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The above link is my Flipboard magazine -- a currated collection of articles, tweets, even videos about console gaming, MMOs & DragonCon.  Over 2000 viewers and growing.


History: This blog is the third incarnation, and started as a paper RPG & desktop gaming blog.  After starting the MMO City of Heroes days after its launch in 2004,  It developed into one dedicated to that MMO, as it remained for nearly eight years. On November 30, 2012 that MMO was shut down by the company NCSoft despite an outpouring of fan support and community outrage.  Starting In December 2012, I'm going to be opening up the focus of the blog to cover ANYTHING gaming I'm playing, be it PC, XBox 360, iPad, Dragon*Con, etc.

That being said, their will be images from various games posted on this blog.  No claim here is made to the games, and no intent to infringe on any copyrights are inferred.   Copyrights are property of the respective companies.


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ALL unsolicited off-topic posts and links will be removed, no matter how old the post used to hide them.

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Competition MMO #4 -- Marvel Heroes

It looks like Gazillion is finally getting this one close to completion.   In this it appears though that the player is playing MARVEL heroes.   I hope not.   This would be a total departure from the other games.   Only time will tell.  I can't imagine that the ability to MAKE personalized characters would not be part of a modern Superhero RPG.  They're making a big deal out of costumes based on the Avenger's movie.

It does look like this game is doing a better flavor of multiplayer combat  --  given the appeal of Marvel's universe of characters most of which seem to attract copycats in CoX despite being Eula violations, it may upset the 3-way split the current games have at the moment.    

I have to admit -- I'm curious about it.   But neither of the other two kept my interest for long.  Will Marvel be any different?


Best superhero costume creator?

Massively poses another question, and a poll.   Of the three current Superhero Games, WHICH has the best costume creator?

I may be biased, but I found DCUO to be very restrictive in places, and not prone to some obscure toon elements.  Of course with its hyper-repetative missions both at early play and at "end-game" play, it doesn't score may points when compared to COHs content.    Champions came in with Non-cape non-wing back options first, but with the recent advent of both the Mecha Vet items , Retro Sci Fi stuff now in the game, things are looking back in CoX's favor.   In some ways the graphic style makes Champions look better at times.   IF you like that kind of thing.  CoH somehow has blended a lot more variety into their system -- and that has allowed for some suprising creativity.   

I will grant that after 8 plus years COH, even going ultra-mode, is still dated compared to the newest games on the market.   One can only hope that there is a COH 2 in the works.

I urge everyone to place their votes... COH fans or not -- I'd love to see who the REAL winner is...



Issue 23 is LIVE!

It went live yesterday -- earlier than I would have thought.  Tuesday updates are their usual tactic.   This is good for the weekend though.

I did spend 3 of my vet points to get the Mecha outfit.  I do like them, nice and reflective on my video card.  A tad tricky to color and look good.   I've noticed a trend to have white as a core color and alternate between two other colors on the various pieces.  TRI-color Mechas are very common, especially the white red and blue types.

And of course the LFG and HELP channels are going nuts with people trying to get into the newest Task force.   I dare say we're going to have a lot of people putting in some overtime this weekend... :)


Meanwhile, at the computer...

Finally got it back up and running.  After a half dozen reboots, installing 8 or 9 or Windows updates, and then going through a complete reinstall of the Launcher and Game.   UGH.  It took several hours to do.  I wish I knew what causes such nonsense -- The Launcher, Windows, my computer, or something else.  And of course all my  default settings are hosed.   The only good thing is that it cleaned up a few gigabytes of space on my main drive.  That and I got a little Skyrim time in...

Considering this is the second time it has gotten hosed on me it is MORE than irratating to not know if the cause is avoidable or inevitable.




MMO FlashMob -- Dangerous Trend?

The other day I noticed several people with Marvel themed costumes on in game under Atlas.   Spiderman, Ghost Rider, Nick Fury,  Cable and Hulk.   It seemed that they started attracting people trying to do their best to replicate known characters, each trying to outdo the others.

Yesterday the same thing happened again.   One player had on a Batman styled outfit.  Another had a Joker costume -- simillar to the latest movie version.  One player actually made a short somewhat large toon in suit and English monocle he named "Oswald Cobblepot."  When I came back through later, these players were still there, but joined by a HarlieQuinn,  A Mr. Freeze, and more. 

This seems to be the online equivalant of a Flash mob.   In the old stories of Larry Niven who postulated a form of teleport technology and what it would do to society, he came up with that term.  People could go anywhere by dialing a few numbers, so when they saw news, no matter how trivial, they went TO the scene.  A mob appeared in a flash.

In the MMO world, people come and go at the drop of a hat. Alting thru several toons over a few hours. Now with players having multiple character slots, multiple costume slots on the characters, the ability to save outfits and change for a few thousand influence, it is EASY to have several costumes standing by.   The monetary cost is trivial if the character has millions of influence--- and now that you can email influence to yourself, that is of little problem. I've probably a half dozen toons with a hundred million or more easily, and dozens with anywhere from 10 to 50 million thanks to sharing the wealth.  Vet players even get several free costume tokens to boot.

