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Blog Mitosis - City of Heroes, The Grind

Welcome to my Blog.

I'd like to come up with a better title than that like, "Welcome to Digitally Staving Off Boredom", but fact of the matter is I might just be changing my title and poof - there goes my modularity. Suckage.

Anywho, here on this Blog I discuss things I've been doing while gaming lately, while striving to find something significant about that. For some of you, this may be fascinating, even educational - in a good way, not in ways involving yardsticks across your knuckles. For the rest of you, you won't get the point, don't sprain yourself trying.

City of Heroes

Just to bring everyone up to speed, at the time of this writing I'm playing City of Heroes, a game by Crypic Studios where you can play a hero in a massively multiplayer city. Alternately, you can play City of Villains, a half-sequel half-expansion that allows you to play a villain.

To an extent, City of Heroes can be described and played as a standard EverQuest-like clone. If you've played World of Warcraft, you've played an EverQuest-like clone. There is no goal to the game, merely acquisition of levels and loot. In time, you eventually realize how pathetic grinding for artificial achievements is and wish you had never wasted your time.

I know this because I burned out from EverQuest over a decade ago.

I play City of Heroes because it's not just a grind but an entertaining game in itself. If you play this like EverQuest, which you can do, you're missing out on a lot of the fun. If you play this game in such a way as to challenge yourself and take maximum advantage of your character's powers, you will find that there's a lot more here than the average EverQuest clone.

Psi-Caster isn't my first hero, though he is the one I currently plan to level to 50 with for the first time. Since I've been playing this game on and off since beta, and the game has been out for over two years, you'd think I'd have had a level 50 character by now. Unfortunately, I've a history of starting a lot of alts (alternate characters) in City of Heroes and Villains - leading all the way back to the City of Heroes beta. I take procrastination to whole new levels by procrastinating while procrastinating.

In this case, it's not all me. City of Heroes is a game very conductive to the rolling of alts. What do I get for sticking with the same hero? Access to new content and sloowly new powers to use. What do I get for rolling up a new hero? Instant access to a plethora of new powers! This is cool because the powers and abilities in a MMORPG are like toys, and who doesn't enjoy playing with a new toy? This factor alone creates a problem in the game where many players never escape the lower levels.

What's a Grind and what can be done about it?

City of Heroes later level power acquisition problem is brought about by the "grind". Forget any other definition you've heard of the grind, it's really this, because I said so:

"The grind occurs when the time required to unlock further content and gameplay exceeds the amount of enjoyment the player can get with what has already been unlocked."

However, I've found that one can combat the grind on their own terms as well. One technique to combat the grind is to not watch the experience bar, just play and have fun. It's called "enjoying the journey, not the destination." City of Heroes can be fun that way.


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