Posted February 27th, 2010 (12:36 pm) || Comments Off

I play City of Heroes, a MMORPG which allows you to play a superhero, complete with super powers, and fight crime and put bad guys in jail. I’ve played this game now about about three years and I love it. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite game, but it’s the only MMO I play, and the only one I’ve every played for more than a month or so before giving up on. Yesterday I reached level 50 (highest level in the game) with my first hero.

A bit of¬†explanation… I’ve had level 50 characters for awhile now, but in this case, I got there by playing the game rather than by taking advantage of an exploit. Agent Bowman, my first level 50 character, I played to around level 35, then during a double xp weekend, someone found an exploit where a group of people could repeatedly run the opening of a specific mission, where all you do is check in with contacts rather than do anything like fight bad guys but still got experience for it like you completed several missions. With a nearly full team, each member could stake out a contact, each gets clicked within seconds of each other, and the entire run is done in about a minute. Repeat several hundred times and a few hours later Agent Bowman was level 50.

The reason for taking advantage of the exploit was simple: I didn’t really enjoy playing Agent Bowman. I’m not sure why. He’s fun, he’s effective, and he has lots of friends… I think it is partly because he doesn’t really have much personality, or really one I can role-play effectively online. It might also be because he was created for a specific super group (Star Patrol), and at the time it was difficult to get several members of the group online at the same time to play. Regardless, I didn’t really want to play him, but I also wanted him to be level 50 because he was kinda in charge of the super group. It make sense for him to be level 50.

Also, achieving level 50 on a hero unlocked two new hero archetypes I’ve been wanting to play. So I got to do that too.

I also used an exploit to level up a villain, though this one was quite a bit different. The Mission Architect, where players could design their own missions for themselves or others to play, was just introduced, and it didn’t take long for some people to find which enemy unit gave the most xp for the least amount of effort and filled up mission maps with them. This was so incredibly effective it was possible to go from level 1 to 50 in a day or two. I got my villain from level 12 to 50 in a total of about 10 hours spread over 2 days. Like with heroes, this unlocked two new villain archetypes which I could not play unless I had a level 50 villain.

I’m not terribly ashamed of using exploits to level a few of my characters. It was merely an means to and end, and nobody got hurt, nobody was taken advantage of, and nobody lost anything. It was just for a short time the game put out more rewards than it should have for people who knew where to look. These exploits of course were fixed, removed, nerfed and otherwise made unexploitable after they were discovered. Of course not a one of them was addressed during the double xp weekends in which they were taken advantage of… it was all done after. Whether this was because it just took that long to fix the issue or because the developers said “let them have their fun” before they started.

Getting a character to level 50 is always an achievement when it’s done through game play. I play the game a lot, but I also have a lot of characters I divide my time among. I have about two dozen or so who I play on a regular basis, and many of those I role-play while running missions. As a result I have a lot of mid to high level characters with only a few at level 50. I’m about to try an experiment where I attempt to play a single character exclusively until he’s level 50. I don’t think I can do it, but it’ll probably be fun trying.


Storm Palace Theme

Posted January 22nd, 2010 (6:35 am) || Comments Off

I’ve finally gotten tired of looking at my blog’s theme. I really think it look great, but it wasn’t entirely mine. I had based the design off an existing theme by another author, and by “based the design” I mean “started with his code” and then modified it to my needs. Now I probably could have easily took the look of it and redesigned it all from scratch, but why bother if it’s just going to look the same in the end? So since I was going to all that bother anyway I decided to make it look a bit different.

The Storm Palace is a zone in City of Heroes and is part of the Shadow Shard. The Shadow Shard is the location I based the previous theme’s look on, but I think the Storm Palace better suits me and this site. My character in the game has a new outfit, so I went with that for his image at the top of the site.

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CoH Meet ‘n’ Greet in AZ

Posted June 7th, 2009 (8:49 pm) || Comments Off

DeAnna and I had the opportunity to get together with a few dozen City of Heros players at Howie’s Game Shack yesterday for an official Arizona Meet ‘n’ Greet. The day was a blast! I had never been to a place like Howie’s before and actually didn’t even realize they existed. Apparently having public places where you can get and play console or PC video games is big business. There were some complications as not all the PCs were updated with the current version of the Test Servers, which is where we all wanted to play (to make it easier to play together rather than spread across several servers on the live game). This took some time to sort out but Howie’s gave those affected (maybe everybody) a free pass to return and free Monster drinks, and we took some time to get to know each other face to face before diving into the game.

