The fantasy of superheroes
Since Issue 14 of City of Heroes/Villains was released on late Wednesday I have played mainly with my dedicated architect, as well as one of my dominators. A number of the patterns seen in open beta repeat themselves here, but as time goes by I think there will be changes.
Last check there were almost 9000 story arcs published – probably a large amount of the ones that were created in open beta, but also a lot of new story arcs as well. With a number of new people trying out the mission editor there is bound to be many arcs which are of the “this is my test arc” type. Some of them say that explicitly, others don’t. In the latter case they usually do not have an elaborate description of the arc.
There are also a number that are published multiple times due to that the user interface is really not particularly obvious what you should do when you want to update a published arc. I think it is likely that most people will fall into this trap and they should consider clarifying that in the user interface.
One thing I have noticed both now and in open beta was that there are a number of arcs which tries to recreate an entirely different setting from the “city with superbeings” environment of the game . Various fantasy settings are not uncommon it seems, but since the game do have a magical/mystical aspect it plays with as well it is not that surprising.
I am not really a fan of fantasy litterature in general, so a number of these stories I have seen may be references to existing stories and environments – I am just not familiar with them. Or they may be original stories; I really have no clue. A number of them do seem a bit quick on moving the plot forward, introducing new names and references. In these cases they lose me entirely why I should care or follow the story. But it may be that it requires some previous knowledge that I lack.
One of the stories where I did get the context of in the fantasy realm was Robin Wuss and the Nutty Sheriff (arc ID 10730). It is a humourous arc connecting the city realm here with Robin Hood and his merry men. It is quite easy to play though, the emphasis seem to be more on a bit of fun with Robin rather than some challenging encounters (as long as you have Robin with you).
Some other arcs tend to go more into the SciFi realm which more of my home turf. One arc here which I liked was Adventures of the Space Marines (arc ID 2133).
This is also a bit funny and I think very good use of the the resources the game has to try to convey a more space troopers/shoot things environment. There is a bit of sameness to many of the encounters, but given the limitations set up in Mission Architect for custom characters I think it was quite good use of the resources. I played it though with my low level widow solo, but will probably play out even better for the space trooper mayhem with more people and higher levels.
When you have created a story arc and people play and rate it, you get architect tickets as an award. The rating is 1-5 stars and for every star you get 5 tickets, if it is at least 3 stars. So a rating of 2 stars will get you no tickets, while a rating of 5 stars will get you 25 tickets.
A character cannot vote for the same arc multiple times, at least not until after a cooldown period.
I have pretty much avoided setting any rating on an arc where I would have set 1 or 2 stars, but perhaps send a comment what I did not like. But I have also avoided to play those arcs that clearly are “test arcs”, or intended for badge farming, or big teams (when playing solo) etc.
The mission architect story arcs works in many ways as strike/task forces and one cannot do other missions while in the middle of an MA arc. This puts some more focused requirements on teaming, since they whole team need to be set to do MA arcs and not regular missions, or do too much mixing. It would probably be good if they were adding another team flag för the team search for “mission architect missions”, so a person that is mainly interested in such missions can flag for that. For now one has to use the text field.
Even though I regularly run into missions that are a bit too tough for my squishy and/or low level characters and the base mechanics are the same as before, I must say that I do the variation in enemies and plot that is provided though Mission Architect.