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Eric: Now you fools shall feel THE WRATH OF UNORTHODOX!!!!

Still sick, for what it's worth.

So, the NDA has been lifted, and I'm able to report, at last, that my stress relief of choice from August on has been the two hours a night (later expanded, though I still stuck to about two hours a night on average) of the City of Villains beta. You know it's been an intense time for me, so I've been in the perfect mindset to go home and be evil for a couple of hours, clawing for sanity, time and work schedule permitting.

Truth be told, I'm very impressed with City of Villains. Far more so than I expected. Six months ago, I was convinced I wouldn't even buy the game -- I don't play these things to be a villain, after all. And like some friends of mine I was concerned this would turn out to be Grand Theft Auto: Paragon City. But no -- the developers announced their intent was good old fashioned comic-book grand evil. Not so much the Joker of The Killing Joke, nor the goofy take on the Joker from the 60's, but the Joker who used to run around Steve Englehart's comics in the 70's. A Joker who probably was a mass murderer, but he also had a cool pad under his cell in Arkham.

In other words, it's designed for fun evil. My first character was based on the longest running villain of my Superguy days, Doctor Unorthodox, and the game modeled him perfectly. It's a game that inspires you to occasionally shout "the fools at the Institute shall learn the errors of their ways! Now, feel the WRATH of UNORTHODOX!" And then cackle with malevolent glee. It's important to cackle with malevolent glee.

Gameplay wise, the game really is the next generation of the City of Heroes engine, and at least for the moment City of Heroes suffers by comparison. Of particular note is the upgraded ragdoll physics engine. Now, when you use Force Bolt (and you use it a lot more often than in City of Heroes), the hapless victim flails like a madman. It's a symphony of fear and knockback.

Granted, that's a best case scenario. For the past several weeks playing the beta's been an exercise in framerate destruction and frustration, as the server has been so hammered as to be unplayable. (The first post-tutorial zone, Mercy Island, had spawned ten duplicates last night. Frankly, it's somewhat remarkable the thing works at all.) I got to be in the beta from the first week invites went out, so I got to see it far smoother, at least.

The new archetypes play wonderfully. And they somewhat inform the desperate alterations and (lord help us ) "play balance" in City of Heroes. It's not (simply) that right now, Villains could easily take the heroes' lunch money at will (more about that in a bit). It's that the villain archetypes show months and months of maturity and sophistication. The heroic archetypes have been a combination of the old descriptive archetypes Champions 4th Edition used in its notes, with standard MassMOG classes. (Tankers are somewhere between Champions bricks and the Tanks of fantasy games, for example, and "Energy Projector" became "Blaster" pretty seamlessly, as two examples.) The Villain archetypes, on the other hand, owe far more to the comic book source material and to a balance within this game than they do to other games.

Those archetypes are:

Brute: I predict that, after everyone makes and levels their Masterminds for a little while, just for the novelty effect, the Brute will become the most popular archetype by far. It's just plain fun. If you have to shoehorn it into City of Heroes terms, the Brute is a better Tanker than Tankers and a better Scrapper than Scrappers -- but in the end it's neither. It's a Brute, period.

Brutes get the highest hit points of all characters in City of Villains, and some of the best defenses. More to the point, their melee only powers are decent. They're at base probably just about what a tanker can do. But you don't stay at base very long. You see, the game models the Hulk concept of "the angrier they are, the stronger they get." (You could also look at it as Wolverine's berzerker rage, if you prefer) with a "fury bar." As you attack enemies (whether you hit them or not) and as they attack you (whether they hit you or not) your fury bar goes up. And as it goes up, the damage you inflict buffs. So, run into a pack of Hellions, attract their attention, and start punching. That few points of damage per hit you do in the beginning skyrockets by the end, leaving you at the ends of battles with a sliver of hit points left and the ability to two shot the strongest Lieutenants at your level. You are a damage machine.

Of course, keeping your fury bar maxed out requires you to run from pack of mobs to pack of mobs, hitting and hitting and hitting unt hitting so you end up dying a lot if you're not careful, and your teammates might resent having to keep up with you. Rest is death for a Brute, as his fury drops to nothing.

Brutes? Just plain fun.

