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09:51 am: Misadventures in the City of Heroes -- or Mother of Heroes, City of Fumbles

We bought a new computer recently. We gathered advice from a few of our computer savvy friends and picked a model that would cause us the least amount of grief. Basically, we updated the hardware but stuck with the software we already knew. The plan was to improve performance without affecting the rest of our lives.

Since it was no big deal, I didn’t say a lot about it. I only mentioned it to one local friend, the one who happened to drop by the day I did the ordering.
Well, to make a long story short, she told her husband and he – great-hearted fellow that he is – kindly sent us a copy of City of Heroes to play on our new computer. Gratefully, we loaded the game…and life has never been the same!
For those of you who are going: huh?  City of Heroes is an online roleplaying game where you play a superhero. Arguably the best part of the game is designing your hero, picking from hundreds of options and colors exactly what you want to give your hero the look you like. Then, once you design your hero, you enter Paragon City, where you fight muggers, zombies, robots, and – at higher levels – super villains. (There is also a City of Villains, where you get to play a villain. But we have not loaded that yet.)
Of the five of us, four of us are hooked, and the fifth will watch quietly if he happens to be nearby. (I got him to design half a hero. We’ll finish it another time.)
The boys LOVE the game. They love talking about their characters. They love taking a friend’s high powered character and dropping it from a great height into the water (don’t ask.) And, they especially love making characters.

But, this game is sucking away our life!
The difficult part of the game, life-wise, is that to do many of the missions, you need a team – a team of real people. So, you go team up with other players characters and head into the sewers or the hollows or some other dangerous place to mop up baddies.
The hard part comes in that now the team is relying on you. You can’t just play for a few minutes and get up from the computer, because you’ll be letting the team you joined down. This is particularly bad if you happen to be playing the team healer. (For my book, healing the good guys is much more fun than fighting the bad guys.) If you leaven, the whole team gets killed (i.e. teleported to the hospital.)
So, whole periods of life disappear while we are mashing keys. (Populous II is nothing compared to this! ;-)
But, as those of you who read my earlier installment know, I’ve played about two video games in  my whole life. So, I have no idea how to do simple things, such as understand the graphics or walk without smashing into walls. Truly, I am a pathetic newbie!
So here, for your amusement, are some of my misadventures:
Misadventure 1: The first time I teamed up with anyone, I was playing my character Miranda Prospero, a healer. The character generation system did not allow for long, emerald colored Edwardian tea dresses, so this Miranda is a girl in a green skirt with cat ears and a unicorn (lion’s) tail. (She’s very cute.)  I got her to Atlas Park, the central spot in town, and accepted an invitation to join a team.

Only, I could not find the team. First, I ran the wrong direction through the city, with its giant statues of Greek Titans and muggers on every corner. Then, I found the guy who came to get me – a little short fellow with goatlegs -- and followed him using the magical “Follow” key that lets you automatically run after someone.

Only Follow does not keep you from running into walls, and when you do, you lose the person you were following. So, I did a lot of spinning around and he had to come back for me again more than once. When we finally got to the Sewers, our destination, I had to leap over the fence three times to get into the enclosure. The first two times, I leapt over the corner and landed outside again.

It was truly pathetic.
I get inside and join up with my new team. We chat jovially for a few minutes while we wait for others to join us. Then, we set off running through the green muck that runs through the sewers. (On one team I traveled with, a hero cried out: “Aw, this suit is dry clean only!” ;-) Ahead of us was a group of baddies. We ran forward…and I died. Took me that long, and my poor healer character was back at the hospital.

On the chat board, I could see my team mates going: “Was that Miranda?” “She’s a controller. They don’t have much armor.” “What a shame.”
But that little fellow with the goat legs, remember him? He came back for me. I could not find my way from the hospital to the Sewers. He came back and led me all the way back.
This time I was wiser. I hung back and healed my friends while they fought. Only, I did not know that I could heal them by clicking on the team roster. I thought I had to click on the image of the hero on the screen. So when my valiant friend, the little goat-legged guy got injured, I could not manage to get my cursor on him…and he died.
I felt sooo pathetic!
Misadventure 2: This time I was playing Nimriel the Ice Maiden tanker. Nimriel has some invulnerability and attacks like Ice Fist and Ice Sword. She was doing pretty well for herself and I was feeling rather cocky when I got a mission to go to a place I had not heard of before.
Unable to find it on my map, I ran my character down the streets (you can run down the center of the street, as there are few cars and they swerve to miss you, but few of the streets are straight, and one is always having to jump over walls and such to get anywhere) to the Train Station and took the train to another part of town.
Now, having not played much, I could not properly interpret the map. So I thought I needed to go from the inner Yellow Line to the outer Green Line. I did not realize that the Yellow Line was for newbies like me (levels 1 to 8) and the Green Line was for experienced people (the levels go to 50.)
The Green Line is accessible in a place called Steel Canyon.  So, I get off there and run across town to the Green Line. Only when I get there do I realize that this is not where I need to go. I need to go back.

