Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spooky Stuff!

So right now I'm in a strange place to be in - there are actually multiple, old MMO's that I am enjoying playing in!  That I'm actually, well, excited about!  I know many of you fear change, and look at the stuff that's coming out for some of your most favorite old MMO's and can't help but think there goes the neighborhood.  But I for one, am loving the stuff that's popping up in some of our oldest virtual worlds, and my only dilemma is which to play right now!

More Freedom!  Plus Chills!
Over the weekend I had family in town, and it's all cool family, cause we used to have a weekly City of Heroes get together.  But lives got busy, our weekly group fell out (as weekly groups usually do), and they all canceled their accounts.  I convinced them to bring their laptops for the weekend though, and everyone re-activated their old accounts under the new free to play plan.  Sheer genius on Paragon's part.  They had all their old characters, pretty much all their old powers, and picked up where they left off.   So a good part of Saturday was spent in Geek Nirvana, with four laptops and two desktops crowded around our coffee table and office, and all of us running around playing familiar old toons and creating new ones.  Yours truly, of course, spent much of his time reminding people how to get out of the back part of Faultline, how to out of Striga Isle and back to Talos Island, and where to go to get the Halloween Costume Slot.  But let's face it - gaming with friends and family is fun.  Period!

And there's plenty to do in Paragon City right now too!  First, all of your Halloween favorites have returned.  That means, Trick or Treating!  In Trick or Treating, you gather up with a group, and tap random doors throughout the city.  You have a chance of getting either a Treat - or a Trick.  The Treat comes in the forms of various pieces of Halloween salvage, inspiration, or temporary powers that grant you a costume - ie., you can look like various villain groups from the game.  Tricks come in groups of enemies, usually too many to handle by yourself.  So it's a great, non-stressful way to group up, as all you have to do is essentially get in any group, take turns touching the door, and then mercilessly slaughtering everything that comes out.  Rinse and repeat until it becomes a grind, and then go do something else!

Additionally, if you trick or treat while wearing one of the costumes, you have a random chance of being granted a Hero Tip mission.  Tip Missions are a pretty cool new mission type that allow you to move your character's alignment in one direction or another.  So over time you can have your hero become more villainous, or vice versa.  I haven't yet received the tip mission myself though, so I can't yet comment on how fun it is.

Also, the Zombie Invasion is back!  This is pretty much identical to the Rikti Invasions, only with Zombies.  Periodically, a random zone will be selected to be invaded.  The sky changes color, and all around the zone zombies begin to erupt out of the ground.  The will erupt around you anywhere you stand outside, and the more of you that are there, the more show up!  Typically a group will form in a well-established area, and you have about 10 minutes of non stop massive particle effect killing going on.  You always join a group for this, so the experience is shared around, and it's a great opportunity to really rake in some experience in a short time.  If you're just poking through the zone trying to do some quests though, you actually had better beware.  I got caught in Faultline last night trying to just run the story arc there, and me and two other heroes tried to fend off an invasion, and were completely overwhelmed.  Multiple times.  They spawn lots of zombies, if you're not careful, you will die, and you will accrue debt.  Zombies are serious bizzness!

And if that wasn't enough, there are giant Eochai running around the zones as well.  These are also returned from previous years.  The Eochai are these enourmous pumpkin headed stalk like creatures (okay it's a whole family of them), and you can learn all about where they come from and what all if you do the story arcs in Croatoa.  But what it mostly means to you is another way to group up, and play in a low stress environment as you run around hunting down these giant pumpkin headed creatures and kill them for experience points and badges.  And another thing to watch out for if you're out soloing - you do not want to tangle with one of these alone!  Fortunately they are, well, rather large, so they're usually easily avoided.

Finally, and most importantly, is a new trial that takes advantage of the new LFG tool I mentioned in the previous post.  This is an absolutely awesome Haunted Mansion style trial, and the art work and decorations are spot on for the zone.  Because it uses the LFG tool, finding a group for this is a snap.  It only requires 4 players (though takes up to 8), and you can run it as early as level 15.  Matching up players is easy too, because City of Heroes' well defined scaling system ensures that the mobs and your levels are all aligned.  This is a full on instance in the traditional sense of the word, with two boss fights - with genuine boss mechanics.  Fortunately, the mechanics are pretty easy, and mostly consist of paying attention and running away at the right times.  Still.. we know that in and of itself can be trying for some of us.. :) And it doesn't help that City of Heroes' combat system locks you into animations that you've started.  I got pummeled a few times because I started a Shadow Maul animation (which is like 8 seconds I swear!) a split second before the boss began his "You need to run away!" animation.  Gah!  But the instance itself is a blast.

Oh and Don't forget the Story Arcs
And there's still all the new stuff in the Freedom release that I haven't even got too yet!  New incarnate trials and missions for you to do at 50, which I'm definitely looking forward to.  There are also the signature story arcs, that are being released one per month.  Currently this is part of a seven mission story arc.  I've done the first two already.  These are free for VIP members, but have to be purchased by Free To Play and Premium members.  In my opinion, they're worth it, but I'm a content hound, and love to see this stuff come up.  Anyway, if you do come back, I definitely recommend checking them out.  Getting started on them can be some what problematic, as Paragon didn't do a good job of giving you that information.  Post a comment here if you get stuck, and I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

@DarkCandle on Virtue
Finally, feel free to add my global if you're playing.  No promises on regular availability, because there's a certain other MMO that I'll be posting about next week that's also making requests for my free time.  But City of Heroes continues to be one of the most group friendly games I know of to play in.  And for whatever reason, they continue, despite the influx of free to play proletariate, to manage to hang on to that small, friendly community feeling.  It's weird - but people still actually chat in team chat - even in PUGS!  Go figure!

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