Stalker: On the other end of the scale, we have stalkers, who are the ninjas and assassins of the villain world. You would think scrapper when you see them, and you would be wrong. Stalkers are squishy -- they're almost as squishy as Blasters in City of Heroes (though they do get some defensive powers, so it's not too bad). They make up for this by being able to Hide -- which is a full speed invisibility power at the very first level. So they can sneak their way through anything. Further, when fully hidden, Stalkers get a massive bonus to critical hit on their first strike (reflective of their backstabbing prowess). However, they have Dungeons and Dragons™ brand invisibility -- one punch and all your enemies see you and can start with the hurting. It's just, the one enemy you punched is too busy bleeding to care.

In PvE, Stalkers are sort of mediocre. Useful for nuking pesky Lieutenants or doing a potent hit on a Boss, but once they've shot their Hide/critical wad, they're ready to roll over and go to sleep. However, Stalkers absolutely own at PvP. I mean, they're beyond death incarnate. A lot of heroes, on their first trip into Bloody Bay or Siren's Call, will discover quickly the "joy" of running along, only to suddenly fall over, dead, with a grinning Stalker standing over their hospital-teleporting corpse. I have to admit, it seems odd to me, given how dubious so many City of Heroes players are about PvP to begin with, that they'd decide to create a specific archetype of gankers, but they have.

The natural enemy of the Stalker, by the way, is the Fire Tanker. Stalkers need to get right next to you to do their Instant Gank of Horrific Bleeding, and just like doing any kind of attack neutralizes their Hide powers, if they take so much as one tick of damage from an AoE attack, suddenly they've visible, their Critical Hit doesn't work, and you can proceed to make them weep like small children.

Generally, Stalkers are best paired up with teams that can keep them alive to nail the really tough enemies and then run until their Hide resets.

Corruptors: Based, extremely loosely, on City of Heroes Defenders, the Corruptors don't have quite the glitz of the other Villain archetypes, but they make up for it by sheer lethality. Corruptors essentially reverse Defender Primaries and Secondaries, buffing and debuffing their allies and enemies while pouring out Blaster levels of damage. Further, once they get their enemies below a certain percentage of hit points, they have a chance to scourge them. Scourging doubles the damage they inflict, without the Blasters' need to be badly injured first.

Corruptors are the best characters of range in either game. Their powers are broad but they don't sacrifice the pure pain they can inflict. And, being able to buff themselves and others (an enemy who can use Kinetics powers like Siphon Speed and Siphon Power while doing Blaster levels of damage should scare you. One who can use Radiation levels of debuffing to your hero before nailing you with Blaster levels of damage should terrify you) means they're solid members of the team they're on, whereas Blasters often need to stand to the side and just pour out AoE damage when the rest of the team moves forward.

If you've ever been part of the joy that is a full team of Defenders in City of Heroes, just buffing and debuffing and tormenting evil on all sides? A full team of Corrupters is just like that. With critical hitting. And more damage.

Yeah.

Also? Fire Corruptors get a Fire based buffing power. Which means you can set your teammates on fire.

This is far more fun than you can imagine. Especially if you role play.

Dominators: Into all game worlds must come some suck, and in City of Villains suck is named "Dominator." It's easy to think of Dominators as Controllers, but that's not fully right. It's like they're Controllers without the Buffing. Instead, they have some assault powers which honestly are better than anything a controller can field, but compared to the maimfest that pretty much every other Villain Archetype can put forth, you get the feeling someone ought to give Dominators a cookie, gold star and hug just for showing up and doing their best.

Tactically, think Controller and you're not far off. Once you've Dominated an enemy, you're far more able to solo that enemy than a Controller, and in fact Dominators aren't bad solo characters. (They're not as good as Brutes, mind, and neither one can hold a candle to Masterminds, but that's neither here nor there.) Certainly psychic Dominators are far more fun than Psychic controllers or defenders, over on CoH's side. But for the most part, you've got to really love holding your enemies with hold powers to even think about playing a Dominator, and for most people, it's not going to be worth it.

On the other hand, Plant Control is a great powerset. Adding in Thorns actually makes your close to a Mezzing Scrapper, and that doesn't suck. Except when you compare yourself to actual scrappers. Also, not great Hit Points.

