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  1. After another week of 'arresting' Malta and Carnies and searching their pockets for loose change (loitering is a crime, right?), Kyksie finally decides enough is enough. Speaking to an old aquaintance in Port Oakes, she robs the bank in Atlas Park, then Kings Row, working her way through the city one bank at a time. After beating Overdrive for the third time at the Peregrine Island bank, she finds herself with enough cash for rent, bills, and a double helping of Freem Fries at Up-N-Away Burger. Still, being a full-time villain doesn't sit well with Kyksie, so after a quick shopping spree at Macy's (just the essentials, honest) she asks around if there are any heroic deeds that need heroing. 1) The contact is Elizabeth Bouchet, an agent for an anonymous client, who offers her a chance to save the world and get a substantial cash reward. Why didn't I hear about this last week? Oh well. She requires Kyksie to sign a contract before accepting, which is odd if the world really is at stake. We need to jump forward in time to get a crown or something. As always, the future is a broken hellscape, but instead of the usual biker gangs we find Coralax. In addition to the usual red and blue Coralax, there are pink and fushia and chartreuse varieties. Kyksie kicks a few and finds the coral crown. The popup stated that "ghost allies will help you find the crown", but I couldn't find any. 2) We need to 'borrow' a tome from the Legacy Chain. When we arrive there, the office is being attacked by Coralax, so more kicking. Oh no, someone got the tome already! And also Freakshow. 3) The Freakshow have formed a cult worshiping the ancient goddess Merulina. (which kinda rehashes the canon arc where we go after the Shaper). Off to the 'Freakshop', where we kick more Freaks and Coralax, including some custom Freaks like the "Bone Nurse" and "Juice Nurse" and "Hello Nurse". I think that's it. The sendoff said that there was a tough EB, but the leader was only a boss. 4) Off to a lake to smash some coral spires. Another custom group! 5) And now to save the world. Into the leviathan caves map, where we join up with Elizabeth and Barracuda, and pummel Calystix the Shaper. (minor bug: the nav bar for Barracuda said 'rescue Elizabeth'.) The sendoff warned me that Calystix was really hard, but I didn't have much trouble. Afterwards, we find that the mystery client was in fact Barracuda, who is working to find the truth about the coral. It does seem a bit odd that Barracuda had access to time travel, but maybe she bribed the Project DESTINY techs with some sushi or something. Save the Diver, Save the World is another great arc, with lots of excellent writing and just-right difficulty.
  2. Interesting. Like I said in the review, normally I advise against using that map because it's confusing and the caves are hard to find. When I played it, however, there was a waypoint pointing me to the cave door.
  3. Another month, another scramble to make rent. None of the Malta troops that Kyksie 'arrested' had any cash on them, so she calls up an old contact who tells her that Lt. Col. Flynn has some work all the way out in the Shadow Shard. 1) Arriving at Mole Point Charlie via portal, Flynn tells Kyksie that a new Hortha Vine had just opened up, so naturally he sent some troops through, but then it closed, so now he needs a brave hero to investigate. Fortunately they had a sort of dimensional GPS thingy, so Kyksie is able to track them to a cave. There she encounters the "Rularularian", a nicely done custom group. They all wear Nemesis unforms, but none have change in their pockets either. We rescue the captives, including Dr. Huxley. 2) We rescue more captives. The Rularutians can control Shadow Shard reflections, interesting. Sara Moore is investigating their history, but Kyksie taps her foot, eager to get paid. 3) The Rularutarians are attacking City Hall! Kyksie jumps in and defeats the invasion, led by "Angie the Mad". Yes, this is kinda of an odd name for a villain, like "Norbert the Terrible" or "Melvin the Flatulent", but we'll see why it fits, read on. 4) The scientists have discovered that the Rularutarians are the descendants of people from Paragon, who were stranded in the Shadow Shard when Hero One closed the dimensional portal. They have formed several independent city-states, and one is willing to sign a truce. Kyksie just wants to get her payment and go, but Flynn tell her to meet with their leader. This mission is set in the Shadow Shard map with the big factory thing in the center and caves along the sides. Normally I recommend against using this map because the caves are confusing and hard to see, but here we get an objective marker showing you the way. Plenty of non-required clues add atmosphere. 5) Most of the city-states have agreed to join with us, but their leader "the five" needs to be stopped. I won't spoil the plot twist here. We go into the Statesman map, get a bunch of allies, and defeat a bunch of guys like "William the Conqueror" and "Becky the Litterbug". See, they got those names because they come from normal people! We defeat the five, and the rest of the Rularutians decide to rejoin us. Everyone hugs, and Flynn authorizes payment plus a bonus. No secondhand tampons for Kyksie this month! Rularularian is another perfect arc, with top-notch writing, lots of atmosphere, and no time wasting. Everyone go play it.
