Archive for the City of Heroes Category

And in Other News

Posted in Champions Online, City of Heroes, LotRO, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop RP on September 12, 2016 by koljarn

Still chipping away at LotRO rep. Just need to finish the Ringlo Vale faction, and then I’m done with the repeatable quests. It’s a long, slow grind, really nothing worth reporting there.

I’ve been dabbling in Empyrion: Galactic Survival and Champions Online. I’ll address each of these separately.

Empyrion is very similar to Space Engineers, if you’ve ever tried that. It is, however, not nearly as complex, and your ability to create complex machines is fairly nonexistent. Despite that, I find it to be a better casual game, especially when it comes to playing on a planet. My verdict is that it is a keeper; I won’t play it all the time, but it is nice to have a sci-fi sandbox game that you can fire up and play for a day or two, set it aside, and pick up again whenever you like.

Champions Online was Cryptic’ s successor to City of Heroes. Basically, they sold City of Heroes to NCSoft (who eventually closed the game down, which is another topic entirely), then created a sub-par replacement game (Champions Online), which they sold to Perfect World, the same company that runs Star Trek Online. I was in the Champions Online open beta, and subscribed to the game when it was first released – I hated it. Mechanics were bad, the interface was clunky, and it was just not enjoyable – I quit after a month. However, my friend and I noticed this game on Steam about a month ago, and decided to give it a try. It turns out that many, but not all, of the issues from launch have been addressed, and the game is not bad. That is, so long as you are a subscriber. A free-to-play user will find themselves extremely limited, and buying content a la carte is prohibitively expensive. I’d say that this game is worth playing for a few months, but don’t go nuts.

Now, about subscribing – the ArcGames site interface is absolutely atrocious.  I thought it might be me, but both of my other friends playing this game encountered the same difficulties.  It temporarily locked out my PayPal account, it refused to take my primary credit card, and it denied my second credit card – sort of.  It said it denied the card, but it certainly charged it and began my subscription.  The web site needs some TLC from a dedicated programmer.

In tabletop gaming, I’ve been going through the books for “The One Ring” game. The mechanics seem derived from West End Game’s d6 System, and it looks pretty sound. I particularly like the rules for travel and Shadow (how the corruption of Middle Earth weighs on the character’s mind). If you enjoy RPGs set in Middle Earth, this is worth a look. I understand that they are working on some d20 rules, but I’ve never been satisfied adapting a genre to d20 – stick with the original ruleset, I think you’ll enjoy it more.

LOTRO Renaissance? Not Quite.

Posted in City of Heroes, LotRO, Online Gaming with tags , on September 11, 2010 by koljarn

Not all those who wander are lost.  Some are just on the way to Enedwaith.  I set aside City of Heroes this week after running through three of the four Praetorian arcs from start to finish.  CoH can do well in the future, if they expand on the Praetoria area of the game.  With some trepidation, I fired up LoTRO on the day of the subscriber head-start for the new content.

The game is mostly as I remember it.  They were nice enough to tell me that they had refunded the points that I had spent in my legendary items.  They neglected to tell me that my skirmish soldier (a healer) had also been reset.  Thus, the first skirmish that I attempted was a total bloodbath – and I was the supplier of the blood.

After re-training my soldier, I skirmished for a long while to get the feel for my character back.  Honestly, champions are easy to play.  Beat on things, get angry, and then beat on multiple things at once.  Learning to play a champion is easy – remembering where all the icons are and what they do is more difficult.  Unlike CoH, LoTRO requires at least three toolbars for a character, and most of my character are actually using five toolbars strategically spread about the UI.

Having re-acquainted myself with melee AoE, I set off for Enedwaith,  Enedwaith is the new zone south of Eregion.  Which will come as a shock to anyone trying to level up while playing in Eregion, because mobs jump 15 levels all at once.  If a level 48ish character wanders in, they are not likely to wander out again.  I’ll admit that I like what I’ve seen in Enedwaith so far.  It is a good expansion, and it is outdoors under the sun for a change, rather than in a cave or in a gloomy forest.  It was needed – I know people who refuse to play in Moria or Mirkwood because it is too depressing to visit long-term.  On the other hand, the problem that I experienced before with LoTRO – a lack of casual content for people at the level cap – is still there.

