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MCM’s 5-Star Reviews Redux

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1. It’s good to be home :)

2. I only have low level characters so far.

3. I Had an MA review thread Back In The Day on the old forums where I reviewed player-made arcs in character with an optimistic open joyful approach, and because I appreciate the hard work that goes into creating these things, I feel that positive encouraging criticism is vital, and so my overriding attitude when playing them is to actively look for the passion and dedication that’s involved in making them, and so I aim to rate them highly. I like narrative based arcs, I’m a story-hound, and if a story grabs me I will go to ungodly lengths to complete it :)


Obviously, so far we don’t have loads of arcs up, so until we get enough arcs available to warrant submissions, I’m going to go for arcs already advertised here on this forum.


I also still have my old reviews archived and available, so if any of the arcs featured in those are loaded into our AE in Homecoming, I’ll notice and post those old reviews so people can see how awesome they are. I have read these old reviews today, and doing so really brought home to me how awesome the MA community was and I hope still can be. CoHs AE system was revolutionary and it still stands as a unique and amazing mechanism in MMOs for its ability to equal and surpass the official missions and arcs that exist. I am SO HAPPY to see this back in my life and I eagerly await the wonders that I’m sure will be made, both from old players presenting the arcs that they made Back In The Day and by new players who i welcome with open arms to Paragon and to our community.


For submissions and arcs i choose to review, My only rules are:


No Malta

No KoA


(I’m not any sort of Uber-player in terms of leet Combat/build skillz and those mob groups are not fun for me).


And to start with, low level 1-20 please. 



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I remember you had a very nice review of my arc back on the old forums (The Bestest Radio Mission Ever!) Still got it archived. Good to see you back at this!


... I don't have any low level arcs right now but I'll look forward to offering something in the future. :)

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I read that review today and it brought back great, great memories. I’m so happy to see old faces here, and I hope that vets and new players alike can relive and live anew the frankly awesome narrative and gaming joy that the MA system and community gives us.

I’m counting the XP until I can replay your arc again, and if I’m not high enough when you republish it, I’l post my old review for sure :)



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I can't recall the name of someone who, quite rightly I will point out, used to give me glowing reviews, but your post sounds like him.  Man, I really need to hunt down that empry stick I saved all my files to, and hope I saved my arcs so I can reload them.  Then again, I'd probably feel the need to tinker with them after rereading them.  And parts of MA are still broken just as they were at shut down.


Hi, I'm Clave Dark 5!  You may remember me from such characters as King Pumpkin Spice, Stupid Like A Fox, Capt Sam's Space Zoo, The Pink Bamfer, Trash Ghost, Maid Of Metal... as well as a few really stupid AE arcs!

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I can't recall the name of someone who, quite rightly I will point out, used to give me glowing reviews, but your post sounds like him.


Does this ring a bell?



I just started a new alt, with a powerset combo I’ve never tried before. Meet my new Earth/Earth Dominator, VEI 8:



(VEI 8 was lvl 2 when I started, but I spelled Grun wrong in his bio, so I had to reshoot the pic)


I had planned to have a short break from the review thread after my Tubby marathon, since it does take a lot of effort. However, I saw a comment in another thread from Clave Dark 5 about his meant-for-lowbie villainous arc, and Tangler (who was kind enough to review The Audition in his review thread here) also has one fit for VEI 8, so I thought I’d power up Word while I was doing them and see if anything occurred. A mini-review can’t hurt, eh?


Day Job Hell: A Villain’s First Day Job, Arc ID 322480, by @Clave Dark 5. lvl 1-10, villainous, Long (2 medium, 2 unique maps). Description says it’s a ‘touching and somewhat humorous’ tale of your villains first steps as a true villain in the Rogue Isles. Just 6 plays and 4 stars as I start. So, let’s see what VEI 8 makes of it…


“By all the saints, I thought I’d never get free of that blasted Zig! What kind of sick world do we live in where a man gets locked up for simply grafting a giraffe’s neck onto a man’s body, anyway? I mean, I put his original head back on, didn’t I? Well, here in the Rogue Isles I’ll surely be lauded as the incredible genius that I am! HAHAHA, yes, yes, here, here I shall be able to continue my work! Firstly, I need a laboratory. Hmm, it seems I must put my unimaginable intellect to use and earn myself a name in these Isles…


