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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: This edition is so stupid

Eliot Lefebvre

Guys, I have to warn you straight up... this edition is really stupid. It's just plain stupid. I'm not saying that it's bad, and I'm not saying it's not worth reading -- I'm just saying that it's really surprisingly dumb. You're all fond of City of Heroes, and I am too, but considering how dumb this week's edition is, maybe you should do something else for however long you would normally read one of my columns. I guess there are some pretty good things on YouTube these days.

Oh, wait, sorry, it looks like I was reading my notes wrong. It's not that this edition is stupid, it's that the community threads we're spotlighting today are all about things that are stupid. Because there are things here and there within City of Heroes that are just a little dumb, when you get right down to it. Also, it gave me a thematic hook for this column, so that's good too. Click on past the cut for this week's highlights!

Stupid Super Boosters!

Since the introduction and wholehearted adoption of Super Boosters, every suggestion for new features or costume parts does seem to include a mention of just rolling it into a Super Booster. And on the face of it, it's kind of ridiculous -- who tells a company that it really ought to charge extra for something? But on the flip side, it certainly does help give the powers that be a bit more motivation to assemble new costume sets or other features.

With rare exceptions, the Super Boosters do generally deliver pretty good value for the money. And more often than not, we get a lot of free additions to content and systems without spending a cent. That being said, there's probably a name for a syndrome in which we ask to pay more for things.

Stupid NPC exclusive parts!

David Nakayama definitely gets a lot of points from me. One of the sources of those points is the many threads that he has running in which he openly discusses everything art-related. Another source is the fact that he's re-affirmed many times that the team wants to ensure players have access to parts previously locked to certain NPC groups. Hence this thread, and hence my hope that I will soon be able to wear a television on my head if it fits my character concept.

Some of these, obviously, will require more work than others. Some might not ever wind up seeing the light of day after all. But it's a positive sign that this thread isn't just about players requesting access to parts, but about Paragon Studios asking what we don't have in the costume creator that we want. That's worth a lot in my book.

Stupid soloable difficult enemies!

Early in the lifespan of CoH, we had a problem when Jack Emmert really didn't like people being able to solo certain archvillains and bosses with specific builds. Now, we sort of have the opposite problem. Elite Bosses can be soloed by almost everyone with a bit of preparation and a little luck, and even archvillains and giant monsters fall to certain builds when handled just right. Needless to say, the idea is that both of these outcomes should be impossible... but at the same time, they're also a chance for players to experience content that otherwise isn't done all that frequently.

Part of the problem is that giant monsters are in many ways a holdover from earlier times in MMOs, when you would have an enormous dragon wandering the countryside to serve as a lure for players to try to kill (in theory) or just to dispense random death (in practice). This worked fine when they dropped something useful instead of a handful of random enhancements, but it kind of loses some impact when your reward for grouping up and killing something is essentially bragging rights for killing something.

Stupid civilized humans!

So let's say you're not all that happy with either of the factions in Praetoria. The solution? Take a third option. Forget all of this anti-Hamidon crap and go help the giant monocellular whatever. Admittedly you won't get to experience the world you're helping to build due to obvious logistical concerns with leaving any humans alive, but hey, that's the way it goes sometimes. Forget it, let's sign on with the genocidal space amoeba or whatever Hamidon is supposed to be this time around.

(Yes, I know, it's called a joke.)

The problem with allowing players a choice about where they side is that sooner or later, those players will ask why they can't make a third choice, or a fourth or a fifth. So you could look at this whole thread as the apex of that principle. Or you could look at it with simple amusement at the whole concept. Personally, I enjoy living and not being consumed by vengeful plant matter, so I'm going to have to agree that sonic fences keeping Hamdion and company out are probably a good idea. But that forest does look awfully inviting.

Stupid limited customization options!

If there is a constant in the universe that does not require a degree in physics to understand, it is the fact that people will complain. Case in point: People complained for years that we couldn't customize the look of our powers. When the patch finally came to allow just that, people complained that a huge patch contained nothing but power customization. And while those voices were being silenced, either through apathy or through several large NCsoft "customer service" representatives beating the offenders, people began complaining that there was no way to customize pool powers.

In summary, this is why we cannot have nice things. But this thread makes the best stab at addressing the issue possible, asking people to frankly evaluate how important said options really are in the grand scheme of things. And true to the community, the response is relatively moderate rather than filled with demands about it being thrown to the front of the queue. Good show, people!

That was our incredibly stupid column for this week. If you need me, I'll be out chillin' like a villain in preparation for next week's column, in which we'll talk about the impact of City of Villains on its anniversary. (Well, almost-anniversary.) Leave any comments, questions, or opinions in the comment thread, or just send them along to like always.

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.

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