Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Super-grouping is lovely.

My obsession with City of Heroes continues. I've been playing almost daily for a couple of months now, and have my main character up to almost level 23. I have an alt at 15 as well, and some lower-level characters that I will come back to eventually.

I'm enjoying the game in multiple ways. First, of course, it's fun to play a superhero. I just plain enjoy flying around the city and beating up bad guys. Second, the costume tool is great fun -- the addition of a tailor and additional costume slots in the first content update was a terrific idea, since it lets you go back and change your look or create an all-new one, instead of being stuck with your original look forever. Third, the storylines of the game are rather entertaining -- you're saving the city from various menaces, or stopping bad guys, and what initially seems quite simple turns out to be more complex. I can't say much more without spoiling some of the fun, but I will say that the Clockwork automatons are not quite so purely technological as they seem. And that's just one example.

The main enjoyment I'm getting out of it, though, is the interaction with others. First of all, my wife is playing. It's been a while since we played together, and I really like it. We used to play a fair amount of Diablo II together, but since I played more than she did, we rarely had characters at the same level, which made it hard to team up effectively. City of Heroes solves that with Sidekicking, which is a great idea -- one player can "mentor" another, and as long as the two are close together, the sidekick plays as though they are just one level below the mentor. Hit points, damage, defense -- everything increases.

Second, I'm in a supergroup that's active and full of people I like chatting with and playing with. It's loosely based on the Straight Dope Message Board, so it's full of adults. It's like a small community, and I really like that feeling.

Third, I've been meeting some cool people. Not only the incidental meetings with heroes on the street, but teaming up with people who are no longer strangers to me. My wife and I have been playing with another couple, from a different superteam, who turn out to live not far from us at all -- they're in Stillwater MN, which is about half an hour from where we live in Maplewood. Small world. We wound up in a team with the other couple (Mordil and SunViolet), another married couple (Purple.Passion and Crushing Blow) and a seventh member, a woman whose husband didn't have any characters in the right level range. We were a sidekick away from having an all-married-couple team.