Masterminds: I save this archetype for last, though it'll be the first thing every new player plays. Of all the villains, this is the one that doesn't remotely resemble any Heroic archetype, and it's the one that most radically changes the PvE landscape in City of Villains.

Simply put, Masterminds aren't CoH/CoV characters at all. They're refugees from a Real Time Strategy or Squad Based Shooter game, and they brought their interface and squad with them. Masterminds, far more than even Controllers in City of Heroes, are summoners. They call down robotic henchmen from the sky, or ninjas from the shadows, or the Undead from the depths of the underworld, or Mercenaries from right out their ass.

Well, okay. Mercenaries just sort of run in, but my way is funnier.

You have incredibly granular control over your henchmen, and you can direct them into battle with your enemies. The interface comes with basic point and click fighting, but you can also go with an advanced option menu that lets you customize your henchmen's AI and responses, as well as giving them orders. Your other powers are pretty much devoted to enhancing your henchmen (the secondaries are essentially Defender secondaries, but you spend a lot more time buffing and healing your own henchmen than you do protecting the rest of your party.) For the most part, you spend your time hanging out back, letting your henchmen run in and get slaughtered in your name, summoning replacements as needed, and doing potshots here and there. "Skippy," you say to your robot, "be a dear and fetch me some XP, would you?" And Skippy waves his metallic arms with glee and runs over to start seriously hurting Hellions, delivering the XP to you while you stand out of the way and sip tea.

Yes. It really is that much fun.

The robots are death machines, and tough. The ninjas are more fragile, but they do in fact flip out and kill everyone, which is all we can ask of them. The mercenaries are a good, core paramilitary set. The zombies... well, didn't impress me, but at least for once in a City of Whatever game the zombie vomit is on your side. I think they should add in a set where you create duplicates of yourself, though. Doctor Unorthodox demands Doom-bots. DOCTOR UNORTHODOX DEMANDS DOOM-BOTS!

Beta testers who love them some Controllers over in City of Heroes are pissed, by the way, that Controllers don't get the nice interface. (Which also lets you rename your henchment persistently. This is an excellent sign.) I'm not, because my Masterminds don't get, oh, I don't know, to hold their enemies down while the henchmen attack. Controllers and Masterminds are very different critters. Don't approach the latter with the former in mind (that's what Dominators are for), and don't think the latter should correspond back to the former.

Visually, the game is gorgeous. (Though it should be far less vertical and far more linear -- don't take Superspeed in this game. Just don't. In fact, Flight and Teleport are by far your best bet.) The shininess of Paragon City is replaced with old building and shanties and a byzantine nature. The Rogue Islands are both old and corrupt, and this is conveyed in the atmosphere.

And that's a good thing, because your missions don't help with that at all.

Oh, you get to occasionally knock over banks, and that's fantastic. (They play action music in the background the whole time you knock over a bank. It definitely adds to the experience.) And they have the astoundingly cool innovation of newspaper missions. Villains, you see, are proactive. So at any give time they can thumb through the paper, look for a likely target, and run out and attack. No contact needed. But... those missions become very repetitive, very fast, and for the most part you don't feel... well, villainous while you're doing it. Sure, you're not retrieving artifacts from the Hellions to give back to Azuria and MAGI any more, but you're still fighting Hellions and you're still retrieving artifacts from them, and you don't get to keep them. In the early game, you rescue a Casino from Snake-men. Because you're... um... evil.

And for the first fifteen levels, and from what I can see beyond... there aren't any super heroes.

Now, City of Heroes has a dearth of Supervillains. You have occasional "Arch Villains," but you have no run of the mill villains. You have minions and Lieutenants and Bosses, but that's not the same thing. Still, fighting street gangs and Organized crime figures and occasional science monsters still feels essentially heroic, so you let it slide.

But for the whole beginning of City of Villains... you're fighting street gangs and organized crime figures and occasional science monsters.

Hrm.

They're wonderfully rendered, mind, but still. There are only two hero groups you even encounter in the early levels -- some SCA rejects called... the something. I forget. And Longbow, which are Freedom Corps, only they're armed like street Hellions -- but you see very little of them. For the most part, this is just City of Heroes only without people thanking you after you "rescue" them. There should be a dedicated "resistance cell" of heroes working out of the Isles that you see over and over again as they try and stop your nefarious deeds, at the very least.

