Into the fray!

I mentioned before that I’m part of the City of Heroes Beta Testing group, and it’s nice. Now I see what others are talking about when they speak of camping out on application lists to get to see games, especially online ones before they get released to the public.
I’ll try to take some screen shots today after getting home, but it’s a very good system they have going. I’ve created 2 characters, a magic based “controller” (I won’t say the name as original ones are becoming a hot commodity on the servers) with some illusion powers and weather powers, and a mutant “blaster” with ice and fire abilities. It opened with a training area and training “missions” that pretty much teach you about using the in-game tools, obtaining contacts, accepting missions, how to find targets, determine stronger and weaker targets and use “inspirations” which are short term power boosters which can help in the “heat of battle”.
After training, it’s right to the city of your choice
Atlas Park or Galaxy City to talk to the resident hero and level-up guru (After completing the training mission, you’ve gained a level), you’ll have to come back to one of these characters after gaining a new level to actually “level up” or as they call it, Train up the next Security Level. The highest level character I saw was a Level 10, but in the beta, they pretty much ask people to create new characters on the servers all the time, so there’s no long term life (which is a bummer since I like my characters) for the betas. Oh and the coolest thing, last night my magical character learned to fly!
I agree with the other reviewers of the game that your character will very likely be unique looking, in all the time I’ve been playing, I’ve seen two other characters that looked similar, but not identical. And as far as powers, it’s certainly possible to have a whole lot of say.. lightning flinging heroes, or sword slingers.. but each power will have slots for enhancements to augment your powers, so one person’s ice shards might have a longer range, while another person’s will have higher damage, so unless you plan it, you won’t have two characters with the exact same power set and power enhancement.
For the first time last night I joined a team. It was interesting, except people were basically creating teams out of whoever was nearby instead of actually seeing if they had a good mi
x of character types (there are 5 archetypes). On a team, the team leader chooses which mission the team will undertake and generally it looked like experience points (for leveling) and influence points (currency) were shared across the team members, which is cool. But you definitely have to be focused as a team, talk to one another and not just start taking off for the next mission. Our leader last night would just run off, assuming (I guess) that everyone else on the team knew where he was going and what he wanted to do.
It helps to undertake your own missions and not just randomly wander around seeking thugs or other types of baddies to take out, since you could very easily run into an area filled with enemies many levels higher than you and that’s your ass. You don’t die in the game, just get auto transported to the hospital, and depending on your level, you go into an experience point debt, which are points you have to make up before being allowed to gain experience points for the next higher level.
It has all of the social flaws of a MMORPG. A lot of people don’t stop to chat and role play, they just go around looking to take out criminals and level up, and that’s fine. But there are global chat channels and people get online and instead of playing through the game, they keep shouting over the global chats “DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE TO FIND __________?” Now since I don’t play a lot of these games, I haven’t learned to not be too annoyed by this, but that will come with time.
I’ve been having a lot of fun with the beta, tonight there’s going to be an alien invasion, I think, and then the beta servers close down until the 25th, when all the people who pre-ordered get to play “3 days early” (whoo hoo) and a special power that, while interesting and cool looking, isn’t terribly effective. The monthly cost is certainly nothing to sniff at though, $15 a month, but there are time codes that can be pre-purchased that bring it down to $10. I’ll give it a few months, and it’ll probably get old and boring. But I do hope that I’ll have friends to play with me keeping it interesting for a while.

I realized that this post was getting *very* long, so I put it behind a cut. I hate taking up a lot of real estate on others’ friends page.

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