[The contact is one Fats Squalor, a seedy sort who runs the Mercy Island Sewer Works. He needs someone to go into some caves, collect some snake guano, and fumigate the caves with snake-b-gone.  ]


“Pah, that these hands, these hands that have injected boiling liquid nitrogen into the veins of one of the Crown princes of Europe and been warmly shaken for it, that these hands should be reduced to such lowly endeavors! Still, needs must when Lunatic Science drives, AHAHAHA!!!


[A little way into the cave, I find Jim, one of Fats’ friends, and some Guano Monsters!]

“By the crazed mind of Newton, these fecund freaks are animated blobs of guano! With an army of these, I COULD RULE THE WORLD!!! After I’ve dealt with them, I’ll take a few scrapings for experimentation later.




[i proceed through the cave with Jim. There are plenty of glowies, lots of guano patches, some canisters of snake-b-gone to release, and I even find an old pitcher. The flavor text and bios are wonderful.]

“Aha, here’s the king of the Snake-Poo creatures! Time to perform an experiment! …Let me see…take one monstrous malformed excremental beast, add molten lava from the very bowels of the Earth, mix thoroughly, and…BOOM! Marvelous! Just as I expected, a crapsplosion of epic proportions!




“And what’s this? A box filled with CASH? MUHAHAHA!!! I can use this filthy lucre to fund the creation of an Empire of Bonko Science! Ah yes, YES, YES, AHAHAHA!!!


[i do indeed find a box filled with cash, apparently from the cash register of a jewelry store by the receipts amongst it. Jim and I fight our way through the rest of the map, until the repurposed Hydra making up the guano monsters are all dealt with. Top fun.]

“Bah, bah, and THRICE BAH! My ‘employer’ has taken all the cash! I will mark him down for retribution. Someday not to far hence, he shall awaken to find that his brain has been replaced with a Black Forest Gateaux! For now, I shall have to accommodate to his needs…which means more sewer-running!


Mission 2: STDs are running rampant!


[the ‘STDs’ mentioned here are ‘Sewer Tuatha de Dannan’  ]


“Right, where in this crapulent miasmic hole are the foul ogres I must dispatch?


[i enter the sewer and explore]

“What’s this? Some kind of horrific amalgam of man and beast? It’s patently been assembled in a rank amateur’s lab. Head of a wolf, fur of a marmoset…mmm, I’d better free it from its oafish troll guards!




[After freeing ‘The Ron-Ster’ I check out the mysterious crates that fair litter the place]

“Hm, these crates contain nothing more than ordinary sewer pipe! …But I, I who have dreams that would make Satan himself blush with incredulity, I could fashion these pipes into a device capable of transforming the world’s cheese supplies into…ambulances! AHAHAHAHAA!


“Hold, tiny metal clockwork robots! By Kopernikus’ tighty-whites, what incredible mind conjured these wonderful creations? Why, with an army of these, I COULD RULE THE WORLD!!!!! Onward, my repulsive dogfaced friend, let us delve deeper into the mysteries of this foul pissoir!


[in the lowest room, I encounter a Tuatha being menaced by some clockwork.]

“Scientific wonders though they may be, I feel that smashing them into tiny little bits would make an excellent experiment right now…Now then my horned associate, what do these metal soldiers fit in to this conundrous compuzzlation?


[The Tuatha chief explains that his people had been sold into slavery by Fats, the rotter! With that, the mission ends, and I exit – to find that Fats has fired me! how rude! He mentions a RI sewage workers party he’s preparing, and that sets off an idea for revenge in VEI 8]

“How dare that sweaty slob treat me in this manner! ME, I, who crouch on the shoulders of the giants of Science, screeching obscenities and urinating into their ears because they are but children mewling in the crib of invention compared to me! Why, I once discovered a completely new musical note by transforming an E sharp into a smell, feeding it backwards through a rancid alligator snout, transmogrifying it back into an octave and then adding reverb and the sound of a florists head exploding underwater! What did Einstein ever do to match that? Revenge shall be mine! MAHAHAHARR!


