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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.

Disclaimer

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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Comments on-topic are welcome.

EMAIL any legitimate hyperlinks to me and if on topic, they'll be added to my LINK page. 

 

 

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Wednesday
Apr182012

Back again.,,

Sorry for the lag of late. Several things contributed. 1) I ran out of covers. Surprising, but it does happen. 2) I have had problems with my PC. A hard drive failed and I'm having sound card troubles as well. I've had it lock up my computer with a solid tone three times out of my last two City sessions. Since this forces a reboot when it happens it is increasingly irritating. Finally, 3) I got Skyrim for my 360. Great game, but it definitely took a bite out of my MMO time.

Last night, I got the new staff fighting power on my account. I made another kid mutant character for it , a tactic I'm using a bit too often lately. Swift Mantis was his name, using a green/green motif, Mantis emblem, cape, and no insect body parts. No martial arts costume parts either, except maybe the folded cloth belt. I went with a wrapped staff, and super reflexes for the secondary. He so far has proved to be fun. I got the main powers first, and flight. I'm getting the secondaries a tad late in the game. However he has proven to be quite fun to play. I do like the fact the power set gets cone and area attack powers so early. The animations are cool, and I am hoping that it will lend itself to some cool covers. Or at least some NEW ones.

I definitely think I favor it over the other new powers of late, but then I do a lot of melee characters. I have started a beast control character, but really haven't gotten into it really. Nor do I have a darkness control character.

I still have one thing floating around in my head. Dragon*Con 2012. I am to be THE panelist for the City of Heroes session. I'd like to do something for that, something special so it doesn't seem that we put the session together at the last minute. Recent events and wants are always a subject at these, but I'd like more. So far my inquiries with the devs have gone unanswered. I don't know if it is too early or they just have some bad blood against the convention or what. If you have a clever idea, I would love to hear it.

With a little luck I'll be posting some new covers shortly. I also want to thank those that have left some comments of late. Nice to get some feedback.

Tuesday
Mar202012

Rundown - Double XP weekend

The weekend was subdued for me -- I usually spend a lot more time online during them than I did this time.  The excessive pollen in the area (we broke a record yesterday when it hit 8164), really has done a number on me.

That be said I did get a little time in on a few characters.  Nearly all were checked on Virtue, but some SGs were notoriously quiet when I did.   I got nearly a level in on Paramount Girl, pushing her shy of 36.  However she still isn't in an SG.  I've applied to a group, but they've yet to coordinate, interview, etc.

I did start one -- a mutant who turned metal, I call Alloy Boy.   I did it Street Justice/ Invulnerability.   I haven't really tried Invulnerability on a scrapper recently -- most of my scrappers have gone Regeneration, Willpower or Super Reflexes.  He's joined the Teen Supreme SG, and is already up in the mid twenty levels, thanks to the XP boost.

One of the things I did do was run the Drowning in Blood trial.   Based in what is usually a PVP zone Bloody Bay, this is similar to the now all too common Sewer trial Death From Below.   The big difference is you aren't running it as a low level character, so most of your powers WILL be available.  It has some interesting interaction between the new Shivans (think Galaxy City invasion) versus the traditional Bay forces of Shivans, Circle mages and Banished Pantheon Shamans.   Its not as clear cut as the earlier trial, since you're in wide open spaces surrounded by "force field" walls, but it works.  Strangely enough I see so many people even with upper level characters going for the Sewer trial.

 

 

Wednesday
Mar142012

Back to business

Its been a weird weekend.  I did get a few levels in on ParamountGirl, pushing her to level 35, giving her access to Cimerora.   Lord Infinitum got into another Costume Contest and took first for another 100 million influence.   

Going through some of my other characters, the attendance has been very light over the past few days, in terms of their respective supergroups.   Almost all of them I've been the sole member on, or one of 2 or 3.  Most discouraging if you are looking for some team action.   I can only expect this is due to the combination of things -- 1) the new issue and people trying new stuff possibly on old or new alts, 2) Trying something on the test systems on upcoming items yet to be released, or 3) holding back knowing of this weekend's impending Double XP event.  It got so bad I even got in one night of Skyrim....

Virtue has been seeing high volumes of users, so I suspect there is a log of #1 going on.  New players might also be chosing now to join in.  I do find it a tad odd.

I did pick up the new costume set for the Imperial Dynasty.   I do like it though it appears to be one of the most single minded of the costume sets.  Most of the costume sets to date, pieces can be used outside of the set, but don't sing out any one theme.  I see plenty of people doing power armor mixing Cyborg pieces with Praetorian Pieces and even the Celestial set.   Some of those can be creative.  I do see too many of these pieces out in the wild UNLESS they have gone the whole dynasty them with the character. 

