Last Saturday, Lut, terrycloth and I levelled our supervillains on Virtue to 50th, so we'd be able to play the new villain epic archetypes when issue 12 comes out. I don't think there was any big rush on this -- last I saw issue 12 hadn't even gone live on the test server yet. But we pushed a bit for it anyway.
I was a little melancholy about Untainted (my highest level villain) hitting 50th, actually. In Warcraft everyone's always excited to reach the level cap, because there's all this stuff to do in the game that you can't do until you reach the level cap. The endgame is all about raiding and getting phat lewt and whatnot. But City of Heroes really doesn't have much content for heroes and villains who are at the level cap. Which I like, because I don't enjoy raiding or getting phat lewt very much. There is some stuff -- taskforces and strikeforces and fighting giant monsters and whatnot -- but not things most people want to do over and over and over again. Not the way WoW guilds will have 20-man raids on Karazhan every night for 5 hours. No, in City of Heroes mostly what people do after hitting 50 is play new characters.
So the three of us started talking about making up new characters, since our existing stables of 15+ each spread across two or more servers were clearly insufficient*.
* It's the costume generator, I think. CoH lets you have 12 characters on each server and it's still not enough.
We eventually settled on /storm controllers with a kind of "bad kung fu flick" theme to the characters. Although between my character (who looks like a slightly freaky kid) and terrycloth's (a humanoid Chinese dog), it's more of an animated kid's show than an action flick:
Foo Fires (Terrycloth): Maybe I should try again. I don't really think this character fits with the two of yours.
Jade Winds (Me): No, it works. I'm the plucky kid, you're the animal mascot, and Six Demon Bag (Lut) is our grumpy mentor.
They both took fire/storm as their powersets, and I took illusion/storm to be a little different. And we started the new characters on Justice, because there's a Repeat Offenders supergroup there, "Pressure Cookers", that's all illusion/storm and fire/storm controllers. (Repeat Offenders does this sort of thing a lot: find quirky powersets that work well if you get a whole bunch together at once, and then make a supergroup of just those character types.)
No one from Pressure Cookers was around when we came on, so we haven't signed up yet. Instead, we spent a few hours cutting a swath through crime in Paragon City. At one point we were rooting gang members out of a burning building:
Jade Winds: Did one of you get a little careless?
Foo Fires: What? No no, I didn't burn *this* building down.
Hellion Gang Member (NPC): Look out, it's Foo Fires! Get him!
Six Demon Bag: The building's on fire, and they know Foo by name.
Foo Fires: Coincidence!
Six Demon Bag: One should always be suspicious of coincidences.
Jade Winds: Six also uses fire magic. And he knows Foo as well.
Six Demon Bag: Coincidence.
Jade Winds: I'm suspicious.
Six Demon Bag: And well you should be.
Six Demon Bag: Er, I mean: pay no attention to that.
The characters made it to 7th level, just barely, before we logged for the evening. I convinced Lut to stay up long enough to do a bank mission and get temp travel powers, because those make life a lot easier.
One of the quirks of starting the new crew on Justice is that none of us had any characters on the server. So there were no level 50s around to drop a couple million influence on us for petty cash.
This doesn't bother me. In fact, I'm actually happy about it, as I get to see how long it takes me to amass wealth starting from zero.
You don't really start from zero in CoH, as it happens. The tutorial zone supplies you with two third-tier inspirations, and these sell for 10-50,000 on the auction house. (Except during the Halloween events, when the market for them crashes because the game hands them out like candy during it. Literally.) 25,000 is more than enough to get anything a new character's little heart desires from NPC vendors in the game. And it's not like EQ: the NPC vendors sell everything a PC needs to be competent.
Still, there's some nice things that one can only get from other PCs via the inflated prices of the auction house. And since I enjoy fiddling with the market to make money, I'm doing it here.
So Lut and I pooled our cash and he handed me his third-tier inspirations and I set to work. I guesstimated that I could get to a million influence before 12th level. This is going to be even easier than I thought, due to our preference for battling only magic-based villains. Magic-based villains, especially as you get higher in level, get rarer and are also more difficult to fight than tech-based varieties. As a result, the salvage that drops from them is correspondingly a lot more valuable. Also, even the salvage that new characters get is still in use by the highest levels (ie, the ones with the most cash to spend).
My other characters all hoard their magic salvage in their vaults against the day that they'll need it. But since these new ones needed money before they were going to be making anything, this morning Jade Winds sold off everything she'd accumulated the night before, most of it priced to move. Between that and selling the four inspirations, I had almost a quarter of a million to start arbitraging with. Arbitraging with lowbies is kind of a pain, because your character's inventory space expands as you level and when you're 7th you don't have very much. But we were in King's Row, where the market is close to an NPC vendor, so it wasn't horrible. Jade bought and sold eight or so recipes in a hurry this morning, and made, I'd guess, around 100k in profit from it. I left a bunch of bids up before I logged out this morning, so probably this evening she'll be able to make considerably more.
One of the things that makes this interesting for me is that in EQ, there used to be hordes of lowbies mobbing high traffic spots and begging for money. I don't see that in CoH, and I think that the ease with which lowbies can raise cash from the market is a big part of that. In some sense, the lowbies are getting charity from the rich, but it's instutionalized instead of individual.
Another example of charity: you can get badges for making invention-origin enhancements. This is mainly a hobby for the rich, as making IOs is costly. But IOs can olny be sold to other PCs. So most of the IO enhancements that get made for badges are auctioned off, and many of them sell for rock-bottom prices -- far, far less than the cost of their components. I scooped up several of the less popular ones cheaply for Jade.
Alas, I'm not likely to play Jade Winds much for the next several days. Lut has a raid in WoW tonight and tomorrow night I'm flying to Florida. So tonight I'll pack for the trip when I get home, and then play some other character in CoH or CoV afterwards.
But I expect I'll do some more quick arbitrage runs tonight and tomorrow morning with her. Because I have a weird idea of fun. :)