I liked the fact that there were small 3-person dungeons in Mirkwood.  I intensely disliked the fact that they were set up for people to farm for hours at a time, collecting  loot tokens.  I like skirmishing – you can skirmish every day and do a few different skirmishes.  It’s not a grind.  On the other hand, hitting the same instance again and again is a grind.  In the Moria expansion, a casual player could collect the materials for and create excellent general-purpose gear without raiding.  It wouldn’t be radiance gear, and it wouldn’t be the top-end stuff, but it was good stuff.  The craftable level 65 gear you got out of Mirkwood was actually inferior to the level 60 gear you could make in Moria.  In other words, crafters are in serious need of some love right now.

On the Brink

Posted in City of Heroes, Online Gaming with tags on August 27, 2010 by koljarn

I’ve generated (and played) three different Praetorian characters so far.  I played two scrappers, which is unusual for me, and one blaster.  Guess which one finished their story arc?  That’s right, the blaster.  For some reason, I always lose interest in scrappers.

Anyway, I finished the “wardens” arc, which is part of the Resistance.  I also plan on eventually finishing the “responsibility” arc, which is a loyalist storyline.  That should pose no problem for me.  I’d like to finish the “crusader” arc also, but but the “crusader” and “power” arcs make me want to punch NPCs in the face.  Specifically, the NPCs who are asking me to do all sorts of horrific things – my contacts.  Like any sane being, I tend to avoid unpleasant things that I don’t need to do, so I may procrastinate on the crusader arc  indefinitely.

My Praetorian blaster, however, is pure joy to play (as are all blasters).  At level 19, he is at the top of the Praetoria level limit, so I think I’ll spend a few days flying around town and collecting all the badges.  It is definitely the nicer alternative – I suspect that the crusaders arc will have me burning down a day care center, or the responsbility arc will have me cleaning up the aftermath of a fire in a day care center.  Yeah, some of the missions are that bad.

I Played a Praetorian and All I Got Was This Lousy Tee Shirt

Posted in City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , on August 22, 2010 by koljarn

I’ve been kicking “Going Rogue” around over the last week.  I have mixed feelings about some things – specifically, character archetype roles – and overall positive impressions of the setting.  Regarding the archetype conflicts – I’m not sure who is going to want a tanker when brutes are available to take the same role, or who wants to take a stalker when scrappers can take their place in a team.  I suppose you could take a corruptor over a blaster if you’re desperate for any healing you can get, but blaster DPS is consistently higher, especially when you have aim and build-up on a quick recharge.

On the other hand, the setting is awesome.  I’m only disappointed that there are only enough zones to take you to level 20.  Praetoria is a better venue for your character, regardless of whether you have aspirations to be a hero, a villain, or something in-between.  Elements of the government are corrupt to the core, and some of the vaunted resistance movement has turned to outright terrorism.  From a hero’s point of view, there are plenty of bad apples on both sides that need to be dealt with if the population is really going to be protected.  From a vigilante’s point of view, there are lots of people who need to be punished – lots and lots.  From a rogue’s point of view, there are many people who richly deserve to be manipulated and take advantage from them.  From a villain’s point of view, the place is ripe for a little divide-and-conquer.  Overall, it is a less sterile setting than either Paragon City or the Rogue Isles.  Hopefully, new zones will be added to Praetoria in the future.

On the 40K front, I’ve done a little more painting – I’m actually close to finishing the last few terminators, if I can buckle down for a few hours and set my mind to the task.  Yesterday was the annual Games Day event in Baltimore.  I don’t attend every year, but I do go occasionally.  There was lots of cool terrain to see, and this Games Day seemed a little more relaxed to me than in years past.  Maybe I’m just getting old.  Either way, I actually enjoyed this Games Day more than previous ones.

I’ve Got Me Some Words…

Posted in City of Heroes, LotRO, Online Gaming with tags , on August 17, 2010 by koljarn

It’s been a while since a real post was made, and I feel the urge to speak my mind today.  Not about 40K (yes, I still paint occasionally, and the Deathwing force is nearing completion).  No, today I believe I will pontificate about City of Heroes and speculate about Lord of the Rings Online.

Last night, I got early access to New Praetoria in CoH (me and the thousands of others who pre-ordered it).  I have to say that playing as a Praetorian looks fun, and I started a Brute there.  When in doubt, generate an angry old man and turn him loose (this one was “creatively” named Drunken Geriatric).  He has the new kinetic melee and energy defense powersets, and they seem fun enough at low levels.  I have no experience at higher levels, though.