Although tempted to get the new Leprachan pet I'm 20 points shy of it's price and haven't made the leap for it. Ah well.

I've seen a few themed supergroups advertised of late.   Not surprising as a new issue always causes brief surges in the game population and is prime time for promoting supergroups, both young and old.  Many of the new ones are seizing the Darkness Control theme.  I'm not to sure of an all controller/dominator supergroup.  Maybe if they allowed dark defenders and blasters, or even some dark melee scrappers.   If the past is any indication, single powerset supergroups are a flash in  the pan.   They will be popular for a while and then  do the slow fade as people silently move on.

I've also been looking into several supergroup websites.  It is both frustrating and annoying how each supergroup makes joining  either super easy or super hard.   Some groups the recruitment process may be a tell or two long , usually done as an OOC exchange.  The flip side is the groups that want you to apply on their site, have a sponsor in the group, arrange for an interview, and await a final decision.  I've seen far to many of the latter SO slow to respond that the average player would have given up on them before their process even STARTED, let alone wait through it.  Since players can so easily level in the game, it seems to me annoying to no end to be kept waiting, sometimes through 20 levels or more, before being admitted -- THEN usually only as a probationary member.  Ranking is equally chaotic.  Some base it soley on prestige, while others make an elaborate process involving a whole checklist.   Most supergroup websites are on Guildportal, or if not, Guildlaunch.  But some are on very restricted websites that annoyingly  have NOTHING in the way of a forum.   Since they also don't have calendars, it makes me wonder -- WHY have a site at all?  

 

 

Wednesday
Mar072012

Issue 22 - First thoughts.

Okay it was a bit of a wild ride last night.   The only new power set currently available is the Dark Control powers and its corresponding secondaries.  I did try it out briefly, but it didn't thrill me so much at the low levels I saw. Of course I wasn't the only one trying it out.   Getting on a Death from Below team with ALL Controllers and Dominators was needless to say ...unusual to say the least.

I also got on one of my 50s. I've never gotten into the post 50 incarnate stuff yet so I'm finding it a tad confusing as yet. Getting to the revamped Dark Astoria is fairly easy , although I took Flagborn -- a jumper.  Getting to DA you have to go through an apartment complex, a "forest", until you find yourself in an odd corridor and eventually a vertical pit.  I was in that pit a while, found my way back to the corridor, then the pit before FINALLY finding the "entrance" to Dark Astoria.   I felt that could have been done cleaner.

Dark Astoria itself is weird -- the Warwalls glow red.  The mist is gone.  This gives the zone a weird tone.   Villains abound, but there are also contacts to be found here as well. Missions give you incarnate threads and various incarnate XP.    In the zone and missions are a lot of new villains -- some with bizarre new powers.  I ran into one weilding dual elemental swords.   Another WAS a staff weilder.  A couple weere half woman/ half snake types.  This could get so interesting so fast.

Already Virtue hit RED last night.  And Atlas Park and Dark Astoria went to  a third zone each.  Zwillinger was on shortly before I got online, and apparently had been doing something, but I must have just missed it.

It will be interesting to see when the Beast Mastery and Staff fighting powers are added.  The CoH world is changing --  and for a while it will be interesting to ride out these changes .  Why do I feel like a surfer on a tidal wave???

Thursday
Mar012012

City of Heroes 2? Why not?

The Mild Mannered Reporter raised an interesting question today. Why doesn't City of Heroes have a sequel?

A lot of things have changed. The market for one. MMOs are usually FREE-TO-PLAY today. Such wasn't the case when City was first developed nearly 10 years ago. Further when it came out it was the ONLY superhero game out there. Now it is the first of 3, with at least one more , the Marvel MMO, on its way.

Any sequel is going to have a tough road to cover. IT is popular, but nowhere near the WoW glory day popularity levels that all MMOs seem to shoot for and dream about these days. All its competitors deal with known copyrighted characters. Even Champions characters have been around for a while. And as the problem with people wanting to do copyrighted characters in game will prove, people want to be like those characters be it Batman, Superman, Wolverine, or the Hulk. At its very essence, that is the whole appeal of a super hero MMO game.

While the graphics engine has seen some improvements like Ultra mode graphics, water effects,shadowing and more, it is still old technology. A replacement engine would have to be versatile indeed -- to handle all the myriad effects that customized powers from a large number of heroes could generate, and not slow to a creep as the current engine has in the past on some machines.