  4. I played through this a few months ago and intended to review it but it somehow got lost. Suffice it to say that this is a top-notch arc that hits all the right notes; excellent writing, an interesting custom group, no kill-alls, no tedious glowie hunts, no overpowered bosses. Everyone who enjoys a good story should play this.
  5. The contact is Null the Gull, which scores points for originality if nothing else. He says that, in the 'real' world, the group Outkast was filming a video, when a portal appeared and sucked them into Paragon City. That's right, Null is explicitly speaking to the person sitting behind the keyboard surrounded by Hot Pocket sleeves and Cheeto wrappers. 1) Apparently when OutKast arrived here, the first person they encountered was Frostfire, and they own the rights to the name "OutKast", so... they're suing the Outcasts? Again, points added for originality. The player ventures into an office where Outcasts and PPD are fighting, clobbers Frostfire, rescues a lawyer and meets the guys. Oddly, the PPD are also hostile to the player. Here, a problem arises; the level range. the first two levels are capped at 15, but the last are at set to 50. I tried to run this with my controller, but she had no chance against boss-level Frostfire while reduced to 15, so I had to switch to my Stalker, Super Sneaky. He's really sneaky. 2) The Skulls are trying to murder OutKast for some reason, so we stop them by going to a rave and collecting seven boxes. While waiting for the map to load, I Googled OutKast and found out they're a "hip-hop" group, which I think means they spend their time drinking "forties" and having "diss battles" with other hip-hop groups. 3) Now things are getting even weirder... OutKast (which is two guys) both have the hots for Ms. Liberty, so they're trying to woo her by throwing a concert in Atlas Park. The player arrives at the 'Party in Atlas' map, which fits well here. We rescue the dudes, beat up Back Alley Brawler for some reason, then pummel two dudes named "Lovebox" and "Speakers Down Below", or something like that. We also rescue Ms. Liberty, which is a bit awkward because Super Sneaky and Ms. Liberty have, uh, history. 4) Now OutKast is shooting a video with Carnies, which the player has to stop. We rescue some guys, smash some equipment, and clobber Vanessa DeVore. 5) Lord Recluse found out about them and wants them for "bad intentions", so we need to send them back to our world. Sneaky sneaks off to the Portal Corp map, rescues the dudes, clobbers Scirocco, and activates the portal to send them back here. In a nice touch, the sendoff happens in the final room of the map (you know, the Shadow one for the Maria Jenkins arc) which has the big portal. Like the previous arc by this author, this is a hard map to rate. The premise is really wacky (in a good way), several unique maps are used creatively, and fans of OutKast should enjoy this, assuming they're not too busy smoking "blunts" and drinking "purple". On the downside, the level range is a problem. The arc contains several tough EBs who require a strong character to solo, probably a 50. However, the first two maps force you to level 15, which is a pain. Characters who have been respeced may be completely unable to function at that level. There's also some grammar errors, although not as many as the last arc. Still, assuming you like offbeat stuff and don't mind fourth wall breaking, give this a try.
  6. Have I become the board's resident AE reviewer? I'd be glad to write a review for this, but maybe make a new thread for it. I should mention I can see a big problem right away... the level range. People will be reduced to 14 in the early missions and forced up to 50 in the last one. That tends to be not fun.
  7. AE files are saved locally as a textfile, run it through a spell checker.
  8. The first three missions are set to 20-54, but the last ones are 50-54. In order to see the aforementioned bosses, I set it to x4 and used Spider-Kitty again. "Meow," she said, slugging back a double Maker's Mark at the bar before heading off to the AE branch in Pocket D. (because, you know, she's a cat. cats meow a lot). 1) The contact, Mirror Spirit, tell me that Countess Crey has teamed up with Vanessa Devore to create animated toys powered by magic. It's a wacky premise, but it works well in a four color world. Spider-Kitty meows into a toy store and encounters the "Micronauts", who are human sized toys. There are at least a dozen, all with well written bios, although it gets weird in places. (the Night Widow toy is "perfect for feminists", huh???) The mission is a defeat all, but I'll forgive that because the map is small. Kitty finds sales receipts showing that sales have gone up 10%, oh no! 2) We need to stop the production, so Kitty busts into a warehouse and smashes some crates. Fifteen crates. We also get a story about how the Countess blackmails Manticore and sells his arrows or something. 3) The toys are powered by magic, so we need to get countermagic, which happen to be Animus Arcana. Also a bit about Black Scorpion. 4) Now we need to rescue the hostages who are being used to magically power the toys. There's ten of them, plus a clone of the player. "Meow", says Spider-Kitty as she puts down her feline counterpart. She's used to this by now. 5) Now to put an end to the foul scheme; Kitty meows onto a cargo ship, and clobbers Manticore, Scorpion, Vanessa and the Countess, and smashes fourteen crates. This is a tough arc to rate. The premise is a great one, and it's executed well; the custom group is well made, with copiously written bios, and the varied powers make for fun fights. On the downside, the arc suffers from Objective Overload. Fifteen crates, then six spells, then ten hostages, then fourteen crates. That's too much; it shifts focus away from the storytelling and into tedium. Like, if you're reading a fanfic starring Spider-Kitty, Mynx and Bobcat, and it goes "Mynx meowed, then Spider-Kitty said 'meow', then Bobcat rolled over lazily and meowed, then Mynx meowed again, then..." People don't want to get bogged down in that, they want to read about Mynx and Bobcat... uh... doing stuff. The biggest problem, however, is the spelling and grammar. It reads like a first draft that was never proofread. Seriously, there's at least one spelling error in every paragraph. Please, people give your stories at least one pass before submitting them for review. With half as many crates and a run through a spellchecker, When Two Worlds Work Together has the potential to be a winner.