So someone shows off a suit VERY like Dr. Fate, blue and gold, etc.   Some one counters this by costuming like Dr. Strange.  Another does Dr. StrangeFate.  Then we have a Zatanna, a Zatara, a Captain Marvel.   It barrel rolls.   FEW of these players are violating NAMES, so unless they get caught by a GM with the costume in play, OR are reported while it is still on the character, they've nothing to fear?  Right?

I think not.  There will ALWAYS be a subset of the population who likes the game, remembers the Marvel Lawsuit, and will REPORT several if not all copycat characters.   ESPECIALLY those that violate name and image restrictions.    You can't defend a oversized green man in purple pants if you name him "xTHExINCREDIBLExHULKx" just to get past the name filters.  Looks is a violation. Name is a violation.  Trying to evade the naming filters is a violation.  Someone WILL report you.   

Few people probably realize the following EULA provision - "You may not select an Account ID, NCsoft Message Board ID, Character ID and/or Team designation, or provide any communication or information on any Message Board, that NCsoft, in its sole and absolute discretion, deems to be confusing, gibberish or slang (e.g., Asdf, ROFL, InYourFace); "   HOW many names have you seen on toons that would violate THAT rule alone?  If they wanted to all l33t names would be forbidden.

I doubt any players will get banned over this unless they clone and clone again, getting caught repeatedly.   Every superhero movie release since this game came out has had its share of would be copycats come in as said superhero-of-the-moment.   Avengers is hot, so its characters pop up now.  Batman & Spiderman movies are coming. It is going to be a VERY long summer.

The EULA clearly states "You may not select an Account ID, NCsoft Message Board ID, Character ID and/or Team designation that would require any license from any third-party; ".  Since they obviously lay claim to all contents of the game, including all things player created, and any content they CAN'T lay claim to shouldn't be in the game.   NCSOFT is obligated to delete any such content as fast as possible - to protect their OWN copyright claims as much as anyone elses.

I hate to rant on this, but it is a sore point with me.   If people were doing this for a Supergroup meeting, behind "closed doors" it wouldn't be bad.  Small audience -- no more than doing CosPlay at a convention.    Doing it in FULL public view? Where hundreds can see?  It threatens the game.  Can you imagine what would happen if a Marvel author or artist logged in to check out the game and started to see Cable and Cyclops knockoffs, Deadpools and others?   The servers could go down INDEFINATELY.

You can do homage characters easy enough in this game.  I've got a character, Lord Infinitim, that has a helm very Dr. Fate-ish.      But I purposely have KEPT the colors blue and gold OFF the character.  No Ankhs either.  You can suggest a character without BEING the character.  Too many people cross the line by trying to be EXACT replicas.     My Paramount Girl is suggestive of both Supergirl and Power Girl, sometimes with a bit of Ms Marvel thrown in.   But  it doesn't  copy anything exactly.   Homages are a tricky avenue, but can be rewarding in their own, and may lead to creative avenues of their own.   We've plenty of tech parts that can make a passible Iron Man type character.  But if you do those IN his RED & GOLD, that crosses the line.   The same exact toon colored purple and green wouldn't raise an eyebrow.  Well at least not for copyright reasons.

The other day I caught  the following exchange in Steel Canyon:


Generic 000 401 007:  Who did that to me :( 
Generic 000 401 007:  Ive been on this toon for weeks no problem. 
Benaiah: Yeah, I've had a 50 that I KNOW will get generic'd if they spot the name
Sharp Wit: I had an alt for 7 years that should have been genericed before I changed the name myself.
Benaiah: Oh, you were the Wonder Woman clone?
Benaiah: Yeah.  That sucked if that's who was nerfed
Generic 000 401 007: This game is almost a decade old, no one from dc is watching this game lol

They clearly blame everyone BUT themselves. 

People know they are in the wrong -- I once broke up such a gathering simply by logging in with a guy in a business suit - using the toon-name of "The Copyright Lawyer".  I said nothing just standed near them.   If they were really in the right would they have dispersed so fast?


Eight and counting

The other night was the official start of the anniversary events.   I did get involved with a Nemesis invasion, something I saw continuing last night.This had the strange benefit of getting a surprising number of Fake Nemesis toward that defeat badge on Blue Ward, who hasn't even hit 20 yet.   I did notice some rubberbanding off and on that night.   I hope it is only temporary.

als of note, during May they are giving out the Rhapsodic badge for the 8th year anniversary to anyone logging in.   Another reason to re-log on to a lot of my stored characters that aren't on Virtue at the moment, like Blue Rook and Crusading Cavalier.

I've currently got 5 slots open on Virtue --the most I've had in ages.   I've one more holding a name for a possible robot character if they ever roll out MECHA costume stuff.  I was half hoping that would be this week, but alas not.  I would hope it occurs in the next 2 or three weeks.   I did some work in on Atomwave the other day.  I think I need to pin down my 4 or 5 Virtue toons that I'll be focusing on.   That is hard to do when you have over 30.   Sadly some groups will make that easy.   I see too many full groups of 40 to 100 members that only have a half dozen ACTIVE players.   Not a good sign.

