by Rob Williams on February 14, 2006 in Gaming
There’s very few games that allow you to be the bad guy, let alone an MMO! NCsoft is back again with a stand alone sequel to their popular City of Heroes game, and we are here to determine whether it’s worth the monthly fee!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Friggin’ Taser, who has played both CoH and CoV since before they were publicly released. He has not one, but three level 50 Heroes and a level 40 villain, so I guess you could say he enjoys the game quite a fair bit! Being a happy player of the game, we find out exactly why he loves the game, and gives us great info on what we should expect from the game as a whole.
Techgage: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Friggin’ Taser! The first question I would like to throw at you would be, “Why do you personally enjoy CoV?”
Friggin’ Taser: I like playing City of Villains because it’s an expansion of the City of Heroes universe, which stands as one of the only alternatives in the MMO market for people like me that can’t stand sword and dragons-type stuff. Basically, it’s another 40 (soon to be 50) levels of content to a game I already loved.
Techgage: Besides the fact that it’s a non-traditional MMORPG, is there any other reason that CoH/CoV drew you in?
Friggin’ Taser: Originally I was very hesitant about CoH/CoV because of its MMO nature. Up to that point I was pretty much a strict console player, mainly Ratchet and Clank games, GTA 3, and Tony Hawk. But the superhero aspect drew me in. I grew up on X-Men comics. I graduated high school and started college living off Deadpool comics. So the chance to make my own hero and send him out there to fight crime with other people’s creations appealed to me as not only a comic book fan but hopefully a future comic book writer, too.
Techgage: One thing many players worry about when purchasing an MMO game, is how hardcore the leveling ‘grind’ will be. What is your view on the grind in CoV, if there is one at all?
Friggin’ Taser: I have to be honest here. In City of Heroes, things can get a little grindy. But in City of Villains, things have greatly approved. Story arcs are no longer 15-16 missions deep full of “kill X in Y part of town” missions or delivery missions. Missions themselves are smaller and more compact. The overall narrative is set-up in such a way that, even though you are leveling at almost twice the speed of CoH, you seem to retain about twice as much of the storyline and feel like you truly accomplished something. Leveling tends to just happen as you do regular missions, definitely.
But there are risks to leveling. Most contacts give not one but two story arcs and you unlock contacts by doing “newspaper missions” for a broker and then pulling a heist, so it is, at times, easy to level so fast that you miss your chance with some contacts. To the same extent, if you die on purpose a lot to stay in debt to slow your leveling down, you just might overdo it and end up 1-2 levels away from new contacts with no missions left to do other than newspaper and PvP zone ones, which are infinite in CoV.
Techgage: I have come to believe that being in debt was a bad thing in CoV, since you only earn 50% of your gained XP for some time. Is there a specific reason why players would choose to remain in debt?
Friggin’ Taser: Debt does not weaken your character in any respects. It merely slows your leveling down. So, if you have say 1500 points of debt, when you defeat an enemy that usually gives 150 points of XP, you’ll get 75 points of XP and 75 points of debt relief. You are not weakened or physically slowed down at all by debt. You maintain your current attacks and everything. And, if you reverse sidekick (called malefactoring in CoV) when teaming, you’ll actually earn total debt relief so you can go back to earning XP faster.
Very early on with my first City of Villains character, I developed a silly goal in my mind: to attempt to do every story arc with one character. The debt helped me do all the content for a set amount of levels without outleveling it. In CoV, there are also some contacts that only give you missions after you earn a certain badge. One said badge was for 1 million infamy points. Keeping myself in debt let me earn that amount of infamy just in time to do the missions at the level they were intended. I don’t see anyway a player can do all the story arcs and contacts of City of Villains with only 1 villain without intentionally getting debt. Which is actually great for replay value.