  9. I don't have a character I can test this on, but if I remember from Live, this problem also occurs on MM > Dark Miasma > Darkest Night.
  10. In back of the house was a wood, tall stands of old oak with bushy shrubs over a thick moss floor. In a clearing stood the Doll, spade in one hand, brushing dirt off her brow with the other. No, not the Doll. That was not right. She was Real; she should have a name. She thought back to the books that lined the Nursery. A book of fables; a statue that had also come to life. The grim job done, Galatea began walking, slowly, out of the wood, down the road. Many hours passed, then she was in the City, then she was in the old place, the first place. There were others; they were not Real, but some followed her anyway. Further on, she came across a Man. The Man had taken what was once alive, then was not; he tried to make it real again, but nature abhors such things. The Man asked her for help, and she agreed. 1) The contact is Godwin Blaire, a Vahzilok Reaper, who says that someone else is doing the same thing as the Vahzilok are, but the other guy is even less nice. Seeking information, Galatea and her squad of not-quite-reals bust into a warehouse and encounter the "Anomaly". who look like Vahzilok zombies, but smell even worse. After pummeling them, she finds a machine entitled "bwah", which appears to transform corpses into zombies automatically. 2) Godwin joins us in the unique warehouse used in the Snake arc, wherein we bust heads and find a copy of Dr. Vahzilok's book, "All Flesh Must Be Eaten". 3) Dr. Vahzilok has been kidnapped, so of course we need to rescue him. Off to the "mad science in the sewers" map, where we find the doctor and then beat the head badguy, who is a necro/nature boss. He uses Carrion Creepers, which prevent the mission from ending until the effect ends. Anomaly is a nice, short, well written arc. Give it a shot.
  11. Hey, kids! Welcome to another thrilling episode of the Freedom Phalanx Power Hour, featuring Paragon's favorite hero, Incredible Man, and his high-kicking sidekick, Kyksie! Join us for a full hour of intergalactic adventures and crime-busting fun! ...is what you would have heard if you had tuned in six months ago. Now, after she "left to pursue other opportunities", Kyksie is scrambling to find ways to make rent. Cutting the ribbon at Mad Mike's Mattress Mayhem didn't pay enough, so now she's doing odd jobs for various Rogue Isles types, this time Psimon Omega. Psimon has discovered that some Freaks have psychic powers, and he can't allow this, so he sends Kyksie to investigate. She encounters the "Psychic Freakshow", a custom group with with about half a dozen types plus a few regular Freaks thrown in. The Freaks have some kind of cybernetic implant which gives them the ability to read tarot cards or something. Kyksie decides to betray Psimon and take the tech for herself, so she steals it, then blows up a warehouse, then pummels Psimon, then discovers that the tech is from a woman named "Braintease", so she pummels her too. Both are only boss level, so no major challenge. After selling the tech, Kyksie not only has enough money for this month's rent, but for an actual hot meal at Major Flanders instead of hanging around back as they close. The Psimon Omega SF is a decent story, although not really remarkable. The only real complaint I could raise is that it hijacks the character's inner monologue; that is, it tells you what your character is thinking. The arc states up front that it's for villains, but still, there are no doubt players whose character possesses a code of honor that forbids them from breaking their word even to villains. Other characters are cyborgs who would keep the tech and implant it into themselves, while others are techno-organic aliens who would adopt the implants and raise them as their own, enrolling them in a boarding school for lost implants until they're old enough to get jobs as alarm clocks or blenders.
