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Reader Comments (20)

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 11:10AM urgan said

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Executive summary:

* Lots of customization
* Replayability via tons of powers
* Sidekick system
* Adjustable difficulty
* Semi-sandbox

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 11:18AM EvilCartographer said

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Is there room for a new player to join CoH?

If I'm honest, this was the first MMO that ever caught my interest, but I never tried it out. I think the problem was that I kept expecting to hear that the game would close down due to not being able to compete with WoW. But here it is, still trucking along. And it still looks like a ton of fun after all these years.

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 11:34AM Cyclone Jack said

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@EvilCartographer

There is always room for a new player. It is an easy game to pick up, and you can feel like you are making progress even if you only log in for 15-30 minutes at a time. The sidekick system allows a team to form up, no matter what level the characters are, so friends can keep playing the same characters, even on one or two get ahead of everyone else.

CoH was never really in competition with WoW, as they are two completely different genres. What speaks volumes is that CoH is still going strong even though it's going on 8 years old and has newer competition with Champions and DCUO. The developers are open and friendly and frequently converse with their customers on their official forums. The community overall is very strong, with CSRs helping to promote player events, and holding events of their own from time to time.

I played from launch until 11.11.11, and I'll be returning in April just in time for their 8 year anniversary party.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 12:58PM Brianna Royce said

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@EvilCartographer Yeah I agree with Cyclone Jack -- it was never really attempting to compete with WoW except in the sense that all MMOs are competing for our money. WoW succeeded by creating new players; CoH (along with EQII) were among the last pre-WoW MMOs to launch and compete primarily for existing MMOers. It does change the game's outlook and makeup somewhat, even to this day..

I think it's a good game for newbies, with some caveats:

1) The character models are starting to look a tad dated, especially when you hold them up against something like RIFT's, so cut it a little slack. Most of the newest costume pieces are top-notch, though.

2) Test the waters with a free account then upgrade to the VIP sub at least for a month. Premium isn't great unless you're a long-term vet or you've invested a good chunk of change (and even then it's iffy). VIP gives you access to more powersets, archetypes, the auction hall, costume parts, endgame system, the special arcs, First Ward, and I believe the Going Rogue content like alignment switching, tips, Incarnate system, etc., stuff you just won't get on a free or newly premium account. It's the cheaper option for a new and tentative player by far.

3) Group. I say this as someone who prefers soloing and duoing and wee little groups of friends, but CoH is MUCH MORE FUN in a large group just stomping through everything. It's beautiful chaos. Use the LFG tool or join a pug forming in broadcast channels. Also, head to one of the bigger servers for more grouping ops -- Virtue and Freedom are good picks.

4) Remember it's an oldish game. A lot of the content from the last few years is well-documented inside the game, but some of the older stuff can be hard to find. I still spend a lot of time on the Paragon Wiki trying to jog my memory on various systems. If you want to make sure you're seeing a wide range of content (there are soooo many paths to 50 now!) or dig into game mechanics beyond just smashing mobs in the face, be willing to do a smidge of forum and wiki lurking. True of most games, but I know that we take it for granted in some newer ones.

If you do try it, come back and let me know or drop us a line with your experiences (use the tip button at the top)!
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 4:22PM JuliusSeizure said

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@EvilCartographer

I just started playing a few months back with the launch of Freedom (like a lot of other people) and I gotta say, yeah. Absolutely.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 5:03PM DancingCow said

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@EvilCartographer

They were always comfortably profitable with a little over 100k subscribers. Not the biggest horse in the NCSoft stable but they were never losing money.

And for a very, very, very long time it was one of the few good quality non EQ/WoW clones on the market.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 12:07PM AstralEcho said

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I enjoyed CoH for what it was, and even went back to tool around with the new time powerset when it went f2p (and I'm tempted to give darkness control a try now too...), but ultimately I think the fact that it's so alt-friendly is why I'm just not into it.