Getting smarter now, I look at the map and see that the Hospital is closer to the Yellow Line than I am, so I say, “I’ll get myself killed and run from the Hospital to the Yellow Line.” (At the low levels I’m at, there is no cost for this.)
I find a group of baddies and attack. Usually, I can go many rounds before I’m in any danger. Here, however, the baddies were tougher. Much tougher. I was out of there in a split second!
So far so good. I come out of the Steel Canyon hospital and head for the Yellow Line…and I don’t make it.
Over and over again, I tried this. Each time, some baddie caught me before I made it to the train station. It was pathetic.

Finally, I did make it. Later, I found out that a friend of mine had a high-level character in that area. If that happens again, I now know to call him and wait for him to come save me!
Anyway, that’s just a taste. There are more, but no time now to record them.

Still, it’s lots of fun and I’m learning quickly. Just the amusement value of recalling that, for Mother’s Day, I had my husband put the kids to bed while I got to play City of Heroes keeps my chuckling.


[User Picture]
Date:May 20th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
I played CoH/CoV forever. That game is defintely a timesuck. My main problem was I sufferred from 'alt-itis', creating too many characters.

I had Microsoft, Free Huey, Modesty, Laurie Anderson, Ms. Barrier, NewTron, and my Flash tribute character on the day Harry Lampert died.

and btw, this is the reading material I found inside a Skulls base.

Fun stuff. But these days most of my spare time is spent as an elf hunter in Lord of the Rings Online. You want addictive? Oy.
[User Picture]
Date:May 20th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Outstanding!

I enjoyed CoH and CoV-- my fiance got me started on that when we were getting tired of World of Warcraft. (Both military, neither into drinking or shopping much, so we spent a LOT of time gaming. Any game can be tiring. You might like Warcraft for the stories, though.)

Have you got a Super Base? I just got my account up to the point where I can have wings. *giggle*
[User Picture]
Date:May 21st, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)

Super Base

I don't have a Super Base yet. My highest character just reached 7th level. I look forward to learning about Super Bases, though, sounds cool. ;-)

W.O.W., Lord of the Rings Online...ack! The last thing I need is ANOTHER time suck. Both games sound like great fun and are played by friends who adore them.

The boys now have a whole slew of characters:
Orville has:
Nichodaemus, Rhime, and Katana the Magician (characters from his world of Iddaria.)

Juss has:
Color Fire Boy, Protector Kid, Saturn Power Boy, Ice Boy of Neptune, and Jupto of Jupiter. (All Juss's characters have the boy face with fury hair and are dressed in spandex-like outfits -- usually with spiked gloves and boots, so they all look like brothers.) Jupto, according to Juss, has all the attackes: two-hundred-thousand-eight-nine-ten of them.

We even got the cherubim* to make a character:
a red boy yellow hair and an orange star on his chest called:Ro's Hero.
He looks a lot like Ro, too.

I won't even bother listing all John's characters. The number boggles the mind. He's got an Amelia Windrose and a Vanity Faire. His funniest character, though, is a Huge brute with a fedora, a suit, glasses and a beard. He called the thing: John C Wright Author. It looks rather like him, too...though even huger than life.

*Yes, I know that, technically, one cherubim is a cherub, but if I said he was a cherub, the mental image would be a tad different. ;-)
[User Picture]
Date:May 21st, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)

Re: Super Base

I just adore their design abilities! My favorite character was in CoV, a Mastermind: short, thin, red hair, a fedora, black slacks and a green shirt with a black tie, summons special ops looking soldiers. Name: The Italian Banker.

On Cherubim.... once I was old enough to find out what Cherubim were *supposed* to be like, I couldn't stand the babies with wings any more; the only thing that saved most popular pics angels for me was the comic Rose is Rose, which has an adorable guardian angel that looks like the little boy he guards... who has the True Form of a giant, sword-wielding, steely-faced name-taker and tail-kicker, protector of the little boy.
I kind of wish I could get a character impressive enough for what I picture angels as in City of Heroes. *grin*
[User Picture]
Date:May 21st, 2007 03:09 am (UTC)

Re: Super Base

But a Cherubim immediately conjures up images of Proginoskes from A Wind In The Door.

....Are you inferring that your son is teeming mass of wings and eyes, easily confused with a clump of dragons?
[User Picture]
Date:May 21st, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Super Base

>....Are you inferring that your son is teeming mass of wings and eyes, easily confused with a clump of dragons?

I am picture something perfect and beautiful -- angelic -- but with the grace and majesty of a fiery-winged being of the second highest Choir. (Perhaps with eyes on the fiery wings.)

He would not need to masquerade as a human if he looked like a fat winged little boy. ;-)
[User Picture]
Date:May 21st, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)

Re: Super Base

Ahh, I see.

The clump of dragons thing would've been cool, though. >.>
[User Picture]
Date:May 21st, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
In WoW, there is an Orc fortress with a tower containing what is basically two dungeons, but linked and stacked on top of each other; Upper and Lower Black Rock Spire are visible to one another. You can look down from the bridges in Upper to the lava pools in the Lower...

At any rate, it taught me about using follow commands the hard way: I had to use the bathroom, so I went on autofollow and he decided to leap off a bridge in the Upper Spire. I came back and my corpse was floating in lava, 500 feet below the rest of my party.

Beware autofollow :p
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