  12. Sensing a electrical disturbance in neighboring Steel Canyon, Synapse gathered together eight heroes to investigate. They battled through a warehouse of bizarre but deadly wind-up robots, then another, and another. And another, and another, and... there were a lot of robots, is the takeaway here. But at long last, the evil Clockwork King was vanquished, and the heroes gathered around Synapse, tired but exuberant. All this happened, more or less. Princess Punchy went off to train, while Hot Prick and Lady Blackstar slowly walked off to his base, hand in hand. Mystress Yiffstress smiled at Synapse, who met her gaze, and soon the two were in a disused restroom in the basement of the nearby hospital. Less than two minutes later, however, the restroom door opened again. "So, um..." "Hey, it's no biggie." "But..." "T'sokay. I mean, you are the fastest man alive, right? Comes with the territory." 1) Synapse has decided that being super fast has some, uh, disadvantages, so he wants to go back in time and prevent Crey from doing the experiment that gave him super speed. Because he has access to Ouroboros from attending Manticore's wedding (really), Synapse jumps back in time and bonks the Crey scientists on the head, then returns to the present and is surprised to find that things have changed, so he asks Mystress Yiffstress to accompany him to see Manticore. At this point I need to mention that the player did not, in fact, go back in time for Crey-bonking. All that happened in dialog. The mission itself consists of the player arriving at the Manticore's Merry Mansion map, meeting a depowered Steven Berry (that's Synapse), then meeting with Manticore who attacks you because he doesn't know you, then speaking with Manti afterwards, who gives you an infodump on how a whole bunch of stuff is different. Gee, turns out that going back in time and making changes can affect the present! Whooda thunk it? 2) Indigo has been kidnapped, so Mystress goes into a warehouse filled with Battle Maiden's troops, meets up with Crimson, then rescues Indigo. We exit the missions and... This guy's style of storytelling seriously rubs me the wrong way. People want to do stuff, not be told they did stuff. Like, for the Penelope Yin TF, imagine if you clicked Penny and text appeared saying "You clobber some Freakshow, then more Freakshow, then some Council, then defeat Clamor and save the day. Here's some merits." And that bit is even worse, like if you completed Penny but a popup after the last mission said "Oops someone sneezed on the sonic device and it destroyed all of Paragon. You suck." 3) We need to rescue Dr. Aeon from the Circle for some reason, so we yiff into the Infernal map, pummel the Baphomet EB who summons swarm of demons, and rescue Aeon, who gives us another infodump, then... ...sigh. 4) Now we need to rescue Statesman from Crey, so we go to a lab that's filled with Malta, find him and three heroes, then defeat a security guard who is a Warwork and summons huge waves of Malta ambushes. Yiffstress and her swarm of fluffy, cuddly beasts are unable to take down the huge swarms of Malta, so I log off and switch to Spider-Kitty, slog through the previous waves and take care of business. This should give you some idea of the lengths I go to provide quality AE reviews, and should not be taken to mean that I spend sixteen hours a day in front of the computer playing CoX and swilling Night Train, honest. Oh yeah, did I mention that you have to lead Statesman back through five floors to the exit? Yeah. That mission did have one bright spot; before being repeatedly obliterated by the massive Malta ambush, Mystress Yiffstress got a Fury of the Gladiator -res proc as a drop. Back on the Live server, that recipe consistently sold for two BILLION at the auction house. And that's only because 2 billion is the most a player can have, so it would have sold for more if that were possible. Apparently the people at The Secret Server That No One Knows About were responsible for this change, so thanks guys. 5) Statesman can't help us, so it's up to me to finish the war (what war?). Off to the destroyed Atlas map, with three heroes as allies and eight to beat. Most are EBs, but Malaise is Hero class, making him pretty much impossible for non-Incarnates to solo. At the end, Synapse goes back in time again and hits the History Eraser Button, returning everything back to normal. This arc has big problems. First of all, the dialog is very blah, with no quotes or indents. The writing is incredibly exposition heavy, with the player told 'this happened' more often than doing stuff. On top of that, there's a lot of spelling errors, and I mean a LOT. The gameplay has problems too, with several very tough spots. Finally, Synapse and the player are forced to carry the Idiot Ball, with both seemingly surprised that going back in time will change the present. About the only good thing about this arc is that the mobs have a chance to drop PvP recipes.
  13. Emmert had some great ideas, but he also had a very poor grasp of what players want. I mean, at launch. Adrenaline Boost stunned the user for 20 seconds? And Elude left you unable to attack for two minutes? Who would possible enjoy that? And yeah... Dean McArthur was awesome (especially how he hits on female chars) but Who Will Die sucked a big one. It should have been a player villain who killed Statesman, not a two-bit nobody.
  14. Or if not that, just allow Banes to fire Venom Grenade from the mace. My Bane on Live *would* have been viable if not for that. Well, maybe not viable, but at least not horrible.
  15. I've been following City of Titans from the start, and it's quite obvious that they really do want to create a true spiritual successor. If they were going to spend the Kickstarter money on hookers and blow they would have done so long ago. Sadly, I strongly doubt their ability to actually do it.
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