A View from Atlas Park: Issue #5 is Alive!

Issue #5: “Forest of Dread” was released recently, along with the changes to CoH that have generally terrified players. Having had a bit of a go with Issue #5 since it has come out, I’m pretty happy to say that I haven’t noticed a dramatic shift in my ability to play CoH.

Well, I should say to solo CoH. Lag seems to be pretty bad of late, so I’ve avoided joining up with large teams since (until we get into a mission zone, anyway) I’m usually left with a slide show as a result. Or even worse – dropping out and having to log back in. It can get very aggrevating to be the “special player” on a team – you know, the hero that everyone has to wait for, or the one who drops out just as things are getting action-packed. I hate being that guy, so I tend not to team up, unless it’s for a task force. Of course then I become the special guy on the task force who everyone has to wait for and who drops out when fighting the Arch-Villain, but anyway…

What was I talking about? Oh, that’s right – Issue #5. Croatoa looks okay from the glimpses I’ve had of it, but I admit I haven’t done too much exploring in it just yet. The biggest change that Issue #5 has brought me has been the Defiance inherent power for my blaster, which I have really grown to love.

For those who don’t know, Defiance gives Blasters a damage boost as they get low on hit points. It pays out the most when you are almost dead, so the Blaster player has to balance out the chance of dying versus the chance of taking out the enemy in front of them with the enhanced damage. If you heal, your Defiance level goes down to correspond with the increase in hit points. It’s a good balance and one that certainly doesn’t feel game-breaking; the risk and reward seem to balance out about right. Plus, there’s a thrill in pulling a victory from the jaws of defeat, which Defiance more than assists in doing.

Combined with an AOE, Defiance and the almost dead Blaster are a fearsome combination against groups. In fact, it may see a change in some Blasters’ enhancment decisions, whereby accuracy enhancements become more important than damage enhancements because Defiance will be taking care of the damage part of the equation.

To this point, my concerns about Issue #5 have been pretty much unfounded. Which is good, because it means I can start worrying about what happens when City of Villain launches – which is theoretically at the end of this month. Given that pretty much every MMOG to date has missed at least one launch date, I’m not going to be surprised if CoV doesn’t see a gold version for the end of October, but I’m pretty sure it will be out before Christmas this year. Regardless of when it does launch, I think CoV is going to change the face of CoH forever, which I’ll talk about in my next column.


Following on from my bit about Definance above, I’d like to say that I think inherent powers are great – congrats to Cryptic for coming up with them. The full list for each AT is:

  • Tankers have Gauntlet, a power that helps them draw the villain aggro to them, because Tankers are meant to be able to take the hits.
  • Scrappers have Critical Hit, a power that lets them land extra-damaging critical hits on enemies they attack.
  • Controllers get Containment, a power that doubles the damage they do against crowd controlled (ie held / sleeping / mezzed etc) enemies.
  • Blasters get Defiance, a power that multiples the damage they can do as they approach zero health.
  • Defenders get Vigilance, a power that reduces the endurance cost of their powers as their team mates become injured / move towards zero health.

(Peacebringers and Warshades also have inherent powers, but I’ll ignore them since they aren’t available until you hit lvl 50, so most players won’t have access to them.)

Although it is arguable that all the inherent powers aren’t exactly the same in terms of the value they return to the character (eg Vigilance only works for Defenders if they are teamed, so is useless to the solo Defender) they add another great aspect to CoH that further enhances what each AT can do. They are a great tactical enhancement to the ATs that help make them feel a bit more comic book-like, which is never a bad thing.

The biggest compliment I can pay to these inherent powers (well, for Scrappers and Blasters anyway) is that I can’t imagine playing CoH without them – they just fit that well.[/P] [p] – UnSub unsub@warcry.com 5 October 2005

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