Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Thursday 27 May 2004

City of Heros and why its not just another MMORPG... [houmous]

Some of you will have noticed I haven’t been in channel much recently and I’ve now often got a CoH prefix on my nick. SPAM have always been a clan that has experimented with MMORPGS ever since EQ hit the streets when, a bit like heroin, it single-handly destroyed what had been our thriving, active and very social Mirc channel. Overnight it became a ghost town as everyone became obsessed with levelling and anyone who didn’t soon got bored with hanging around with no one to talk to.
Ever since then we have tried nearly all the MMORPGs that come along with varied results – Asherons Call (week) Dark Age of Camelot (about 3 months) Anarchy online (month), Star Wars Galaxy (week), FFXI (month). However nothing has ever seized the clan like City of Heroes which we have all been playing non-stop since its release.
So why is it so good? Like all MMORPGs it’s based on improving skills and powers as you level up but what we are looking at here is a game that’s really thought about the bits you don’t like about MMORPGs and come up with solutions. A perfect example is the Side Kick system. How many times have you been unable to find a group close enough to your level or been pissed off when you can’t play with your mates because they are 5 levels higher than you? In CoH you can join a group of any level by being side kicked by one of the higher level members. This boosts you to their level but still giving you the same exp that would expect at your actual level – an amazingly social tweak.
The powers and skills are all genuinely exciting and the visuals are first class. Running around a kind of Gotham City killing hoodlums is a refreshing change to goblins and rats. The missions are not mindless grinding but require strategy and thought to complete because of the toughness of the mobs. The game also runs amazingly smoothly and is virtually bug free.
This brings me to another example of an adaptation which makes this game so good. When you die you lose exp as you would expect but instead of having to then simply make it up again (groan) so you get to where you were before after, say, a couple of hours, CoH has a debt system.
What happens is that with each bit of new exp you get half goes to repaying the debt and half goes on adding to your exp level that you had before you died – a far more motivating arrangement!
Anyway I could rant on about how good this game is for ever but have a look at it on their web site here. You can download it here and buy an activation key on their site, if you cant be arsed to order the box.


  1. The debt system is actually all in the mind. You die and lose 50xp. Lets say you get 10xp per mob. Kill 10 mobs and you gain 100xp. Half of that goes on the debt. Thus leaving you with 50xp more than what you had when you died. If you'd not died you'd have made another 50xp. Which funnily enough is the same amount that was removed. So whats the point in the debt? They might as well not have it.
    Also, what server are you on and if its not Guardian then why not!

  2. I may give SWG a shot with the 14 day trial FilePlanet have now. Not played it, due to all the bad press. That said my few hours of gaming these days is spent playing the new Thrones and Patriots expansion for the excellent Rise of nations!

  3. 1) Guardian of course! Toons are Houmous girl (13) and Houmous man (7) hehe...2) Stop being such a miserable bastard Pod!The debt system makes you feel better - thats all that matters!

  4. Good stuff. I'm called Indigo Tease(16).I'll keep an eye out for you when I'm on tonight.

  5. Not much in the way of big PC games coming soon so I'm also tempted. Depends if I take a sniff before Thief 3 comes out...

  6. Everquest II's out in June lurk! (snigger...)