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City of Heroes: Pictures from the End of Days

29 Nov

I’ve been taking quite a few screenshots as the end of City of Heroes draws near (see my post on Saying Goodbye to City of Heroes for more on that matter). I’ve put them into a slideshow here for now, as I’m moving soon and don’t have time to give them all full commentary right now, what with my free time being filled with packing (but mostly procrastination from packing by playing City of Heroes). Hopefully I’ll find time to write more about them after the move.

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And here is a gallery of (most) of the images in the slideshow, if you want a closer look:

-Misha

Saying Goodbye to City of Heroes

28 Nov

My friend, in high school, introduced me to this pretty neat game she had picked up. It was a game you played online, like the MUD we hung out in or out AIM chats, and you could be a superhero. Pretty sweet. I watched her play and I knew I had to get that game to play as well.

How could I not? Neat graphics, but more importantly you could be a super hero.

Such was my introduction to the City of Heroes.

City of Heroes Game Box

City of Heroes

I don’t remember if I had purchased the game right away or didn’t receive it until that Christmas (it was likely the latter).

Celt Paladin - Winged Costume

Celt Paladin

I do know I never played it while school was in session; my parents wouldn’t allow it and I couldn’t afford it (money and grades wise. Given the choice between homework and fun MMO, I think I would’ve picked the MMO every time). But the times during the break I played a lot of CoH.

It was fun. My first character I made as a tanker, like my friend’s fire/fire tanker. Of course, I picked one of the worst combinations (Mace/Earth), but it made for a great character concept. Thus Celt Paladin was born; a knight out of time and place.

Adiutrix

Adiutrix

I made many other characters there as well; Audiutrix, a healing/dark mutant who’s face is creepy enough that it’s always hidden. Snow Kitty, plucky young student who studies magic on the side. Madame Tempest, a government scientist harnessing the power of weather for good. The EPA – that’s right, the Environmental Protection Agencies own super hero (I don’t think I played on her very much, but the concept still makes me grin).

Oh the fun we had, joining exciting mission teams with others (CoH definitely encourages teaming with others, especially when your tank has trouble killing things or your blaster (or blapper, as they might be) keeps getting killed. Task Forces — a series of missions in a related story, likely to take down a named villain of some kind — were very fun too, if you had the time to sit down and do them.

Killing Hamidon

Killing Hamidon

And my friend often did this thing called a ‘Hami Raid’ with the super group, that I only recently got to experience. That’s right, my friend was Level 50 long before I even got there, yet due to CoH’s innovative mentor/sidekick system, she could still play with me and vis versa. Few games have implemented a system like that, which easily scales your enemies and teammates to the appropriate level for the encounter. They later changed it to be even more convenient, something I wish other games would do even more.

Sorceress Silvae

Sorceress Silvae

And much of that took place before the City of Villains expansion, for which I was quite excited. I made Sorceress Silvae, Celt Paladin’s ancient rival who for some reason also ended up in the same future. Silver Tiger, a stylish ninja fighter who for good amongst the bad. Palandromic, the mastermind of symmetry, with her minions HannaH and TattarrattaT (and more recently, ReinieR).

Palindromic and her ninjas - HannaH, TattarrattaT, and ReinieR.

Palindromic and her ninjas – HannaH, TattarrattaT, and ReinieR.

The gameplay still works great. The leveling can be a bit grindy, but the game has so many good bones that many other games have either copied or never picked up for themselves. Achievements? Please – CoH had badges since forever! Travel powers? Only other super hero mmos grabbed these, and not quite the same way. The enhancement/power system is still complex, with many interesting and challenging character builds available. I still get moments of awe and wonder when someone who has a powerset I don’t comes around and does an awesome ability/buff that makes me go ‘I want one of those! (Too bad I’m slow at leveling, because all the cool powers are the last you get)’.

And now we’ll never see this game again because a company doesn’t like the odd game out and isn’t making enough money from it. 😦

This is partly my fault, in theory — I haven’t paid for the game in ages.

Celt Paladin hanging out with Detective Doom

Celt Paladin hanging out with Detective Doom

I had just started playing again with my friend, having resolved the next time we’d play I’d start paying small amounts of money to reinstate my invention usage. And then out of the blue they announced they were shutting the game down. Just like that.

