you're not killing baddies or questing. This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask, I imagine. I think it might hurt them in the long run if your only options are killing for xp and questing. But as Chumpy says, maybe this will work till WoW comes out.

Some things I don't miss are having to spend most of my game time traveling (running through endless zones,) because one, you can travel pretty swiftly with travel powers (fly, super jump, etc.,) or just take the tram to another zone. Then there is camping. Don't miss having to wait your turn just to fight that one uber bad dude for his uber goody. And finally, I don't miss resting. Waiting for your whole party to finish powering up, just so you can fight a couple more fights and have to rest again. In other words, no down time in CoH.

Of course I'm only level seven, so take anything I say about the game with a grain of salt.

Flux wrote:

What sidekick system? I missed that.

Oh yeah, that's another thing I don't miss - level restritcions. With the sidekick system, anyone can group. A high level hero can take on a sidekick and they can group and fight together. Like be a Robin to my Batman. I havn't actually done it yet, so I'll let Paladin answer specifics, but I think the sidekick sort of gains the level of the Hero he's kicking it with (pun) but gains the same xp as though he was fighting mobs of his level.

Anyways, it basically allows anyone to group, no matter what their level differences. It actually encourages high level super heroes to group with newbs (I think). I've seen a few people ask for sidekicks, or vice versa, at popular gathering places (the trainer, for example,) but havn't tried it yet.

The more I hear the more I like it.

Question: Can you go your entire career and do instanced quests and are the epic zones instanced also so you never have to worry about a uber guild ruining your time online?

Thanks for the answer about a sidekick propa. Damn, I want beta. This game sounds exactly like a mmorpg that would be friendly to people who are casual players. And on top of that you can group with a ride range of levels, that is just too good.

In response to some various questions:

Yes, I did like Freedom Force and am looking forward to Freedom Force 2. However, City of Heroes was announced and got many people hyped about a super hero game before Freedom Force was announced. Also, Freedom Force's mechanics and POV made me feel distant from the action. With Freedom Force I felt like I was controlling a hero. With City of Heroes I feel like I'm living the hero.

Sidekicks--oops, I forgot all about that. The sidekick system is great. If I'm level 30 and you're level 10 I can make you my sidekick and as long as you're near me you'll fight as if you were level 28-29. You don't get additional powers, but you get the hit points, attack bonus, and damage increase. A sidekick isn't as good as someone naturally that level, but you're close enough that you can still contribute in a group.

Currently you could go your entire career doing instanced missions, so long as you spent your entire career grouped. If you solo all the time you will eventually run out of missions at certain levels and have to patrol. However, they will be adding more and more missions as time goes on, so I'm sure eventually you could solo indoors your entire career.

Not too much is known about the epic zones at this point, but I know they're not instanced. However, they are supposed to take massive numbers of players to conquer, so I doubt a single guild could hog the whole thing. Also, they have no way to stop you from participating. You get xp for any damage you deal, regardless of who defeats the enemy, and in the case of one epic villain, The Hamidon, there's no real way to stop you from getting loot. The Hamidon breaks up into dozens of tiny blobs upon defeat. Hit a blob (they only take 1 hit to destroy) and you get a special enhancement--guaranteed. There are fears of griefing in the trial zones, but I can't see how a single uber guild could dominate them. Also, the trial zones respawn every few hours, not every few days, so there shouldn't be the rampant camping of certain other games.

Lastly, there is virtually no downtime at any point during this game. Even at level 34 the only downtime is to "take a breather" and get some endurance back (which takes 30 seconds, tops). If someone is seriously banged up after a fight they use the "rest" power, which heals them back to full in a few seconds. Rest has a very long recharge, but you just don't need it that often anyway.

Feel free to PM me with questions, or ask on the boards. I can't promise I'll see board questions, but I'll try.

How deep is the variation in powers? Are there radius powers like D2's Nova and rain powers like Blizzard? Are there stream powers like D2's lightning or chain lightning? Is it the atypical fire and poison damage = damage over time; lightning stuns; cold damage slows etc? Do they have different lengths for damage over time spells or have them at all? Do some of the enhancers allow you to take a nuke and make it damage over time?

Are there hoods? Can you have pets or temporary summons?

Attack powers come in a variety of flavors. You have your ranged Area of Effect powers like fireball. You have ranged single target powers like Power Blast. You have short ranged cone powers like Frost Breath. Area of Effect ground targeted dots like Rain of Fire. Most roots are also dots, and some attack powersets use dots as well. There are also point-blank area of effect powers like Irradiate. Plus, even melee powers come in single target, cone target, and pbae varieties.

Secondary effects are common on powers as well. Fire powers almost all deliver a small dot in addition to their primary damage. Electrical powers drain endurance. Cold damage slows movement/attack speed. Radiation powers reduce defense. Energy powers cause knockback or disorient.

