A Weekend of Sloth

By Shamus Posted Monday Oct 6, 2008

Filed under: Notices 43 comments

I’ve mentioned before that I do most of my writing on the weekends. I write the bulk of the articles on my days off, and then go over them a bit the evening before they go live.

This weekend I did nothing but play City of Heroes. I filled up a whole server just making new characters and playing them to level 3 or 4, then dumping out and making another.

I fully realize the showing off your character is barely one step removed from drawing a picture and putting it up on the refrigerator. However, since this is pretty much all I did, it’s all I’ve got. So, with apologies, here is what you’re getting instead of posts this week:

He’s on liberty.  I’d consider this to be my “main”. I’ve made a ton of characters, but when it comes to gameplay he’s just the most fun.
He’s on liberty. I’d consider this to be my “main”. I’ve made a ton of characters, but when it comes to gameplay he’s just the most fun.

 He should probably have been a tanker using Super Strength if I <em>really</em> wanted to adhere to the concept, but I tried playing a tanker (my first character, actually) and I hated it.
He should probably have been a tanker using Super Strength if I really wanted to adhere to the concept, but I tried playing a tanker (my first character, actually) and I hated it.

He has Super Jump now, so this entire site is probably a lost cause. Last night I was bounding around the rooftops of the city, wondering how long I could keep playing if I just quit my job now.

(My other character is “Fullmetal Jackie”, an Energy-based blaster on Freedom. I’m not sure if I’ll keep her just yet. She’s a blast to play with, but we’ll see how her powers develop. I figure I’ll use Grimm for Solo play and Jackie for group play, and I’ll try to experience a little of everything the game has to offer.)


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43 thoughts on “A Weekend of Sloth

  1. MintSkittle says:

    When I played CoH/CoV, I had a blast with the character creator. The game was fun, too. To bad there isn’t a Mastermind style archetype on Hero side, ’cause that’s my favorite class.

  2. Chris Arndt says:

    This blog is finished.

  3. Moridin says:

    “This blog is finished.”

    And so soon after the table-top RPG article brought a glimpse of hope…

  4. william says:

    How did your Average-Joe cop get superpowers?

  5. Strangeite says:

    “This blog is finished.”

    It could be worse. He could have gotten sucked into the Pokemon MMORPG. /shudder

  6. Penn says:

    Looks like he doesn’t have superpowers, just martial arts, based on the powers. Of course, superleaping is a little over the top for unpowered characters, but it’s just so much fun. :)
    Although I have to say that Brutes (villain-side) are my favourite archetype to play. There’s just something fun about actively being rewarded for never taking breaks, just running full-steam ahead until you drop.

  7. Kevin says:

    That’s kind of funny. I really loved the low level play, but over tenth the game totally started losing it’s luster. (I think my highest level character was like 28 or 29 or something.) Maybe I should have done what you did and just pounded the hell out of the low level game.

    I am really looking forward to the Champions game tho. Sounds like they’ve catered to the “casual” play folks like me as well as regular players.

    (I know I’m not typical.)

  8. Jeff says:

    I like the description. So few have such well written descriptions.

  9. rose glace says:

    >He should probably have been a tanker using Super Strength if >I really wanted to adhere to the concept, but I tried playing >a tanker (my first character, actually) and I hated it.

    many characters don’t really develop their “feel” until
    the low 20s (22 used to be the magic level for that).
    certainly most tanks don’t feel tough until then. (at least
    not for me.) there is a certain appeal, though, to being able to jump into any (level-appropriate) spawn of any
    size and live through it.

    make sure you take Integration at 16. :-)

  10. Deoxy says:

    He’s got the “Bob Parr” look going pretty well. I’m not familiar with the CoH system at all, so I don’t know how much influence the “archetype” has, but yeah, Super Strength would have made a him look like a slightly older and more cynical Mr Incredible.

    Since that’s one of my favorite super heroes ever, that sounds like fun… heh.

    I’m guessing “security level” is level, and “influence” is basically money? Just curious.

  11. krellen says:

    Kevin: Most missions take less than 30 minutes. I’m not sure where you get this idea that CoX doesn’t cater to casual play.

    Shamus: I too wasted entire days when I first got CoH just in character creation. It’s so much fun.

    Deoxy: Security/Threat level is level, and Influence/Infamy is money. Good guesses.

