Wednesday, December 28, 2011

sound of rain is rain in gutters, lightning, seven seconds thunder

This post was brought to you by game boredom...Well, not precisely game boredom...You'll see what I mean.

I've spent more than a year playing City of Heroes. Obviously, any game that retains my attention that long has something, even if it's only relevant to me (see: Minecraft, one of the few games I entered on the alpha-test level). But a few months back, City of Heroes went free to play. Pretty standard format--they 'dumbed down' their intro story arcs (not for the better), added in a micro-transaction store, and--because they still have subscribers, too--partitioned the content into three general groups: free players (they get the basics, have to buy everything else with Paragon Points, but are massively restricted in terms of game content); "Premium" players (players who used to be subscribers, but downgraded, or anyone who buys at least one thing from the Paragon store; due to this, they have a few more bells and whistles); and VIPs (that would be my class, because I'm a subscriber: we get everything, more or less, though we still have to buy new content like any other player).

So. When I make a new character, these days, they get the new intro arcs, which I haaaate, and am beyond bored with. I doubt they'd be so galling if I hadn't decided I needed to remake (remake: keep bio and power selections of, but make as a new character; there's no simple retention of the name and changing power sets. It's discard entirely, then make from scratch). Because of this, I tend to rush through them, and anything that distracts me from the superpowered ennui is...usually...a good thing.

However: one of the curious features of the 'new' City of Heroes is that for new players who aren't VIPs or premium accounts, there's a ton of restrictions. No selling things at the auction house. No crafting things in the Universities. No ability to trade. No ability to send private messages (also called "tells", which I try not to twitch at, because of the WoW association). No ability to chat in all but one chat channel. (I think that's partially changed; new players can chat in Local now, but seriously--that covers the people directly around you, and it's a BIIIIG MMO. Also, another recent change lifted the ban on new players posting in the forums, so that's slowly working out.)

The one channel exception? Help. Which was formerly reserved for things like, "Help! I'm stuck behind a box and I can't get out!" or "I found a bug in one of the missions, is there anyone who's online to take a report?"

Instead, we get chatter. Mindless, draining chatter. Constant chatter. Flirting, plays on words, lolpeople who can't spell, 'what's everyone doing' questions, 'lvl 12 brute nds help on mish' comments, and spammers. Dear gods, do we get spammers.

But there are, though rare and occasional in nature, up sides. Witness this conversation overheard earlier:

[Help] North Wind Barbarian: I am on the "Defeat Mynx' Mish
[Help] North Wind Barbarian: when does she show up?

For those who don't know, this is Mynx:

(from the City of Heroes album)

[Help] North Wind Barbarian: as in how much time until she shows *or does she end up at the back area*
[Help] Possessed Beauty: Just make fun of Neuron she will come running.
[Help] North Wind Barbarian: Thats Bobcat
[Help] Possessed Beauty: Wait that's Bobcat nm
[Help] Green Wraith: or a sign that says "free slutty jumpsuits"
[Help] North Wind Barbarian: LULZ!

This is Bobcat, Minx's Praetorian double:

(from the City of Heroes album)

[Help] Dark Soleil: Its BOOBCAT
[Help] Dark Soleil: people always leave out the extra O for some reason
[Help] Possessed Beauty: If Minx met Bobcat what would result be?
[Help] Green Wraith: hot
[Help] Moira mna Badb: Catfight.
[Help] Ultraguard: a really expensive coat
[Help] Dark Soleil: the result is rule 34
[Help] Possessed Beauty: All of the above most likely.

I have to admit, to divert from the double entendres for a moment, to being impressed by Praetoria. Praetoria is City of Heroes' take on the whole "Crisis on multiple earths" concept. Praetoria is the flip side of the reality that contains Paragon City, and its capital, Nova Praetoria, is ruled by the iron fist of Emperor Cole, who goes so far as to train and station psychics on streetcorners to aid in quashing "traitorous" thinking.

Okay, sure, that's bad, but on the other hand, there is no trash in Praetoria. There's barely any crime (that's not caused by heroes, or hidden away in underground lairs or featureless office buildings). They have universal health care, and everyone works--and not just, everyone must become a cog in the great system. No, every citizen is tested, and their strengths and weaknesses determined, and then they are given a job which they can do, will be productive doing, and which ultimately will give them a happy life.

Damn. Bring on the fascism. If that's the down side--being mentally scanned for subversion off and on--but I get universal health care, a productive job that I can do, and a city free of debris and unfortunate signs of decay? Where do I sign up?

Of course, it is just a game, and it must be mentioned, part of what keeps the city so clean is a large army of partially-independent androids equipped with fire, acid and cleaning anything they can't just burn off or wash away, they can dissolve down to basic particulates...which can then be burned or rinsed clean. They have no problem with homelessness, but that's not necessarily the best thing...

[Help] Azure Sting: I posed a philosophical question last night. If Mother Mayhem went to Boomtown, would it become BOOBtown?
[Help] Green Wraith: going to blow your mind with this: neuron MADE HIS OWN CATGIRL.
[Help] Dirty Bloke: Siege wears his boobs on his shoulders

This is Siege:

(from the City of Heroes album)

They're not actually boobs. He's just big-boned.

[Help] Ultraguard: Funny thing is, Mayhem's got a pair of As, but she just makes you THINK they are Ds
[Help] Possessed Beauty: Haha.
[Help] Dark Soleil: Mother Mayhem looks like Michael Jackson to me

This is Mother Mayhem:

(from the City of Heroes album)

Mother Mayhem trains any girl child with psychic ability for both the combat psychic program, and the Seer program, which ends up with the Seers monitoring thoughts on streetcorners. Also, two things.

1. I can't imagine anyone confusing her with Michael Jackson.
2. Those aren't A-cup breasts. They're just not.

[Help] Possessed Beauty: Yes Desdemona has always been the sexier darkly dressed woman at least to me.
[Help] Green Wraith: yo dawg, we heard you like psychic dominatrices, so we put a psychic dominatrix in your psychic dominatrix, so you can be mindraped while you get mindraped.
[Help] Azure Sting: Desdemona needs better-fitting clothes, half her ass hang out of her underdrawers......

This is Desdemona:

(from the City of Heroes album)

And...yeah, I kind of have to agree with that.

[Help] Operative Minerva: Think about this. Do you REALLY want someone digging through your mind while you're screwing her?
[Help] Iron-Goliath: Mayhem does not care what you want... she is going to F you anyway
[Help] Dark Soleil: Mayhem only likes
little girls
[Help] Operative Minerva: Especially someone who can control other people's bodies with her mind....
[Help] Jenna Tate: a Kardashian?

This is Kim Kardashian:

(from the random album)

And...I can't really say anything about someone who looks like an inflatable doll while alive, so...we'll move on.

[Help] Talrak Sloversin: She's not a Kardashian. Psychics are -useful-.
[Help] Jenna Tate: a wife then?
[Help] Possessed Beauty: Flambeaux is more kardasian than her.

This is Flambeaux:

(from the City of Heroes album)

and she's one of the single most irritating characters in the entire game. (And considering the hundreds if not thousands of quests, the hundreds of different characters before you account for the millions of player characters, and the several different cities on all three sides of the game now...yeah. That's saying something.)

(And yes, I found other pictures of Flambeaux, like this one, but that bar over her head? That means she's halfway down on health and will DIE SOON. That makes me happy.)

So...yes. Really random conversation in the Help Channel this morning. For some reason, I wanted to share.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a badly-translated Korean film about an evil twin I have to get back to...

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