Ill deeds are doubled with extra XP

There was a double XP event in City of Heroes, so I spent much of the weekend dressed in spandex and fighting crime. And also playing City of Heroes, ahh! (I confounded your expectations there, and from thence the humour arose…)

Double XP is a good chance to zap through the early hero levels, which can otherwise involve quite a lot of running around, even with the temporary travel powers on offer from early Safeguard missions. I was strongly tempted to roll another Blaster, using the recently added Psionic/Mental powersets, but already having three Blasters I figured I should branch out a bit, and went with a Tanker. Costume choice, as usual, took a while, I settled on a shovel-wielding eight foot giant in formal evening wear (complete with top hat, monocle etc.) I decided his assignment was to infiltrate the street gangs of Paragon City, and thus gave him a disguise to blend in: a tiny eye mask. Even though it’s purely cosmetic, there’s just something utterly joyful about running around in teams of wildly disparate characters, chain-wrapped denizens of darkness next to orange-skirted cheerleaders with dragon wings, sombre funeral directors with zombie minions alongside a katana toting techno-samurai in neon armour.

As well as getting the new tanker up to level 14 for a travel power, I flitted around a bunch of other characters, doing a bit of Blasting and Scrapping, and also some nefarious villainy, continuing my plans to create human slaves in an insect nation. At level 24 my Arachnos Solider had a choice of becoming a Bane Spider (bonking people over the head with an energy-mace-thing) or Crab Spider (strapping on a multi-armed energy-beam-shooting backpack). No contest, really, hand over the extra arms! Hooking up at various points with some other ne’er-do-wells, much ne’er-do-welling ensued, not just knocking on doorways and running away but also sending packages with insufficient postage stamps, and on one occasion knocking a policeman’s helmet off. Oh, and a couple of occasions where we massacred countless innocents who’d done nothing but stand near a bank we decided to rob, but at least we didn’t download any knock-off films, so that’s OK. Melmoth had been playing a Dominator for a while, with a measured approach where more threatening foes would be detained or fixed in blocks of stone and their fellows picked off one by one, but switched to one of his assortment of Brutes for the weekend. Rendered nigh-invulnerable by assorted forcefields and auras over the top of already decent Brute defences, this caused ever such a slight shift to a somewhat more SMASH!-oriented approach, wherein the Brute steams into anything that moves to keep his Fury bar filled, and everyone else does their best to keep up with the Brute. SMASH!tastic!

Outside the City, I went back to Guitar Hero for a while, several of the Aerosmith songs are growing on me. Also caught up with some of the Guitar Hero: World Tour news coming out of E3, and it’s looking rather awesome, as I believe the correct vernacular to be (I’m extending my index and little fingers at the same time, if that has any bearing on it). Despite my other ravings over customisation, it’s not so much the “create a rocker” feature; the game could display a stick person (with optional hat) cavorting away in the background for all I’d notice, being fixated on the coloured notes scrolling their way up the screen. Not that it’ll stop me spending hours adjusting the exact tint of my nostril hair, should such options be available on the Wii. All fingers, toes and assorted other dactylates crossed that Wikipedia’s suggested EU release date of October 28th isn’t entirely made up (though as it’s not a Friday, I rather suspect it is) and we don’t have to wait for six months (or more) after the US release, as with certain other guitar-drum-and-vocal based rhythm games. I don’t care about global supply and demand issues, I just want to rock (once again, extended index and little fingers there).