Leaving CoH

Not me, I never bought it. Sunny the Unemployed canceled his subscription to City of Heroes and this is his interesting “exit application”:

After “Issue 2”, I’ve come to the realization that I do not enjoy City of Heroes anymore. I tried to keep it short, but I feel it is important for your company to understand why this casual gamer has given up on your game.

1) The botched Respec Trial. Why was this trial, eagerly anticipated by players with “gimp” heroes, made into one of the most difficult missions in the game? Do the developers enjoy investing 2+ hours into a mission, only to fail it at the very end due to overwhelming swarms of enemies? This trial was quickly tweaked after the public outcry, but the damage was done. I simply couldn’t understand how this awful mission design was released from the Training Room. Casual players like myself do not enjoy being locked into playing for several hours only to fail in the end. This is NOT fun.

2) Death penalties. Punishing the player for death is a toxic MMOG paradigm that needs to be done away with. After trying to complete the Respec Trial and dying repeatedly, I’ve come to the realization that I will never play another MMOG that uses a death penalty. Players of MMOGs enjoy watching their character grow and mature, and death penalties 100% interfere with this. Staring at your experience bar with loads of debt is not very conductive for having a fun time. The frustration is simply not worth it.

3) The game’s mechanics. I played a Kinetics Defender up to level 36, and I had a lot of difficulties with the powers and class throughout my time playing. Some of my powers, such as Intertial Reduction or Siphon Speed, were very limited in use. Others like Speed Boost were a total pain in the ass to use. There is little fun in individually casting Speed Boost on every team member every 2 minutes. It becomes quite a chore. Fulcrum Shift, the highest level power in the Kinetics pool, has gone from imbalanced highs to a new horrendous low. The power as it stands now is downright awful.

Additionally, I was often discriminated by players because I had chosen the Kinetics pool as opposed to more popular Empathy. Time after time I would get tells asking if I was “a healer”. Since Kinetics is a melee-oriented powerset, and the game is COMPLETELY dominated by the Blaster archetype, I was often kicked out of groups. My powers, aside from the tedious Speed Boost, were not considered very useful by a majority of the population. After being largely ostracized by the community, and unable to complete missions solo in a reasonable amount of time, I had few options.

4) The game’s atmosphere. To put it bluntly, there is simply very little to do other than arresting thugs. There are no real items, there are no tradeskills, and there are no side distractions for the player. The idea of the Dance Club is nice, but in truth, that sort of activity isn’t interesting to me. City of Heroes, although very playable for a short while, quickly become bare of content. Although the launch was very successful and stable, this game needed more development time to flesh out the game world and give the player something else to do. If there’s one word I would use to describe the non-combat content right now, it would be “empty”.

5)Badges. I have nothing wrong with the concept of badges. It’s a decent enough idea to motivate players to do things in the game world other than arresting thugs. However, I have no intention of going back to old missions to kill level 8 Bone Daddies or other low level mobs just for some fairly meaningless reward. I simply don’t find the prospect of farming a mission over and over to kill X amount of some mob to be enjoyable. Things might have been different if I started the game with badges implemented; that way I would have naturally earned them throughout the course of my time played. At 36 however, I feel as if most of the badges have passed me by. Arresting grey mobs over and over again is not fun for me.

I think playing the World of Warcraft Stress Test spoiled City of Heroes for me. It was nice to play a game that didn’t punish you for death. The questing and leveling system was a mildly refreshing change of pace from CoH’s “thug grinding” too. WoW also didn’t have CoH’s very sluggish leveling curve either. Ultimately, the game (even in its beta state) was a more enjoyable and less frustrating experience for me. I made the decision then that WoW was the MMOG I was going to spend my money on.

Despite its flaws, I still feel CoH has some great potential. I hope that, given enough time, the developers will be able to address some of these issues with the game, and provide its players with a satisfying experience. Good luck to you in your future endeavors.

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