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Viking and Ghost weekend

January 18, 2009

Currently I am in Finland working during the weeks, so I only get back home for the weekends. Which mean not much playing. I did squeeze in a short stab at LOTRO to take care of some of annoying quests (ok in short sessions), but mainly I played a bit in City of Heroes.

First off was with my ghostly controller, Frieda. She is currently in her low 40s and have started to run around on Peregrine Island, a zone for levels 41-50 on hero side. Initially I decided to pick up the exploration badge in the Founder’s Falls Safeguard mission, since I had that one lined up. 

Running Safeguard missions tend to be short affairs often – get in, head to bank, defeat the bank robbers, get out. Sometimes the team you head in with wants to stick around because there are a number of mobs to gain xp from. While I usually tag along if the team wants to do that I still prefer to do missions that follow some story rather than just “grind” mobs. To me the exicting part of the Safeguard is in the beginning, before the timer starts. So this time I was solo and simply beat up the baddies, searched anf found the exploration point for the badge and headed out.

While I just picked up a Carnival of Shadows mission from a new contact, I received a tell if I wanted to join for the Imperious Task Force, or itf as everyone calls it. I have run this task force a few times, but only with a couple of my villain characters. It is a fun task force and doing that one for the first time with Frieda sounded like fun, so I jumped in.

This task force has already taken place, long ago. It happened in Cimerora, a Roman land back in the mists of time when heroes were heroes and weared togas instead of spandex. Since it already happened, one has to travel back in time to get there. The Cimerorans seems to be taking matters pretty cool, despite all weird spandex-clad, mostly humanoid creatures visiting their lands.

The former Cimeroran Imperious wants some help to get back into his position of power, after having been overthrown by his former associate Romulus.  He initially sends off the team to the mountain of the Oracle for a bit of advise. Of course nothing is as easy as it seems and the visit turns into a rescue operation.


Kicking 5th column butt

Kicking 5th column butt

One thing leads to another and the team has to fight off some evil energy beings (the Nictus), fight against Romulus and his generals, as well as Requiem and his 5th Column troops – they seemed to think that the Roman era was a good place to prepare for an assult in modern time. That is certainly a good piece of out-of-the-box thinking! 

Beating Romulus once is of course not enough, he gets some pep talk and a Nictus and he is back on his feet again to kick some butt. This time he is a bit tougher to beat.


Final encounter with Romulus

Final encounter with Romulus

All in all there is four missions in this quite enjoyable task force. I remember the first times we did the task force it took a bit more than three hours to complete, a time which were shaved a bit with each new attempt. This time the task force took about 1 1/2 hour to complete – I think pretty much everyone had played it before and there were some “shortcuts” that sped up the progress a bit. A few deaths here and there, but not too bad. There was an almost-wipe on the final encounter with Romulus, which was a result of a slight disagreement on the approach to defeat Romulus. 

That sorted itself out though and the task force gave 25 merit points. This was only the second time after Issue 13 that I had done a task force, so I had totally forgotten that merit points awards are given out nowadays instead of the old rewards. I have not had a look at yet what these merit points may actually buy me, since I frankly do not care so much about optimizing my character with rare enhancement sets etc.

Next in time for some play time was my viking tanker hero, Bjarne. Being a person that likes playing dominators (and controllers) which are pretty much the most squishy characters one may find in the game – if a boss manages to sneeze in the “wrong” direction at the wrong time my domes/trollers will faceplant. Going from that to play a tanker which is in his happiest state when lots of mobs are beating at him is a quite different play style, but I do enjoy it.

Bjarne the viking

Bjarne the viking

Tankers are good at tanking, as the name of the archetype implies. They have an inherent power called Gauntlet, which is a bit of a slap in the face on the enemy mobs – while it does not automatically make them pissed off with you, it does make it a bit easier to get their attention.

More powers are picked up later to give more defense and damage resistance. At least one of them scale the defense with the number of team members, which makes perfect sense since the number of enemies is scaled up with team size. Other causes my damage to increase with more enemies and the enemy damage to decrease with more enemies, plus increase taunt levels also. 

This scaling of damage and defense make the character more powerful and enjoyable to play in teams and larger teams. While solo play works, it is not at the level it reaches in large teams – which is the case for a number of the archetypes and power combinations. The more the merrier!

Up to level 20 when I could get the stamina power it was a bit painful, as usual with lots of resting and using blue inspirations. But after that it has started to flow quite well and with Bjarne currently at 22 I am finding the tanker quite enjoyable.

Categories: City of Heroes
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