  12. karln says:

    Yeah he’s Natural origin which usually indicates a non-powered human whose abilities come from extreme training, although as Penn says, Super Jump is pushing it a bit. Travel powers are a bit tricky for natural human characters; I guess if I had any I’d handwave the issue as them using a jetpack or something. Natural can also mean a non-human (typically an alien like Superman) whose species just naturally has whatever powers are used, but from the description it looks like Shamus intends Grimm to be a standard human.

    I’m tempted to make a huge-bodied Martial Artist myself (or I /think/ the primary powerset is MA anyway, never used it before) just to see how it looks in motion. Should be a larf :)

  13. Plasma says:

    If you like Super Jumping, just wait until you get to higher levels with him. Your base movement speeds and max movement speeds increase every level, so you’ll be Super Jumping around the city at ever more exhilarating rates as you level up. And CoH is one of the easiest MMORPGs to hit 50 on, because the game was designed for you to make a whole bunch of alts in order to experience all the content. On my first few characters, I got a little annoyed at how fast I leveled and how much content I was missing. The flashback system helped that some, though, as did getting a bunch of alts to high levels.

    And yes, scrappers are heck of fun. My main is a claws/sr scrapper. So awesome.

  14. Kris says:

    “I need a drink!”

  15. Dragonbane says:

    For me the frustration levels were 8-13 and 33-37. …well, except for my controllers, which were frustrating from 1-31, then astounding. :) In general though, the grind of getting around the city before getting a travel power (which is not available before lvl 14) just became frustrating after awhile. Super Leap is one of my favorite travel powers, but you’ll probably want to do some research on Super Leap key binds. If done right, one key can turn on superleap and make you start moving forward and auto-leaping whenever you land. Then another key will turn off superleap, turn off auto-run and auto-jump, and turn on Combat Leaping instead. It’s incredibly convenient (though you still have to pay attention to keep from running into buildings or bad guys) and allows you to chat while moving. It’s the next best thing to flight. :)

  16. Teppesh says:

    Yeah, character creation is a game in itself in CoX, which tends to tap strongly into the RPG tendencies. After all, in Pen and Paper, half of the fun is coming up with a character’s look, background, and abilities. Plus, it appeals to everyone who ever dreamed they were a superhero, as you can make that hero you’ve always dreamed about being, with enough options to conceivably cover most concepts.

  17. GreyDuck says:

    @Dragonbane: It should be noted that the “temp” travel powers are easily acquired at about level 5, nowadays. I count the two-hour jet pack as among the best QOL features they ever added to the game.

  18. Chris Arndt says:

    I just realized he has a tiny head.

  19. Noah Lesgold says:

    If you want to give your attack chain more of a brawler and less of a fancypants kung fu look, consider Air Superiority from the flight pool – excellent damage and endurance cost for its recharge time, along with almost guaranteed knockdown and -fly on the target. Adding powers like AS and/or Boxing to Martial Arts is a nice way to get a street-fighting character approach together (really wish they’d make a proper Brawling / Street Fighting set, though, but at this point making it stand out from Martial Arts and Super Strength would be tricky).

    I am glad the “make a lot of characters and play the ones you like” approach came to you, since I definitely think that’s the best way to play COH initially. Sorry you didn’t like tankers – they’re my favorite archetype.

    FWIW, you may get a little flak for your energy blaster in teams, as the wild and crazy knockback on almost every energy power can screw up AOEs and control of a fight. It’s definitely something that can be compensated for (for example taking advantage of walls and barriers to use knockback to clump enemies together in order to blast them all at once), but when you do start teaming with her, keep it in mind.

    If you really want to have fun teaming, try a defender – sets like Dark Miasma and Kinetics are a great way to have an active role in a fight while making everyone around you more effective.

  20. Dragonbane says:

    Greyduck: Oh, they added that to hero side as well? It was only on CoV when I last quit playing. I definitely remember abandoning the newbie arc and hauling arse through Snake Island as soon as I hit lvl5, dodging higher-level MoBs in order to get off the island and go find me a jetpack. Totally agreed on the QoL bump it gives you. :)

  21. Templar says:

    on the subject of Super-Jump with a “non-super” origin… i say; pfft, wire-fu!

    he’s already got the martial arts… of COURSE he can leap gracefully from treetop/roof to treetop/roof like a ninja… non-powered ninjas have been doing it for centuries, all it takes is one quick trip to tibet, and a few lessons with some ancient master on a mountain somewhere… and ta da!

    it’s not a power… it’s focusing your chi young grasshopper!