My understanding is that in later levels -- and probably in Strike Forces, which is their version of Task Forces -- you can go to Paragon City, and no doubt heroes will fight you there. But for the most part, it's just you and the Hellions and the snake men and the Family, and if you're really good you can fight Lost or Council. And every six missions or so you can knock over a bank. Yeah.

Of course, the developers clearly intend for players to spend a lot of time playing PvP against player heroes. Their base system -- which is kind of cool -- is optimized for supergroup raids, for example. And there's lots of PvP zones.

And, well, I haven't any interest in them whatsoever. Like the vast majority of City of Heroes players, I like PvE a lot. That's why I stuck with this game instead of going somewhere where the PvP is mature to begin with. As a result, even though the goodies to be found in the PvP zones are designed to be enticing, I've had little interest or pleasure in trying it out. I honestly suspect we'll have three or four weeks of PvP, followed by months where random folks go through and try to get the goodies, figuring no one will be around. Of course, that one tiny population of psychotics who live for PvP and ganking will take up permanent residence in the PvP zones, waiting for a player to wander nearby so they can break Hide and gank them out of nowhere with a massive alpha strike, putting them in the hospital and making the player think "screw this. I'm going back to Paragon City." The PvP ship sailed a year and a half ago, and this isn't likely to bring it back into the harbor.

Base building was, as of this writing, still only semi functional. You do accrue tons of "salvage," however, and they have tables that are clearly designed to bring crafting to the table... so you can add cool things... well, to your bases. Only if you get enough cool things (specifically Items of Power, which I don't think you can build, but who knows right now?) your base becomes open for invasion, which means that your place is going to have most of its cool stuff broken and your items stolen by those three or four Supergroups who actually do get into PvP to a psychotic degree. For small or moderately casual Supergroups, the whole thing seems to be kind of boring. Still, bases mean that you can teleport to them after being killed, and then hop right back out to where you fell, so you can get back into the fight more quickly.

Still, the PvE experience, while sadly heroless, is engaging and loads of fun, to date. The archetypes are mostly pure joy to play, and the graphics and physics engine are glorious to behold. I can't imagine, especially with the pricing structure, a City of Heroes player not grabbing a copy. (Especially since you get an extra month of combined play automatically, so you need to subtract fifteen bucks from the cost.) On the other hand, those players feeling burned by the whole "Enhancement Diversity" fiasco (how do you mismanage public relations so completely less than three weeks before the major sequel that makes or breaks their company comes out, I wonder?) might give it a bye until they get a chance to really take the changes to City of Heroes out for a ride.

So... I can imagine a City of Heroes player not buying a copy, after all. I'm clearly a liar.

Still, it'd be a pity for those folks, because this is a solid PvE experience with the benefit of 16 months of City of Heroes development. It's richer and more sophisticated, and the archetypes are substantially better than the City of Heroes archetypes -- not because they're more powerful (though generally they are -- the villains really should be able to conquer the world) but because they're vastly more mature in design.

And besides, it's a game that lets you command ninjas to flip out and kill stuff, while your neighbor the brute is slaughtering entire towns. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Well, unless you're into the whole "legal" thing.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at October 14, 2005 6:11 PM

Comments

Comment from: Montykins posted at October 14, 2005 6:58 PM

I was delighted that I could make a villain that looks exactly like the archetypal villain in my head: top hat, handlebar moustache. It's too bad I couldn't give him a frock coat, but it's still a pretty good Snidely Whiplash/Dick Dastardly.

Comment from: SeanH posted at October 14, 2005 7:31 PM

Man, I wish I could play this game. Sadly, monthly fees interfere with my need to eat.

Comment from: MasonK posted at October 14, 2005 7:44 PM

Eating is overrated.

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at October 14, 2005 7:51 PM

...

...

...HAWT.

Fuckin' minions! Fuckin' minions!!!

Dude, I was trying to swear off the MassMOGs, but... dude. DUDE.

(Okay, so I'm kinda tired right now, so it's hard to make words, uhm, go. But I am ENTHUSED.)