Obviously they aren’t going to change their minds about this, no matter the amount of protesting done. And no one wants to buy it (or could afford to), and they don’t want to sell. City of Heroes IP will be locked away and we shant see it again, the original and perhaps best super hero MMO, even though we’d like to.

What surprises me the most is that they just pulled the plug. The dev team was taken by surprise (I think), to hear that they’re somewhat profitable game was getting the can, along with, you know, their jobs. Apparently the people at the headquarters were just looking at some bottom line somewhere, that they didn’t even attempt to rework how things were going or cut the dev staff and development of the game (because I’m sure people would be alright with little new content, or less new content in general). Instead the whole game is just gone. Awful.

Hami raid is preparing to attack...

Hami raid is preparing to attack…

And CoH didn’t show the signs of an MMO that is going away, at least not the typical ones. The dev team was working away on a new release that they had been promoting just days before it was announced the game would shut down. There were no mentions of loss of profits, no desperate server moves, no doom and gloom talk making their way around the interwebs. Just one day it was said it was shutting down, with little reasoning nor fanfare.

There are many aspects of the game I will never get to see. I had not been playing when the Going Rogue expansion came out, and now I wish I had (of course). The Praetorian Earth storyline seemed really neat, and the ability to switch some heroes or villains to the opposite side seems like it would’ve been nice to try out. Plus many options that were available previously (such as becoming a Peacebringer) had been locked from those without paying accounts. Now with the store gone, it is impossible to try out these forms of gameplay.

But even with that there is still so many things to do in just a few short days. My friend and I are spending some time playing the game again, maybe as a way to say goodbye. I know it’ll be harder for her than it is for me. She’s been max level for a long time. The game — and the people in it — helped her through some tough times during college.

Celt Paladin's ID - Level 50

Celt Paladin’s ID – Level 50

It’s been a long goal of her to get my main, Celt Paladin, up to level 50 instead of sitting at the mid-fourties like I have for years, which was finally completed when I dinged to 50 this weekend after a two month-long effort to get her there.

It’s always been there as a backup, something to pull out and play again. Maybe that’s what makes it shutting down even more bitter. Not like an old console game you can pull out again to relive the memories. Once it’s gone it’s gone.

Will I boycott NCSoft? Probably not, unfortunately. I enjoy some of their other games, mainly Guild Wars. But will I forever associate them with this decision, to shut down a game before it’s time? Yes. And will I trust them not to be so callous with their other games? I don’t think so. Will I be the first to jump on their new MMOs and games, whatever they may be? I don’t think so, either.

City of Heroes Characters

Most of my City of Heroes characters, posing with their awesome costumes.

Further Reading:

Ten Things To Do In City of Heroes Before It’s Gone

A Mild Mannered Reporter: The Passion for City of Heroes

A Mild Mannered Reporter: The Cost of Closing City of Heroes

Jukebox Heroes: City of Heroes Soundtrack

Meta’s Verse: City of Heroes Innovations

A Mild Mannered Reporter: Potential New Homes After City of Heroes

How many toons do-you-have? (6 7 8 9 10…)

7 May

Remember that post where I listed out all of my WoW Characters? Well, here’s the continuation to that post, only this time, it’s me listing all the characters I have in different MMOs.

Let the listing of the toons begin!

City of Heroes/Villains

The first game I’ll focus on is City of Heroes/Villains. (I’ve never really liked calling the game City of X, or CoX. Probably because I’m a prude XD). This was the first MMO I ever played (at least I’m pretty sure it was, as Guild Wars came out after CoH did). I fell in love with the costume designing, something I still enjoy doing today. It really blew other games of that time away with the amount of custumization you could do. I remember being slightly offended and yet intrigued that in Guild Wars, you could only customize some limited facial and body features, and that their clothes were based on what they were wearing. How crazy!

But anyway, back to CoH. Here’s a screenshot of my main server, Justice:

City of Heroes Justice Server Characters

It's all about the wings, baby.

As you can see, there’s a mix of heroes and villains. Happily, it’s symmetrical, with 5 heroes at the top of the list, followed by 5 villains. I suppose if I start making more characters it will ruin the effect.

Anyway, here are my current heroes…

  • Celt Paladin – Tanker: Quite possibly my first MMO toon made, ever. There may have been one before her, but I can’t think of who that would be. As a testament to my slow leveling pace, she still has not reached level cap. *hangs head in shame* I swear it’s not my fault. I just picked the almost worst possible combinations for powersets ever (Maces, Stone Armor, with Super Leap as her travel power. XD ) She does, however, have a neat backstory that involves time-travel. Good times. Though more unfortunately, since she only wears the same outfit recolored, people often mistake her as a guy, for some reason.
  • Adiutrix – Defender: Ah, good ol’ Adiutrix. I believe her name means ‘Helper’ or something like that in Latin, as I made her while I still remembered some Latin from high school. While Celt Paladin was a tanking class, as suggested by my friend who encouraged me to play CoH, I went to my ‘healing roots’ when it came to making her. She also has a weird backstory, mostly driven by my desire to hide the lower half of her face because I didn’t really like the face choices we had in game.
  • Snow Kitty – Blaster: Ice/ice to be precise. Looks like a snow leopard. I was also surprised that name wasn’t taken.
  • Madame Tempest – Controller: My friend’s characters often started with Lady. Like Lady ____. I decided to run with this for my Controller, but using Madame instead of Lady. I believe she is an ice/storm controller.
  • EPA – Scrapper: To get all the classes, I had to make a Scrapper. And who needs a super hero the most? The Environmental Protection Agency. Yeah, I think she has the lamest background out of all my heroes.

And on the villain side I have…

  • Sorceress Silvae – Dominator: Her name means Sorceress of the Woods (parly Latin again). She is the main villain against Celt Paladin; I believe I thought of her role in Celt Paladin’s background even before CoV came out, and then decided to expand on her character and create her in the game once it did come out. As her name may imply, she is a plant person, and will crush you with her beloved trees.
  • Palindromic – Mastermind: I made this villain specifically to hang out with one of my friend’s villains. I believe they were all the Mastermind class and named after various parts of speech so we could name our minions funny things. She has a very symmetrical design, with as many silly parts as I could throw in as possible (like elf ears and insect feet). She uses a bow as her main weapon, and controls ninjas with such names as HannaH and BoB. Yeah, she’s pretty weird.
  • Morzena – Mastermind: Another Mastermind, though this one controls zombies. She’s supposed to be undead herself, though I never really settled on a costume I absolutely liked. And that’s a really important thing for these characters where you can choose what they wear.
  • Silver Tiger – Stalker: She’s a stalker, and I rather like her character design as well. Her outfit is black and silver, and looks very stunning. Too bad she spends much of her time stealthed, so it’s hard to see! Unfortunately, I never got to play on her too much. Besides my altitis, my friend ended up disliking stalkers so much, so I didn’t want to upset her too much by playing on one a lot. XD
  • Queen Venificia – Corruptor: This is another character who’s design and concept I didn’t really fall in love with. She was based of a villain from a long defunct Gaiaonline RP (the RP was eaten by a forum bug, I believe). However, the setting of that RP was set in a medeval fantasy world. Queen Venificia was very evil, but mostly used magic. And certainly would be wearing a long flowing dress. Problem: City of Heroes doesn’t have long flowing dresses (or at least not while I made her). So her outfit seems out of place, as well as her name (some mangled Latin which means something to the effect of ‘poison’), and her entire personality. I may delete and recreate with a different character, someday.

So that’s all the characters on my main server on CoH. However… back in the day before additional character slots could be added, my friend and myself started making more toons a different server. Specifically, we made them on Virtue, the self-proclaimed RP server of CoH. Here’s the screen of that login page:

City of Heroes Characters on the Virtue Server

Only the best names for my heroes! *cough*

Quite a few of these are throw-away characters, or heroes who were based on a name that sounded neat in concept.

  • Allie the Tech Savvy – Defender: Her name is supposed to rhyme. It sorta does, if you stretch it a bit. She’s a bubble/electric defender. Who teleports. She’s pretty fun to play.
  • Stormy Justice – Defender: This is someone’s real name. I kid you not. I ran across it once, and I decided that it had to be a super hero name. Her costume was not as stormy or justicey as I hoped it would turn out though.
  • Sam the Dog – Blaster: Yeah. That Sam. I only made him because I thought it would be cute if The SA and I paired off as them. However, it just wasn’t the same, being ported into CoH. Plus The SA never really like this game; he never got past the initial trial. We only played on them once.
  • FashionablyLate – Blaster: I think I may have read this phrase, and determined it would be the perfect name for a fashion savvy (or not so fashion savvy) super hero. Apparently someone else thought that too, because it was already taken; I had to get rid of the space. Her costume is a ridiculous black and pink clown like number. Though now that I remember making her, perhaps I will have to port her into Champion’s Online, since nobody can take your name there.
  • Devil in a BlueDress – Corruptor: I kick myself for not changing my mind and making it ‘Devil with a Blue Dress’, as per the song. However, I thought it looked nicer than ‘DevilWithABlueDress’, which is what it would have to be since it’s close to the character limit for CoH names. Or at least I thought it looked better, at the time. (I’ll let you take a wild guess as to what her costume looks like).
  • Rica the Robot Queen – Mastermind: She’s yet another Mastermind, this time controlling robots. She’s Allie’s twin sister, and also her arch-nemesis (even though her name doesn’t rhyme). Conveniently, that made it much easier to design her outfit.

