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The people I used to play with (RL friends) never bothered to read mission text.  They just wanted to demolish things, get new powers and be done when they grew fed up from repetition.

 

And then went back to do the same 5 dailies Ad Nauseam on WoW.

 

They kept saying "this game has no story anyways".

 

Me? I read the quest text.

 

I just finished the story arc for Diviner Maros and that last room with the Freakshow cult and the huge freakin stone jaws in the last room really made me feel nervous.  When the story makes you forget that you can just respawn and retry, the mood goes through the roof.

 

Now I'm in Praetoria, striking with a critically wounded Mr. G in his burning lab. I can't wait to know what's going to happen next. 

 

I'm playing the main character in an awesome comic book.

 

This game is amazing.

 

Get out of AE your farms and go read some mission text.  Now.  (Or stay there, whatever floats your boat)

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There are some great stories.  Unfortunately they are mostly for villains.

 

But the AE actually has even better stories and arcs than most in the regular game.  Search for SFMA (story focused mission arcs) and you can find great stories.

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Posted (edited)

Doesn't really bother me, I prefer redside by far.

 

Thanks for the tip, I will certainly look for those.

 

Following Mr G's: quests, holy crap do those Vanguard a-holes hit hard.  Died three times in the first mission so far.

 

Edit : Five times.  This is getting a tad annoying,  I downgraded from x4+1 to x2+0 and I'm still getting owned.

Edited by Aeroprism
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Aeroprism, I think you have pretty much encapsulated the reason why this is the only MMPOG I've ever played (and likely ever will), and why so many other people feel the same way.  This game isn't just about mechanics or min/max solutions or "winning" in a game-accounting sense.  There is an actual story involved here, and that invites the players to get involved, as much as digitally possible, in the developments and direction of this world and build their own stories with that.  As so many others have related on this site, this encourages players to start constructing real and interesting bios and stories for their alts, and this leads to a sense of real accomplishment, should that be for a single mission, a task force, or a mission arc.

 

Real game playing takes time, as any dedicated chess player can confirm.  Not that I'm comparing CoH to chess, but building a story takes time, and all thanks and congratulations to the Devs who put this game together, Back In The Day, and decided to let real creativity and story-telling engines build the game, rather than just setting up the "Ooh, they can get a load of xp over in this area," minefields.

 

Like yourself, I would heartily embrace the idea of this game continuing on in its current format, and if there are any changes to come...bud, you better check with all of us over here before you start shuffling the chess board around.

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Other MMO's to me felt like they were trying to make a story to go with the mechanics. Like the developers said to themselves "hmm, we need a mission that involves killing 10 of this enemy, how can we turn that into a story?" As a result, a lot of mission stories in other MMOs feels lazy and phoned-in. "Oh no, the city has a rat problem! Please, can you go kill ten giant rats and bring me their tails as proof?"

Now, don't get me wrong, old City of Heroes did this too. A lot. You see this in the endless "Defeat XX Council" missions given by the release contacts. They sucked then, they suck now. But as City of Heroes grew and evolved, the storytelling got better and better. A lot of it is standard comic book tropes, true, but it's still a lot more engaging than the dailies/weeklies of most other MMOs. 

 

Is it perfect? By no means. There's a lot of crap content, even post-release (I'm looking at you, Alan Desslock, Mr. "Go beat up Positron for teh lulz"), but I still find myself reading mission text here, even for missions I've played a thousand times by now. I always go through the Faultline arcs heroside. I make it a point to make a beeline straight to Dean MacArthur on my villains the instant they hit 20. There's a ton of great storytelling in this game that other MMO's simply don't have. Even The Old Republic, a game released by the supposed kings of storytelling in Bioware, fell short in this regard. Like I said before, it felt like they were trying to make a story to match the gameplay, rather than the other way around.

Even though it may be seventeen years old, I'll still take City of Heroes over any other MMO. City of Heroes was doing things back then that even MMOs released today haven't figured out.

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Council of the Rose

Looking for a better story for villain epic archetypes? Is the standard one in-game too boring, badly written, and lazy for you? Check out my replacement arcs in the ongoing Architect Entertainment series: Soldiers of Arachnos! Click the link for more info!

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@Aeroprism, I'm tooting my own bugle here, but since you've just done THAT mission, have a tiny looksee at the three Loyalist Praetorian AEs in my sig. They work in the order stated below. Now, they're level 19-24 because I wrote them so someone leaving Praetoria could go straight into them, so you may want higher level stuff.  But things tie together.