Comment from: Gripe's Shadow posted at October 14, 2005 7:59 PM

The problem with a lot of beta takes on City of Villains is that you mostly encounter the good stuff in arcs, most of which are just now getting fixed so you can actually do them. Just doing the newspaper missions, you get the impression that you're just a local thug, beating up other local thugs for profit and stature.

But there's more.

There is, for example, a mission in which you raid (a mission instance of) Steel Canyon to destroy some of those innumerable damn hero statues, while Longbow's elite troops try pathetically to stop your rampage and the citizens scream your name in terror and flee from you in all directions.

Or scream your name in terror while fleeing from your minions while you sit back at the exit and wait for the mission XP. You know, however it goes.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 14, 2005 8:10 PM

Hey....

...I did arcs! I did arcs! I fought the Council in a long Arc, and I had a long arc with Hellions and...

I didn't get to trash statues! WHY DID YOU GET TO TRASH STATUES?

And did, like, a superhero show up to pound you?

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 14, 2005 8:10 PM

Hey....

...I did arcs! I did arcs! I fought the Council in a long Arc, and I had a long arc with Hellions and...

I didn't get to trash statues! WHY DID YOU GET TO TRASH STATUES?

And did, like, a superhero show up to pound you?

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at October 14, 2005 8:15 PM

Sounds cool. I might pick up a copy.

Comment from: Gripe's Shadow posted at October 14, 2005 8:20 PM

Mwahahaha!

Comment from: quiller posted at October 14, 2005 8:25 PM

Shame about the opposition. I'd think a good villain simulator would be something like Rampage, where you move through the streets as citizens flee, police and the army try to stop you but you destroy them all until you get that one piece you need for your doomsday device. And then of course, the superhero shows up and you do battle. Realistically, though, there should be a different set of opponents for CoV. Some intergang warfare makes sense, but I'd think the standard mission should be the Secret Government Installation(tm).

Ehh, I suppose I really should get around to finishing Freedom Force vs the Third Reich...

Comment from: miyaa posted at October 14, 2005 9:30 PM

Kate, did you just channel Hesh from Sealab 2021?

And do minion comes with a standard goofy uniform?

Comment from: quiller posted at October 14, 2005 10:03 PM

That was one nice thing about Evil Genius, the minions came with standard issue yellow jumpsuits. Really captured the feel of those James Bond evil hideouts.

Comment from: BZArcher posted at October 14, 2005 10:45 PM

Take the Cape Mission when you get it, but take a friend or two.

I think you'll find a lot of concerns addressed.

Comment from: Prodigal posted at October 14, 2005 11:35 PM

I got to fight a superhero at level 2 or 3, when I went on one of my first snake missions. Then again, that was early into the beta - they may have removed the guy from a subsequent build.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 15, 2005 12:09 AM

"That was one nice thing about Evil Genius, the minions came with standard issue yellow jumpsuits. Really captured the feel of those James Bond evil hideouts."

Aww, it wasn't just the yellow jumpsuits. The titles on Evil Genius were very reminiscent of the opening to Bond movies, and all the secret agents with stupid names and spy agencies with names like H.A.M.M.E.R. and P.A.T.R.I.O.T.

Plus the game encouraged you to build fronts, which was nice. Although it also encouraged you to build areas that were only really useful as traps.

What gets me, though, is that Brutes sound almost exactly like WoW Warriors and Stalkers like WoW Rogues. Then again, the other three archetypes sound unique enough, and the henchmen do sound like fun.

Comment from: atx2 posted at October 15, 2005 2:15 AM

It seems to me and a couple of my CoH buddies that the main difference between stalkers and WoW rogues lie in the ability of the rogue to keep throwing out mad damage after the inital Ambush, whereas stalkers throw down the first hard hit then get the crap kicked out of em. "Defeat all of x" missions have been a pain when I'm soloing with my stalker. Assassin's Strike, hide, Assassin's Strike, hide, rinse, repeat.

Comment from: Mitch Clem posted at October 15, 2005 3:36 AM

Hey Eric, I don't know if you've heard or not, but there's a video game out there called "City of Heroes". I think you might like it, you should check it out.

Comment from: SeanH posted at October 15, 2005 5:18 AM

I don't know, Mitch - what makes you think he'd be interested?

Comment from: Merus posted at October 15, 2005 9:01 AM

There's this hilarious comic I've just found called The Adventures of Brigadier General John Stark. I think Eric would like it, it seems to be just his sort of humour.

