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Reader Comments (19)

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 1:11PM Enaris said

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I think you missed the one thing that every other game needs to look hard at copying... the EX/SK system. While there are a few small pitfalls in there (an ultra lowbie SKed to a 50 is still going to be pretty weak, just because they have so few powers), it is a fantastic tool for helping people team.

Yeah, you might say that it is very genre-savvy (Batman/Robin, Green Arrow/Speedy, and on and on that list goes), it would work just as well in a Fantasy setting. Garion SKed to Belgarath, A whole gaggle of hobbits SKed to Aragorn....

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:37PM goldenhornet said

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@Enaris Seriously, the sidekick system is something I sorely miss when playing any other MMO. It would be insanely difficult to retro-fit into an existing game but new games in development should seriously look at stealing this idea.

The other thing I really miss when playing other games is the cross-server, cross-faction, cross-region auction house. The fact that I as a hero on a European server can buy something put up for sale by a villain on a American server means that there is no chance on getting stuck on a server with cobwebs in it's auction house.
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Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:03PM Sente said

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I think one important aspect here is that there are many features of the game that really work well together, which improves the overall experience. This is probably also part of the reason that there are a number of features that has not been copied by other games - it may not be so easy to just pick one feature and put it in a different context.

The sidekick system, mission scaling, difficulty setting, mission instancing, absence of holy-trinity-requirement etc all are pieces of a well-designed package.

Look for example at Champions, they did some improvements on the original sidekick system, but there were a number of features they did not include originally from CoX and they did not have the same positive impact with that.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:42PM Luk said

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@Sente
I agree about CO having copied many feature from COH:
COH Inspirations = CO Devices
COH Defenders = CO Guardians
COH SK = CO SK
COH Police Scanner = CO Crime Computer
However:
COH mob exp !=CO mob exp
COH missions difficulty != CO missions difficulty
COH solo difficulty != CO solo difficulty
COH grouping benefits != CO grouping benefits
Maybe this is why you do not see that much grouping or street sweeping in CO, while in COH it is very common.
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Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 3:03PM Sente said

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@Luk

Precisely, that is my point - just because a feature is awesome in one game it may not work out so well in another game - not because it is a bad feature or the feature implementation itself is bad, but because the whole eco system it is put into does not mesh so well with it.

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Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:16PM Luk said

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The ease and rewarding side of teaming is what made COH so much fun.
I am not sure how or what design anomaly made this possible, but I think that no other MMO game has this balance between fun and reward for grouping that really shines in COH, even in PUGs.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:26PM oxlar said

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Inspirations are too 'gamey' to me and shouldn't really be found outside of a genre such as this.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:28PM Dlangar said

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I wrote a post with almost the exact same title just over 2 years ago -- but with a whole different list of things:

http://ofcourseillplayit.com/?p=102

I couldn't agree more though, there a ton of great mechanics in CoH that I still don't find in any other MMO today.

Dlangar

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:37PM rockman0 said

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I theoretically bet that the character creation system would be on here. It's a good thing it wasn't a real bet. :/

I agree with this article.

I miss CoH. I can't wait to resubscribe.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 2:55PM pcgneurotic said

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I've come very close to re-subbing three times just this year. The only problem I have is that each time, the client download through the launcher is soooo slow. Champs is great, and I love it, but it does make me want to go back and play all my old CoX dudes again.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 4:00PM EgoPoisoning said

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Cell phone.

Possibly -the- greatest feature of any rpg, ever.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 4:28PM (Unverified) said

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I would also add the costume creator to the list. There are a lot of MMOs out there that I tried and ended up not playing for very long. The top two reasons for my not playing them more were either that the game play was cliche and extremely repetitive or that the character creator was so lacking that I felt stifled and unoriginal in my character design while playing it.

At times when I've stopped playing CoH for months or years, the things that have gotten me to play again have almost always been related to how I get to play my own story. Whether it was issue 16 with the introduction of power customization, the addition of the mutant pack, or the ability to cross sides, anything that gave me more freedom in how I wrote and experienced my character's story was more likely to keep me playing.

The character creator that games like World of Warcraft have barely keeps me interested through the first 10 minutes of playing. Being forced into specific storylines or faction alignments along with that just makes it completely uninteresting to me. If more games implemented a robust character creator, I would be much more likely to play and to keep playing.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 5:30PM J Brad Hicks said

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I absolutely agree with your list, and I want to add a couple:

First, and perhaps most importantly, ALL combat eventually auto-scales to what's going on in the world. Instances scale automatically to the level of the player who took the mission -- if you're level 47, the enemies are level 47 (plus or minus); if you're level 50, they're 50 (same). The number of trash mobs in an instance auto-adjusts to the number of people who join or leave the team on the very next spawn encountered. But (and not everybody notices this) even the non-instanced world slowly reacts to the number of people street sweeping open-world mobs. As NPC spawn points "turn over" (elapse and are regenerated, or are defeated and respawn elsewhere) the server tracks how many players are hunting in an area, and if it's a team or a lot of solos at once, the size of the NPC groups goes up, too. This mostly eliminates the annoyance, in almost every MMO, of having some high level character or some team come through an open-world area and kill off all the NPCs you need for your mission, leaving you to wait 20 minutes for them to all respawn.

City of Heroes' teaming interface is probably the second best in the industry, running a close second behind Warhammer: Age of Reckoning's. The one I most recently came to miss, in both of the two more recent MMOs I've played, is the way it handles "assist." If you throw a hostile power at a friendly player, it just assumes that you want to attack their target; if you throw a buff or a heal at a hostile target, it assumes that you want to heal or buff what it's attacking at the moment. I faintly prefer the way WAR does it, giving you separate friendly and hostile target indicators at all times, but the way CoH does it is intuitive, fast, automatic, and painless. CoH also makes it extremely easy to find teams, join teams, and manage your teams. Again, WAR does it better, but nobody else is even in the same league with these two. And, yes, as someone else mentioned, it's completely inexcusable that all MMOs don't now have CoH's "super sidekick" latest-generation system, where everybody's base stats auto-scale up or down to the team leader's level, but they gain XP as if they were fighting enemies their own level.

