Are They Really Champions?

With NCSoft lowering the boom on City of Heroes in a little over two months, I’ve taken some time to look at one of the other superheroic MMOs.  No, not DC Universe Online; while that’s a perfectly suitable MMO in its own right, it just doesn’t seem to lend itself to socialization like its competition does.  That means it was time again to look over at Champion Online.

And just in time for their third anniversary, too.

My first comments on the game were somewhat less than impressive.  Eventually, though, a free weekend came around and I happened to take a look and see for myself (and only in looking back do I realize I used the exact same subject in that post as I had in the first one.  Which is why I’m using the same name AGAIN on this post-hey, why mess with consistency?).  That led to purchasing the game itself (I had a gift card at the time I had nothing better to do with), but I didn’t do the subscription thing.  When CO went freemium, I made a few Silver characters-my original ones being Gold for subscribers, which meant I couldn’t access them.  But the visit was worth my time, I felt-but again, City of Heroes was just such a better game to me that I was fairly sure that my visits to Millennium City would be few and far between.

Fate likes to act on little taunts like that, really.

Unless the efforts to save CoH pulls off the upset, it’s likely that Champions Online will be stepping into the void.  Hell, I’ve already found Star Trek Online and Star Wars: The Old Republic have begun to encroach into time usually spent in CoH.  I suppose I’m emotionally better equipped than I was when the NGE trashed SWG to handle the closure of CoH.  SWG, after all, had been my first-and-really-only MMO at the time; since then, I’ve played many games, maintain a presence in a few, so I no longer have to worry about attachments to any single game.  Somewhat healthier, I guess; that said, I’d dance a jig if CoH is saved somehow-but I’m not going in with that assumption.

So I picked up a three month sub to CO; hey, there was a sale:  3 months for the price of 2.  If CoH pulls the upset, I’ll still be getting my money’s worth; and since NCSoft froze subscriptions, it’s not like I have anything better to do with that money.  And yes, I have mentioned a certain dissatisfaction with Perfect World Entertainment in relation to Star Trek Online and gouging; at least in CO, there’s actually benefits to being subscribed.  So far, at least, it doesn’t look like every month comes with a new lockbox/grabbag.  Time will tell on that one, anyway.

It’s not shocking that there are a lot of players of CoH making the same migration; it’s made by the folks who made CoH (the ones who didn’t stay to form Paragon Studios).  It’s more traditionally an MMO than DCUO.  And I have to admit, at least as far as the forums go, the community has been very welcoming.  For that matter, even the devs-many of whom still have emotional ties to CoH, at least-have welcomed the migration with open arms.  Yes, the cynical part of me says “hey, they want more subs:  our profit margin might be about to go up!”, but I am choosing to believe that the feelings are genuine.

Since it’s been forever and an age since the last time I was in CO, I just made new characters; specifically using the free ATs, the Unleashed and the Grimoire.  Why?  Because if I get sick of the game for some reason, I can at least still play those characters for free-not like the freeform guys.  Technically, I have a third slot to work with for a Silver character too, thanks to some promotion that was done some time back; I honestly can’t remember what the occasion was.  But that’ll do.  Eventually, I imagine I’ll look back at my existing freeform characters, and some will be used, and others…well, I can save costumes.

Tutorial’s changed.  No big celebration at the end this time, and some missions have vanished.  Don’t know why.  Doesn’t really matter that much to me.  I wonder if it was because the devs wanted folks to get out of the tutorial faster.  Could be.  My primary character is now at level 15 (the Grimoire guy); didn’t get much of a chance to do the Nighthawk event stuff-the big finish apparently requires teams, and it didn’t seem to account for disparity of level.  Found myself fighting guys 15 levels above me.  It didn’t end well.  Since getting into a team that was doing it was not exactly rapid, either…well, here’s to hoping the event returns someday.  If nothing else, it makes for a GREAT advertisement for the C-Store sale of the new fighter jets.  I’m really tempted to hoard stipend until I can afford one.

Still, I don’t think I’ll be going all-in on CO until the CoH servers go dark for the last time.  CoH at least deserves that level of devotion, I think, before the end comes.

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