A View from Atlas Park: A Web of Their Own Design

Along with the launch of City of Villains, Cryptic also released Issue #6: “Along Came a Spider”, which brought with it a number of changes, including Enhancement Diversification. Lots of complaints could be heard as players had to download huge patches prior to being able to play with the new stuff.

But once you endured the download, I think things are pretty positive with Issue #6. First off, I have to say: oooohh, pretty! CoH got a bit of a face lift and it was nice to see (on my antiquated, just-over-minimum spec PC) that things looked better. Lag has been a bit iffy at times, but overall I think things are flowing a bit better as well.

Enhancement Diversification (ED) came in with this issue and to coincide with the launch of CoV. My experience with it tells me that ED hasn’t caused the sky to fall in, but then I don’t have six-slotted SO enhancements in my powers. I’ve seen a little bit of grumbling, but that it is mostly from Tanker players, who probably suffered the most. Scrappers have been weakened a bit too, but not as much. Overall, I think those who cried “DOOOOOOM!” about the introduction of ED to CoH haven’t had their fears realised. With a little bit of adjustment, I’m sure most players will find that ED hasn’t really detracted from the CoH play experience.[/P]

The new PvP zones are interesting – the only one I’ve spent any real time in is Siren’s Call – and it’s always nice to get new zones, but the strength of these areas won’t be known until a critical mass of player villains hits the higher levels. Once that happens, expect lots of forum complaints from lower-level players who get slapped down hard in these areas by higher level opponents. It’ll be at this point that we’ll see exactly how well the CoH / CoV engine is equipped to handle PvP. As I’ve said before, I’m betting a lot of players are going to see the villain archetypes / powersets as better than the hero equivalent, which will lead to a lot of us vs them “nerf nerf nerf!” cries.

Issue #6 also came with a surprise (well, to me, anyway) in the introduction of the Gladiator system. Described as ‘CoH meets Pokemon’ by someone who is cleverer than I am, players can now select villains and have them fight other hero-controlled villains for our amusement.I haven’t gotten a chance to play with it yet, but a lot of people are giving it the thumbs up.

The other change is the introduction of the three-sided system that is salvage, prestige and base construction, all for supergroups. Since I don’t yet have CoV, I haven’t really had a chance to check out what I can do with bases, but I’m kinda interested, especially since I play in a supergroup of 1. Yep, I supergroup solo due to my irregular play times, so I’m kinda sorta interested if I can actually get a small place to call my own or if the rent in Paragon City is so high I’ll have to try to get some roommates. Err, teammates.


After that nice, light review above… FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NCSOFT / CRYPTIC, YOU’RE KILLING ME HERE! City of Villains has been advertised for release in Australia. Electronics Boutique have it in their catalogue. There’s been some pre-press in games magazines. But when it actually comes to releasing CoV here, well, there is nothing scheduled at all. Up until February next year, which as far into the future as the games release list apparently goes, CoV is not scheduled for local release. If I’d known that (EB had promised that CoV was “absolutely” going to be released, or else they wouldn’t advertise it), I would have looked at some other channels to get the game; as is, it looks like I’ll have to talk to an importer and see how much extra that costs me.

What I’m most annoyed at is that, to all the people I’ve advocated CoV to, I now look like a putz because I was shilling for a game that isn’t going to even be available. My friends who play World of Warcraft (which is readily available in game stores) and who I may have been making some headway into getting them to at least consider switching will now, for the moment at least, stick to the world of elves and tauren.

All I can ask is why? Why does NCSoft / Cryptic hate Australia so much that it won’t release the game here AND schedules maintenance during prime playing hours? Did Paul Hogan run over Statesman’s dog or something?

And again, if I could, I’d download the thing from the PlayNC site. All I need is a registration key – I’ve already got the game from being in the CoV beta!

C’mon NCSoft / Cryptic! I want to give you my money! Why won’t you let me?!? 😉

LAST MINUTE UPDATE: I’ve just found out that I can buy an activation code, but had to go trawling throught the forums to find out how. To do it:

  • Go into your PlayNC account.
  • Under the “Billing Info” section, there is an “Online Serial Codes” section. Click on “Purchase Code”.
  • Select your relevant CoV (US or UK) and hit Submit.
  • Pay for it via credit card.
  • Record your CoV code and go to “Manage Account” in the side menu.
  • Click on the “Upgrade” for CoH in the “Games List” section.
  • Type in your CoV code and hit Add.
  • Wait for the confirmation email.
  • Log in to CoH, create a new character and select “Villain”.

Hopefully that works for you. I still think my rant above the How To… is deserved – I’d much rather have the box and the Ghost Widow HeroClix, plus I’d hardly call the process easy to work out or streamlined – but I do have CoV now. And NCSoft / Cryptic have my money. Everyone is happy.

[p] – UnSub [email protected] 3 November 2005

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