Adventure is hardship aesthetically considered.

Meanwhile, in Paragon City…

[Spinning KiaSA logo] Bannalananala Bannalananala naaaaaaaaa

City of Heroes continues to SOCK! and KAPOW! the pleasure centres of my mind with the improvements that have been made to it over the years, the foremost of which being the sheer unadulterated joy that comes from being able to hop into a group with friends, then straight away proceed to engage in activities both enjoyable and productive. City of Heroes delivers the fist of freedom to the jaw of arbitrary restrictions, and a further flurry of blows breaks down those traditional MMO barriers to grouping, such that when the dust cloud settles the players find themselves blinking into sunlight beneath a clear open sky, the last broken remnants of constraint’s walls crumbling to the floor beside them.

City of Heroes has always been a champion of freedom when it comes to group composition, but I find it admirable that over the years the game has evolved its powers further, enabling even great levels of liberty to the player population. This is a game which has found its Fortress of Solitude, listened to the advice it found there, and used the knowledge to become that much the better. It’s a shame that other MMOs persist in Batman brute-forcing their way through alone, ignoring this shining beacon of Ease, Happiness and the Multiplayer Way that has existed for many years within the same universe as they.

The changes to the Positron task force, however, present an interesting area for debate. On the surface it seems like a change for the better: the gruelling four hour chain of missions, which prevented players from undertaking any other missions until they had either completed or quit the task force (which could not then be rejoined once it was in progress), has been split into a pair of one and a half hour sessions, with far less travel and far more villain pummelling. The new task force is certainly enjoyable, and our group of players came away from it satisfied. But nobody will remember it. I imagine it’s a similar sort of situation to that which we find when considering games such as Dark Souls, where the experience is gruelling, but the memories quickly become rose-tinted and stick with one for far longer than, say, those of a game like Dragon Age 2 ever would.

Synapse, Manticore… I struggle to remember the names of the other task forces, but Positron… Positron has been etched with an optic blast into my MMO soul, such that I still draw in a sharp breath at the mere thought of it in its original format. Perhaps it’s also something about that first dungeon in a game: ask me to think of instances in World of Warcraft, for example, and images of the Deadmines spring to mind quickly, shortly followed by Gnomeregan; I struggle to remember even the names of the dungeons that came with the Burning Crusade expansion. Certainly the Positron task force is now a more pleasant and manageable affair, but I do wonder if we lose too much in our games by removing all the Punishers and replacing them with Jubilees.

2 thoughts on “Adventure is hardship aesthetically considered.

  1. Sente

    You can certainly run the other Freedom Phalanx task forces if you are missing the excitement of kicking a wall repeatedly for hours. Or one could perhaps view as a character-building training that Pai Mei put Beatrix Kiddo through hitting that wooden panel…

    One never knows when one will be buried alive with just a computer and a CoH installation in place.

    I never ran the original Positron task force, but I have fuzzy memories of other task forces – although that was more things like that I did not want to see a clockwork again after runnign Synapse task force, for example. The task force itself is a bit fuzzy in memory.

    The new Positron has some more memorable moments for me anyway, especially since I was brutally slaughtered by myself, so to speak (with a Beam Rifle corruptor).

  2. Melmoth Post author

    Good point, there are definitely some nice moments in the new Positron task force, it’s just that it doesn’t have quite the impact that the old one had. Maybe that isn’t a bad thing though, I’m not sure the trauma of Old Positron is entirely worth the fact that it became infamous in the players’ minds.

    Our group will probably be undertaking some of the other TFs at some point, so hopefully I can compare the old style to the new then.

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