Back where a fiend is a fiend…
Yup, the splitter has apparently dried out, so I was back online last night, making up for lost time.
I actually ended up trashing the character (a Darkness power Scrapper named Dark Wednesday, whose backstory is that she's Wednesday Addams grown up as a vengeful vigilante) that got clobbered last time and re-starting as level 1 instead of paying off the experience debt. No, that's not the efficient way to do it, but I had been wanting to change the character's looks but hadn't bothered to restart because of the sunk costs. When I thought about it, though, pursuing a tedious mission (hunting 10 Circle of Thorns on the rooftops of King's Row) that would net half the usual experience seemed less fun than starting over and getting to fix the looks. One and a half fun hours later, I was back to level 5, and this time I know better than to pursue missions that will lead to King's Row before I'm level 6 or 7.
I also created YANC (yet another new character), this time an Energy Blaster: a very Maria-from-Metropolis-esque robot called Tin Lizzie. All I can say is, Wow, at low levels Blasters that do lots of knockback rock! Of course, the downside is if they keep missing and the baddie closes and stays close, it's time for a trip to the hospital. So remember, kids, always slot those Accuracy enhancements early! And let's be careful out there!
If anyone wants to join me, these new characters are on Champion. So the servers I'm usually are found on are Pinnacle (if Doug and/or Paul are around), Guardian (the Riverdale gang), Virtue (so far only Barbizon, and if I feel more like RPing), and now Champion (miscellaneous characters experimenting with power combinations).
I just finished a tough mission in an office building in CoH, left the building, and found myself in the middle of a firefight between a bunch of folks way higher in level. Before I could even run, I got toasted by one of the baddies, and now my character has an experience debt to work off… just as I was about to start on that, though, a freakish downpour knocked out my cable modem connection. The Comcast techs think that some water got in a splitter somewhere, but they can't send anyone out to look at it until Friday morning. It might start working again as it dries out, but until then no CoH for me…
In City of Heroes, sixth level is something of a milestone, since it's the first time that “Power Pools” become available. Initially you pick powers from your primary and secondary sets, which come from a list of those available for your class. Power Pools are available to all classes equally, and it's from these that you can eventually get such things as Flight and Teleport. You don't have to take any Power Pools, if you prefer to concentrate on getting the powers in your regular sets, but it allows extra flexibility.
RadStorm, MightyMidge, and Barbizon all hit 6th level recently, so got to choose from among the Power Pools. For RadStorm I chose Flight (which starts with the lowly Hover power–even slower than walking), and I'm really looking forward to true Flight. Even being able to hover up to the tops of buildings and look down on the city below is worth the price of admission. MightyMidge got Jumping, which will eventually let her leap tall buildings in a single bound. For now it just gives her a slight boost to her Jump, which I think will be useful, since it seems that the programmers actually bothered to give shorter characters smaller vertical leaps–or maybe I just stink at jumping, but it definitely seems like Midge has trouble clearing fences that the normal-sized characters just hop over. I suppose I could test that hypothesis by making a minimal size character… Finally, Barbizon took Fitness, which will eventually reduce the Endurance cost of all her powers; she's the only one of my characters that regularly runs out of End while fighting, due to the high Endurance cost of swinging that big old axe around.
I actually spent a fair amount of time last night on the Virtue server, just standing around talking in character, rather than going on missions. It was fun as a change of pace, but I don't think that I could do that for an entire night the way some of the rp-ers seemed to (or at least every time I wandered back to the central square it seemed like Cog Sprocket was still there, jawing away in character).
Paul suggested to me that the “Virtue” server was the unofficial server for roleplayers, i.e. people who actually like to talk in character while playing and bother to make up origin stories, etc. so I headed on over and made up a character (a 7' tall Axe-wielding Barbie doll called Barbizon. Battle Cry: Cleavage? I'll show you cleavage!) and lo and behold, Paul spoke sooth. I was invited to team several times over the course of the evening (it was gym night, so I wasn't at the keyboard the whole time), and my teammates mostly did stay in character. One of the characters was a robot and somebody asked who made him (which at first I thought meant which RL player), but he had his whole back story worked out about his manufacturer and purpose. It was pretty cool, if you ask me. Certainly a change of pace from talking about aggro, rooting, mobs and the like.
I finished the night at 5th level. The Battle-Axe tanker has pretty slow attacks, and they take a lot of end, but it is very satisfying when they send the target flying backwards. Another thing I found out was that the server bleeps out (replaces with cartoon $^&%! symbols) God, but not Goddess.
I also had the misfortune to team up with someone who was either more of a newbie than me, very young, or just not too bright and ended up getting killed when she ignored my warning and jumped a bunch of guys much tougher than us. I got shot to pieces, and as my character was lying face down on the street I looked around and realized that she had run away and quit the team. You live and learn. Fortunately I was only 2nd level at the time, so there was no penalty for dying.
I made a new City of Heroes character last night (so what else is new?) called RadStorm, a Mutant Wind/Radiation Controller and teamed up with Doug's Violet Anger and a friend of his playing a Magic Fire/Ice Blaster and by the end of the evening we were all 6th level. Boy that was a lot of fun.
