A View from Atlas Park: Whole Lot Going On

CoH/V sure has a lot going on at this point. As such, my computer picked a fine time for the hard drive to die. However, I’m back in the game now and think it’s time to pass some belated comment.

The Double Experience Weekend: From Outbreak to Level 50

Apparently timed to coincide with Positron’s birthday, CoH/V had another one of its very popular Double Experience (2XP) weekends. This was again incredibly successful in drawing players into the game – Freedom, the most populous service, apparently started crashing or kicking people out as a consequence. I’ve seen numbers from players that indicate servers go ‘red status’ (i.e heavy load) after 3000 players are concurrenly on a server. Its was estimated that Freedom clocked out at 3 500, and since the other servers were also yellow and red, I suspect that the next set of official Operating Metrics put out by NCsoft will show a much higher concurrent player number than 14 767.

I9 certainly appears to have brought a good number of players back (or an excessively large number of players on new trials) and it seems a lot of them took advantage of the 2XP. I missed the 2XP weekend, but it’s always nice to hear that their were so many players in CoH/V at the same time.

Issue 10: The Rikti Strike Back

Issue 10 got announced hot on the heels of I9, is already in open beta testing and seems like a doozy of an issue. The Rikti are coming back, are all pimped up with new gear and are going to start bombing zones and attacking Heroes or Villains (provided they stand out in the open). On top of this is a dedicated Hero / Villain co-op zone, game content for the 35 to 50 levels and new costume pieces. All in all, it seems like a great issue.

What is most exciting for me is that finally – FINALLY! – there is some progression on the CoH/V storyline that is meaningful. Sure, the devs have said that such things as “the Rikti [are] now quelled” and “it’s safe to start bringing [the] War Walls down”[/a] but nothing has changed in-game to reflect this. It wasn’t like the War Walls actually started coming down or the Rikti were any harder to find. But with this invasion the Rikti will be active in their attacks on players and actually bring the narrative to life. Players will get some warning about a Rikti attack and can leave the zone / hide under a bridge if they want to escape the raid (Rikti will only spawn to attack heroes that are out in the open) but for those who wish to fight it could come at any time.

Accompanying the Rikti this time are dropships which drop bombs (some of which don’t explode immediately and can be manually destroyed for badge credit) and are pretty tough to destroy. In testing, a team of 70 – 100 heroes, dubbed the Steel 70, managed to take down 9 of these dropships, but I wouldn’t expect such coordination to occur that ofen when things go live, so I think most dropships will remain unhindered during the zone raids.

The Rikti Crash Site is becoming the Rikti War Zone and will be a cooperative zone for Heroes and Villains. Vangard – the UN force responsible for dealing with alien threats – will finally become more than just billboard slogans and offer both missions and reasonably-priced costume pieces within the RWZ.

Also nice: costume recipes are likely to be easier to find now that they drop from minions as a separate reward pool. I’m not someone who must have any of the costume pieces, but I certainly will appreciate getting more of them.

All in all, it’s a good looking issue and one that is going to offer players with some new challenges… or at least some old challenges in a brand new box. I’m looking forward to it going live soon.

CoH On The Silver Screen

As was noted with some excitement, “Transformers” producer Tom DeSanto picked up the rights to do a City of Heroes movie. DeSanto has had quite a bit of involvement in film and TV nerdom, having helped convince Bryan Singer to do an “X-Men” film and helped get the new “Battlestar Galactica” series up, so having him aiming to get a CoH movie up has some level of reassurance compared to, say, Uwe Boll getting the rights (although UWe would probably set the first CoH movie in Budapest and turn Statesman into a buxom women… but I digress).

Of course, this just means that a CoH film enters development hell. DeSanto wants to use CoH to bring some of his own ideas to light while still setting it during the first Rikti invastion, which doesn’t gel on the surface with setting it in existing game lore. I can see a movie where the Freedom Phalanx are used sparingly, but not excluded as characters in what was the Rikti first strike.

But hey, it’s not a bad deal – CoH gets some more press and is only the second MMO to get its film rights sold after WoW. There is still plenty of interest in comic book movies and no doubt something like CoH is a lot easier to deal with than the 30+ years of character history (and fanboi expectation) that comes with every Marvel or DC movie release.

[i] – UnSub [@UnknownSubject] unsub {at} warcry {dot} com 6 July 2007[/i]

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