Fanning the Embers of Optimism

Between my rejoining my predestined place amongst the unemployed and fighting off a persistent cold severe enough to allow even mild PCGamerBike pedaling to provoke misery, I’ve had little more to do lately but feel sorry for myself.   However, the good news is that I’ve plenty to keep my mind occupied.

Short version: Champions Online is rolling lots of beta invites soon, Issue 14 of City of Heroes is looking really interesting (albeit it is still on the test server) and the typical beating of said dead horse.

Champion Of Anticipation

Champions Online is making a lot of noises as though they’re about to release several waves of closed beta invitations.

Amongst them, those cool, cool kids at F13 point out Cryptic has been underhandedly stabbing their ex-associates in the back by sending invites to existing City of Heroes players.

Predictably, it turned out to be a result of allowing marketing to run around off its leash. Oh unregulated capitalism, you cheeky little pickpocket, whatever are we going to do with you?

Personally, I’m more bothered that they might be wasting a beta invite I’d been waiting on for months on a stunt like this.  However, from the sounds of things, one could show up any day now.

The Issue At Hand

City of Heroes, meanwhile, is looking to have a ton of fresh air perilously breathed into it when Issue 14: Mission Architect goes live.  Just when that will be is hard to say, just what kind of impact it will have is also difficult to predict, but I have said with some certainty it will be a big impact.

One thing I learned from dabbling with the player-made missions is just about any power can be thrown at you now, so you should expect to carry a lot of break frees in case the next mission you face is heavy on the control.   It can be quite challenging, particularly with the increased damage scale on NPCs using player powers that might include Build Up or Mastermind summons.

That’s bad.  It hurts a lot.

Interestingly enough, the players on the Test Server have already come up with quite a number of missions which are much more interesting than the average stock mission.  I suppose I can forgive the developers — many of the missions on the contacts in the game today are the same ones made when the game was released about a half-decade ago, and there’s many more mission goal features added since then.

Of course, not all of the player-made missions are actually good.  Many could be improved by a patient 12-year-old.  A great Issue 14 hint guide would be The Everyday Writer and a dictionary.  I’ve chalked these terribly conceived missions up to practice – this is the test server, after all.

Beating The Dead Horse With Overthinking

Lets face it, all my City of Heroes alt-a-holicism is precisely that: beating a dead horse.  At over 1600 hours of play time, it’s a struggle to find something in the pre-Issue 14 game that is still novel.  Fortunately, I’ve a tremendous brain, and it’s just anal retentive enough to keep trying.

Today was exceptionally eventful in my flailing.  I seesawed from Controllers who didn’t do enough damage to Scrappers who would.  I went from Scrappers who can endure damage to Blasters whose firepower and ranged defense IO enhancements could prevent ever needing to.  I went from Blasters who primarily nuke to Defenders that can nuke as well as doing more.

At that point, it had come down to a matter of Kinetics.  It’s an interesting set because it can boost your damage by ludicrous amounts, perhaps up to your archetype cap.  300% +DMG is nice – even I can muster the patience to solo when there’s functionally four of me attacking it at once.

The only question was how to go about it.  I’d taken a Kinetics/Energy Blast Defender up over 32 before, and found that his survival was largely up to the chance-of-knockdown Gods.  For awhile, I worked on a Kinetics/Sonic Blaster Defender.  It looked really good on paper, but it wasn’t far past level 10 before I realized this was boring.

Controllers had spoiled me, I’m a strategic-minded fellow at heart, and so I didn’t want an entire secondary full of attacks anymore.  I wanted something more interesting… like a spastic AI-driven pet to babysit.  That meant it was time to roll a Controller.

Another reason I wanted Controllers is I like the idea of having some kind of control protection power.  Psionic Mastery grants that.  The only way I could get this with a Defender is to take Sonic Resonance or Force Fields, and there goes the whole idea of getting Kinetics to begin with.

Even knowing true creativity in a MMORPG populated by tens of thousands of other characters is impossible, it nonetheless bores me to roll up a typical Fire Control/Kinetics Controller loot farming machine.  Thus, over the past few weeks, I’ve been dabbling Gravity Control/Kinetics and Mind Control/Kinetics, and so on.

After comparing all the various options, I decided Ice Control is the most likely to be all-around effective at providing a defensive screen and pet who favors melee combat.  As added icing on the cake, I look forward to giving Arcic Air with a Contagious Confusion enhancement in it.

So, from front to back, it’s a fairly easy decision.  I painted my alt-a-holicism into a nice corner.  We’ll see what difference that makes.  As I said, I’ve a giant brain, and it loves to be anal about these things if it gives it an excuse to overthink it even further.

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