Mission 3: Destroy Fats’ Home’Office

“Hm, it seems that Fats’ lair lies in the dockyard district of Mercy…a fine location for my laboratory-stronghold, this would make…all the seawater I could want, for gold-extraction purposes, and a near infinite supply of slatterns and dropouts that no-one will notice the disappearance of…why, with an army fashioned out of alcoholic deckhands and disease-raddled sluts, I COULD RULE THE WORLD!!!


[The Mercy Sludgeworks map is one of my favourites. I have a little confession to make here. I couldn’t find the glowies that the Nav was instructing me to find, so I cleared the map and then sent a tell to Clave, and reset the arc. Played it through again to mission 3, same thing. Once more I reset and once more, no glowies. On the fourth attempt, I clicked a door in desperation…and lo and behold, in I went. I didn’t realize there was an inside bit to this map until today! Haha what a noob! I’m glad I persevered, though]

“Hm, this area is infested with those clockwork robots…the FOOLS will be scrap after I’ve finished with them!



[After clearing the clocks from the outer courtyard, I enter the building]

“Oh yes, this will do nicely as a base of operations for my Empire of Insanity! It’s got everything I could possibly need! …Chairs, ground, air…







“Aha! What’s this? Fats’ safe…I wonder what goodies I can find in here…




“Ooh, blackmail gold! He’s billing his employers for the pipe he’s selling to the clockwork! I can use this to force him to fund my dangerously impractical and world-threatening experiments…or just get him killed, aha…


[There’s a small clockwork ambush then, and after that…]

“Right, I think a small detonation will soon put the Fats in the fire, haha, ahahaha, AHAHAHAAA!!! AAAIIIEEE!!! HAAIIEEE!!!!! OOOHYAAAAA!!!!


[After I set the bomb, I exit]

“…Right, now that I’m clear of the area, I have merely to wait…hang on, that sludge tank looming over my future base…I’d say its pressure-differential stance threshold was approximately 7.71 giga-oogs…the bomb I just set had a yield of around y to the power flambé kiloblondes, carry the bacon, so that means…oh dear…sludge tsunami in three hours! Looks like I won’t be using Fats’ old base after all. Not to worry. I’ll just pop these incriminating papers in the post. And now for the Crème de la Crème Brulee on the Nigella Lawson Quadruple Chocolate Cake of my revenge – literally! I shall destroy him utterly at his own party! AND, AHAHAHA – I shall use his own witless stooges to bring about his pitiful downfall. Years from now, AHAHAHA, years from now, Fats Squalor will look up from the gutter through his one remaining eye as he weeps, steaming in the salty effluvium leaking from his septic bladder, and remember the day he belittled VEI 8!!!


Mission 4: Crash the Party

“Typical of such a filthy scoundrel, he’s organized his party in the sewers! The FOOLS!!!!! After my smelly underworld endeavors, I know these corpulent warrens like I know the unstable elements in the Mendeleev Scale!


[A sewer’s not what I would have expected for the party, but VEI 8’s not bothered lol]

“Ah yes, first I must make contact with that canine cretin the Ron-Ster and Fats’ brainless lackey Jim! They’ll be easy to fool into aiding me…


[i soon meet up with the two allies]


“Ahaha…yes, fight, my minions, FIGHT, YOUR LIVES ARE WORTHLESS!!!…These foolish idiots are doing my bidding as though they had drunk of the very sputum of Bacchus himself! And I should know, for I once distilled it from that mighty inebriate Titan’s drool!


[The two allies are a little too handy, so after a few fights to gauge that VEI 8’s doing ok on his own, I leave them behind. The mobs are repurposed Infected, used as ‘Sewer Workers’. There’s an amusing reason why the sewer workers are ‘such goobers’ in their bio. They are exactly what I like to fight at this level i.e. easy lol]






“Wait, what’s this? Another costumed criminal? Hmm, now comes the moment in every World-Conquering Mastermind Genius Supervillain where he must make a momentous decision! Should I destroy this possible future rival now, or give some mild concession now, in order to fool him into a false sense of complacency from which he will be easily lulled to his TOTAL AND UTTER DOOM YEARS HENCE!!! AHAHAHAHAAAHHH!!!!