However, the two specific character types that I love in CoH remain the energy/energy blaster and the radiation/radiation defender.  The blaster does great damage, has dramatic knockback effects, and can be an asset to the team if you know how to use knockback as a tool rather than as an annoyance.  The defender can turn a rampaging archvillain into a impotent old man.  A rad/rad defender is playable on his own, but he’s absolute hell on wheels with a group.  Anyway, back to Going Rogue and New Praetoria…

There is a fear among Tankers that Brutes will replace them, now that you can create a Brute and switch sides to become a hero rather than a villain.  Brutes have slightly lower defense caps, but their damage output is significantly higher.  I’m waiting to see what will happen, but I do think that the Tanker community’s fears are well-founded.  The only was to even the disparity would be to buff tankers (which would antagonize Scrappers) or to nerf Brutes (which would antagonize everyone who generated a Brute with plans to switch to the Hero side).  Of course, the devs could just do nothing and accept whatever happens… that’s always an option, but the devs in CoH have a reputation for meddling with the game mechanics.

LotrO has had a new zone in the works for a while.  Enedwaith – Dunland – will be interesting.  It is supposed to have varied terrain – which makes sense, since it is a large area bordered by major rivers on the north and south, the sea on the west, and the Misty Mountains to the East.  The men of the region – Dunlendings – have alternatively sworn allegiance to Gondor and Sauron in times past.  Not the most trustworthy bunch.  The unstable nature of the area would make it ripe for adventure.

It’s also interesting that Turbine seems to have us alternatively chasing after and guarding the flank of the Fellowship.  In any case, an expansion set in Rohan can’t be too far off – Dunland  is just to the west of Rohan, and the areas of Mirkwood that have been detailed are not too far to the north.  Perhaps in two or three more expansions, we will get Rohan and Helm’s Deep.  I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve Heard It All Before.

Posted in City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , on August 14, 2010 by koljarn

I’m still knocking about in City of Heroes.  Right now, I’m mostly playing on Virtue – my high level characters are all on Guardian.  It’s interesting – the two servers are alike and yet very different.  Both of them consider themselves “RP Servers,” and there’s plenty of snobbery to go around on both of them.  However, Virtue seems to consistently have more people online.  More people means more snobs and more jerks, but it also means more cool folks that you can meet.  The jerk to cool-person ratio is about the same on both server, but it is rare to get a group going on Guardian.  On virtue, people will group up at the drop of a hat.  Is one better than the other?  It depends on the type of character that you like to play, I suppose.  If you prefer a support character, stick to Virtue.  Solo-friendly character types will do very well on Guardian.

Anyway, to the main subject – server transfers and merges.  The Going Rogue expansion (AKA Issue 18) is going to offer free server transfers.  People from less populated servers are concerned that this will turn their server into a barren wasteland.  Okay, I’m overstating it a bit, but you get the idea.  People from more heavily populated servers are worried that this will mean that their home server will become over-congested and too busy for casual play.  Are both of these concerns justified?  Well, I think so, but I also think that in order for a MMO to be healthy, there needs to be a critical mass of players available to hang out together.  I’ve seen it in WAR, SWG, and even UO.  The single-player game is generally OK, but these games are written around the idea that you have a group of people working together.  Get a group going and all sorts of new challenges open up for you, expanding your in-game possibilities.  The server transfers will facilitate getting the players together, and that’s a good thing.

40K-wise, I’m slowly chipping away at the last few terminators.  I’ve forgotten how annoying the basic power fist can be to paint.  Consider me re-educated.

We Hunt the Fallen

Posted in City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , on August 4, 2010 by koljarn

Deathwing is always a pain to paint, but the results are stunning, even when the paint job is only table-top level.

The models in the front rank have just been completed.  All of the banners are new.

Six more metal terminators, and I’m done with Deathwing — until I decide to replace the old metal ones with plastics, of course.  I know it will happen, eventually.

Online gaming-wise, I’m playing City of Heroes, on Virtue.  My high level characters are on Guardian, but Virtue really seems to have the most active population.  Getting a rad/rad defender to 20 has been a breeze – there seems to be a critical shortage of defenders and tankers.

More online or offline updates as they occur.  Or if I feel like it.  You know the drill.


Posted in Background Noise, City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , on June 6, 2010 by koljarn

Yeah, another 40K post.  Them’s the breaks.  I’ll get back to LotRO as soon as they dish out some new content – I do have a lifetime sub, after all.

