Midnight Strikes: City of Heroes Issue 12

By Kieron Gillen on May 21st, 2008 at 1:55 pm.

Alec can do this. It's amazing. He just walks into the pub and goes GLOW!!!!! and we have to cover our eyes.

I’ve been meaning to post that the twelfth expansion (“Issue”) for City of Heroes was about to go live for a while now. In fact, so long, that it has gone live, and anyone can actually play it. It’s called Midnight Hour and introduces a new organisation (“The Midnight Squad – aka The Midnighters, which the Authority may want a word about, so we’ll move swiftly on before someone gets their brains punched right out). To celebrate, beneath the cut we have its promo videos, our first impressions from our City-of-heroes insider and a completely gratuitous Wilson Pickett song.

Here’s the latest trailer, which introduces the Midnight Squad, and generally talks about what they get up to. That is, an excuse for cross-time hi-jinks and/or XP grind. I especially like the Roman Legionaries.

While we’re actually planning on returning to give a shot, especially Walker who’s jonesing to be a bad healer some more, we haven’t had a crack. But one of my somewhat disgruntled – that is, generally with life, not just with City of Heroes -has, and mailed me his initial thoughts.

First impression:
They’ve spent a lot of development time they could have spent on… something else revising the front end of the game into an e-store so that they can sell us additional character slots for $4-6 each.

Hmm. Sounds like NCSoft have an eye on the micropayment model. Yes. You knew that though. I was just trying to make it sound as if I was contributing to this fine endeavour, instead of cutting and pasting.

I am full of shame.

Things:
A whole load of hero powers were inaccessible to villain equivalent classes and vice versa for inexplicable reasons. A lot of these are now available. A notable exception would be that Tankers still can’t have Electric Melee or Electric Armour (but Stalkers can).

The radio mission contacts are split off into their own tab, which is very handy.

They’ve changed how the rest of the contacts list works, and you can choose to sort the contacts by zone, name or how much they like you, none of which are useful. The only important thing about contacts is which ones are in your level range, which you can’t sort by any more. It splits off the ones you currently have an active mission with, which is pointless as they got sorted to the top in the old system anyway.

You get a crazy buff for about 20 seconds when you level up. It also rezs you if you happen to be dead at the time.

You can rate and write notes about other players, much like many WoW mods that have been doing the same thing for a few years now. Unfortunately, like a WoW mod this information is stored locally on your computer, so will be inaccessible if you ever log on from different machines.

You can load a whole costume set at once now if you want “Jester” or “Enforcer” or whatever.

You can finally see the stats for your powers. I haven’t finished playing with this information yet. My combo-powergaming obsessed friend is gleeful about it though. This information has always been hard to come by in the COH community and while caring about the exact stats of your powers isn’t really the point of COH, it’s gratefully received.

Not that he’s looked at everything yet:

Haven’t played:
Whole new Roman thing.
Villain Epic Archetypes (cos who has a villain at 50?)
Revised Hollows (sounds good though, there are smaller groups of guys so you don’t get ganked by the huge mobs

Generally speaking, Midnight Hour offers a fine chunk of content – and it’s impressive that they’ve managed twelve of these things since launch. Anyone still playing either of the cities out there? Does this impress you? And if you’re not any more, would it tempt you to return?

And take it away Mr Wilson Picket!

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18 Comments »

  1. Bananaphone says:

    I so want to get back into CoH, but the last time I ventured online I couldn’t find a single person to team up with. It was desolate and very lonely.

  2. Matthew says:

    Oh thanks heavens. If the Hollows mobs have been reduced in size, my two rather pathetic level 9 solo heroes (one based on ancient Sega game E-SWAT, fact fans) will have to be given another crack at levelling.

  3. cullnean says:

    been playin villains for a fair while was just about to roll a hero and this comes a long to make the choice tougher

    also its about time you guys got on the euro servers!

  4. Alex Hopkinson says:

    Whilst they have done work to let them charge for more character slots, you do get a healthy selection of extra free ones to start with (I think it’s 2 free for everyone for, presumably, logging in during the first month, and then 1 free for every year you’ve been subscribed). Combined with the… 12 (if memory serves) slots per server that you start with, that’s not bad at all.

  5. Sal says:

    pew pew pew pew

    The Midnighters: A late 60′s, early 70′s gang in the East Los Angeles area.

  6. Raptornas says:

    I love Wilson Picket.

    That is all.

  7. zanbowser says:

    Signed up again, after a long hiatus, since a friend just recently got internets at his house and said he was interested. Considering that I’ve played – off and on – since closed beta, they really have done a lot with their free expansions. While I haven’t explored all the new content with Issue 12, I still think the issue where they debuted Inventions was the best content drop of the whole exercise.