[The Rescue Captive objective here (This arc is littered with little additions to aid early badge-gains, one of it’s many good points. A new player coming to it is going to find lots to love about CoH. It shows that the MAuthor has thought about this aspect of a new players career) is the Rabbitual Criminal, who I (me, not VEI 8) have met before in another arc. Cool  ]

“I shall warn this one not to eat the cake. I shall need powerful allies to both aid me in my meteoritic rise to the heights of Infamy, and to betray when I have risen far. MWAHAHAAA!!!




[The last room reveals why they chose a sewer for the party – it’s the Doc Vahzilok map  – awesome.]

“Before Fats arrives, I shall add the ‘special’ cake to their buffet table…ha…ahaha…AHAHAHA…MWHAAAHAAA!!!…And now, to give Fats a thrashing before I make my perfect escape!




[The fight with Fats is AWESOME, and as he falls I get the Architect X badge. How cool is that?]

“Now that he’s been beaten into unconsciousness, I have one more ace in the hole, heheh…


[hm, kind of intriguing about this objective that’s appeared – although I DID see the reference to it in the briefing for this mission, so don’t take that as a complaint.]

“Here’s where I stashed that pitcher I found earlier…All I have to do is make a quick call to Longbow…there, that’s done, and now I smash the pitcher, and teleport out! WAHAHAHA SCOTT FREE! Haha, those fools Ron-ster and Jim will take all the heat for wrecking the party, whilst I am free to continue my scientific experiments! Yes, my experiments…hmm…first, I’ll need a laboratory…which will require funding. Yes…I guess I’m going to have to find another job, now that I’ve just blown up my boss’s office, killed most of his workforce, beaten him up and gotten him and his friends arrested…


[Ah, yes, the pitcher, of course. I DID find it on my way to the last room (btw, the map is nice and linear), but it gave me the ‘you cannot complete this objective yet’ message, and then I forgot about it! You might want to put a ‘now to return to where I stashed my ace in the hole earlier’, or even outright mention the pitcher, after fats’ defeat. I loved the way that after smashing the pitcher (It’s a shame we can’t have a pitcher as a destructible object, that’d be another badge credit for this arc), the Longbow ambush arrived, and I felt compelled to exit without defeating them so they could arrest Ron-ster and Jim after I’d left!]


Absolutely marvelous starter arc. I Went straight to the MA building in Mercy after exiting the tutorial, so it really was VEI 8s first job.


Pluses: Loads to do, great map choice, I felt aggrieved at first at having to scrape up snake guano lol, and then was delivered what I wanted – the chance to take control and sic it to the contact. There’s lots of badge-progress to be made, the mobs are varied enough to be interesting and perfect for this level. I especially should point out that the entry popups, flavor text and text in general is all very funny.


Negatives: There are a lot of glowies to click in missions 1 and 2. They are all optional, I found, but you might want to make it clearer that they are optional, for the benefit of folks who don’t care for badges. And I might not be the only player who’s dumb enough to not realize that Mission 3s map has an indoor section.


5 stars. Wicked. Best lowbie arc I've played for ages, and I really couldn't have expected a better starter arc for VEI 8.




Note to all: This is a review from Back In The Day. I'm eager to do the same sort of thing with the arcs that are available now.






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Yep, you're the guy!  And I saved my arcs to a flashdrive!


That's good!


But then I found out it was corrupted.


That's bad!


But then I dug out my old computer and found all the files were still on it!


That's good!


But the files also contain potassium benzoate.


... But that's good anyway!


So anyway, I'll probably be loading them up sometime in the future.  We'll see how badly the story is borked by the continuing AE bug where everyone speaks their first lines when you enter the map.


Good to see you again though!  Your reviews were always the best and most thoughtful.  And isn't it crazy we're here playing again?