Edited by Darmian
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AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079)Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)* | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)* | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403)* | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140)* The Eve of War (Arc id 41583)*

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617)* | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)*

(*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist. * Pre War Praetorian Resistance.. * Pre ITF Cimerora. * Post ITF Cimerora. Dev Choice/Hall of Fame )

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9 hours ago, Aeroprism said:

Me? I read the quest text.

I am a very slow reader. I don't mind reading, but CoH has walls and walls of text, SO...

 

A long time ago I switched to text-to-speech for CoH missions. Just copy/paste and head off to the mission while you listen to the story (having two monitors makes this very easy - seriously, when I switched from my CRT (many years ago), I used it as a second monitor and the difference having two makes blew my socks off).

I use this website: https://ttsreader.com/

 

Perhaps your friends might like to try it?

 

 

  

1 hour ago, GastlyGibus said:

Even The Old Republic, a game released by the supposed kings of storytelling in Bioware, fell short in this regard. 

Got to give this a hard disagree, but the rest of your post is strong.

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The first time I did vigilante-to-villain tip missions and came across the CoT cave mission where you fight a demon, I about crapped my pants when he started laughing at the end saying how defeating him was part of the plan to turn me evil... which of course was actually happening since that's what tip missions do.  

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The story had its moments, running One Good Spider the first time remains a top MMO memory.  But the story writing by and large?  Hooboy...

 

All these alternate universes and even historical Cimerora and they all had knockoffs of the Freedom Phalanx.  A little originality, maybe?

 

Paragon finally deciding to make an actual main storyline... starting in one of those previous alternate universes, then moving to where a C-list villain whacks the game's iconic hero and fridges another, and then said iconic hero would be replaced by the textbook definition of Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. From the same alternate universe.

 

If I want good storytelling, well, I still play FFXIV.  City had some really good world building and it had it's moments, but honestly they got too cute like current day WoW.

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12 hours ago, Aeroprism said:

Doesn't really bother me, I prefer redside by far.

 

Thanks for the tip, I will certainly look for those.

 

Following Mr G's: quests, holy crap do those Vanguard a-holes hit hard.  Died three times in the first mission so far.

 

Edit : Five times.  This is getting a tad annoying,  I downgraded from x4+1 to x2+0 and I'm still getting owned.

Goldside is harder than Red and much harder than Blue

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Some of Vanguard are without a doubt some of the hardest foes you can face blue, red or gold.

 

As in hello Vanguard Sorcerer.  Love that armor!  Use your Power Analyzer on the bosses like the Sorcerer.  Suddenly Elude or your t9 or chowing purple and orange will look like a really good idea for you.

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I don't farm, and I enjoy narrative-driven games. However, my experience with this game's storytelling has been unfortunately mixed. If I were asked, I would chalk it up to two reasons: the quality of the writing is highly inconsistent - and a lot has been said about this already so I won't further elaborate - and the game rarely integrates its narrative and ludic elements well. By this, I mean when the writing is good, a typical mission goes:

 

1) A few paragraphs of text from the contact

2) Defeat all Skulls in warehouse

3) A few more paragraphs of text from the contact

 

There is usually not enough in 2) to tie it to 1) and 3). (Yes, I do pay attention to enemy dialogue in-mission, clues and objective text.) Essentially, while there may be a good story there, did step 2) really add much that could not be done by writing, "After Miss Magical went to the warehouse and blasted the Skulls..."? While any medium can be used to tell a story, is the story one that benefits from being told in an MMO, and can it use the features of the medium to its advantage? Often, I have found the answer is no.

 

In fact, sometimes the game seems as if it's trying to do the opposite, when the missions go:

 

2) Defeat all Crey in 1st Lab

3) Defeat all Crey in 2nd Lab

4) Defeat all Crey in 3rd Lab

 

That's not to say that the story doesn't have some great moments. Arbiter Sands, Dr Aeon and even Lord Recluse made an impression on me even during the short time I saw them on a speed Miss Liberty's TF, and I started a villain character just to meet them again. I liked Shauna Stockwell and Eagle Eye's arcs (even though Stockwell's effusive praise for the character came across as a little meta - like a GM desperate for their players to like the story) that managed to portray the Skulls of all people as credible threats. And I thought Twinshot's training arc was humorous and charming in a self-aware way - I can totally see all the characters as caricatures of player heroes.

