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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oh noes! CoH is teh NERFED!!11!1!!! [City of Heroes]

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:11 PM
GamingTwo links here: current discussion thread and original discussion thread (now locked). Everyone cries foul. Many jump ship. No one is being logical. News at 11.

Such is the case when devs mention major sweeping changes to a game's architecture just after releasing major sweeping changes to the game's architecture a couple weeks prior. For those of you who care to know more about the ramifications of this most recent change, I suggest you head over to Eric's place for a very detailed explanation that is helpful for those who aren't currently familiar with the CoH game system. Over at Evil Avatar, I had nicer things to say regarding this recent news, mostly uninspired ramblings. But in retrospect, and reading a few very thoughtful and intelligent posts on the subject, I changed course. I hated the new change being implemented (currently being referred to as "Enhancement Diversification", or ED for short). I was vehemently against it. But now, I've changed course again.

I'm learning to accept change. Bring it on.

Here's why I say that. You see, currently you can put up to 6 enhancement slots on any given power. For your offensive powers, you usually slot about 5 damage enhancements and maybe 1 accuracy. For defensive powers, you slot all 6 with damage resistance. There's plenty of enhancements to choose from, but that's the way most people choose to slot.

One of the things I love about CoH is the fact that I can login and create a unique character. He/she can look however I decide, but beyond that simple fact, there are the powersets. I can select an archetype and then from that selection, there are about 5-9 choices for primary powersets. And once I have that, I can select a secondary powerset from a range of between 4-7 different sets. Each set is (somewhat) unique to each archetype (there are some that cross over, but not many). Beyond the primary and secondary sets, you can also select from pool powersets as you level your character. There are 12 pool powersets with 4 powers in each. Needless to say, there is a lot of variety in the gameplay. Within these sets there are powers that can only have one type of enhancement on them. This makes a system alteration such as ED seem remarkably idiotic.

Now, bear with me here. In the pool powers, there's a power called Hasten. It's a power that, while active, all your other powers recharge more quickly so you can use them again at a much faster rate. Terribly useful. There's also another power called Stamina. That's a pool power that makes it so that using your other powers uses up less juice (actually, it allows you to recover your juice more quickly, but it's about the same effect). Also terribly useful.

Here's the thing: everyone takes Hasten. Everyone takes Stamina. Both powers can only be slotted with one type of enhancement. That makes everyone angry, as it basically means their most important pool powers will now be significantly less useful.

And I think that's the point.

Now, instead of relying on a couple of pool powers that everyone takes, you decide to save the power space and do a better job of slotting and enhancing your existing powers. You may do less damage per turn, you may not recharge as quickly, and you may end up spending a bit more juice in a battle. But that's where the strategy comes in. Now, instead of playing a cookie-cutter build that everyone else is using, you have to figure out for yourself the best way to play your character. For you.

Maybe that's why everyone is in such an uproar about this. Once active, it makes it so that you actually have to think about your character, put some actual thought into your build, and--God forbid--actually pay attention while battling instead of running headlong into a large mob of enemies and feeling pretty good about the fact that your build is basically invincible. That isn't the way to play the game.

I love the thought that I need to actually be careful. I love the thought that I am not indestructible. I love the thought that I am not a juggernaut, because I'm not. And I shouldn't be. And there's a lot of people out there who just can't bear that thought.

Sucks to be them.

/end rant


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