Guild Wars

Man, I remember being SUPER excited when Guild Wars came out. A MMO? For free!? Count me in! In the end, like most games that don’t have subscriptions, I don’t feel guilty for not playing them, and therefore I don’t play them very often. Whoops. I had to download a patch for hours to log back in to try and get a screenshot for this post. The first problem was trying to log in again (what do you mean I have to remember a character name!? Also- I guess my account won’t be as secure since I’m posting all my character names here). The second problem was that the game forgot what all my characters looked like. So all of the characters were replaced with completely random character models. FOR ALL OF THEM. And I can’t take a screenshot of those characters because they look like nothing I worked so hard to design! I seemed to recall that logging in would fix all of the previews, but after it took another couple hours to download the content to log in, I decided to skip the screenshot of the login page and go with a screen of my main character, Wren Maldadda, dancing to Thriller, as Necromancers are prone to do:

Guild Wars Character Wren Dances To Thriller

THRILLER!

Let me tell you, it’s hard to get a proper screenshot of that dance where you can A) Tell she’s dancing the Thriller dance, B) see her face, and C) not get an almost inappropriate shot of her legs. I think I may have succeeded on two counts.

But anyway- the list of Guild Wars characters!

  • Wren Maldadda – Necromancer/Monk: She was my first Guild Wars character, and she hasn’t even reached the level cap of 20! Though in the original game, it took awhile to reach level cap, as far as I can tell. When the first expansion came out, the leveling was really, really fast. Oh, and for the record- I was doing over the top minion control before it was cool. Just so you know. And I will continue to do it even after it’s not cool any more. I really kind of liked all those flesh monsters you could create. She is pretty much a port of a character I had made for a Gaiaonline RP that never got off the ground. If I play a game as a Necromancer, I almost always name them a variation of Wren Maldadda (in her original world, the double-d (dd) is pronounced as ‘th’, so sometimes her name is spelled ‘Maldatha’, or ‘Maldaltha’ if I forget there is only one ‘l’).
  • Ashandi Yashi – Monk/Mesmer: I’m pretty sure she was the second character I made, in an effort to do more Monk-like healing and less Necromancer-like summoning. She actually looks like a Monk, if only for the fact that she has no hair on her head (that way you can see her awesome tattoo). I had planned on making her only a Monk, but I don’t think Guild Wars allows you to be a single class, so she ended up being a Mesmer too. She is vaguely based off a Star Wars character I made up, a Twi’lek Jedi in-training of the same name. They don’t have much in common, besides their names being the same, and how Jedi are sort of like Monks.
  • Cyntra Bethrin – Ranger: Her appearance (and kind of her name) were based off of yet another Gaiaonline RP character named Centra Blu. I think I had altered it to make it seem a little less modern, as Centra Blu existed in a Space setting. As for Cyntra, she is still in the beginning happy land, where eventually she’ll cross class as a Elementalist. Probably.
  • Zehia Teng – Ritualist/Necromancer: This character is my first and only level capped Guild Wars character. She played through the majority of the first expansion to get there. Note: Ritualists summon lots of pets too. Squee!
  • Gaile De Cerise – Necromancer: As you can see, my love for lots of little minions had me keep rolling Necromancers, even with the limited number of character slots (and that’s with knowing there was another expansion, and that my sister had taken a character slot as well). My intentions for this one was to make her a Ranger, so I could have even more pets. However, I was conflicted; she seemed like someone who would be a Mesmer, and the Necro/Mesmer combo was (is?) very, very powerful. I have yet to make up my mind on this one.
  • Mhena Besi – Dervish/Elementalist: She is the only one from the second expansion that I have made, so far. She’s fairly far along in her levels, though she certainly isn’t maxed out. The Dervish class is pretty fun to play too.

