After work, Lut and I scooted over to Best Buy and picked up a copy each of City of Heroes, a new superhero-themed MMORPG released yesterday. Lut had pre-ordered it (ironically, we did not get his copy from the store he pre-oredered it from -- even forfeiting his re-order deposit, it was still cheaper to get it at Best Buy) in order to get into the end of the beta test and see what it was like. Despite some annoyances with management decisions at the end of the beta, Lut decided he liked it enough to buy it.
Surprisingly, so did I.
City of Heroes has a few advantages over the other MMORPGs I've seen lately. For one, it appeared well-suited to pairs of players, as opposed to EQ's focus on teams, or D2's indifference to grouping. I could make a healer-type, pair up with a character of Lut's, and run around destroying things without needing to find a group to be effective. This is especially important to me because I don't want to spend forty+ hours a week playing the game, the way I did with EQ. I don't even want to spend whole evenings doing it. And when you have to take the time to find a group, that means gaming sucks up your whole evening. Who wants to spend 45 minutes getting a group together if you've only got an hour to play?
That's the substantial advantage. The other advantage is entirely superficial:
The character design.
They've got an absurdly detailed character/costume design engine, to let you tailor a sea of different facets for your character: size, build, colors, belts, shoulderpads, gloves, boots, masks, faces, etc. You get the idea. Even so, it's not as flexible as I might like -- certainly not as flexible as, say, drawing your own from scratch. But it's soooo cute. I could spend hours just playing with the costume design. My mother said, when she doesn't have enough time to play, she likes to fire up the design engine and punch "random", just to giggle at what pops up. I probably spent more time designing my character's look than I did actually playing her. (She's this overbuilt midget in purple and gold. She looks very statuesque and impressive until you realize she's about 4'6".)
Anyway, I still spent too much time on the game. I'd better get cracking for a bit on Prophecy. I am going to be waaaaaay behind on quota for April, because of all the time off I took for visiting level_head and strangess. I have decided I won't beat myself up for that -- but I've got no excuse for not working on it now, when I'm home.