Playing the last few days has been odd.  I've been having trouble with my knee since September, and evidently had pushed myself out of my office chair one too many times as the arm rest, a hunk of solid plastic, snapped in two.   Still held together by the cusion, it of course provided little support.   Especially if you used the elbow on it.   Forgetting yourself in the middle of combat, placing your arm on the rest only to have it fold up underneath you is a tad distracting.   I managed to find a replacement at Office Max.   My wife liked it so well she wanted me to get her one too.

I like the new transport ship temporary power.   Shame that wasn't put in the game AGES ago.   Typical Longbow colors I notice.   Now they'd REALLY sell if they gave you the chance to repaint the ships.   I could SOOOO see supergroups going crazy with that.  

One thing I've been noticing in the last week or so is some weird stuff going on with fallen foes in the game.   Where they used to just fall, now they twitch after they are down.  Sometimes embedding themselves into objects, floors, and walls very easily, or getting hung up more often.   Some others twist in peculiar ways that anyone outside of Mr. Fantastic or Plastic Man should find painful if not fatal.   I find that a little disconcerting in a game where we are supposed to be good heroes that my mental whammy is doing permanent physical harm.  I heard tell that there was some tweak to the rag doll physics to reduce lag.   I've not been seeing lag all that often, but I can't say that I like this tradeoff.   Anyone else noticing/reacting to this?


This one is so painful to look at...downed with pyschic blast... ???

I'm continuing to stockpile toon images to stretch out my backlog of covers.   I really want to get at least one image published to this blog daily, running as long as possilbe.  My target is to go through the summer right up to Dragon*Con itself, if not beyond.   I won't have something to say daily, but I do like showing off my covers, as well as the WILD costumes and characters I see in game.    Spread the word and keep watching -- If you play on Virtue, you might see yourself here.



Weekend & More

I've had some fun over the weekend -- I have axed a few toons on Virtue, freeing up some slots once again.   I did restart Darkbrand as a Dark/dark Controller rather than a Scrapper.   The costume got a slight mod, but I had several people comment on the costume once again.  Thanks to several Death From Below runs combined with Positron 1 and half of Positron 2 (the leader went AFK before one mission and never came back.), I got him up to 19 relatively quickly.

I came up with a nice Purple/red/gold costume with the New Statesman helm and emblem that is available.  Costume is saved, but I've not found the right powerset to run with him.  Again this look got nods and random tells so I really do want to run with it.

I also reactivated a one-eyed costume.  I like the effect and have always wanted to try it again .  So keeping with the red/purple blend with gold/white highlghts, I redid him.  His original build was skinny, with a tail.   I beefed him up, gave him a half mantle cape, with gold disk broaches holding up an Arachnos cape done up in mono color.  You get that cape at level 1 -- If you make it the same color on both sides, you can do a normal cape before level 20 without having to buy it.   His is gold inside, white outside.   Given him the name Psideways, something I've used once before, I got him on a few DFB runs, getting him to level 14 in short order.  Both Psideways and Darkbrand need groups.

Swift Mantis got a little play over the weekend, attending the Recruitment Faire.  That was a fun event, and it almost immediately filled KR.  Attendance spread over into a second then a third zone.    Dawn Patrol hosted, with Justice Corps, Eternals, Tessaract Castle, Hero Dawn, and other groups in attendance.   Although Swift Mantis's group "The Heroic Society" saw no recurits, it was obviously VERY successful for the larger groups.    I took a lot of shots of toons in attendance.  I'll be intermixing toon shots with cover shots over the next month.   I've already got images lined up for the next 10 days, waiting to publish.   I'll add more as I make covers.   I'm trying to make sure that I'm publishing SOMETHING each day, without going too heavy either way.   After the leader gave up on the faire, I returned as Ice-Agent and did land a spot on the Eternals.

Sidebar got an update yesterday -- Adding the Goodreads images.   I got involved with it through the Sword and Laser Podcast which I've been following.   They do their discussions on Goodreads as a group.  I DO so need to read more.  Most of the books I do "read" are done through Audible and their downloadable spoken books.  Sometimes when I'm through all my podcasts I do so love to LISTEN to a good book.  But alas, getting two books a month through them has proven a bit much, as I've several books built up that I've not listened to.   Another thing that is filling my iPod.

Of the three new character sets I've no Beast controller in play .   I started one, but didn't like it so gave it the axe.   More from his appearance & name than the powerset itself.

One fluke over the weekend -- I noticed that I had a few unturned Cards on the account.   I went ahead and did turn them over.  One of the things to pop up was the Dark Wolf companion pet, which is now appearing on all my characters.  I've only got a few that it fits, but it is big and gets noticed.   Apparently they are very rare.   I may have to start a Beast controller with it in mind.

Wish me luck.