  22. karln says:

    Hmmmhhhmmhhmmm… sounds tantamount to Magic origin to me ;)

  23. JoCommando says:

    “…showing off your character is barely one step removed from drawing a picture and putting it up on the refrigerator…”

    But… but… telling interesting, clever, or amusing back stories is an ESSENTIAL part of City of Heroes/Villains. The intricate character creator, stationary level cap, secondary PVP game, and the Flashback system that Plasma (13) mentioned are all part of a not-insignificant emphasis on telling stories.

    So share your characters and their stories! By any means possible! You’re lucky in that you’re a great writer AND have a blog complete with clamoring audience. To find a posting forum, some go so far as to make for their toon a MySpace “MyHero” page. Personally, I went the route of posting my characters on the Crey Industries Hero Threat Database, but it’s all a matter of whom you wish to reach.

    I’ve met frustrated authors and comic book writers who’ve done great things with their characters. Also, discussing back stories is great for those brief lags when the blaster is on his way back from the hospital. Honestly, the Character Biography feature is one I greatly missed in WoW, after having been spoiled by it in CoX. And as far as power choices go – a well written back story can justify anything.

  24. Zukhramm says:

    I reasently activated my CoH/V, but I’m on the European servers.

  25. MechaCrash says:

    The problem with playing Tankers is that they start out pretty slow. You’ll notice the fact that tankers have less offense really quickly, but your superior defenses take a while to kick in. That said, given that you were invuln…yeah, it’s kind of the red-headed stepchild at the moment, but should improve with Issue 13, supposedly coming out before the end of this year.

    As for showing off characters, go right ahead. What’s the point of having such a deep character creator if people aren’t going to show off what they can do with it?

  26. I dunno…

    Maybe I’m really missing something, but I quickly lost interest with City of Heroes.

    Yes, the character creation was a blast. But the actual game play felt PAINFULLY repetitive after a while.

    And yes, I know that all MMOs have repetitive elements. But CoH lost my interest quicker than most. Not sure why…


  27. Mayhem says:

    I’ve played COH/COV since start and I’ve always come back to it, even after trying other MMOs. I think it’s the characters’ customization that I love. Plus, they have a number of free updates on a regular basis.

    For travel powers, I have one Scrapper that’s all Fitness. With decent enhancers, he’s about as fast as Fly, which, admittedly, isn’t saying much, but he really gets around. Especially in mission maps, where he’s very quick without having to turn on travel powers.

  28. Loneduck3 says:

    A while back, you could download the character creator separate without the whole game. I think it was for the Korean release, but you could fiddle with the program registry, and make it english. I had it back for a couple years before my laptop died.
    I wish they had more time-specific outfits. Like, caveman outfits, medieval, victorian, etc. I wanted a guy in armor who swinged (swung?swang?) a big sword. That’s probably why I stuck with WoW.

  29. MintSkittle says:

    There is armor in the character creator. I had a sword wielding knight for about 5 levels before the novelty wore off and I built another new character.

  30. krellen says:


    I would say, without the community, my villain group, and the RP aspects of CoX, I’d probably be burnt out on it already. But I find the people fun, and of course I’m in the magical zone of 45+ for content where I actually get to fight the big names of the setting and every mission isn’t the same (as I will admit is the case with a lot of the lower level content.)

    It’s better if you try to follow contacts with storylines exclusively.

  31. Shamus says:

    Well… I didn’t expect so much thought or interest in my character’s origin. With regards to Frank’s leaping around and martial arts at 53 years old, I’ll just point out that the thing is written in first person.

  32. Glalev says:

    Mmm… using a Scrapper for solo play and a blaster for group play is probably best. Scrappers are the most versatile class so you don’t need other people so much whereas Blasters are glass nukes.

    Personally, though, I really like blasters. There’s nothing quite as exciting as throwing ridiculous amounts of firepower at evildoers before they can defeat you.

  33. Chris says:

    Making a new character and leveling them to the late teens is when it’s the best. Getting to 20 is rewarding. Pushing to 30 and beyond wasn’t worth it, in my opinion. But the game is at its best when you’re sculpting out a new character and their evolving super powers.