The game intself had its own complications… which should have come as no surprose as we were on the test server, beta testing Issue 15. Many of us attempted the new Dr. Kahn Task Force but found we couldn’t get past the first mission. Some of us later found we could if we didn’t have a full team but I never had the chance to find out personally. I did set a new keybind for many of my characters using the “curseyou” emote (character shakes his fist in the air in frustration/anger) and the speach “KAAAAAAHHHNNN!!!” It got several laughs so I’m keeping it, especially for when Issue 15 goes live.

For the remainder of the afternoon I ended up running the Lady Gray Task Force for the first time, though also on the test servers. I had heard so much about it but never actually taken the time to get in on one. We broke for food, most of us not returning but DeAnna and I decided that since we were just going to get on the game upon returning home anyway we might as well stay and take advantage of the better graphics on Howie’s computers. We switched to the live servers and ran around with a few of our alts until we ran into some friends from the meet ‘n’ greet and ran Mission Architect arcs until we got to tired to continue.

I hope we get to do this again sometime. I don’t know if it’ll be an anual thing like HeroCon might be but I’m looking forward to it.

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Posted May 19th, 2009 (5:36 pm) || Comments Off

I found the following website:

It’s a “litmus test” for determining if your character (in a story you’ve written or are playing in an RPG) is a Mary Sue. I’m not personally into writing such characters into my own stories or similar but I do have one character in particular which might actually qualify for the title: Dust Raven (no surprise I’d imagine). So WTF? I took the test to see just how Mary Sue Dust Raven is, at least from the point of how I play him in the City of Heroes MMO. Turns out I should kill him instantly to avoid all the hassle of being accused of playing a Mary Sue…

Okay, so maybe that test is a bit off, or maybe it just doesn’t take into account that I’m playing an MMO (or maybe it does… after all, how often does Dust Raven get to show off his lovely singing voice in game, even though I know he has one?). I could also assume that by coincidence he simply shares many Mary Sue like traits but I’m a good enough role-player/author it doesn’t matter/show. I really have no idea. In some aspects I can definitely see a Mary Sueishness like aura surrounding a character who’s name I’ve adopted as my online persona and have made the effort to recreate in more than one RPG so I’ll accept the arbitrary ruling with a grain of salt.

It’s a fun test for any fan fiction author or role-player though… I just wouldn’t take it personally or seriously.

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Posted February 5th, 2009 (3:45 pm) || Comments Off

So I play City of Heroes. I have a character there named Dust Raven. He’s the guy pictured at the top of my blog. In the picture, he has wings. In the game he does not. He doesn’t even fly.

I’d always thought he’d have wings. Hell, in the game he can’t even fly! He teleports everywhere. Currently this has started to bug me. Not necessarily because he can’t fly, but because in the game, teleport kinda sucks. Granted it’s the only power that allows you to skip past any obstacle and even move through walls, but it completely relies on the target destination being within line of sight. Also, you have no gauge on the range of the power. If you teleport towards the horizon you always go your max range. You can’t teleport 20 feet up for example. Instead you have to teleport some 300+ feet then fall. Makes it hard to get around corners unless there’s an opposing wall nearby, but this alone can be coped with.

However, there are other issues which bother me. Occasionally the teleport power wigs out and shoots me off at a 90 degree angle from where I actually wanted to go. This actually turns my facing, meaning I have to take time to reorient myself to start teleporting in the correct direction. This time is also spent falling. I hate falling. Then there are the times it won’t let me teleport somewhere because it doesn’t like the target location. Maybe it’s too close to a door or the object really isn’t there and I can’t even click. This usually happens in transit and I’m falling out of the sky again wondering why the ‘port didn’t go off.

Then there’s the issues of being sidekicked or exemplared. It’s not easy staying close to a mentor when we can instantly be “too far away” instantly and without warning. I’ve actually been killed because I teleported toward a target just outside of my mentor’s range (and also been killed because my mentor teleported just a little too far away).

I think I might be trading the ability to teleport for a set of wings and some flight. Flight is nice. It’s the slowest movement power in the game, but it’s gotta be the coolest.

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