 

I also enjoyed the pair of S.A.M. arcs, and Roy Cooling's mediporter arc, that did a great job of engaging the player throughout and using gameplay elements to convey the narrative. In the clone arc, there was a moment where the good clone came to attack me, I walloped it and when it got to 25% health, it realized we were supposed to be on the same side, became friendly and ran off to help me. And the mission continued to display objectives for it in the nav window, as though it were a second player character, which was a great touch of showing, not telling. Little touches like Romulus's Romans constantly summoning reinforcements to push you back down the valley, or Praetor Keyes reacting to your reactor hacking by sending robots to take away your power cells, etc. are great and show a story unfolding before the player's eyes, rather than being told only through the contact's dialogue, with the mission being an exp mine. Show, not tell - watchwords of the skilled writer.

 

So there you have it. I do enjoy good stories, but my impression of those in this game so far has been mixed. By contrast, the minmax, game-accounting side of things has been universally entertaining, and on the whole, a far bigger contributor to my enjoyment of the game. I'll happily spend an hour tinkering with a build, only to decide the old one is just fine and close Mids with a nod.

 

Of course, this is just my personal opinion, so don't take it too seriously. I'll also gladly admit that I haven't played all or even most of the content; I'm certainly open to trying out stuff you think will change my mind.

Edited by Miss Magical
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4 hours ago, skoryy said:

The story had its moments, running One Good Spider the first time remains a top MMO memory.  But the story writing by and large?  Hooboy...

 

All these alternate universes and even historical Cimerora and they all had knockoffs of the Freedom Phalanx.  A little originality, maybe?

 

Paragon finally deciding to make an actual main storyline... starting in one of those previous alternate universes, then moving to where a C-list villain whacks the game's iconic hero and fridges another, and then said iconic hero would be replaced by the textbook definition of Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. From the same alternate universe.

 

If I want good storytelling, well, I still play FFXIV.  City had some really good world building and it had it's moments, but honestly they got too cute like current day WoW.

 

I remember the first I did one of the Portal missions back on Live. I was rocking my Archery Blaster and come to a mission/arc where my character had killed all heroes and become ruler of the earth. I remember thinking, wait, what, with my little bow and arrows I went and killed superman?

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5 hours ago, Sovera said:

I was rocking my Archery Blaster and come to a mission/arc where my character had killed all heroes and become ruler of the earth. I remember thinking, wait, what, with my little bow and arrows I went and killed superman?

 

It took me a good while after the game's closing to realize there were issues with the in-game balance of power.  You need a task force to take down a hero / archvillain.  Wait, no, they're also EBs and can be solo'd.  No, wait, now you need a league full of incarnates!

 

Though, you could chalk it up to Choose Your Own Adventure and that's actually a neat idea.

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For new or returning folks who haven't done so already, please seek out the follow story arcs:

 

By @holymittens:

https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Bobby_Curtin  25 to 29, Rogue alignment only, Nerva Archipelago (-75, 16.5, 6105)

https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Shauna_Braun  25 to 29, Vigilante alignment only, Independence Port (-1929, 16, -2587)

 

By @Piecemeal:

https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Doc_Buzzsaw  New content 30 to 39, Villain/Rogue alignment, Sharkhead Isle (693.5, 32, -1324.5)

https://hcwiki.cityofheroes.dev/wiki/Issue_27_Page_1#New_Story_Arc:_The_Graveyard_Shift_.28Hero.2C_Level_20-29.29 20 to 29 (I think), Hero/Vigilante alignment, Steel Canyon (just below the staircase leading from lower Steel Canyon up to Icon in the north-west)

 

I think these arcs demonstrate some various talents in regard to better writing and game mechanics delivering and serving the story.

I look forward to the day when they can both become more polished and united, and we can have the strong writing and engaging narrative gameplay together.

 

Piecemeal and @Cobalt Arachne are also currently working on a new Strike Force and Warriors content in Kallisti Wharf, but there are no guarantees that these will see play on the public Homecoming servers.  Word is the Dr. Aeon Strike Force is close, but I have no idea how close.  These things are rarely communicated clearly and end up going through a rumour mill due to that.

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I bemoan the fact that in order to get some aspects of a story across in an SFMA AE it is necessary to "over write" simply because the AE lacks certain elements of the in game missions, such as captions and choice trees. Nevertheless I prefer it to "Go. Hunt. Kil. Skuls"  Though frankly I absolutely disagree with the notion that a mission should be a single paragraph for example. If you're a player who isn't going to read the text anyway, and there's a fair amount of those, then it doesn't matter how long the text is, and if you ARE going to read the text then at least there should be a story/plot TO READ.*

 

*Caveats being you can have excellent missions with minimal text and execrable ones with pages of it.

