Ever since City of Heroes came back via the emulation scene, I’ve been waiting for an opportune time to jump back into this old favorite MMO. There’s still a very real possibility that NCsoft is willing to deal or make some sort of legal concession to legitimize these servers, so I was holding off to see if that would develop and if there’d be one more stable server in the end than the others.
But as we continue to wait on that front, it does appear that the Homecoming emulator is doing an admirable job gathering together the community and being the focal point of new and returning heroes. Every time I check, there’s around 6,000 people jumping into this game on the various servers, and that’s not insignificant. So why not me? Why not me indeed.
I figured that until whatever happens in the future happens, I’d limit myself for now to just one character played casually to get my footing. There wasn’t even a question of what that character would be, as I was a huge fan of the Dark/Dark Defender back in the day. So please give a warm Bio Break welcome to Lights Out!
After setting up my options and getting the controls and chat windows the way I liked them, then came the question of… what to do next? You see, the last time I seriously played City of Heroes, it was probably 2006. Or 2007? In any case, I hadn’t been around much for the free-to-play/Paragon Studios era for various reasons, and so this more new incarnation of the game is a little bit unknown to me. Plus, given the distance of time between when I had last regularly played, I had a lot of catching up to do.
For example, City of Heroes doesn’t throw exclamation points and obvious quest chains at you from the get-go. I wandered around aimlessly for a while, beating up random street thugs before vaguely recalling the idea of contacts and door missions. I rung up a contact — free teleport right to him, that was nice — and ran a pretty standard solo instance.
But City of Heroes was never about being by yourself — the game was always more fun in groups. So I turned to the Looking for Group channel, and saw that pretty much everyone was gathering together for DFB, or Death from Below. I guess this is an Issue 21 sewer mission that offers a very good rate of XP gain for minimal risk, which is why the community has flocked to it. Never underestimate MMO players from taking the easiest road possible for power leveling.
It was the only group game in town, and really, if DFB was the only functional combat part of the game, I’d still be obscenely happy to be playing COH again. So this past weekend I ran this repeatedly with several groups, getting to know the rhythms of my class and group combat all over again. I also had mild PTSD flashbacks to the barrage of sound and light that vomits all over the place during these fights.
Inspirations? Enhancements? I remember those! Inventions? Er… I think they started to come out when I played? Badges, temporary powers… ahh, this is the good stuff.
DFB did rocket me up from level 3 to 16 within a few runs, and I appreciated that I could grab flight and some other essential grouping powers quickly. Instead of fighting, I spent my time in groups tossing out debuffs on the enemies and heals and buffs on our team. That’s the Defender playstyle that I liked.
However, it did make me crave a more varied experience, because I don’t think I could run this one trial forever without eventually losing interest in this game. I’m starting a search for supergroups that are devoted to more traditional door mission experiences, so hopefully I’ll find a more permanent home among likeminded players. And then?
And then, the alts begin.