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City of Heroes Signature arcs

September 25, 2011

One of the new content features that comes with City of Heroes: Freedom is what is called signature arcs. These are longer stories which are presented piece by piece, involving some of the game’s signature characters.

The first signature arc started this last week, with the first part out of 7. It is called “Who will die” and will eventually lead to the death of a signature character. These arcs have also been reported to have “better than average” rewards and as such will cost extra, unless you are a VIP player.

The price for a signature arc piece is 400 Paragon points. So it that worth the money?

After playing the first part this week I am inclined to say no. Not because it is bad – I actually liked it a lot. This first part consists of three missions, with a bit of twist to them – not just run in and beat up whatever you see. The missions are also slightly different on hero and villain sides – the overall story is the same, but told from different perspectives. Personally I thought the villain side version was a bit more fun to play, but both sides are good.

It does not take too long to play either – first time was perhaps 30 minutes and now when knowing what to expect it is shorter than that (only a limited amount of fighting is actually required). They are soloable, but not easy for all archetypes. The level range for this part is 10-20; if you are higher than 20 you will play it as a level 20 (power selections up to level 25 still available).

For the time put in, the rewards are indeed “better than average”. At the end of the three missions you get a choice of four options to pick one from:

  • One hero/villain merit
  • 4 x reward merit award   (in this case 4 x 5 = 20 reward merits)
  • One Astral Merit
  • 10 Incarnate Threads
These are quite good for the effort needed to be put in, but here comes also why I think it may not be worth it for at least some Premium players:
  1. Hero/villain merits are part of the alignment system and are used to buy rare and very rare invention recipes. Premium players do not have access to inventions, unless they have picked it up through Paragon Rewards as a long time player or rented access for 30 days. So there is extra time and money involved to get any use from that.
  2. Astral merits and Incarnate threads are reward currencies in the Incarnate system, which is VIP only. So no use for Premium players.
  3. The Reward merit award is the only one that can be used for other things than buying Invention stuff or is Incarnate related and thus the only one that would be of some use for most Premium players.

You can run the arc as often as you want, but there is a diminishing returns factor involved here for the rewards also. With one character that I ran it multiple times (once per day) I could pick the hero/villain merit twice, but at the third run it said I was not able to pick that for another 7 days (I could still pick another eligible reward).

Now this assumes that the rewards presented are the same for Premiums as for VIP players – I have not bought and tested this with a Premium account. But if it is the same then I think Premium players would need to think how valuable these reward merits are to them – one is essentially buying the ability to get a weekly extra supply of reward merits.

Three missions for 400 points is a bit expensive if one would go for just the content, even repeatable. Then the First Ward mission package is a better option, with about 40 missions (level 20-29, story arc not repeatable on a character).

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Categories: City of Heroes
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