How Shiny Is It? COH Issue 16 Reflections

It has been over a month since my post about the upcoming move of Issue 16: Power Spectrum to the live servers. And just short of a month since the actual release. I thought I would talk about how things look at this point, since the Issue was very large and anticipated by so many players.

Very Pretty Colors

A lot of people complain about not being able to get the names they want anymore on City of Heroes, because all the good ones are taken. I have never really had this problem, for a variety of reasons, but partly because I like to use colors in various ways. The problem of course, with naming someone Purple Charge (Elec/Eng blaster) or Lightning Red (El/El scrapper) (I never said they were great names. :D) was the inability to make the powers fit the name.

That is no longer a problem. As I have been working my way through my alt list I have been updating their costumes and power sets to better fit the various characters. Purple Charge now has purple lightning bolts and Lightning Red has red effects from her attacks and shields.

But they are not the only beneficiaries of the new customization. My SS tanks and MA scrappers use a variety of the different animations, depending on exactly which costume they are in and how I feel the differences fit the characters. Some of my Dark Armor scrappers still disappear when they turn on Cloak of Darkness, others don’t. For a character like Lady Flames, a Fire/Rad controller, while I could put the powers together in the game and her backstory, they did not look like they went together. Now her flame control powers have the same look as her radiation powers, which doesn’t affect game play in the least, but does affect my enjoyment in playing her.

Not all of my characters need to use power customization by any means. Chilly Death, an Ice/Ice blaster is perfectly fine using regular colors on his powers. The same is true of Fire of Gamab (Fire/Fire tank) and a lot of other characters. But when you come up with a concept for a character, it is really nice to be able to make the powers fit it so well. I was in fact surprised at how much of a difference it made in my enjoyment of a couple of characters. (I wasn’t surprised at how much it improved my enjoyment of my Spines/DA scrapper. The original look didn’t really fit her origin and are ugly besides. The metal spike though, look great and do fit her backstory. What a difference some graphics make.)

Other Changes

What I have done with the Super Side Kicking has been okay. I do not team very often, and it was a surprise the first time I joined and got the pop up asking if I wanted to change my level. Since it was in the middle of fighting a Paladin build in KR, it was almost a fatal surprise. But once I accepted and was level 49, things got much easier. It is possible to remove the popup in the Options window, I just haven’t bothered on any of my characters since I mostly solo.

The ability to change challenge levels is very nice. On my low level defenders, sticking it at -1 to level makes things much easier until I can get a few more levels on them. Of course, when you outlevel a mission and are suddenly fighting greens, it can be kind of strange. And it does lower your XP intake, but I at least have found the speed trade off worth it.

I have not messed with increasing the levels and number of heroes settings yet. One of the unfortunate things that came with I16 was a bug for the Invincibility power. It kept playing the start up sound over and over again whenever there was an enemy NPC in range. For every NPC in range. I didn’t think it would be too bad, until I actually played my main, an Inv/SS tank. It did not take long at all until I had a bad headache, so he has been sidelined until it was fixed. Which was yesterday, but I was busy last night so did not get into the game at all. When I finish the MA arc I was playing with him, I will ramp things up and see how much he can take in some Radio missions.

Not Nice

Besides the already mentioned Invincibility bug, there were a few others added into the game with I16. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life when dealing with large programs with lots of intacting parts. That doesn’t make them less annoying, but unlike some people on the COH forums, it does allow me to give the Devs a break when it happens. They play the game too and I sincerely doubt they enjoy the bugs any more than the regular players do.

The biggest one for me is a spawning issue in the Mission Architect system. When custom critters and standard mobs are in the same group, they do not spawn correctly. The regular spawns do not show up at all most of the time, and when they do, the level ranges will be badly messed up. Having grey mobs 20 levels below the character level show up in a mission takes a lot of enjoyment out of it, and can mess up the story if they contradict something the writer has put in.

There were also some bugs in the way Mastermind pets would follow through doors. It is a great feature, but when you zone and are suddenly surrounded by a bunch of bots that follow you around but don’t obey your instructions, the results can range from annoying to deadly. That has not been fixed yet, although they did get the Protector bots to properly buff again.

Final Words

Issue 16 was almost completely a Quality Of Life issue. They did not add in any new zones, or revamp any existing ones. They did not add in any Task or Strike Forces, new contacts, or new missions. I know that there are people that are upset when an issue comes out without adding in new content. Some have been complaining since Issue 13, because the only official new content has been the Reichmann arcs in I15. I can understand that point of view, although I think many of them are being a bit silly about not caring for the stuff in the MA system. There are some very good stories, both canon and non-canon, in the MA, and it is not that hard to find them.

For those people, Issue 16 was just a waste of time and resources. But personally, I found it has enhanced my enjoyment of the game. I knew I would like power customization, but I did not realize how much it would add to the characters I create and the fun I have playing them. That by itself makes I16 a huge success in my book. Because that is why I play the game, to have fun.

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