City of Heroes also (as I think a column in Massively recently pointed out? Or was that over at Kill Ten Rats?) is the only MMO to completely get rid of (a) corpse looting at as game mechanic and (b) arguments over who gets what loot. Rewards that are earned for defeats automatically appear in the appropriate inventory "bag," and they're randomly rolled for every player on the team; if multiple solos or multiple teams defeat an enemy, the reward roll is made separately, for each member of any team that did at least 20% of the damage that took it down. Nobody is screaming at anybody for "stealing" loot that was "theirs."

Finally, one that I only just realized that NO other MMO does: for standard abilities, City of Heroes' ability icons actually tell you what the power does. No abstract-art images based loosely on the power's name in CoH; there's an icon "language" that tells you at a glance if a power is fast and light effect or long recharge but heavy effect, single target or cone or AoE, hold or sleep or stun or damage or heal. It makes reading your toolbars, especially if you have multiple alts, a breeze.

I keep coming back to CoH, no matter how slowly they ship new content and no matter how repetitive their instances are, because it's just that much better MADE than any other MMO on the market, even (as you say) MMOs that are six, seven years' younger than they are.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 5:51PM Alamar01 said

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Wow. Have they made tons of improvements since I played CoH in the early days? I haven't been keeping up with my CoH news.

All I remember was the insanely low number of possible randomly generated map layouts for missions -- you knew where the elevators, mobs, and bosses would be stationed immediately after loading into an instanced mission.

Not to mention the complete lack of endgame content once you hit 50. All I remember was moding my costume and hanging out infront of Portal or under the atlas statue.

And PVP was....awful (imo). At least early on after they eventually added it, I didn't think it was fun at all. Every class followed mostly the same enhancement scheme, so it seemed like everyone had the same stats and attacks.

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 6:33PM StClair said

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@Alamar01:

They've added more maps, yes. (Maybe not enough for you, but at least double what it used to be.)
And there's tons more endgame content now.
As for PvP... I'm the wrong person to talk to about that. CoH and PvP have always had an uneasy relationship, and many would claim that it was finally Ruined Forever a year or two ago.
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Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 7:02PM Shazzie said

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The vast options at character creation, and the ability to have multiple character versions- not just of your outfit, but if your character itself AND the outfit. Want one version to be a tiny schoolgirl and another to be a giant robot? Sure! That part might not work in every MMO, but it's fantastic in CoH.

The SK/EX system. Oh how I long for that in other games!

The MASSIVE amount of class/archetype options. A Dark/Dark Corruptor is totally different from an Assault Rifle/Kinetics Corruptor and both are totally different from an Electric/Storm Corruptor. So you can make the same 'Archetype' six times and get something unique each and every time. And that's only ONE Archetype.

The CELL PHONE. Being able to *call* your contact and turn in your quest/mission and get another? Makes me swoon. This is another thing that might be hard to fit into other games, but it's still a fantastic system.

Being able to very quickly and easily see what missions your teammates have. This is easy in CoH because you're far more limited in the amount of missions you can have than other games, but it makes 'ok lemme check the list and see what we'll do next' MUCH easier.

Ok...I could list more, but well, I think I've gone nearly overboard as it is!

Posted: Feb 23rd 2011 7:17PM GMax said

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I'm not joking when I say this but I STILL like AE. Yes the system is badly abused for farming despite the constant nerfing. Yes the constant chat calls to join said farms piss me off. BUT I have honestly ran into some great jewels of content that vastly outshine the numerous lumps of coal in the system. I know it's an immense job to wade through all the flotsam and jetsam of what's in there but it would be cool if some of the staff (or maybe a group of hardcore dedicated players that have the ear of the staff) would do just that and point people in the right direction and give kudos to the more creative people playing the game other than a once a year contest.

For myself I found it a good way to bust up the grind of taking down Cybork yet again and seeing how imaginative people can be.

Posted: Feb 24th 2011 1:48AM Chicken OMatic said

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Hands down the best feature in CoX is the enhancement system. Even at its basic you get to customize a power's given attributes in the manner you so desire. Once you hit fifty and you begin to look at end game builds options for character survivablity and/or power output rate through recharge/endurance boosting through the easily manipulatable set bonus system options expand gianormously! You can easily create support characters that can do the role of a tank in many but not all situations. Playing the character you want, how you want makes Cox win-win!
P.S. Beware of run on sentences!

Posted: Feb 24th 2011 8:22AM Teh Jer said

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I don't really care for CoH's faction switching. It's a system and UI with no immersion.

Here's the manual:

Faction switching becomes available at level 20+
Tips drop randomly from any level 20+ defeat
You can have 3 tips on each eligible character
When you accept a tip, you select which faction to play towards
When you complete a tip, you get a pip in the faction UI
You can fill 5 pips per day. The pips act as timers.
Besides filling pips, tip missions contribute to a faction progress bar
It takes 10 tips to fill the faction bar
When the bar is full, make sure you're not carrying 3 tips
When the bar is full, instead of random tip mission drops, you get a
morality mission drop from a level 20+ defeat
Complete the morality mission and get the choice of changing faction
There are intermediate steps (Rogue, Vigilante) between Hero and
Villain factions
It takes 22 missions over 4 days to completely switch sides
Immersion broken

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