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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Riddle me this, riddle me that

Eliot Lefebvre

We've all heard the repeated statement that there are no stupid questions. This is pretty obviously incorrect, and can be proven as such by asking what color has the most pizza, or how much a clearly-priced item costs, or how you mine for fish. But when it comes to being unsure about things in City of Heroes, that old chestnut rings true. Certainly you can ask questions that have obvious answers in retrospect, but there's enough to learn and know about the game that it's never a bad idea to ask a question.

We'll kick off with a question asked by Sharko:
"Are we ever going to see new Epic Archetypes in the game?"

The developers have been fairly close-lipped on this point, and for somewhat good reason. Making a new archetype requires a concept that doesn't fit within any of the existing power frameworks, has enough to do that it can sustain itself for the same range of play as the other archetypes, and usually requires some complex balancing against the other archetypes to avoid being more powerful or less. With the breadth of options available to current City of Heroes characters, there's not always a lot of new space to squeeze in something else.

That having been said, I think the ultimate answer to the question is yes, or at least that the developers would like to do one. My personal guess is the switch from level 50 to level 20 is in part to gauge interest and in part to diversify the available archetypes a little bit. Given the opportunity, they'd most likely prefer to have another one in the game.

Of course, with the upcoming expansion opening up fourteen different archetypes for each faction in the game, perhaps I'm living a pipe dream. It's not as if we have a shortage of things to play at the moment...

Brandon asks:
"Are you freaking kidding me?"

Depends. I'm being serious about forty percent of the time. The trick is which forty.

Dromunder asks:
"This is going to sound dumb, but I always pick Super Speed for my characters. I heard back in the beginning it was the best travel power and I never thought about it since then. Is it really the best?"

It depends on what you want out of your travel. Assuming an equal number and strength of enhancements, Super Speed is the fastest way to travel horizontally, Super Jump is the fastest way to travel vertically, and Flight gives you the easiest control over every vector of your movement. Teleport, meanwhile, is instantaneous but is limited to what you can see, so it's sort of off to the side of all the above powers.

You also have to consider what powers you're picking up prior to the travel power, assuming you don't have the five-year veteran reward. Hasten is still insanely powerful and all but mandatory, which pushes you toward Super Speed if you're tight on slots. Combat Jumping and Hover both provide minor transportation ability and Defense buffs, which isn't quite as useful but still worth considering. And the Teleport lead-ins are both highly conditional but uniquely useful if you need them.

If I had to pick a "best" power out of the lot, I'd probably nod to either Super Speed for efficiency, or Super Jumping for best all-around transport. But it's largely conditional, and the bottom line is that any of them will allow you to take a trip through the city with minimal problems. Just be careful about running straight through groups of enemies when using Super Speed, and be prepared to hate Faultline with a passion.

MagDark asks:
"When will City of Heroes 2 come out?"

The depends on a lot of factors, and unfortunately it's hard to say what the odds of a sequel ever seeing the light of day actually are. Put simply, we'll see a sequel as soon as Paragon Studios can convince NCsoft that investing time and effort into a sequel would be profitable. That isn't necessarily an easy road to walk down.

The big threat to CoH was supposed to be Champions Online. As it turns out, not only did the game not steal a huge number of players from Paragon City, it had enough problems that the superhero MMO field has remained fairly anemic. The only game that's coming out to even challenge the field is DC Universe Online, and the general reaction seems to be that the concept sort of makes sense followed by mumbled non-committal sounds. There isn't a huge groundswell of excitement, is what I'm saying.

Furthermore, CoH has always been a game that was excellent at having and maintaining a solid number of players more than growing. I could be remembering wrong -- and feel free to inform me if I am -- but I seem to remember subscriber numbers hitting a reasonable point not too long after launch and then staying fairly static. Some people would leave, some people would come back, and even the release of City of Villains didn't really do a whole lot for the game's sales.

I don't think the game is in a bad place, and I think Going Rogue is in no small part a bid to keep the game vital and competitive in the market. But I don't necessarily think it's an easy sell for the game's sequel making more money, and all we can do to fight that is try to get more people playing. (Or start an online petition. That's totally going to work.)

Golemizer asks:
"Which is better, red side or blue side?"

Speaking personally, I've always had a harder time leveling a villain, mostly because I came here for the heroism. In terms of which one is objectively more difficult, I'm going to have to go with neither as an aggregate. Blue is more heroic and a bit easier on the conscience, Red is a fair bit better designed and much newer. And with a little luck the expansion will forgive a wide multitude of sins for both.

Those are our community questions and answers this week, and while we're done for now, we'll have more for you in the future. Any questions, community threads, or even just random thoughts can be mailed to Eliot at Massively dot com. And seeing as how the next installment of A Mild-Mannered Reporter will be going live after the double-experience weekend, I'm interested in hearing how that went for you.

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