    As much as I want to say something demeaning about NC or City of, I’m *actually* having fun with it again. Playing with even one other person makes it most worthwhile – hours of grind are still hours of grind, but at least you have company.

  8. Lucky Main Street says:

    Has there been a sandbox GTA-style superhero game yet, non-MMO?

  9. Stew says:

    Never went away. Loving the new content so far.

  10. Arathain says:

    This seems to be a really great expansion. Tons of good quality of life and interface tweeks, and the villain epics are proving fun so far. Looking forward to checking out the new content, because the writing is getting better all the time.

  11. malkav11 says:

    What they would have to do to lure me back: get one or more of my friends to play. That’s it, really. I loved City of Heroes to begin with and it’s apparently only gotten better. But I don’t want to solo and I’ve got too much else to play to really be that interested in doing nothing but random groups. (Besides which, it’s nigh impossible to PUG task forces, or so I recall it being. And they’re something I really want to try.)

  12. Mawich says:

    Ahem.

    Contacts list seems to be rather more useful than your ‘insider’ says, as I’ve observed dormant contacts who were complaining about me not being high enough level jumping automatically back into the Active list when I reached the level they wanted, which is a nice reminder to go and talk to them again.

    The Hollows improvements are long overdue, although I doubt the ‘go to the Hollows’ introductory mission is any less irritating for those of us who don’t want to go there. And no, you don’t have to do the Hollows missions – there’s a whole set of other missions to carry you through the same level range, just like people had before the Hollows was added to the game. Yes, some of us still playing were around then.

    Being able to buy extra character slots (up to 36 slots per server if you spend enough) is going to be great, although due to my playing time I got the 2 free ones + 3 for long service (haven’t quite figured out why I’ve not got the full 4 because I do have the 48 month veteran reward – something to raise with support). Especially for those of us who have level 50 villains, which is actually rather a lot of people, and who will therefore be experimenting with villain epics. The price for a new slot is not at all outrageous, and since it’s possible to enjoy the game for a long time with the ones you get ordinarily, and you get a free one every year anyway, only the most insane altoholics will probably be using that function anyway – but there are enough of those that it might prove to be a handy revenue stream. It is, after all, a one-time payment for a slot that you get to keep forever, no matter how many times you delete and re-roll the character in it.

    Tankers do seem a bit shortchanged by powerset proliferation though – and the Masterminds are getting all riled up about not getting a new primary yet. Although the devs said they wouldn’t ever do clowns, which is a bizarrely popular demand. I guess it’s because clowns are scary.

    Forthcoming stuff still dominates though, as we have in-game advertising on the way (before Issue #13, it seems), and player-made missions which is something I am very excited about.

  13. Alex Hopkinson says:

    I returned to play it for the first time in a few months last night (my villain main has been languishing on level 48 for a year and a half at least and I’d rather like to mess around with the epics) and the various small improvements are much appreciated. A sensibly structured contacts list, at last!

    An 8 person pick-up group in a wide open map with 3 masterminds (which meant a small army of pets) made for some delightful carnage.

  14. Jaxtrasi says:

    I think the problem with the contacts list is that if you have three active missions (and are thus unable to pick up any new missions), all of your active contacts move to the inactive contacts list.

    Once you have a spare mission slot free, any contacts in your “level range” as the insider describes it move into the active contacts list and can be easily browsed.

    Not sure why they did this, but it’s not broken for when you actually need/want to find a mission.

  15. David says:

    Lucky Main Street,
    There was a open-world action game for the 360 where you played a superpowered cop of some nature. It was actually created by the original creator of the GTA series. However, it focuses a bit more on shooty/run people over with cars action than on flying or shooting deadly beams out of one’s eyes. You can throw cars at people or punch them into brick walls a hundred feet away, though. And being able to jump a hundred feet in the air is great fun as well.

    It’s only available for 360, though, which makes it somewhat offtopic for this site.

  16. Kieron Gillen says:

    David: Is talking about Crackdown, which is splendid. For an RPS link, note they’re developing APB now, which is also on the PC. Woo!

    KG

  17. Winterborn says:

    Not playing right now(getting Conan tomorrow, so that will be my MMO beau for a while). This looks like a solid update, wish I had a villain at 50 – been planing to get one by the time they came out with the long overdue archetypes. I’ll probably be back to check out this some time though.

  18. Bobsy says:

    Whoa nelly! The above comment ought to be neutralised I reckon. Slipped in under the radar, most likely. [Tis poof! - RPS]