A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Consumerism at its finest

As of today, the Steampunk Pack should be live in City of Heroes. If anyone needs me for the remainder of the evening, I'll probably be logged in and furiously punking some steam or whatever you would call it when one surrounds oneself with clockwork gizmos and dripping oil slicks. Suffice to say that I like this pack a lot even sight unseen -- I've been excited as heck about it since the announcement, and I'm more than ready to purchase this one the day it goes live.

It's nice to see that the art department at Paragon Studios is putting a little more emphasis on launching specific theme packs for character costumes -- if you don't have any characters to use the concept, you can pass, but if you do, it's money well-spent. At the same time, I have to admit that I'd like to continue branching pretty far afield from the traditional superhero genre just to keep producing new packs. And hey, that's worth a column, especially as my head fills with visions of new costume pieces with steam and rivets.

Robotics pack

OK, I'd be lying if I claimed that we haven't gotten some robotic parts recently. But most of those parts are... well, they're still roughly human. They look like approximations of a fairly slim human figure, a far cry from some big boxy mech elements. And as a lifelong lover of robots in general, I want the option to take a page from even just the bulky mechs of Paragon City. (And the Rogue Isles. There are lots of giant robots everywhere.) The Malta Group's machines, the Vanguard mechs, the massive war-machines of Praetoria, even the robotic minions of Masterminds -- all of them would make a fine addition to our costume parts.

Obviously, with larger arms and so on, there would be some risk of clipping. But that's an issue already, one that doesn't stop us from getting some pretty awesome costume parts that might cause some clipping issues. As for the usual pack-in power, I can't say for sure as most of them of late have been travel power replacements, but we could always break precedent and give the pack a specialized Rest animation or something similar.

Medieval pack

Yeah, we have armor options. But not only do those options look pretty dated by now (as they've been pretty much as-is since the game's launch), they were never all that attractive. The Valkyrie armor is a step in the right direction, but there's a lot that can be done with the idea of bulky and downright dangerous-looking medieval armor, complete with spikes and additional weapon models to seal the deal. And if we also had an option to make powers like Broad Sword work with two-handed animations, well, that'd just be icing on the cake.

Obviously, the question becomes "what's suitably 'medieval' without being a retread of what's already in the game?" Fortunately, there are a lot of potential responses for that question, easily drawn from any of the nine million fantasy MMOs out there just as a starting point. City of Heroes has always had designers with a great ability to take the best visual elements from outside sources and compile them into something better, so I don't doubt they're up to the challenge.

Soviet pack

OK, I admit it, this is a total pipe dream of mine. But come on! Fur hats! Long coats! Red stars on almost everything that doesn't have a hammer and sickle!

All right, all right.

Geological pack

So, does anyone find the newest Champions Online adventure just a wee bit... reminiscent of something? Almost into Xerox territory? Anyone? Because at my admittedly cursory glance, we're a few white-and-gold motifs away from a very familiar location to most CoH players these days. You could get mad, but why not get even?

The Champions Online armor in this vein is pretty nice-looking, but I can't help but think what sort of neat stuff CoH could do with a geological pack. The travel power replacement essentially suggests itself, at that -- burrowing as a super-speed replacement. Or you could do something with a set of molten armor, and... well, now I think I'm veering toward wanting a whole new variant on the extant stone sets. Maybe I should just roll a character with some tinted effects on Stone Armor.

Lost pack

No, not an entire pack filled with trigrammed octagons, bears, and a new /emote goback. (I would buy that, too, but that's a different article.) I'm talking the Lost, complete with all of our favorite freaky details -- Rikti limbs, television helmets, stop-sign chestpieces, and the like. Enough so you could make a member of the gang with some signature pieces of flair and maybe a Rikti pistol or two.

While this one is a little more narrow, it seems like the sort of thing that would be easily expandable or additive. There are always going to be certain enemy-exclusive parts -- we know that -- but some of those parts are really neat-looking, and a lot of technical elements prevent us from making a character with identical traits to NPCs. The Imperial Guard also stands out as a group with some pieces that would make a really nice addition, such as the massive backpacks and gauntlets.

I freely admit that this week's column is a little sillier than normal, but hey, I've got packs on the brain at the moment. There are worse things. As always, you can let me know what you think in the comment field below or by sending a letter along to eliot@massively.com. Next week, I'm aiming toward getting this archetype series finished up, starting with a quick shot from the hip.

By day a mild-mannered reporter, Eliot Lefebvre unveils his secret identity in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles every Wednesday. Filled with all the news that's fit to analyze and all the muck that's fit to rake, this look at City of Heroes analyzes everything from the game's connection to its four-color roots to the latest changes in the game's mechanics.
This article was originally published on Massively.