Kasadya sidles along the brick railing of the roof, trying to get a look at the thugs below. "What are they doing, Asmedaj?" she says, by way of answer.
The tall, dark-skinned and horned man gives a nearly inaudible sigh. "Stealing an old lady's purse. Let's get them." He leaps from the edge of the roof and lands amongst the criminals, fire blazing from his fingertips. Kasadya smiles, her eyes glowing, as she follows.
One of the things City of Heroes has over the other MMORPGs I've seen and played is that you really feel like a good guy in this game. It's not slaughtering rats and snakes for their meat. It's not "Oh, look, there's a Gnoll standing around over there. My guildmaster told me gnolls are bad. Guess I'll kill it." It's not even "That griffon is trying to kill me! I must defend myself!"
It's "Those thugs are trying to kill that homeless man and use his body for fiendish experiments! I'll save you!"
And when you knock out all the thugs (who are promptly transported to prison) the homeless man runs back to you and thanks you.
Yes, it's still all spawned mobs and hitting them until they go away, and scripted responses. But it feels just a little more immersive. It's a little more possible to tell stories about my character's adventures, and feel like, if I tell it right, she sounds like a hero.
Does it really matter what the game is about, if all the mechanics are the same?
Yes, I suppose it does.