Something that I have noticed that really tweaks me a little bit is when people build army lists for 40K and cross fluff lines.  I mean that they take special characters and/or units as if they were not just a different sub-group (such as Ultramarines versus Crimson Fists), but as if they were both at the same time.

Let me be clear on this: it is not breaking the rules.  Fine.  However, it is not in the spirit of the game.  It is metaphorically similar to the difference between illegal and unethical.  Obviously, not everyone plays the game fluff-heavy, and gamesmanship is rampant among the tourney crowd.  Again, that’s fine – for them.  Mercifully, the few people against whom I play (on the rare occasions when I get to play) believe in following the fluff – the story – as much as they believe in following the rules.

Oh, well, enough ranting.  I could go one for quite a while if I don’t reign myself in.

I’ve thrown together a City of Villains character, just for the Going Rogue expansion.  If it turns out that you have to be level 40+ in order to do whatever task force is required to change sides, then such is life.  Playing a Mastermind who can summon ninjas is pretty cool, though.  Not as cool as being able to nuke a city block with a Blaster, but still fun.

That’s all for now.

Nerd Rage!

Posted in Background Noise, City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , on May 16, 2010 by koljarn

I’ve stated before that I always try to patronize local businesses rather than using the Internet when making a purchase. As always, Murphy’s Law decided to impose itself.

All I wanted to purchase was some modeling putty, some paint, and some dye. I was flexible about the brand of pain and dye – all that mattered was that the paint be a light brown color and the dye needed to be dark brown. I was informed that they were out of stock on each item, and that they would be willing to do a special order for me instead. OK, I could understand being out of stock on a special model or a limited edition game piece. No big deal. However, common supplies are something that you keep in stock. I might have thought that this was due to a run on the store, except that this was over the course of two weeks, and on each visit to the store they were out of stock. Naturally, I ordered my supplies online, where I received them at a significant discount.

Do I feel guilty about ordering hobby supplies online? Yes, which may strike people as a bit odd. Local businesses are important to me – not the big shops, I mean the small businesses with one or two branches. Restaurants, local hardware stores, and those sort of businesses usually give something back to the community. This particular hobby shop is a great place to hang out and talk to other gamers, but it has pretty poor record about keeping itself well stocked. Frankly, I don’t know how long it will stay in business if it continues this practice.

Enough ranting. I have completed almost all of the power armored Dark Angels in my refurbishment project. I have four Ravenwing bikers to re-base, and I am putting together two new Ravenwing sergeants (when I first put the Ravenwing squads together, there were no mounted models with sculpted robes). When I finally finish the Ravenwing stuff, I’ll try to snap a few photographs. Then, it will be time to re-base a terminator assault squad and paint two more magnetized dreadnought arms. I’ll have to squeeze one more ranged terminator squad in there, somewhere. I have a bunch of stuff to do, but the progress that I’ve made is heartening, to say the least.

Online, I haven’t had much time to do too much. I’ve been tinkering around with lowbies in CoH, trying out the electric tanker build. It is visually appealing, but I don’t know how well it will perform at later levels. As always, blasters remain my favorite archetype.

Mudder’s Day

Posted in Background Noise, City of Heroes, Offline gaming, Online Gaming, Tabletop Wargaming with tags , , on May 8, 2010 by koljarn

Progress on refurbishing my 40K Dark Angels army continues. I have mostly finished painting two veteran sergeants for my two tac quads; they need a squad decal and the bases need to be done. Speaking of bases, both tac squads need to be fully re-based from the static grass and green that they have now to the desert scheme that I used with my Deathwing. After that, I’m not sure whether I’ll start refurbishing my assault terminators or my dev squad. It might be best if I alternate between colors, so I don’t get bored.

I schlepped myself out of the house to see “Kick Ass” yesterday. Decent flick, worth the price of admission if you enjoy subversive humor and over-the-top violence. If you have sensitive ears, or if the sight of blood upsets you, then steer clear.

MMO-wise, I’ve been tinkering around with an electric blaster. He’s ready to take on the Frostfire mission, but he doesn’t have a travel power, yet (level 11). He seems fun enough. Like the ice blaster, electric has some control elements, though not as much. I’ll probably play the electric blaster with my friends until they get to a high enough level that I can use my level 30 ice blaster with them.

And that’s it. Enjoy your Mother’s Day, everyone.