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To celebrate the release of City of Heroes Issue 13 , NCSoft has reactivated all old City of Heroes accounts for this weekend only. Of course my wandering eye couldn’t resist.

Let me start by saying that the NCSoft Launcher pretty much rocks. I fired it up, clicked a button and the entire City of Heroes client installed on my system. No hassles whatsoever. And why oh why don’t they come out with a Station Pass-style bundle subscription? They’ve got 7 games to offer now, with Aion and Champions Online in-coming, and Tabula Rasa sadly exiting. It just seems like a bundled sub might save TR, making it a “value add” title. They could just leave a small team to work on it slowly. I’m guessing obviously, but I figure that’s how Sony gets away with keeping Everquest Online Adventures and Planetside running.

Anyway, back to City of Heroes. My most recently played character hadn’t been played for 481 days, so I was rusty as hell. The last time I jumped in (also on a freebie weekend) a friend of mine had given me a lot of advice on my forum, and so I went and re-read all that. But having been away so long, I’m not sure how much of the cool stuff I found was part of Issue 13 and how much has been around for a while.

I had a new contact when I logged in, and so I went to speak to him. He started a long story-based series of quests surrounding a cure for The Lost (those warped people with the tv sets on their heads). Maybe I was lucky, or maybe the quest scales, but it was just the right level for me (my character was only level 10 when I started, 12 by the end of the day) and was really fun and interesting. Much more interesting than I remember quests being back in the day. I got some Merit Points for completing the chain, though I doubt I got enough to do much with.

I also went through the Invention tutorials, which I’d never done before, and made myself some nifty enhancements. I found some places where Heroes and Villains fight together against the Rikti, though you have to be level 35 to get involved with that.

It struck me how funny it was (in retrospect) for Funcom to talk about Age of Conan’s active combat as some revolutionary system, because my CoH character fights the same way my AoC character did, with ‘arc-based’ melee attacks that require positioning in order to hit the max number of baddies, and no auto-attack.

A couple systems that I do know are new are “Day Jobs” and a “Leveling Pact.” The former is a system whereby if you log out in certain places, your character will go to a day job and earn some kind of bonus when you play again. So log out in a Police Station and you get bonus experience when next you play. Log out in a hospital and you’ll get a health regeneration buff. That kind of thing.

“Leveling Pact” is something I’ve never seen before. You make a pact between your character and a friend’s character, and those two characters will always remain the same level. So if one of you plays every night and the other plays twice a week, you’ll still be the same level when the less frequent player does get a chance to log in. Kinda neat.

There’s lots more new things in Issue 13 and you can read all the details at the official site.

*sigh* Another fine game. It was great to get a chance to see how far City of Heroes has come, and I’ll add it to the “would like to play again some time” pile, but that pile is getting darned big at this point.



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