This week I reached the leveling goals I had set up when I learned about that NCSoft was shutting down Paragon Studios and City of Heroes – to get two of the controllers I were leveling at the time to max level 50 before the game shuts down. Thus these became the 20th and 21st character I leveled to max level in the game.
On Wednesday my gravity/dark controller, Vortexer, hit the magic limit. This was a character I started after the gravity control revamp in Issue 22 and it was a really fun ride! Gravity and Dark was a nice combination, plus gravity in general is quite fun to play with all the ragdoll physics and general tossing around in place. When I tried out SWTOR a couple of months ago I was a bit disappointed in the force powers in the game, especially on Jedi side. Those powers felt rather mediocre in terms of gameplay fun in comparison to what gravity control in City of Heroes provide. One would not be able to equip a laser sword though at the same time, so it would not be a complete Jedi replacement.
Lift and Propel were the two main damage powers, with Lift being a mix of damamge dealer and ghetto crowd control powers, with its tossing of enemies. Propel is also nice for its ability to throw stuff at the enemy, and knocking down those enemies near the impact area. Wormhole is an amazing and fun non-aggro AoE teleport+stun, an excellent power to pull a couple of enemies with – just teleport them to any spot nearby and watch them walk around disoriented while you hit them. Unless you of course have dropped them off a high cliff or something similar, then they smash into the ground below as well… always good fun!
Singularity is perhaps one of my favourite pets in the game and is a nice controller pet and a decent damage dealer. Combine that with Dark Servant and there is plenty of control power to toss around. The heals and debuffs from the Dark powerset fits in quite nicely also, a quite nice combination. In short, I really like playing this character.
My other controller Nashira is a quite different beast; with Plant Control and Trick Arrow as powersets she does not really have any damage powers at all and is almost strictly focused on debuffing through TA, with crowd control from Plant to support that. The damage powers used here were some of the extra veteran powers mainly, other than that she relied on being able to confuse enemies to defeat each other, debuffing them to make it quicker. The Fly Trap pet helped a bit with the damage part also and could possibly be considered damage dealer in that tag team.
Suffice to say is that Nashira was not the best soloer and that was not the intention either. She was strictly set up for team support. To that extent it worked out ok, but not excellent I would say. Some of the debuff powers essentially required targetting a ground area – this was not always easy to see and place in the middle of a battle. Also, with the very focus on debuff + crowd control the gameplay was perhaps not always that exciting – place and apply debuff and/or crowd control powers – and keep repeating that. Not that much tactics to make it more interesting and fun. Still, I enjoyed playing Nashira most of the time, although the times where I might pick her up to play more with would be fairly situational. Which is a polite way of saying – enough at 50, let’s focus on other characters.
An old-fashioned Time’s Arrow task force
A couple of days I joined of for a run of the Time’s Arrow task force, or the Imperious Task Force (ITF) as most people call it. This turned out to be kind of a special run. Not because the run was extremely successful, but because it ended up being quite a bit of work to complete. In recent years with high level characters becoming more and more powerful, including incarnate powers, running the ITF has become more of a run for people to get rewards quickly – some people can speed through it and complete it in not too many minutes.
Back in the old days when this task force was first introduced, it was a bit of a challenge back then to figure it out and complete it – it could take 2-4 hours. Today it is completed in much less time. The run we did in a way returned a bit to the more old-fashioned times, most of the 8-man team were characters in the 30s to 40s, with the team leader being 50. This was a run that was intended to take the time to get XP and not rush through. The three first missions was completed without too much trouble, with two wipes – one on the first mission and one on the third mission. It was when the final battle with Romulus took place that the main challenge.
One team member had dropped out and left the team and the team stuggled with Romulus – damage output and debuffs were not good enough to defeat him with the healing Nictus essence around – we kept lowering his health a bit, only to see it healed back up again after a while. Another player dropped off and we were down to 6 players. Through a a number of tactical discussions and various attempts we managed to adapt – this brought back memories from the early days of playing this task force. With a lot of work we managed to complete the task force in the end, after about 3 1/2 hours. Because of these challenges and that it forced us adapt and change approach to it, I think we learned and re-learned/remembered a few things about the encounters. Despite ending quite late in the evening, it was a task force that felt more satisfying to complete than many other task forces in recent times and certainly one I will remember.
These are the kind of moments that will be part of my memory of this game.
If you look at any music videos on YouTube, then chances are that you have seen the widely popular Gangnam Style, by Korean rapper PSY – which has been viewd over 500 million times on YouTube. Today on City of Heroes Tube I noticed a quite funny video by Angelus Animi. It is essentially a City of Heroes version of the popular video. If you have not seen the original yet, I suggest you look at that first to appreciate the details in the City of Heroes version.
I also recommend to have a look at other videos at City of Heroes Tube, there are a number of nice videos there.
When NCSoft announced that they were shutting down Paragon Studios and City of Heroes, one of my reactions then was that I must get into the game and use the time that was left to play the game. This is also essentially what I have been doing, to the point that all other MMOs that I had active to play (The Secret World, Guild Wars 2, Champions Online, Age of Conan) were simply pushed aside.
There are other players that essentially have a similar mindset, while other players have stopped playing the game already now. They have looked for alternatives and moved on. It is interesting to see that there are distinctly different ways to approach the fact that an MMO is shutting down.
On one hand there are people that continue play as before, or perhaps play even more – taking advantage of every bit of time left. Perhaps play and do the things they have liked most, or try out things they never got around to (as much as that is possible given the circumstances). This is pretty much the group I place myself in.
On the other hand there are people who just move on at this stage. Perhaps that works as a better closure, with all good memories and move on right away, now that the end has been given a specific time? With no new content updates or any way to spend money to get perhaps a new powerset to try out, perhaps the more interesting options are not available.
It has been interesting to see in some discussions in forums and elsewhere what people may be moving on to and how they react to some other games. Many people have tried out Champions Online again, but there seem to be more people who does not like it than those who actually like it. Perhaps part of that is a mindset problem, people hoping that it may be a City of Heroes alternative – it is not really. It is a superhero MMO, but I think still a fairly different target audience and approach.
A fair amount of people seems to have move on to The Secret World, possibly the modern day setting is one of the things that TSW provides as a CoH substitute in that regard. Some people play Guild Wars 2 and I have also seen a few comments about TERA and SWTOR.
Then there is also a group who simply will not play another MMO. They are simply not interested in MMOs and consider themselves City of Heroes players rather than MMO players.
Some of the comments from people in this last group got me thinking about where I stand here myself. I am definitely an MMO player, but thinking about it I may possibly be more of a City of Heroes player than an MMO player. City of Heroes is the game I have played far longer than any other MMO and is the game I fall back to whenever I get tired of other MMOs. Same as I rather see myself as an MMO gamer than a computer gamer – I pretty much exclusively play MMOs on the PC, not other computer games. I am not sure what I will end up doing when City of Heroes is not there to fall back to.
NCSoft has published an official response to the various forms people have used to say to NCSoft what they think about their decision to close down Paragon Studios and City of Heroes.
As may have been expected, they have not changed their mind about their decision. I think the text is mainly a PR packaged response that with a few changed words could be for anything really. Given how they have handled the situation with the announcement itself and the first weeks after that, I do not believe there is much genuine sincerity in that response. Especially when it is just signed “NCSoft Team” instead of an actual spokesperson.