Edited by Darmian

AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079)Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)* | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)* | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403)* | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140)* The Eve of War (Arc id 41583)*

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617)* | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)*

(*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist. * Pre War Praetorian Resistance.. * Pre ITF Cimerora. * Post ITF Cimerora. Dev Choice/Hall of Fame )

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We need a topic that compiles must-do AE arcs.

 

And yes, early game content (as in, released in the first few issues) can be very, very drab. It was replaced by a few nice quality arcs in more recent releases but some of the first contacts? 

 

Yeesh.

 

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20 minutes ago, Aeroprism said:

We need a topic that compiles must-do AE arcs.

Agreed. Alas, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Things I love can be seen by others as meh.

AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079)Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)* | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)* | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403)* | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140)* The Eve of War (Arc id 41583)*

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617)* | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)*

(*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist. * Pre War Praetorian Resistance.. * Pre ITF Cimerora. * Post ITF Cimerora. Dev Choice/Hall of Fame )

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2 minutes ago, Darmian said:

Agreed. Alas, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Things I love can be seen by others as meh.

 

Doesn't matter. At least we'd have an index to check.  Originally, this is what the rating system was for but you know.  Farms.

 

(I have a farmer. I love the occasional farm. But yeah.)

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55 minutes ago, Aeroprism said:

Doesn't matter. At least we'd have an index to check.  Originally, this is what the rating system was for but you know.  Farms.


Ratings select for popularity, always have, always will.

Unofficial Homecoming Wiki - Paragon Wiki updated for Homecoming!  Your contributions are welcome!
(Not the owner/operator - just a fan who wants to spread the word.)

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I guess I'm one of the few who like the early arcs. Some of the best ones are the issue 0-1 arcs, in my opinion. Almost all the arcs that have to do with Crey. The Freakshow arcs. The Portal Corp arcs, before they were messed up by Who Will Die and Praetoria. The Malta and Carnival of Shadows arcs. I really like them all and usually play them on all my alts, eventually. Later arcs might have more interesting gaming elements or fancy mechanics, but I'm used to imagine all kinds of stuff my characters are 'really' doing so I don't mind the simplicity of the gameplay while the story is unrolled.

 

Then again I also love all the tip missions (well the ones that work properly) which are full of weird mechanics. So it's not like I can't appreciate the new stuff.

 

The story writing peaked in Issue 10 I think, when they released the RWZ update (or if it was issue 13). The LGTF and the arcs leading up to it were all awesome. Even if I cursed the stupid npcs who would run suicide missions into piles of Nemesis soldiers when I tried to rescue them.

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Check out my stories in the Mission Architect. Just search for "@Take One" or "SFMA". Here are some enticing titles:

  • Praetoria-related: Earth Revolution Red, Earth Revolution Blue
  • Mercenary Action: West Libertalia: Born And Raised, West Libertalia: Global Empire, West Libertalia: Love And Rockets
  • Soldier of Arachnos Arcs: The Tangled Weave, A Taste For Evil, Faultline By Night, Fear And Loathing On Striga, The Warburg Connection,
  • Various: Project Dragon, Evolve Or Die, The Murders in the RWZ Morgue, The Last Crystal Out Of Cimerora

These are just a few, and more to come...

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3 hours ago, Take One said:

, before they were messed up by Who Will Die and Praetoria.

Now, you know I disagree with you on this. Though my disagreement is based around the kak-handed implementation of WWD and not ironing out the retcon kinks in pre GR material referencing Praetoria with post GR material referencing Praetoria.

 

 

 

AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079)Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642)* | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104)* | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489)*The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403)* | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140)* The Eve of War (Arc id 41583)*

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617)* | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)*

(*Pre War Praetorian Loyalist. * Pre War Praetorian Resistance.. * Pre ITF Cimerora. * Post ITF Cimerora. Dev Choice/Hall of Fame )

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On 8/14/2021 at 12:38 PM, Aeroprism said:

Following Mr G's: quests, holy crap do those Vanguard a-holes hit hard.  Died three times in the first mission so far.

 

Oh, I remember those guys.  Rangers?  The ones with the arm blades?  At least those were the ones who seemed to give me the most trouble.

 

Lot of people say redside or goldside is harder but the real reason is just that newer content tends to be more difficult than older content.  Some of the newer arcs blueside can kick your ass too.

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Have to agree about Villains and Praetoria having the superior story content.  You can tell how much more detail they put into their story telling with each expansion.  Goldside they really refined their approach it's just too bad it mostly was a new tutorial zone, wish that stuff just started at 35+ and you could easy access it with something as easy as ouro. 

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