I’m probably only the millionth person to make that pun, but oh well…
I’ve been playing City of Heroes lately — I’m a level 11 technology blaster. Thankfully, it is only a 21 day trial because otherwise I would flunk out of school!
I tried Anarchy Online back when they made their basic game free, but I only lasted about an hour before I gave up. I couldn’t figure out what to do or where to go — and since they just made it free, everyone on there was just as clueless as I was! So City of Heroes is my first extended experience with a MMORPG. As a comic book geek, I couldn’t resist (check out my eBay auctions! I need rent money!!!), but although I enjoy the game and like the world, there are some interesting aspects.
For those that don’t know anything about it, basically, you are a superhero of your own making and you get assigned missions and defend the normal citizens. Some of the missions, most in fact, require you to team up with other heroes to successfully complete the mission. I’m sure most of the other MMORPG’s do that too, but, at least in the beginning, you don’t know anyone playing the game, so you have to ask strangers to team up with you. When you think of it, for computer nerds and comic book geeks, this is kind of odd. The game is basically forcing you to talk to strangers. I don’t like to ask people in a store for help! It creates a very odd situation where you are forced to socialize and work together to survive, but at least in my case there is no bonding at all. I’ve played 3-4 hours a day for a couple weeks and still don’t know anyone. So am I just anti-social, or is this a situation where we are learning to work with anyone without having any personal bonds? I won’t even get into all the waiting around that goes on…
Another interesting aspect, which, again, I’m sure is common to many MMORPG’s is that around every corner there are bad guys. In City of Heroes, they are mostly gangs and are usually robbing someone. However, sometimes they are just standing around, but you can attack them any way. That is kind of an odd message: “Regardless of what you happen to be doing, if you are a certain type of person, it is not only ok to attack you, but it is GOOD to do so.”
Then there are also the citizens. They are totally defenseless. Without you they will be eternal victims. Sure it’s a game, but it would be nice if these automatons had some sort of agency. I might be interesting if they combined City of Heroes with the Sims.
OK, well, I have over 2000 points in debt that I need to work off! Spoon!