Hi, I'm Clave Dark 5!  You may remember me from such characters as King Pumpkin Spice, Stupid Like A Fox, Capt Sam's Space Zoo, The Pink Bamfer, Trash Ghost, Maid Of Metal... as well as a few really stupid AE arcs!

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A Spark of Hope, Arc ID #1697, by @Kinetic Chorus Arc. Lvl 1-54, neutral, Medium (2 small, 1 medium map)

The keywords are Drama, Mystery, and the mission description says that the player will be investigating the dark secret of Ignition, one of Paragon’s historic superheroes. There is also a warning that it may contain EBs.

I will be taking my lvl 7 kin/rad defender, the Accelerated Man through this.




Despite what the pic says, he’s lvl 7 at the start of this arc. Off we go!


“-No no not the nipples! Wha-Oh...Ah, I’m terribly sorry Gavin, I was dreaming about my...accident. No, it’s ok, I’ll get myself a coffee and we can get on with the next chapter. Now where were we? Ah yes, the Ignition Incident. Poor chap...even heroes get sick, Gavin. Sometimes, we think of the way we get our powers as a miracle. Well, if perhaps we only get one miracle, Gavin, and we don’t get to choose when it happens. If we could, some of us might choose to save it for when we're looking death in the face...

Anyway, Ignition was sick, and he needed help finding an old sidekick of his, CinderWisp. Not much to go on, except she had been taken hostage and a ship at the docks could maybe reveal where she was. So I paid the ship a visit.


[ignition is the Contact, he is obviously ill with something, he’s coughing a bit. He calls me ‘kid’, which feels a little strange since my toon is in his late 40s at least, and Ignition’s  description when I click on ‘learn about this contact’ says he is about 40. Apart from that it’s a little sparse, I don’t know much about him at all. The arc is supposed to be Mysterious, of course]


“Getting into the ship was easy, once I was in I almost wished it had been too difficult. It smelt of stale beer and violence.  I tried the polite way of asking for info first, but the Grey Hook Gang – oh yes, Gavin, this was a Grey Hook ship. Bunch of ruffians just started attacking me as soon as they saw me. Idiots.




[The custom villain group is the Grey Hook Gang, and they’re wielding Dual Pistols. They’re not too difficult for AM, even at this low level. They look exactly like a bunch of gang minions could be expected to look. My objective is now to “find information on CinderWisp’, and I have 4 pieces of info to find]


“Deeper into the ship, I rifled through some filing cabinets, and found some information they’d been collecting on CinderWisp, but nothing yet about her whereabouts...




[After getting the first clue, the objective updates, but it now says ‘3  4  pieces of info left’, so you might want to check the objective text]


I continue fighting my way through the ship. It’s fun all the way fighting these bad guys. They also have heals, which slows my progress down a very little bit but not too much and its not annoying when they heal each other.][/b]


“Another set of files guarded by more of the goons, containing more info on CinderWIsp... They certainly seemed interested in her.


[And the objective now reads ‘2  4  pieces of info left’.  After finding a third glowie, the objective reads ‘1 piece of info left’, so at least that’s ok]


“Finally, I found something useful, after wading through hordes of goons.




“Hooksmith industries was involved, or my name wasn’t Al Bejesus! A warehouse in the lower west side...


[the middle two glowies don’t drop any clues, but the final one does. A simple straightforward combat mission with a few glowies to click, and I leave the mission after clearing the whole map]


“I checked back in with Ignition after leaving the docks, and he had information about the warehouse. He said it was heavily guarded, and to get in, we’d need some ‘tools’ from another warehouse guarded by Longbow.  I probably could have got in without any difficulty, but he was an ill man, so I felt it best to go along with him. I would have to be as gentle as I could be towards the Longbow agents, though. They’re only doing their job, after all...


