Thoughts on Invasions and Drop Ships

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the big deciding factors in me choosing to make City of Heroes my “primary” game came in with Issue 10:  Invasion.

It had a bunch of good stuff in it; Rikti War Zone was opened up to both heroes and villains.  Mother Ship raids were created.  A new Task Force open to both sides was made available, and a number of story arcs, too.  But the best part-which was the only part I could really see at the time-was the actual invasions.  For a while, there were constant zone events where the Rikti attacked Paragon City and the Rogue Isles, first in drop ships unloading bombs, then unloading troops.  After the initial Issue was released, this continued regularly for about a month, then was only triggered by a team completing that new Task Force.

Except on occasion, when the devs “turn on” that set of code again to give the players a treat.

It gathers assorted reactions from players.  Some people hate it.  They complain about the lag, or getting their characters plastered by an unexpected Riki squad coming out of a mission.  (Although, honestly, since the debt-upon-defeat logic is turned off, there’s not really much here except minor inconvenience.)  They view it as a hassle and wish it would just END.

I’m not one of them.  My machine is hardly top line, and it suffers lag in heavy spots too.  But the experience of having heroes join up with other heroes to repel the invasion, a massive slugfest of assorted powers-I still find myself grinning as the heroes rally at a central point and fight off the seemingly endless hordes of the Rikti.  (I get the same feeling with zombie attacks too, which uses similar program logic, but there’s just something special about Rikti)

One of the nice things about having the devs turn on the invasion code is that they let us know in advance that a) it’s coming, and b) for how long.  This allows some of the more ambitious members of the game to make plans.  For example:  the Virtue server forums indicated that on Saturday, they were going to make a run on the drop ships.  The drop ships are obscenely dangerous to a single hero-they can two shot a level 50, and have more health than a dozen heroes.  But when you have at least forty heroes lining up to coordinate an assault right back at them…well, the odds turn fast.

I figured this time, I’d participate.  So I brought Stellar Protector to the party, since he could fly and do damage and take a hit or two (Winter Tornado was a possibility, but I wasn’t sure his powers would really be all that helpful to airborne enemies).  And the whole thing recaptured the thrill for me of being a hero against terrible odds.  This time, though, instead of the ground troops, we turned our fury on the ships, and took out a total of 60 over three zones.

Was it good xp?  No.  Any badges?  No.  Any special rewards at all?  No.  And that was never the point.

The point was that it was damned fun-and I got some screen shots on the Hyperion Force site to show for it, too.  And you know what?

I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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