Age of Conan

Age of Conan Character List

I'm not a fan on how the AoC character list arranges itself...

Ah, good old Age of Conan. I play this one with a WoW guildie, when I do play. However, now that they released offline leveling, I pretty much will keep subscribing to them. XD And no, I really have no idea how AoC arranges the character list. I don’t think it’s by when you make them, nor is it alphabetical, or by level. It’s dreadfully annoying.

But now it’s time for me to ramble on about all of these characters, in the order that I think they should be in!

  • Dynesia – Aquilonian Priest of Mitra: She was the second character I made in AoC, and the first on the realm my guildie plays on. She’s a healing class, of course. I got way more into healing after making a healer my main on WoW. She also, in character, is much nicer than much of the Conan lore. That’s probably another reason why I’m not a fan of her ‘come hither’ wiggle that she does on the loading screen. (All the woman do that, actually. Probably because this game is aimed at Men.) It’s especially silly because it looks like she has a cold since her nose is red.
  • Ahnrahk – Stygian Tempest of Set: Another healer type. I gave her some neat tattoos, so she looks Egyptian-like.
  • Tkalha – Stygian Demonologist: She looks really, really scary. Her hair is in dreadlocks, with her face covered with a heavy black tattoo (that makes it scary). I mainly made her so I could have her walk around with one of the AoC succubi (a female one, of course; the male ones look way too scary).
  • Wrenmalda – Stygian Necromancer: Remember what I said about necromancers and their names? Yup, the trend continues. She looks more or less the same as the Guild Wars one; her skin is darker, though, due to Necromancers being Stygians.
  • Geloryn – Cimmerian Ranger: I decided I needed a Cimmerian, and also a token male. So Geloryn was made. Sadly he’s still a loincloth, like my WoW male priest. Oh my poor, poor token male toons.
  • Maldatha – Stygian Necromancer: What, another one? Yes, this one lives on a different server (Cimmeria, a RP-PVP server vs. Wiccana), before I knew where my guildie resided.

I do find it rather funny that I have most of my characters as the ‘bad guy’ race, while my ‘main’ character is the prudish race. What does that say about me, I wonder.

Champions Online

Champions Online Character List

Why, these names seem familiar...

Hm… what familiar names. Yes, I am guilty of porting in my CoH characters into the Champions Online game. After all, it’s pretty much developed by the same people, and I did miss playing on Celt Paladin and the rest. However, I’ve only imported three of them. The rest are original. In fact, I have a list of characters I’d like to make of the different power sets that would fill up the rest of my character slots.

But as for the characters that are currently there, I have…

  • Celt Paladin: While Champions Online has an amazing character creation system (it is sexy), it was (at least at launch) severely lacking in Medieval armor, especially helms. I was a little disappointed, but I thought I did fairly well. Also, in this game she uses a sword instead of a mace. I learned my lesson. Haha.
  • Adiutrix: Her outfit turned out nice, and it was probably the closest to the look and feel of the original CoH character. However, I don’t think she has a healing power set like her counterpart.
  • Snow Kitty: Her costume was close, but didn’t quite hit the mark. I think it was mostly how her face looked; I’m not exactly a fan of Champions Online faces either.
  • Howling Hawk: She’s a wolf-human with wings. Enough said.
  • Warden of the Woods: I wanted her to be a tall, elegant deer humanoid, like a demi-god. I don’t think I ever got her costume right, even with all the fiddling I did.

Weirdly, I seem to recall having made a ‘Fyrefox’ character, who looked like a female version of the Firefox logo, more or less. Since I have the character costume all saved, I’m guessing the character was deleted. (Unless that was made in only beta).

Conclusion

There are some games I’m currently not subscribed to and/or will be playing in the future, including Warhammer Online, Aion, EVE Online, LOTRO, and Star Trek Online, so I can’t list their characters (either because I haven’t made any yet, or I forgot their names). But maybe someday in the future when I reactivate them, I will show off all my spiffy characters. (Did I mention I love character customization? Because I do. I really, really do).

And so those are all of my characters in many of the games I play. Not all of them have backstories, but quite a few of them do, so I hope to share those with you. And maybe I’ll see you in-game!