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The Space Between

Gaming and Life, Rants and Raves, now with 30% more loot!

Author: TesterNGS

[CoH] NCSoft Just Doesn't Get It

Posted by TesterNGS Monday August 11 2008 at 3:21PM
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NCSoft Just Doesn't Get It

The City of Heroes forums are abuzz with the news of a survey being conducted on behalf of NCSoft. To the CoH faithful, this survey is the Beam of Light From On High, a promise that their cries for change have been heard; it basically asks them which major feature they want the most. Long-requested enhancements like power customization, the ability to take your hero villain-side and vice-versa, and a custom mission creator were mentioned in the survey, causing much excitement in the community.

To me, it sounds like NCSoft is trying to turn City of Heroes into the game it should be at this point. Under Cryptic's rule, CoH was stagnant, with only the lowest-hanging fruit being plucked and implemented. Now with NCSoft's cash driving a new hiring push, the developers can finally work on "The Big Things" that (to them) would make the game better.

But NCSoft just doesn't get it. Power Customization won't make mission maps any more interactive or interesting. A new archetype won't suddenly make the game's bad guys more engaging to fight or the end bosses more memorable. Allowing players to create their own content will only flood the game with half-assed unprofessional junk. City of Heroes needs remade from its very CORE; it doesn't need more tacked-on shiny object fluff.

You see, the central flaws that makes City of Heroes so boring to play has nothing to do with customization or archetypes. It has everything to do with how repetitive missions are to play, how brain dead the bad guys are, and how limited players are in their abilities.
Missions are lame from start to finish. You are given a mission by a static, boring NPC who, despite the fact that they order around superheroes like delivery boys, are no more visually interesting than the building in front of which they stand. Then, you run off to the "super secret hideout", which happens to be unguarded, and enter what seems to be a small brick building only to end up inside a HUGE warehouse. Then you are treated to mindless, purposeless, fantastically nearsighted clumps of baddies, each spawn of which you attack in the same manner.

Apparently the developers are happy with this, since it hasn't changed in four years.

But how else could the game be? I mean, your character is so limited that the developers have to dumb-down the gameplay. Contrast CoH with WoW, where players have many unique and situational powers. That allows Blizzard to create content that utilitizes the many abilities of each class, which allows for a diverse array of encounters. In City of Heroes, most fights can be won by: Tank -> Debuff -> Nuke, even boss fights. And they don't want to change this? They really think that adding another Archetype will suddenly make the game's content fresh and interesting? The feel that letting players choose the color of their attacks with breathe new life into the world? Seriously?

And then there are the visuals, another point of failure for CoH.

Now, the new stuff looks pretty good, especially the costume parts. The old zones, however, look like utter crap. Seriously, how much concrete did it take to build Paragon City? Talk about dead space. And why don't buildings cast shadows? Is Paragon City in a bubble - the weather is always the same. And zones? Come on, its not as if the zones in CoH are so crowded, interactive, or huge that you MUST have zoning. All of this adds up to a feeling (FOR ME) that CoH is technically and artistically behind the times when it comes to the public spaces.

City of Heroes, at its core, is an old Honda. Cryptic and now NCSoft have done the equivalent of adding new wheels, a stereo, and a huge racing wing while ignoring the engine and transmission. NCSoft, its time to rebuild your old junker, and you better do it before the new cars show up in DC Universe and Champions Online.

ProfRed writes:

Why would they remake it from it's core when there are new Super Hero MMO's coming out soon?  One by Cryptic too.

Mon Aug 11 2008 3:30PM Report
t0nyd writes:

Instead of adding new archetypes maybe they should add more variety with the current archetypes. Adding power trees would make things a lot more interesting. It only makes sense that powers should stay related to similar powers.

Mon Aug 11 2008 3:47PM Report
Suponji writes:

Off topic, but thats the same picture I use for my facebook

Mon Aug 11 2008 5:44PM Report
Amarsir writes: I actually agree about new tilesets, new enemies, and a reworked approach to missions. But I also suspect that if you think in terms of a development time / play time added ratio, they don't quite look as favorable as something like a new archetype. Reworking the system to allow rain would be nice ... for like 3 minutes. It's not like I'm going to stare drooling at my monitor for it. Or renew my subscription because it's raining now. Also, considering that, as you say, the stagnation happened under Cryptic, I wouldn't start expecting much from Champions Online. Mon Aug 11 2008 5:55PM Report
hanshotfirst writes:

This is neither in defense of Cryptic nor NCsoft, but you do appreciate your criticisms pretty much hold true for the entire genre?

MMOs by nature are repetitive. Sooner or later, anything "shiny and new" becomes familiar and loses its luster. Honestly, I think you either need to lower your expectations or find a new pastime.

Mon Aug 11 2008 6:11PM Report
jaxsundane writes:

don't be so sure about DCUO I'm sure SOE will find a way to bork this game too, as a matter of fact it is already a pretty uninspiring work read the forums about it, unless they are trying desperately hard to avoid pulling a funcom they don't reveal much of anything bout the game and despite having my own personal favorite artist of all time as the art director the animation looks like crap.

As far as CoH goes I tend to agree with most of your points and they'd better be on the look out for champions but DCUO is looking like a nice big Smed samich right about now imo

Mon Aug 11 2008 7:05PM Report
WRyan writes:

The game is five years old.  It was good for those five years.  Instancing was the best way to handle the scope of the game back when it was being developed.  To reinvent it's core would be completely pointless.  It would be best to make a City of Heroes 2, and if I'm not mistaken, I think that's exactly what they intend to do with Champions Online.

Cryptic developed CoH and is now developing Champions Online (and Star Trek Online too.)

Mon Aug 11 2008 7:35PM Report
DeserttFoxx writes:

Ive been saying this for a while now, champions online is CoX 2, the devs have already stated that the engine itself is what limits what cox can do.

Look at champions as taking all their mistakes and fixing them, if you look at champions all the stuff promised on CoX will be availbile in champions at launch, power cusotmization, no more archytpes and interactive battle systems.

Cryptic doesnt own CoX anymore btw, theys old it to NC Soft.

Mon Aug 11 2008 10:39PM Report
vajuras writes:

If they would have just gave us some rewards from pvp and actually made some effort I would have stayed. But naw I guess I would have left anyway by now I guess due to horrid Villain vs Hero imbalance. IF they would have given us some useful epic powers it would have been cool. Instead that crapped on villains. our epic powers was like LOL in SG vs VG pvp. no where near as effective as hero side.

PVE the mobs stood still but oh well all mmorpg PVE has horrid AI right. The instances--- I'm not going to speak on that beyond it got repetitive.

I liked the blog. Not sure if I agree or not since I'm not a current subscriber. So I guess I will hold my peace

I had good times in the game. I enjoyed the costumes. They nailed that. At least they got one thing very very right

Tue Aug 12 2008 12:02AM Report
ronpack writes:

CoX has made plenty of money. I paid for 2 years and I know plenty of people that paid for more than 4 years. I admit that I got burned out on the game and it sucks that I will only play it maybe once every 6 months just to check out new content. Just wait for Champions. Hopefully it will be a lot better. No MMO lasts forever. But I will tell you this, if for some reason, CoX becomes free like Anarchy Online, it could be around for many many more years lol. They should just have in game advertisement on billboards and let that pay for a server.

Tue Aug 12 2008 8:03AM Report writes:
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