  34. krellen says:

    I find 25-35 the worst part of the game. After 35, you’ve got options like the Rikti War Zone and Cimerora which allow a nice break from the “standard” game zones you’ve been through, and by 40-50 you’re generally hobnobbing with the elite figures of the game and, while perhaps doing so on the same maps, finally facing off against some unique content.

    I ran Lord Recluse’s Strike Force last weekend and got to take down the Vindicators and the Freedom Phalanx. It felt really good, and I can’t say the fights with those groups felt the “same” as all the previous content.

  35. Loneduck3 says:

    @Mintskittle Yes it has some armor, but not a lot of variety of medieval stuff. I had a “look like everyone else” problem. That was before City of Villains, and other stuff, so maybe there’s more content in that regard. Point is, I couldn’t make a character I was entirely pleased with.

  36. MintSkittle says:


    I misunderstood you. I was thinking you couldn’t find any armor, but there still isn’t a lot of choice when I played, which was a few months ago.

  37. mavis says:

    Ahhh I remmember that – coming up with looks – taking hours – writing the back story – then charging out there. Beore going and doing it again….

    Good times, good times.

    I did find the game a little lacking after a while (although being meant to take on multible mobs was a great features) and the level progression really hurt sometimes.

  38. Chargone says:

    nope, still not a lot of options for any one sort of armor.
    there’s a lot of things like that.
    [personally, i think the character creator could do with a ‘tertiary’ colour in a lot of instances. the headband nicking the highlights out of the characters hair, for example, is annoying.]

  39. Zaxares says:

    I remember spending a good 40 minutes once creating a Hero in CoH… And then promptly never looking at it again after I left my cousin’s house. Looking at that character description, and realising what kind of roleplaying potential this game has… I’m thinking that was probably for the best. :P

  40. Stuart says:

    There are three things I particularly like about CoH that elevate it above other MMOs I have tried:

    1.) The characters are fairly varied. When I tried WoW and a few others it felt exactly like stepping out of the cloning tank and seeing many slightly imperfect copies of yourself – same height, same shape, different hairstyle. Some people I’ve talked to complain that the variation in CoH is a huge hit on bandwidth, but really – if they’ve done it right – a one time send of a few extra variables isn’t going to break the bank with todays communication. And it makes the game world that little less uncanny.

    2.) Within minutes of entering paragon city I was being invited to team up. I played the 15 day trial of WoW and barely saw another PC – ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, but the community in CoH compelled me to open a full account because the team missions were rather fun and people were always looking to run teams. (I don’t currently have a machine running windows, but I do intend to reopen my account sometime in early November)

    3.) The Superhero idea, in my opinion, is just rather fresh and you get a lot of scope for filling in your backstory… the archetypes and character editor give a bit more freedom in doing this I have found. Nothing is more exhilarating than getting to a level were you can learn super speed or flight or super jumping and start zipping round the skyways.

    *sigh* – I can’t wait to get back into it now :-)

  41. karln says:

    I’m intrigued now by Shamus’ comment at 31. I can’t work out why his description being 1st-person makes a difference to the combination of Natural origin with Super Jump. Unless… could it be the character is not being entirely truthful maybe..?

    Sometimes I think it’s a shame you can’t change your character’s origin later, as it could come in handy for plot updates such as a Tech origin beginning to experiment with genetic manipulation and thereby becoming Science, or a Natural revealing late in his career that he’s actually a Mutant ;) Or if you just decide you (the player) picked the wrong one… I still wonder if my half-demon Brute should be Magic instead of Natural.

  42. Adalore says:

    Heheheh, I have played in the CoV stress test, I got a reasonable kick out of it, saddly I hit a crippling bug right before I got flight.

    I was a ninja master mind, If I knew that will lock me into a bow I’d have better outfit for it. to say the least, it looked like I was able to put it together at home.

    A sleeveless with a blue flame on it?
    Blue… CAMOUFLAGE PANTS?! I looked more like a gang leader then a ninja leader. To father throw it off what I didn’t understand, I named my self. “Dr.Spork” with the battle cry. “It’s a spork you SPOON!” Heh.

  43. Alex says:

    *reads Detective Grimm’s bio*

    Darnit, now I REALLY wish there were an actual superhero comic book about this guy I could buy/read right now.

    Way to make an interesting and engrossing character backstory that leaves me wanting more, JERK! =P

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