I'm very much a one-character sort of guy, and even though I don't mind branching out and leveling other classes on a single character as is the case in a game like FFXI or FFXIV, I can't get into the mindset of multiple individual characters. Unfortunately CoH never struck me as a game that offered much for continued character growth, and while I imagine the incarnate system has helped that in some ways, there are other games out there and on the horizon that I don't think I could shell out the sub fee required to take part in that element of the game.

Still, for those who are looking for a diversion or who like to explore as many character concepts as they can come up with, CoH is certainly one of the better options.

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 1:08PM Brianna Royce said

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@AstralEcho I'm sure you know about this, since you know about the new stuff, so consider this note aimed at anyone who reads the comments and is wondering about it! The Incarnate system was implemented specifically for people who really just want to invest all their time into one totally tricked out toon, so much so that it makes an altaholic like ME a little uneasy. There's been a lot of discussion over the last year and a half about CoH's shift to endgame content, which tells me the game is probably reaching more of a balance if neither side is totally happy that the game isn't totally devoted to its own interests. :P

Incarnate just allows level 50 characters to do special instances for drops to further specialize their characters with uber powers. I think that when you combine the Incarnate endgame system with the elite IO set and build construction and Ouroboros, there's a lot of content there for focused single-toon folks and other min-maxers. Beyond farming. :D
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 1:06PM Orphan said

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First MMO I played and the only MMO I ever "fell in love" with. I started playing day 1 of open beta and played without a pause for six years. I took an 8-month break (school, family, life, and game burnout) and then returned early last year and played several hours per week up till it went F2P with CoH: Freedom.

I've played dozens of MMOs, including each of the Super Hero genre and this is the only MMO (other than Fallen Earth), which keeps bringing me back. It is creative, polished, and highly accessible. Combat is fun and visceral. There is a ton of content and over the past several years the end-game has become viable. I enjoyed the Incarnate system a lot but don't have access to it currently as I am not a VIP member any longer.

I'm not big into crafting (understatemnet) and I don't have hours upon hours to dedicate to playing games. I can logon and spend 30-60m playing - blowing villains (or heroes) up, catching up with some friends, and feeling greatful for the quick travel features. I'm not an altoholic in any MMO but in CoH I have a dozen top level characters, many fully spec'd out simply because of the fun I have always had playing each.

Anyway, long winded effort to suggest you give it a go. Hook up with some people you meet in game and have some light-hearted fun playing to see if it grabs you. Good luck.

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 1:24PM DarkWalker said

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The main reason I don't play CoH is because of the sheer amount of power options available at character creation and not possible to change afterwards, and also because of the limits on respecs; I like being able to experience everything a game has to offer with few characters (preferably just one).

Apart from that (which is a personal opinion anyway), CoH is a really good game.

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 1:34PM Space Cobra said

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"I've never tallied up the number of costume parts in CoH, but I think it's safe to say that we'll never run out of unique power set combos, concepts, and costumes for our characters. There's nothing I can't make."

I am rather creative and I hate to say, "Unique", but close to it. While the game is fantastic in it's creation, there are a few power sets I can think of that are not in the game, or at least animations that can "fake" powersets.

And the ONE (okay, actually THREE) characters I cannot duplicate in CoH (or any game) is the Hero that rides a Motorcycle!

And I warn people not to post a counter-arguement to this because I have reams of posts, mostly on the archived CO and DCUO forums, that can make Motorcycles work (it's basically a Sprint/Speed power with a new skin). Of course, more to "Vehicles" in these games than I care to mention, but yep...all games are against Motorcycles, bicycles, and other two-wheeled stuff.

Oh, and there is no true 4-legged animal player model to use in-game that wears a cloak and a mask; talking about my Dynomutt Homage here!

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 1:53PM Brianna Royce said

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@Space Cobra I would not be shocked if motorcycles are someday added to the game. It has hoverboards and flying carpets and rocketboots and wings... :D
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 2:40PM Space Cobra said

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@Brianna Royce

Well, among the 3 super-hero games, it has the most likely chance of doing so (although I've waited 7 years for it; one of my first characters fits into the Motorcycle theme).

I just need to get over to the main CoH forums and post my "Vehicles" post there as I've done before on the other two and "sell" it. But I tend to avoid that forum because of the one-post-every-2.1-seconds it tends to generate.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 2:38PM Space Cobra said

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@Brianna Royce

Well, among the 3 super-hero games, it has the most likely chance of doing so (although I've waited 7 years for it; one of my first characters fits into the Motorcycle theme).

I just need to get over to the main CoH forums and post my "Vehicles" post there as I've done before on the other two and "sell" it. But I tend to avoid that forum because of the one-post-every-2.1-seconds it tends to generate.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 2:44PM Daemodand said

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The NGE sent me to CoH (CoV at the time), too. Many features new games like Guild Wars 2 are touting, CoH invented years ago. It's been quietly innovating the MMO genre since 2004.

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 3:16PM Brianna Royce said

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@Daemodand You know, it wasn't actually the NGE that did it; it was the RP community about a year into SWG's lifetime. There was an extreme lack of content back then and a whole lot of RPers (on my server anyway) who were really just there to make other people's lives miserable. So I stepped away from it and tried CoH, which was only a few months old at a time, and it was awful too. :D Of course I went back to both much later...
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 3:26PM Cyclone Jack said

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@Daemodand

Very. There have been some nice features added to CoH that have later been adopted by other MMOs. Heck, Badges were in-game way before Achievements became popular. :) I'm very glad to see GW2 adopting a few of them, most importantly side-kicking and scaling characters/content.
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Posted: Mar 7th 2012 5:11PM (Unverified) said

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CoH was my first MMO and I played it for over 2 years, but the graphics and gameplay are so dated compared to what's currently out there. Anytime I try to go back I get super bored due to the slow combat and repetitive content. If I get in the mood to play a superhero game I find that Champions Online is the vastly superior option.

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 6:05PM lmollea said

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Why I play:
* appearance customization not linked to the "gear" you own
* scalable instances. I still cannot understand WHY Champions Online didn't came out with this feature at launch (and while reserved later only for the adventure packs).
* sidekick system
* archetypes/power combinations (playing the same archetype with two different power combinations means playing a TOTALLY DIFFERENT character especially on the support AT: defenders, trollers, corruptors).
* little or no farming needed for "decent" equip: you may still enjoy max level content with SO enhancements without any invention slotted
* raids (TF) can be fun even with a sub-par combination of AT/powersets (and, IMHO, the funniest where the one played with such combinations)
* community: as long as teaming increases chaos, fun and rewards, it's one of the most friendly and team oriented around: there is not much people closed between the walls of their SG tring to make "progression" as in lotro/wow/rift/... (probably this changed with the Incarnates, but I'm seeing on global channesl that pugging seems working also for this trials).
* reward distribution: there is not the "loot lottery" problem. You always get your share of rewards at the end of a trial. It may not be so valuable, but nonetheless gives some money and contributes to your progression towards your build.
* all the theorycrafting behind the builds, HOW I love that, I can stay hours on MIDS' just trying the sheer amount of options truying to squeeze up that last % of something...

What I'm currently not liking:
* instanced content help removing the problem of open world pve, but in the end it would benefit from some new maps, maybe out in the open...
* combat felt dynamic back then, but now it's a bit slow...
* graphic it's becoming really dated
* soloing can be awkward for some AT/powerset combinations

Posted: Mar 7th 2012 11:23PM patman23 said

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Thanks for the great article, B.

I've been very happy with CoH since the start. The teaming aspect is great, even for embittered bleary-eyed soloists (like me.)

The lure of the end game actually had me delete most of my stable of characters, and just keep around a half dozen or so (because I'd feel compelled to Incarnate them up, and I decided to limit that to a handful or my favorites.)

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