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End Of The Line: Alt-A-Holicism Exposed, MMORPG Assessments Finalized

In a fit of rampant alt-a-holicism, it seems my City of Heroes flow is thoroughly disrupted. In this state of mind, it's really hard to give any character a fair shake, such is my natural inclination to abandon them and move on to the next. However, I've run out of power combinations awhile back, and so it begins to look like
I've resubscribed in vain.

Yes, I've canceled again, the day after I resubscribed. However, not without taking things into perspective.


Hard Learned Lessons Remembered

I took a little hiatus from the game, and when I came back it become clear what my good and functional solution was: The Dark Miasma/Sonic Defender, one that does decent damage while having a variety of powerful choices. That's what I seemed to be talking myself into for days. What could possibly by missing from that?

Well, it turns out something was missing. As I poured over the character in Mid's Hero Designer I realized I had no desire to play this character because of what was missing. It was a slippery slope I discovered back in February: "I had prioritized the functionality over the fun."

I had learned the hard way that characters need to be fun first and functional second. I don't need to assure I have a high damage-per-second ratio or the ability to lock down a spawn with holds. What I need is to have fun!

I had created a Kinetics/Energy Defender with this philosophy in mind and, before I knew it, he was level 34 - about twice the level most of my characters survive to reach. If that isn't credible evidence, I don't know what is...however, even he got boring, so I stopped playing him.

When a game gets boring, there's no point in playing it: that's the real, totally human and forgivable trigger to alt-a-holicism. A person rolls an alt because they feel the game is flexible enough to provide entertainment in some other way. The tendency to roll alts gets chronic when creating new characters is more entertaining than the game itself, and City of Heroes has been that way for me for awhile.

MMORPG Assessments Finalized

I should probably put the game down entirely and wait for Champions Online, but I can't think of a MMORPG I enjoy more than City of Heroes right now.
  • Age of Conan currently leaves a bad taste of my mouth. It's partly due to its terribly unrefined balance and technical problems. However, I've also the outright sabotage of an ex-friend to blame for disrupting my flow of this game.
  • Everquest 2 is too heavily expanded to know where to play. Even if I was able to figure that out, the balance is unsatisfying for me as it's much too easy in a group.
  • Vanguard really does have some very good systems: Diplomacy? Brilliant. Excellent combat balance, too. However, it has a similar problem to EQ2 in that the world is too big to accommodate the players. Rather than expansions, the cause in this case was as buggy, lukewarm release.
  • Tabula Rasa went in the direction of delivering a deluge of WoW-esque quests when they should have went in the direction of a dynamically changing landscape (everything an Outpost).
  • Final Fantasy XI is a masterpiece of an EverQuest clone, once you get over the blocky interface, but it's been running too long. The graphics have become dated, they've expanded it too far, and nearly everybody who's anybody has already maximized the level of their characters.
  • World of Warcraft is the McDonald's of MMORPGs: Worldwide name-brand appeal, several billion served, but it leaves the true connoisseurs unimpressed. It's basically just a streamlined reinterpretation of EverQuest with a bit of Blizzard magic in the GUI. But hey, at least they're raking in so much money that everybody wants to imitate them now.
  • Lord of the Ring Online's mistake is partly that the game mechanic wasn't deep enough, partly that it tried to be World of Warcraft. (Expect Warhammer Online to follow.)
That's enough. The point is that City of Heroes is the only MMORPG that's worth playing for me right now. It's a pity that all I can think to do in it is roll characters until I bore of them. Without any kind of continuity, a MMORPG loses a lot of its appeal.

*sigh* Maybe I've taken long enough of a break from Age of Conan to be interested in leveling a Herald of Xolti up from level 1 again. Funcom is bound to fix it eventually, right?

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