Then I went and tried to bring Mighty Midge up from 5th level to 6th solo, on a mission in a cave full of zombies, and didn't make it. After almost dying twice, I was out of Inspirations with plenty of zombies to go, and had to flee the cave. Freaking radioactive goo that the zombies regurgitate seems to go right through Temporary Invulnerability. Does anybody know whether if I go back in the cave all the zombies will have respawned? That would mean I could maybe whittle them down, running out to get more Inspirations (basically CoH's version of potions), which is a little cheap (not that I wouldn't take it to clear the mission so I could get a new one). If they do respawn then missions like this would basically become an EP farm: as long as you didn't complete the mission you could run through it again….
Brawnwen is now 5th level, and Thudmilla 4th. Magma Maid and Dark Betty are still 3rd, so I'll probably take one for a spin tonight, while Thunderella languishes in 2nd. I actually started Thunderella over again to change her costume a bit–I'm still not completely satisfied, but I didn't realize the first time around how much the bottom looked like a thong…hey, most of the time you're looking at your character from the rear, you know, so it makes a difference…It was also an experiment to see if you could re-use a name of a discarded character. The answer is yes, so I'm probably going to experiment a bit more with costume design on any new characters. Before I was afraid I would be using up decent names just to get a look at the character in the game (where most of the time you're looking at a much smaller, less detailed view than in the character creation screens.)
Jeff and Andy were over last night, and I helped Andy make up a character on a different server (all mine so far are on Pinnacle). Andy created a Mutant Blaster with Energy Blast/Energy Control, and a pretty eye-catching red and yellow costume with a hood and facemask so all you can see are the yellow goggles. His name is “Star-Blaze” Note the hyphen, since “Starblaze” and “Starblazer” were already taken. After I set him up, he played through the tutorial and got to second level. Of course, with all the video games he plays, it's not too surprising he's good at it.
“Ding” by the way, is what those who sling the lingo call going up a level. It's both a transitive and instransitive verb: “Crimson Cuckoo just dinged!” or “I dinged 5!”
Since it's my current obsession, and nothing else is happening on this blog (or at least nothing until after next week's session), I thought I would ask Doug and Paul to step up and tell us a little about their characters. I'll kick it off by telling you what little I know
Update: I've copied the information from Doug and Paul's comments into the main entry…
- Relaxer: Lvl 14 Controller Mind/Empathy Teleport
- Dr. Henry: Lvl 6 Defender Empathy/Radiation Teleport
- King of Diamonds: Lvl 5 Tanker Invulnerability/Axe (Leaping)
- Violet Anger: Lvl 4 Scrapper Martial Arts/Agility (Super Speed)
- Force Bolt Lvl 5 Blaster Energy/Energy (RIP)
- Malabranca: Scrapper Broadsword/Reflexes/Superspeed
- The Law Man: Blaster Assault Rifle/Electric
- John Henry: Tanker Strength/Stone
- BTU: Tanker Fire/Fire
- Jackson Volt: Blaster Electric/Electric
I scrapped my Purple Rose MindControl/Empathy character, after Doug's comments made me realize that it didn't really fit my style of play/level of skill (I am not up to keeping track of everybody's current status to see who needs healing–I can barely keep track of which way I'm facing!).
So instead I created a Defender with Darkness Powers…ooooh, scary! So far her powers are a Darkness zap that damages the enemy and lowers their defenses, a Dark mist that drains the enemy's health into her (shades of the Necromancer in Baldur's Gate 2!), and a create Tar Pit power that roots the enemies to the spot so they can't come pummel her. Pretty fun stuff, although she does spend a lot more time running away than my Tankers do.
I'm proud of my character design for her–I really was able to get a pretty good likeness of Betty Cooper, with the blond hair in a ponytail. The first time any other player has actually commented on my any of character's names or appearances came when somebody asked “Do you have a friend named Dark Veronica?” I don't know if they thought they were being funny or not, but I was satisfied.
Thanks to Doug's and Paul's mad mentoring skillz, my initial character, Magma Maid, has “dinged” third level! Woohoo! Actually, I probably could have advanced faster than that, but making new characters is too much fun. I now have five characters, all on the Pinnacle server:
- Magma Maid: Fire Tanker
- Thunderella: Electro Blaster
- Purple Rose: Mind Controller — I need some more advice from Doug on this one, I think, 'cause I really don't see how I'm going to survive the training mission
- Brawnwen: Super-Strength Tanker
- Thudmilla: War Mace Tanker
I played around a bit with making some male characters (in particular the character that became Thudmilla was originally going to be male, as a change of pace), but somehow I just didn't think they looked as cool. Something about the male body template just looks a little goofy to me; it's not the exaggeration–that's the way superhero comics are, and the female template is no less exaggerated. I think it's I'm looking for a Gil Kane, Curt Swan, or Alex Ross anatomy, and the game designers have more of a Rob Liefeld/Todd McFarlane thing in mind. Maybe a Huge would work better. Or maybe I should just not be as picky. But designing the character's look is mega-fun, and I think all of mine turned out pretty cool. I do wish I could tweak the looks a little now that I've seen them in action. Oh, well.
I also briefly tried a Claws Scrapper, but I found it difficult to play and the claws looked stupid (I thought)– I'd really like it if you could adjust the type of claw, so you weren't stuck with metallic back-of-the-hand Wolverine claws. I was looking for something more like, you know, claws. Oh, yeah, I saw my first real “lamer”: somebody actually made a Claws Scrapper and called it Wolverene.