Thursday, July 19, 2007

(News)-WoW versus City of Heroes

Recently a friend of mine bought me a game card to reactivate my City of Heroes/City of Villains account, and I was quite grateful. Two years ago I had really enjoyed the game, and when I logged in to play after such a long absence I remembered the excitement that I originally had as the character selection screen came up. Playing CoX again was a lot like watching some of my favorite television shows again, the ones I had originally enjoyed as a child. The first time around it was a blast, but the second time, I had my experience in WoW to compare it too.
My favorite part about CoX is by far the customizability of their character creation system. Yes, the models themselves are fairly generic, but you have, as a player, the ability to create hundreds of combinations to build the ultimate hero or villain. In fact, when I reactivated my account I found that my characters have multiple opportunities to redo their costume simply by visiting the Icon agents in Steel Canyon. Part of me would love to see this in WoW, this ability to build your character to your own tastes. Part of me cringes at the thought of droves of polka-dotted orcs lagging up Orgrimmar. Also, it's important to keep in mind that customizable characters would therefore sacrifice the armor sets and their beautiful design. In CoX there is no armor, there are no weapons to grind for, the game is as simple as WoW is complex.

Another concept I would love to see translated from CoX to WoW is that of the sidekick/exemplar. This feature allows those of any level to play together, allowing you to play with your friend no matter what their character's level happens to be. I don't envision this as used in instances, but in the world at large it would be lovely to play at the level of my friends. In fact, we often do this anyway, helping each other with quests despite not getting experience; we play together because we enjoy it. The difference would be, however, that we would be matched in level for the time we played together and each receive experience appropriate to our level.

CoX's greatest asset is also, in my opinion, its greatest weakness: brevity. The game is not about deep lore, it's about jumping into the world, scrapping it up for a few minutes and moving on. This means that for a player like me who enjoys story along with my fights, there isn't much to go on. Each dungeon is very simple, and each is like the last one, because they are randomly generated. The lack of uniqueness in the instances is pretty boring, and I lose interest quickly. The very nature of the game is what loses me, but as they say, we are all individuals, and what I find boring others might find exciting. If you never know the map of the dungeon, it might add a level of surprise that the fixed dungeon map can't give you.

Yes there is plenty in CoX I love (their cloth is absolutely breathtaking, especially for an MMO), but at the end of the day, I found myself wanting to log in to play my mage. For me the magic was gone.

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