Comment from: Daerv posted at October 15, 2005 4:18 PM

I've been playing a little as time (and servers) has allowed. There are only a few significantly annoying issues I've found. The outdoor zones seem to have randomly horrible frame rates, in eight man teams the resultant mobs absolutely kill my computer where CoH didn't and sound skips rather nastily sometimes.

I guess I must be a black sheep. Dominators are the one class I prefer over others at the moment. They fill my requirements almost perfectly, those being zero buffing (bubbling 7 people + pets... no thanks), no toggle dependence (too much end management and when they get dropped...) and no pet micro-management. As Gravity/Energy I get to smack the mobs all over the place and when Dominate pops... If the damage is a bit low I can't say I've noticed (I'm only level 9).

Overall I'm very impressed. It's a lot of fun. More like a very polished version of CoH than anything else.

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at October 15, 2005 6:05 PM

Merus, did you do that deliberately, or did you honestly not look at the author's name for the Adventures of John Stark?

Comment from: quiller posted at October 15, 2005 7:30 PM

I'm pretty sure that was a response to Mitch's comment.

Comment from: B.G.Aesop posted at October 16, 2005 12:36 AM

Well that convinced me to preorder it. I never owned CoH, since when it came out I had no money and by the time I did my friends moved on to other MMOs, but I figure if I can get in on the ground floor with this one, it'll be good.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 16, 2005 1:47 AM

Um, yeah, just to clarify: it was a response to Mitch's comment.

Comment from: Aerin posted at October 16, 2005 4:27 AM

Don't worry, Merus, I got the joke.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 16, 2005 12:53 PM

Such are the hazards of sarcasm on the Internet.

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at October 16, 2005 2:32 PM

It pains me that there is no good quick-and-simple smiley-face emoticon for sarcasm, because let's face it, folks, that's the one we arguably need the most. I mean you can slap a :P up there, but it wouldn't be quite right. :/ conveys an entirely different emotion, and while I have experimented quite a bit with :l, the fact is, different fonts portray that lower-case "L" very differently. I'm curious to see what :l seems to indicate that one is doing once it's out of this monospace font and up on the site proper.

I dunno. Maybe we could try :1 ? With or without a semicolon wink?

What? It's important, darn it!

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at October 16, 2005 2:34 PM

...and the verdict is out -- a smiley made with a lower-case "L" on Websnark looks as though the author thinks that there's something shifty and untrustworthy going on. The number one is better but still a little freakish. WHY MUST YOU ELUDE ME SO, SARCASM-SMILEY?!?

Comment from: gwalla posted at October 16, 2005 4:16 PM

I think a smiley is less necessary than basic reading comprehension. It was pretty obvious that Merus was being sarcastic given the context.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at October 16, 2005 4:54 PM

Well, yes, gwalla, but the need for a sarcasm denoter transcends this instance-- I think that's what J. (Channing? Wells? What do I call you?) is expressing, not so much that a sarcasm smiley would've been needed here. It's a pretty direct response to "such are the hazards of sarcasm on the internet."

This has been largely unnecessary making of small points with siwangmu!

Comment from: Mitch Clem posted at October 16, 2005 6:58 PM

I'm a fan of sarcasm html tags, myself.

Jesus is my co-pilot.

Comment from: Mitch Clem posted at October 16, 2005 6:59 PM

Shit, the sarcasm tags didn't show up, now everyone's gonna think I believe in god. Let me try it this way: If this were a phpBB2 board, my last entry would have looked like this:

[sarcasm]Jesus is my co-pilot.[/sarcasm]

Comment from: siwangmu posted at October 16, 2005 8:49 PM

Shit, the sarcasm tags didn't show up, now everyone's gonna think I believe in god.

This sentence is awesome and hilarious. Thank you, that is all.

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 16, 2005 10:01 PM

Can I get a sarcasm tag for my whole life, please? The curse of looking younger than your actual age, and having been "born old" in the first place, is that people assume you're (gag) sweet or, at the least, nice.

I'm not particularly nice, actually, having a tendency to verbally slap people upside the head for being stupid, and leave them (as my dear friend puts it) "as a puddle of jelly, wondering how I snuck that Sword of Truth past security."