Enhancers do not allow you to change the damage type of a power. If you have a dot you can enhance the amount of damage it does. If you have a single target nuke you can enhance the damage it does. If you have as single target nuke you cannot turn it into a single target dot. Nor would you really want to. Most damage over time powers in this game are pretty minor. Most damage is frontloaded for maximum impact.

Yes, there are hoods in the character creator.

Several powersets get pets. Ice, Earth, Illusion, and Fire controllers all get pets as their final primary power. Darkness defenders get a pet as their final power, and several other powersets get "pet-like" powers that create a stationary creature/item that attacks your enemies.

Thanks Paladin for the response.

I see a problem with the epic zone layout. I would bet griefers would stay there and do a tiny bit of damange to leech some experience. Also, the little blobs that pop out of the Hamidon could be grabbed by onlookers as well. I guess they will address that.

Besides that, this game sounds like a winner.

Yeah, people are concerned about poaching in the trial zones, but it will be hard, and if it does become a problem I'm sure they'll change it.

Going solo into a trial zone would be a very risky proposition, as in addition to the uber villain at the end there are HORDES of enemies. If you're solo and get attacked you're probably out of luck. Trial zones are level restricted, so you won't have relative newbies sneaking in to try and leech. Lastly, if you go in with a group, what's the problem? As long as your group contributes to the fight you're not doing anything wrong. You can't "steal" the kill in this case because everyone gets xp based on the damage they do. The rewards virtually fall like rain at the end, so everyone has a chance to get some. Sure, someone might steal some, but sooner or later everyone who participates will get a reward. The same can't be said for epic raids in other games. I know people in EQ with very high level characters who went on raid after raid after raid and never got a single thing out of it.

Very good points Paladin. Based on your preview and comments after, I think I am sold. I just hope I can find the time to play it with my many other games. I have bought more games in the past 6 weeks than I did the last 2 years combined, well... almost.

I am done raving about a game that I have not played, honest. I am going to try and find a way to try the beta.

Good write up Paladin.
I was largely apathetic to this game before reading it and now I'm trying to talk myself out of pre-ordering it.

Hmm, maybe Cryptic should be paying me a commission

The only thing that breaks the touch of realism is that civilians will ignore bad guys unless they're the ones directly being assaulted. Purse snatcher fighting with a woman on the sidewalk? Civilians just pass on by, unconcerned. I just shrugged it off and assumed Paragonians are like New Yorkers.

Good review, my guild has been pretty impressed with the game.
It's not that odd. When I was putting myself through college I worked security for a couple years at Circus Circus in Reno. In that time I had people reach across Heart attack victims on the floor to pull slot levers (when they where surrounded by security and EMT's no less), reach over people on the ground being handcuffed to place table bets... and well done any number of other creepy things in the process utterly ignoring the drama around them. I just figured if you saw that everyday you would ignore it too... or well maybe you would put on a mask and and tights but that would pretty much be the choices :).

Wow.

So I've never played in a MMORPG before(well.. the sims online but i really don't want to talk about that horrible, telemarketing based experience) and I'm seriously concidering this one. Is it going to be difficult for me as a newbie to figure out what is going on, join a "guild", or otherwise enjoy?

Soulgrind wrote:

Wow.

So I've never played in a MMORPG before(well.. the sims online but i really don't want to talk about that horrible, telemarketing based experience) and I'm seriously concidering this one. Is it going to be difficult for me as a newbie to figure out what is going on, join a "guild", or otherwise enjoy?

Have you ever played any graphical 3D RPG games, such as Morrowind? If you have any RPG experience at all you should be able to pick up on the gameplay concepts easily enough. Lacking that, I know there will be plenty of websites out there to tell you exactly what's going on.

As far as joining a supergroup (guild), if you talk to people, add them to your friends list, and just generally try to be social you should have no problems. I'm a pretty reticent socializer in these games, but even I have about 20 or so people on my friends list (normally I have about 5).

And if all else fails, start your own. Anyone level 10 or higher can start their own supergroup, you don't even need anyone else to get it going. So reach level 10, start your group, and then start recruiting newbies. You'd have your own fully fledged supergroup in no time.

*drool* I have already started saving up to bump up my ram to at least 512 DDR and getting this game, especially if it doesn't go over $15 a month.

Instanced dungeons are nice, in that you have it all to yourself, however, there is a small downside, imho. They look too similar. I'm guessing there's some kind technological limitations, which means they have to use a set number of skins and even "blocks," like a corner or room used over and over. There might be a warehouse theme and each time you enter such an instanced warehouse you have the feeling of deja vu. "Hey, didn't I just see this little room before?"

The preview does make the game sound interesting, the one thing I don't like is the way they made the archtypes into EQ clones. One of the things I enjoyed about SWG was how there wern't pre-defined roles in combat. I will probably check this out at somepoint although when I tried the Freedom Force demo I kind of realized I wasn't really that into super hero games.