Tuesday, August 28, 2012

we're lost 'til we learn how to ask

[Help] Ninsusinak: i gotta say. im suprised this game is still around.
[Help] Grandmaster UO Thief: you and me both
[Help] Starpunk: It's because it constantly updates and reinvents itself.
[Help] Ninsusinak: considering the amount of other mmo out there.
[Help] Starpunk: And, again, that whole niche market thing.
[Help] Starpunk: The only two other games that are in this market are "DCUO" and "Champions Online"
[Help] Starpunk: And neither of them are, well, nearly as actively-cared-for as this one

The verbal war between adherents of Champions Online and City of Heroes forever rages; at least once a day we see this surface in either Help channel, or the Looking For Group channel.

Interestingly enough, very few other games are mentioned--none of the games Marvel's done, and only on rare occasion DC's offering for this particular niche market are ever discussed.

[Help] Aqua Net: CO has nifty costumes, though
[Help] Starpunk: It has some nifty concepts I think we need
[Help] Mallyus: Unfortunately that's all it has
[Help] Literal Lass: This is true. They actually have full-on Lolita wear.
[Help] Starpunk: Mostly, I would be happy forever if we had a version of the antagonist system
[Help] Aqua Net: i don't like the game, mind....

We hear this a lot, too. And I'll be honest--while they don't have options that are as detailed, they have more individual options. They include mesh layers that overlay the neck (independently of the shoulders), then elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles (instead of just gloves and boots). There are other examples, but what's more important for me is their color system.

In City of Heroes, we have a choice of two colors--a primary and a secondary--that can tint most of the costume options (though not all). Champions spurned the two-color system in some fairly innovative ways, and it would be lovely to have more than two colors consistently.

[Help] Starpunk: A nemesis system that could invade our everyday missions would be amazing

It's an interesting idea. The concept of Nemesis is so broad, so overreaching, that it's become a joke at this point--more than a few loading screens mention the accomplishments (or failures) of Nemesis, and the two most well known from those say either "It's all a Nemesis plot" or "Not everything is a Nemesis plot".

But he really is the quintessential bad guy for nearly all sides--because he is the binding force (at least, before the evil of Mot arrived) for most activity on either side, and he's been on he edges of absolute power for over a century, easily. Plus, he's got several things other Big Bads don't have:
  1. an entire army of fake hims to distract and disorient anyone searching for him
  2. a regimented army comprised of steampunk fops bearing trombone guns, and their hapless robotic pals--but while their outfits and their armaments can induce giggles, the punch they pack is anything but amusing
  3. a personal history that actually, literally, spans hundreds of years and flashes both back and forward
  4. the fact that, in Paragon's history (and, to a more limited extent, the history of the Rogue Isles), he's been the equivalent of Mussolini, Stalin, and the Emperor of the Americas (a title self-bestowed when, at the end of WWII, he took over the United States)
  5. He was also responsible for the Rikti War, which heroes and villains both fight to this day
  6. and--with the sole exception of the Wyvern commandoes, funded by Manticore (who may, even then, be accepting funds from Nemesis), every other battle mob on every side of the game is funded by Nemesis. The Family. The Circle of Thorns. The Banished Pantheon (which means he's also indirectly behind the scenes for Mot's attempted takeover of reality). The Talons of Vengeance. The Outcasts. Longbow. The Hellions. The Skulls. Indirectly, the Coralax and Leviathan itself. And many, many more.
[Help] Ankhtaruim: Erm, what is rikiti invasion?
[Help] Tyrannicus: Malaise, Alexis Cole, Sister Psyche, Statesman, also Ankh are you serious?
[Help] Ankhtaruim: I am a noob, sorry
[Help] Tyrannicus: Just had to check if you were trolling.
[Help] Ankhtaruim: I understand.
[Help] Tyrannicus: I take it you don't follow the lore at all?
[Help] Ankhtaruim: Though, why people would troll a help channel, is beyond me. No, I didn't, unfortunately. Just jumped into things.
[Help] Captain 'MURICA: 99% of the RP on this server completely ignores the lore...

Well, sure, but that's because at least 90% of ALL RP, in any game, is packed with folks who either a) don't bother to read up on that game's history, b) have their own concepts and want to stick with them (sometimes to the exclusion of other game tropes staring them in the face), and/or c) just do not care, at all, what the game's core RP is.

[Help] Tyrannicus: Well you don't have to worry about it too much if you just started out. It's an event where Rikti pop up at your feet in all zones for certain frames of time besides Atlas and Mercy.
[Help] Tyrannicus: When I made my character I tried to work in the lore without overly messing with it. But I see all these people who just say "MY SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE IS TOO PERFECT FOR TEH ESTABLISHED LORE DURRR"
[Help] Ankhtaruim: Ah, OK. I see. Thanks for the help.
[Help] Ankhtaruim: As for the lore... I know, I was bad ignoring it. My first time playing the game... wanted to see if I'd get hooked first. I am starting to be, so I guess I should read up!

I actually have to applaud this attitude. There should be more games where people fall in serious like with the game, and then want to know the lore behind it. That kind of curiosity makes good players.

[Help] Toxicburns: lore smore.. I'm just here to kill stuff, anyone have a problem with that let THEM pay my monthly sub and I'll play the game THEIR way :P

Well, and at the end of the day, we're roughly equivalent to an FPS--at least, depending on how close to the backs of our heads we set the camera. There are thousands of people who log in, kill things, and log back out again, and honestly couldn't tell you, if asked, what the difference was between Longbow and the Bane Spiders. They don't care; they didn't come in for that.

And to be fair, these complaints don't address them. These are the guys who come in with the best approximation they can have for street clothes, and just pick a zone and pound on things. They rarely do story arcs; they're not invested in the history of why the mobs are there, in any way. They're going to punch their way to 50, then decide on another outfit, and punch their way to 50 again.

These complaints aren't for those guys. These complaints are for the ones who don't care about the game, yet play anyway. The ones who moan and whine that it's worse since free-to-play. The ones who lack imagination but try to roleplay anyway. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of this type of gamer.

[Help] Hexman: There's absolutely nothing wrong with ignoring the game lore when making your Hero (or villain, or whatever)
[Help] Tyrannicus: It feels kind of stupid to just blatantly snub the lore for a role play character though.
[Help] Hexman: You can feel however you like :) That's the beauty of an open ended game like this :)
[Help] Tyrannicus: It doesn't help that most characters who disregard all aspects of the lore are horrendous Mary Sues/Marty Stus

There's that, too. Of course, the key to a Mary Sue character is that they have to be the most perfect, most attractive, most amazing character anyone's ever seen...but they can't say this themselves, others have to say it for them.

But, while City of Heroes has random NPCs that pick up the names of heroes or villains local to them, it's not consistent, and sometimes it's downright unflattering. So in general, if anyone's going to tell the world they're God's own gifts to the game, they have to say it.

Usually they say it in the name. "Goddess" is popular with these types for females, as well as variations on compliments--"sexy" and "babe" and "cute", which in SL is generally made into first names, and in City of Heroes usually has "super" or "wonder" somewhere in the name as well. And for men, endless variations on the devil ("Lucifer" in all spellings, or "Unholy Darkness" or just plain "devil" or "demon" a lot of the time...now I think on it, there's a lot of guys in SL who use the demonic as a character trope, too), or references to how strong, buff, or just plain awesome they are.

I've heard it before in SL--there's no bad roleplay, only bad roleplayers. I don't agree, but I will say that overall, from personal experience as well as talking to friends in SL and City, there's more bad roleplayers in City than in SL.

And that says something huge about the game.

No comments: