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City of Villains

Paragon Studios announces the fall of the Statesman

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Lore, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play

Who Will Die?
Prepare for a shock, City of Heroes players. One of the game's most symbolic characters, Statesman, is going to die. In true comic-book fashion, Paragon Studios has announced the impending death of the leader of the Freedom Phalanx. But players will, of course, have their parts to play as well. They will be tasked with "unraveling the scheme that leads to the demise of our intrepid hero."

And players will be able to do just that when Signature Story Arc #5 goes live in January. The update will be available free next month to VIP players. Premium players can purchase it from the cash shop if they please. So brace yourselves, City of Heroes players, for the fall of an icon. Villains are free to celebrate now if they wish.

[Source: NCSoft and Paragon Studios press release]

A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Spotlight on the Vahzilok

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Lore, Opinion, Free-to-Play, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

A Mild-Mannered Reporter header by A. Fienemann
A lot of the villains in City of Heroes started out as pretty nasty characters and only got worse from there. You can certainly justify why the Skulls feel the need to be a bunch of vandalizing thugs, sure, but it doesn't change the fact that the gang formed because a couple of thugs got to be top dog in the area. The Sky Raiders have always pretty much been out for piracy, the Circle of Thorns are one side of a battle of evil against evil, and the good acts that come out of Crey are more a testament to the size of the organization than anything.

And then you have the organizations that started out with good intentions. Often times these groups still have good intentions, in fact -- it's just that they don't have good ways of executing them. So it goes with Dr. Vahzilok and his loose coalition of involuntary surgeons. Oh, sure, they're modern boogeymen on the streets of Paragon City, but their goals are noble -- a fact that's easy to forget when you're faced with zombie bombs.

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City of Heroes rolls out the Media Blitz

Super-hero, Video, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play

So, anyone need an Excedrin?
It's time to take the war against Praetoria to the airwaves, time to find out who is really at risk of death, and time to hoist a railroad crossing sign as a weapon. All of these things are true for the latest patch to City of Heroes -- Issue 21's special update Media Blitz hitting the servers today. The update features not one but two new Incarnate trials, with players facing off against Maelstrom and Mother Mayhem in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people of Praetoria.

Today also sees the rollout of the fourth installment in the Signature Story Arc, which brings players still closer to knowing who is going to die among the Surviving Eight. Players can also toy around with the new Titan Weapons powerset, which gives everyone a chance at wielding a huge two-handed weapon with aplomb -- and if that doesn't sound like a fun ride, you may feel differently after checking out the preview video just past the break.

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City of Heroes producer letter details Freedom transition, Fall Player Summit

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play

Retro Sci-Fi costume set art
City of Heroes Freedom has been going strong for some time now, and Paragon Studios seems understandably pleased with the game's F2P transition. In the latest producer's letter on the official City of Heroes site, executive producer Brian Clayton states that "the Freedom initiative and Issue 21: Convergence have significantly increased our active player base and our revenues, and have invigorated our game with amazing new content including monthly Signature Stories, weekly items in the Paragon Market, Paragon Rewards, a kickin' Halloween event, and plenty more!"

Clayton also speaks about the Fall Player Summit the studio held on November 19th. During the gathering, the team took the time to listen to players about what they liked and disliked about Freedom so far. In addition, artist extraordinaire David Nakayama hosted a Create a Costume Set panel, in which he worked collaboratively with players to create the Retro Sci-Fi costume set, which will be introduced to the game sometime next year. For the full letter, just click on over to the City of Heroes official site.

City of Heroes Intrepid Informer grapples with the Titan Weapons powerset

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Classes, News Items, Free-to-Play

Screenshot -- City of Heroes
City of Heroes' Intrepid Informer is on the scene again, and this time it's highlighting a new powerset: Titan Weapons. The powerset is exactly what its name suggests. It focuses on wielding massive tools of destruction and cutting a swath through enemies with brutal swipes. Titan Weapons users will use a new mechanic known as momentum. As you might imagine, momentum starts out building slowly, but once a player has some momentum built, he can unleash a flurry of AoE attacks to finish off his foes. For a complete run-down of the powers available to Titan Weapons characters and the details on what each one does, head on over to the official site.

City of Heroes aims at accessorizing with the new Gunslinger Set

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, News Items, Free-to-Play

I do not aim with my AoEs.  A man who aims with an AoE has forgotten the face of his father.
Do you find yourself frequently dealing in lead in City of Heroes? Then perhaps your hero could use the accoutrements to match his or her habit of solving every problem with gunplay. The Gunslinger Set is a new featured item in the market, and it brings with it the usual assortment of costume pieces for making your perfect Western-themed hero, including a fine selection of new firearms for any would-be gunslinger looking to snipe at some criminals.

The whole package is available for 400 points in the store, but if you'd rather buy items piecemeal the option remains as always. And if you've mostly been kept away from the game's subscription fee by the lack of proper gunslinging attire, you'll be happy to know that the game is also offering players a special subscription deal through the end of December, giving players extra VIP subscription time when purchasing a membership for six months or a year at a time.

A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Spotlight on the Snakes

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Lore, Opinion, Free-to-Play, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

A Mild-Mannered Reporter header by A. Fienemann
For the first several villain group spotlights, I haven't been focusing on problems that are unique to the Rogue Isles. This is not entirely by accident -- City of Heroes was what came first, and generally speaking, I'd say the most relevant villain groups started out in Paragon City. And most of those groups do wind up interfering with your activities for Arachnos, too, so it sort of balances out. But Mercy Island faces its own problem, one that starts slithering up from the depths...

Unfortunately, this is also a threat that very quickly gets sent back underground. The Snakes are not really what you'd call a big-ticket villain group; they skulk in the shadows and are very quickly supplanted by other villainous organizations. And with the revamp to Mercy Island, they're no longer even your first enemies off the boat. So it's probably for the best that we remember the Snakes now because there might be no more Snakes to remember tomorrow.

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City of Heroes announces 2012 loyalty program

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions

Helm of Zeus concept art
Paragon Studios has announced that, beginning next month, it will be introducing the 2012 Salute to Statesman Loyalty Program. As a part of this program, City of Heroes players will be rewarded with unique costume parts, emotes, and more just for staying subscribed to the game. All players have to do in order to get their shiny rewards is ensure that their subscription doesn't run out between December 1st and March 31st of next year. For the full details on the promotion, head on over to the official City of Heroes site.

A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Topical cannon

Super-hero, Polls, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Culture, Opinion, Free-to-Play, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

A Mild-Mannered Reporter header image by A. Fienemann
One thing I've been asked, on occasion, is whether or not I'm ever going to run out of things to write about City of Heroes so long as the game is still live and getting updates. The answer, in a word, is "no" -- I started writing when the game was already fast approaching its sixth anniversary, and with everything that's changed since then, I still don't think I can possibly tackle everything under the game's banner.

But that having been said, there are also things that I naturally find more interesting than others. PvP is a fine example. I've stated before that I have zero interest in the game's PvP scene beyond an academic curiosity, although I definitely do want the players who are interested to be happy. (They aren't, in case you weren't aware.) And if there's one thing I'm being reminded of recently, it's that there's a certain charm to letting things go out of your hands and letting the readers pick out what you're doing.

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City of Heroes' newest Intrepid Informer discusses Incarnate additions

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

CoH Incarnate System
City of Heroes was once known as a game without much of an endgame, but the Incarnate system, which launched about a year ago, changed all that. In today's Intrepid Informer, Jeff "Arbiter Hawk" Hamilton discusses the upgrades to the Incarnate system that are rolling out as part of Issue 21's special Media Blitz update. The original Incarnate ability slots will each see new power options, including a self-targeted cone for Judgement, a mass-teleport skill for Destiny, multi-proc'ing debuffs for Interface, and a variety of control, support, and tanking boosts for Alpha. According to Jeff:
The biggest challenge in making new abilities in the existing Incarnate slots is that they have to be desirable in order to be worth creating, but they can't completely supplant the existing abilities. If they were numerically superior to the original powers in the slot, we'd just be shoehorning players into taking the new powers, when our true objective is to increase the number of choices a player can make in building their character.
The Incarnate system is available only to VIP players with level 50 characters. The official City of Heroes website has the full Intrepid Informer with all the details on the upcoming additions.

A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Spotlight on the Lost

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Lore, Opinion, Free-to-Play, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

A Mild-Mannered Reporter header by A. Fienemann
Paragon City has the same problems as any large city. Drug addiction, financial ruin, and any number of other horrible circumstances have conspired to give the city a large population of the homeless and hopeless, left wandering the streets and trying desperately to survive. But something emerged within the homeless population of the city, something that smells of a familiar evil and a problem that was never appropriately dealt with the first time. If your goal is to defend the system, your enemies will find the people whom the system has failed...

The Lost are among the saddest of all of the villainous groups in City of Heroes because at their core the group is made up of people who in many ways simply had no options. It's not even that they turned to crime out of desperation. These are people who, for better or worse, were blameless of anything more than minor crimes and poor decisions. And then they found themselves knee-deep in a war, moving from one sort of victim to another.

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Newest installment of the City of Heroes signature arc now available

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play

Okay, show of hands from everyone hoping it's someone other than Statesman.
By the end of the first signature arc for City of Heroes, one of the game's signature heroes from the Freedom Phalanx will be dead. But we're not even quite at the halfway point, as the third part has just been released to the Paragon Market. VIP subscribers, of course, get access to the arc for free. This installment sees Marshal Blitz of the Rogue Arachnos faction calling for a truce between heroes and villains... but is he genuine, or just trying to get Statesman's daughter into a vulnerable spot?

If the new installment of the arc isn't your speed -- perhaps you don't have a character at or about level 30 -- there are also a few more toys in the Paragon Market, including a steep discount on the Temporal Manipulation powerset and a few low-level Enhancement sets. But if you've been following the story, you'll probably want to buy the arc -- or if you're a subscriber, just log in and start checking out the newest part.

The Perfect Ten: MMOs in movies and television

World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, City of Villains, EverQuest, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Stargate Worlds, Second Life, Humor, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten
While 1982's Tron explored what virtual life might be like inside a massive video game, it wasn't until fairly recently that real MMOs have crossed the divide between niche and mainstream to be referenced in television and films. Depending on how you see it, this mainstream acceptance of geek culture can be a thing to be either celebrated or shunned. What's for certain, however, is that we've only started to see the beginning of such mentions.

In today's Perfect Ten, I cobbled together a list of the first 10 MMO references that I know of from movies and TV shows. Some might be nothing more than a background detail or a throwaway line, while others are completely centered around the advertisement, er, massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. I tried hard not to use "cheats" such as fake MMOs featured in shows like The Guild, so this list is all about real-world titles with no sugar substitutes.

Ready? Insert quarter and hit player one!

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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: My plans lie in shambles!

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Expansions, Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

A Mild-Mannered Reporter header by A. Fienemann
Welcome to another installment of A Mild-Mannered Reporter, where you've all stumbled into my trap. Yes, you thought that I was going to have a column discussing another villain group due to the end of the last column, but no. Today might not quite be the anniversary of City of Villains, but it's close enough for our purposes to look back at the impact that the first expansion had on...

Wait, what? You mean I already did that? Foiled again!

Of course, it's not really a surprise. It's hard to picture a world without the villains running around, even if the world conspires to give them a bad name -- not to mention the bad name they give themselves. But in honor of this anniversary, I want to look back and reminisce about a couple of nefarious features that the expansion brought with it that haven't held up quite as well, for better or worse.

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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Choose your side or don't

Super-hero, City of Heroes, City of Villains, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

A Mild-Mannered Reporter header image by A. Fienemann
Do you remember Going Rogue? Of course you do, even if it's had some of its thunder retroactively stolen by City of Heroes Freedom. And of course you remember that one of its big selling points -- its only selling point at launch for existing characters, arguably -- was that you could swap between the alignments of the game. Villains could become Heroes, go back to being Villains, hang out as a Rogue for a while, and so on. It seemed like the sort of thing that would be a real game changer.

Well, it's been more than a year since we first started seeing the groups swap sides, and surprisingly enough -- or not -- the much bigger change was in the business model alteration and the ensuing changes to the game environment. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but it brings to mind a question: Has there really been any long-term effect of the alignment system? If you aren't roleplaying the swap, does being one faction or the other even matter in the long run?

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