[Hm, so if I’m parsing the briefing correctly, I need to break into a warehouse to steal some tools which will enable me to...break into another warehouse. OK, Ignition’s the boss, but at this point I’m having to RP a little to get a reason why my hero the Accelerated Man, who is not at all any sort of Deadpool type, is ok with potentially attacking Longbow agents. The briefing does suggest that maybe the Longbow are getting paid to guard the tools (which also belong to the Gray Hook Gang), so maybe they’re corrupt. Anyway, I’m eager for more kin/rad funtimes, so off I go]


“Ignition gave me the code to the second warehouse before I said goodbye to him. Maybe he wasn’t expecting to be here when I got back...


[The clue says Ignition has given me the code to the Hooksmith Indistries warehouse, which I thought was the second one, not the one I’m about to break into. So slightly confused]


Mission 2. Find a Deadly Weapon


[Warehouse map, Objective: Find Bomb’]


“Good Lord, Gavin, those Longbow chappies don’t take kindly to intruders, do they?  They obviously had some sort of comms channel, because I had to fight my way through about 30 or 40 of them before I found what I was looking for!”




[Another straightforward mission. I just cleared my way through the LB, which have started to con more yellow and orange now, until I found the glowie, a bomb, and could exit the mission]


“Ignition was still alive when I reported back to him, but he looked at Death’s door, the poor man. He urged me to go to the warehouse where CinderWisp was being held. There wasn’t much time left, he felt. For her, or for him, I couldn’t say which...


[ignition tells me that Longbow have cut a deal with the Gray Hook Gang, which seems a bit of a stretch. Perhaps you could tweak the info so that its clearer that it’s a corrupt squad of Longbow or something rather than the organisation entire. Unless there’s a twist coming...:)]


Mission 3: Rescue CinderWisp


“There was no time to waste, so as soon as I had blown my way into the Longbow Base, I set about the first soldier I found, and transferred 90% of his kinetic energy to myself. I left him struggling to stay awake and sped off into the base looking for CInderWisp’




[Love kinetics :D]


“After a long and arduous battle, I found her, and dispatched the thugs who were keeping her there.




"As soon as the last one went down, she broke her bonds and ran off without so much as a thank you!”


[CinderWisp is rather unfortunately in the ‘kneeling with her hands behind her head’ pose. I gave a little sigh of disappointment, I’m afraid. It would have been nice to see her at least in some sort of force field, struggling, and not just passively kneeling like a ‘helpless girl’ trope. She’s a superhero, isn’t she? Anyway, getting to her was fun, at least. As soon as her last guard went down, she ran away, so  I’m afraid I didn’t get the chance to click on her to see what her info said, apologies.]


“I thought it wise to leave immediately”


[Mission objective is now ‘find Mission exit’, which is a little odd...]


“..but just as I reached the exit, I was assaulted by a supervillain! Icepick laura! She was cold. Literally”




[suddenly I am ambushed by a named member of the Gray Hook Gang, an Ice/claws scrapper, I believe. She’s not too hard to defeat, and then I can leave]


“I rushed back to Ignition, but he was gone. His hologram thanked me for rescuing CinderWisp, who, it transpired, was his daughter not just his sidekick. A sad end to a great hero, but his legacy lives on Gavin. And that, perhaps, is how we get a second chance at a miracle, hm?”




This arc is fairly simple, both in terms of plot and mechanically. There are no bugs or glowies in stupid places or needless backtracking and the mobs are fine. I made 5 bubs of XP at lvl 7 playing through it, clearing all on every map.

Pros: I have to say that it wasn’t an AMAZING tear-jerking drama or mind-boggling mystery for me, as it is quite simple, but it doesn’t fail hugely at doing what it’s supposed to, and for a first effort, it’s a good example of a simple engaging story-based arc.


Cons: I thought the last map was a tiny bit too big, and I really would have liked to see CinderWisp be more heroic. I believe there’s a way to turn a rescued NPC into an Ally, perhaps defeating the mobs guarding her could trigger her as a combat-ready ally and also trigger an ambush, so that her input wouldn’t be so stereotypically ‘woman needs saving’?


But thank you for a fun time getting back into my kin/rad defender’s playstyle! I gave the arc 5 stars for not having anything mechanically wrong with it, dropped it a star for the lack of any agency from CinderWisp, and then added a star because you’re my first review of an Marc in Homecoming! :D









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