Such improvements could cover whole new aspects of hero costumes. Lets face it. This is one of the biggest attractions to City of Heroes. With the addition of Imperial Defense, Imperial Dynasty, Celestial, Roman, Elemental, and other costume sets, we've already got a rich selection. But KNOWING the importance this is to the players, they could add whole new features. Articulated hands with fingers for instance. Animated faces. Jewelry. Tattoos. New emote animations could be suggested by any of the above. I've always thought the lack of hanging necklaces and pendants a big gap. I can think of several comic book mages that have lots of stuff like this hanging of their necks. A collection of crystals, mystical and religious symbols would be good -- Less than the chest detail symbols in size.

One thing I'd like to see in a sequel would be season and weather effects. Having clear skies once in a while rather than the usual semi-cloudy skies would be wonderful. Not to mention the random rainstorm. Jokes about wet costume contests aside, Not ever seeing rain has always bugged me in City. The trees should change colors and lose their leaves during fall and winter. And if it is still based in Paragon City, let us see the occasional snowfall. Seeing Paragon covered in snow would be great.

The war walls should go. Going Rogue proved they are no longer necessary. Of course I'd think that getting rid of them in some places would still be problematic. Look at Steel Canyon-- bordered by Perez Park, Independence Port, Boomtown and Atlas. Without walls, these zones don't quite fit together easily. A big problem for the maps when the ends and corners don't mesh up with existing zone items. While the view might go on -- I suspect we'd end up with annoying invisible walls here and there...

If they wanted to start fresh, I'd like to see a WEST coast city get the limelight. Face it -- All the current MMOs are on East coast cities. Even a major CENTRAL USA city could be fun. Regardless it would still have to have an attraction of some kind to all kinds of heroes and villains. Whether that is just the people, or something else, its hard to say.

There might be resistance if they destroy Paragon to make way for a new game after all these years. But then with Statesman gone? Anything can happen.

Monday
Feb272012

Weekend Blues

It was a weird weekend. Starting off with the Friday failed hero costume contest. I attended the last session and saw several bizarre heroes. Lots of toilet humor characters, some tricky concepts. Once I get through some of the screenshots, expect to see some here. I didn't see everyone since this contest spread to two Pocket Ds, and was just one session of several occurring through the day.

I toyed around with a new alt, Yankee All-Star, a super strength invulnerable brute that was in some ways reminiscent of old claw fighter Yankee Fighter that I had years ago, maybe a bit of Bellringer as well. Anyway he took off big time, and ended at around level 19. He also was noticed and recruited into Original Justice, which is the same group that Moonspike was noticed in.

I did refresh all my Virtue toons, logging into each. I couldn't help but notice the increasing number of heroes without supergroups. Protectorate of Heroes seems dead -- I dropped 2 heroes out of there when I was named leader by default. I'm not going to inherit a group like that, and be able to do much with it. So few of the new groups prevail. Global Defenders is hoping to restart -- but it has only a handful of members at the moment.

I did role-play with Doctor Futura. Noticed Gold Falcon when I started going through some of the characters. He was the only other Gods of the Golden age hero on at the time. We spoke at length about various supergroup stuff, and then role played with a couple prospective heroes.

Late Sunday I got in on the tail end of a Young Justiciars meeting. It was a tad wild. Sometimes it is hard to see where character anger ends and player anger begins when people are role playing. It can be such a volatile thing to be doing...

I'm still playing with the site, adding links where ever possible. I've made a banner for the forums with some covers -- and it seems to be adding some attention to the site. I know I've logged into several supergroup sites to update my signatures with the new blog address.

Now it is a matter of keeping it up. We should have plenty to talk about in the near future.

Rumors seem to suggest that Issue 22 could be out as early as tomorrow. With the changes to Dark Astoria, I might be trying to get the old badges there on a couple of my toons -- after Issue 22 goes live, those badges may be inaccessible to anyone under 50.

I've tried the Super packs 3 times, all on Atomwave. I must have got nearly 100 merit rewards, 6 of the costume pieces, and other miscellaneous gear. Some people are thinking that this is a bad thing. I think that it is a lot of sour grapes. If they didn't get anything good on more than a few rolls, its a BAD THING to them. Anyone who has ever done collectible card games knows there is a degree of chance that can't be avoided. One person can get the rare items they one in 5 packs, where another can by 50 and still not get them. One of those will be happy, the other not.

We have new powers coming -- Darkness control, staff fighting, and some sort of Beast mastermind I hear. Any one of these will be great. Although I wonder how many Barbarian Beastmaster clones will be hitting the game. I wonder when each will hit, and how many people will give them a try. Some powers are always more popular than others, and always affect the balance of player population. When time manipulation hit, everyone had it. Now as the novelty wore off, only a select few are using it. I suspect some of these powers will be out with Issue 22, and others will follow later. I'd be very surprised if all three were released on Issue 22 from the start.

I'm still anxious for Saturday's Golden Age Festival. It is going to be a long week.

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