The latest City of Heroes release has hit, and unlike usual, wherein we tend to get some kind of new mission content, this release seems to target more the quality of life, and some of the game mechanics getting attention.
The big feature that’s caused the most excitement in this issue has been power customisation. The character creator has received a bit of a revamp, and now there’s a separate screen where you can go in and depending on the powerset either recolour the power, or pick a different look or animation for it. I’ve not played with this a lot, but I have used it to change my fire controller’s powers to a blue flame from the normal one, and its a neat visual effect that further lets you refine your character and add your stamp to them.
The other big change is the new “super” sidekick feature. Out goes the old system, and now players are automatically level-adjusted appropriately to the team lead. This isn’t limited by range like the old sidekicking, and seems to be much more flexible, in that there should be no more scrabbling to match low level team members to higher level members. It should also provide more incentive for high level characters going back to play lower level content with their friends.
Of course, Mission Architect itself has also been subject to some changes. With the farming and bubble missions attracting so many players desperate to hit level 50 quickly the rest of the content in City of Heroes had been suffering. I know that during the week I’ve struggled to find a team for general door missions. The XP changes being introduced should hopefully look to redress that and get people back out of MA and back into the main game.
With City of Heroes now facing competition in the superhero MMO genre in the shape of Champions Online, and next year DCU Online its really nice to see the devs taking time to continually improve the gaming experience and freshen up the game. Between this and Mission Architect providing user-generated content, there’s definitely a lot of life left in this game.