A Mild-Mannered Reporter: We're all in this together

Eliot Lefebvre
E. Lefebvre|05.19.10

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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: We're all in this together
Community can be a funny thing. We pick the community we're in -- in this case, City of Heroes -- but we don't pick any of the other members. Sometimes they're all really stand-out folks, and sometimes... well, sometimes your choices are between Flower Power, Slug-fest, and Hammer Time. Lucky for us, the community that's formed itself around our favorite superhero MMO is pretty darn good at its worst and outright awesome most of the time. (And a proper shout-out to our community for the game right here, while I'm at it.)

To be fair, we're a bit on the lean side at the moment. After all, we're not getting another update for a couple of months and we almost all know it. Issue 17 is pretty awesome, but we also know that Going Rogue is just around the corner, and so most of us are focused a bit more on the future. But we've still got a lot to talk about in our day-to-day adventures. That both helps everyone to feel that much more welcome, and it helps facilitate this week's look at some of the noteworthy community threads that have been cropping up lately.
The Mutant Super Booster revealed!
Yes, it's true! Players have cracked the secret of what's coming with the next Super Booster, and now we can all be happy. Because it will contain... stuff.

No, really, that's the official word.

Okay, to be fair there's not a whole lot of information on what it's going to contain. But there is a fair amount of discussion on what might be inside the pack, since "mutant" covers fairly wide conceptual ground, everything from redheaded women who die a lot to shelled adolescent reptilian ninjas. Speculation is running rampant, but isn't that what the fun in these threads really is?

I'm excited to see the Mutant pack, as I'm hoping it focuses a little more on the sort of nonhuman stuff that you can't get a dose of now. I'd kill for it to rip off the poses and stances from Champions Online, although I'm not sure if the tech in the game can currently handle that. Still, every time that my airheaded Bane Spider folds her arms dramatically, I wish I could make her look just a bit more... well... flaky.

The number of the beast...
You find the most interesting things when you summon demons. Or, perhaps a bit more honestly, you find things that you really could have guessed about already. What follows is an awful lot of people apparently shocked that you could wind up with a 6.66% value on something, disregarding that if you start counting from 0 in increments of a hundredth you're bound to get there eventually.

That may be a bit more snark than we need, but the fact remains. It's probably about half silly joke by the programmers and half consequence of math.

And now, for disquieting news
We all know that the game is on the older side. And we all also know that older games stop bringing in the same amount of revenue. It's a natural consequence of time passing in the real world, graphics looking increasingly dated, and so forth. All of this is not news. But still... the numbers posted here about City of Heroes in Q1 are not comforting. They're the sort of thing that makes you get a little bit more nervous, especially when you look at the upcoming expansion.

Doom and gloom? Not hardly. For one thing, assuming that only a third of that represents monthly subscriptions, that still pegs the game at around 40,000 subscribers. That's not a bad number for a six-year-old game, and it's clear that they're not slowing down the development side of things. There are many theories in the thread explaining why the numbers were bad, and they're pretty good logical ideas. But it's still unsettling.

Off the farm
With all the talk about Mission Architect's system implications, the fact remains that it's not there to give you the most efficient farm missions possible. It's there to let players tell stories. So here's a thread about the system that has nothing to do with what does or doesn't give the best rewards -- it's all about how well the system works at letting you think up a story and bring it to fruition via the tools you're given.

Speaking personally, this is the part about the system that I love the most -- the opportunity to make something that's really unique and focused on telling an interesting story. The Guest Author program shows how it can be done, but for my money I prefer seeing players doing so out of nothing but love of the game. And if it needs to be said, if anyone out there has any good recommendations for arcs, I'm always listening. (Hint, hint.)

Art line ahoy!
David Nakayama's go-to thread for questions from the playerbase to the art team. How awesome is that? It's worth a read for any answers that come up, but equally worth it just in the event you didn't know about it until now.

Use your Inspirations, Luke
I am highlighting this because I have the exact same problem. And I realize how silly it is. If I'm not mistaken, the game even seems to have a loose system that pushes the right sort of Inspiration in your hands -- I know that if I fight a couple things at really low health I get a Respite thrown at me, or an Insight if I do poorly on hitting my targets for a while. (It is highly possible that I recall this system from Vagrant Story and I am assuming patterns where none exist.) And I know that these things are totally useless unless they get burned.

But I continually have just one spot open for new Inspirations, using the least-useful one first in some bizarre hope that it won't be missed. It's not even unique to City of Heroes. I finish most Final Fantasy games with huge stacks of healing items just sitting there, often struggling through boss fights because I don't want to waste a single Ether. Even in games where Ether rains from the sky.

Now this... this needs a support group.

Those are our community highlights for now, possibly with an added scent of minty freshness. (Lean really close to your monitor and sniff deeply.) Questions, comments, and hateful propaganda may be sent to Eliot at Massively dot com. Next week will not be for those who dislike eight-legged critters, as we're going to be taking a look at spiders. And maybe VEATs, since I don't know if I can spin a zoological digression in here without my boss getting mad.
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