I figure, if I had a sarcasm tag, maybe people would realize they should avoid stupidity around me, lest they get smacked. What? Just be nice instead? Well, see.. that's no fun, and I might explode from the need to smite the idiots as is needed. I would just, y'know, pop!

Comment from: J.(Channing)Wells posted at October 16, 2005 11:05 PM

Indeed, Siwangmu, I was calling for it in the general rather than the specific.

As for your other point, most people in Netland (and some people in real life) call me just plain "Channing". The other stuff was added on at some point in the past in an attempt to create a single coherent Internet identity out of a number of different logins and signons I had going from my college days.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at October 17, 2005 1:03 AM

So, are they going to eventually combine the two games at some point in the future? You know, like having people playing heroes in CoH, doing battle with people playing villains in CoV? Since that would, I don't know, kind of make sense and everything . . .

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 17, 2005 1:13 AM

RoboYuji -- pretty much on day one. ;)

Comment from: Daerv posted at October 17, 2005 4:15 AM

That's exactly how it is going to work RoboYuji. CoV is going to be running on the same servers as CoH and there are going to be three zones where heroes and villains can meet up and kick seven shades out of each other.

Comment from: Karacan posted at October 17, 2005 10:20 AM

So, still... my major concern about CoV was, and still is, roleplaying.

It's bad enough to see all those hand-crafted supervillains try to roleplay in City Of Heroes (you know there's always some). And now, they have the legitimate reason to play out their oh so annoying evilness, because they're really supposed to be villains right now.

I'd love to play the game - as a singleplayer one. I really, really cannot imagine that I'd enjoy the online community that would spawn around that game design. It was hard enough finding sensible people to play with in CoH.

So, Eric, how's the community looking? I'd trust your judgement on that.

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 17, 2005 10:33 AM

I'm solidly in the good girl camp. But I can see the attraction for the Big Honkin' Bad Guy. So often, the hero is kind of this true-blue kind of character with no life other than Doing The Right Thing, and no shadows. But the bad guys.. oooooh, the shadows. A really well-built villain can have shadows that have lives of their own, which is fascinating.

However.. I play EQII, where it's possible already to be evil, and you know what we get? We get a zillion Drizzit D'orn (sp?) wannabes, a bunch of big dumb trolls, and the occasional truly GOOD roleplayer. The community settles out, though, you see. Because even villains want to have someone to play with. You'll probably get some of those punks who think that being evil means behaving with no class, acting like a thug; very quickly, the other players avoid, and sometimes even ostracize, these guys, and they sort of fade away.

But from what I see of the CoH fanbase/playerbase, that should be minimal. What you'll probably end up with is a bunch of Plans for World Domination, but very similar players to what you have now. Granted, every MMO has idiots.. but again, they'll soon be widely enough known that you'll steer around them like a tire in the road. You'll go "holy crap! Did you see that?!?!?! What kind of idiot was that guy?" and then you'll forget it 10 minutes after you've kept driving.

At least, that's how it's worked for me, elsewhere.

Comment from: bartles69 posted at October 17, 2005 6:49 PM

Channing (Should I have put your name in parentheses?),
Have you tried using the question mark for your sarcasm face?
:?
I think you may need to stick with the lower-case L until keyboard technology catches up to online sociology and gives us the long-awaited SARCASM-SMILEY(TM)(patent-pending).

Comment from: Lilamrta posted at October 17, 2005 8:03 PM

If only I could type IPA symbols on here. Sarcasm is decently portrayed with the symbol for sh, which looks like a stretched out s, or the symbol for a voiced palatal fricative, which looks like a j with the end looped over itself, or the symbol for a retroflex L, which looks like a regular lowercase L but longer with a curve to the right on the bottom. Maybe even the voiceless lateral fricative, which is a lowercase L with a little curlicue in the middle.

... and I don't even ever use smilies because of some ill-formed principle of written integrity.

Comment from: quiller posted at October 17, 2005 8:31 PM

When I do sarcasm I generally just use ;-> for a smiley. This is because I rarely use biting sarcasm, so a simple winking smile seems to capture the mood just fine. A dance instructor of mine says you should never insult someone by accident, and in any case I've never actually seen any use out of insulting anyone online.

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