I’m an old-school coming book geek. I started collecting real comics when I was 11 years old (Archie comics prior to that don’t count), my first series being The ‘Nam. From there it was Blue Beetle, X-Men, Spiderman, Wolverine, and on and on. I stopped actively collecting comics when I was 20 or so – I found I needed my money for other things and, in particular, I found it difficult to keep up with the cross-over series and spin-off series. I grew frustrated with how Marvel and DC seemed greedy, not content with having me collect one series about a certain character or group of characters. I still purchase about half a dozen graphic novels a year, but no longer collect a monthly comic book. I’d enjoy reading a regular series, but like any serial publication, it’s hard to come in mid-stream when you feel like you’ve missed everything prior. The point here though is that, since being a child, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of super heroes with super powers doing great deeds to keep the world safe.
This leads me into the actual point of this post: because I’m a “comic book guy” (though, thankfully, not as fat as the guy on the Simpsons) I’ve been playing City of Heroes (COH) for a few years now. When it first came out in 2004 I played it with a friend for perhaps a year and a half, then I stopped playing for a couple of years – and came back to playing it one or two times a week for the past year or so. It’s now a Sunday ritual for me; 12pm to 5pm, I’m relaxing and playing City of Heroes with four other friends online. COH is the first MMORPG I’ve found that’s really held my attention, because it’s really fun.
I’ve played Dungeons & Dragons Online, but quit that after a few months because it was virtually impossible to team up with other players (the servers were teaming with people that didn’t want to team up) and the missions were virtually impossible to accomplish alone. I’ve played a bit of World of Warcraft, but for whatever reason it didn’t “click” with me – it might have been the exaggerated comic-book style graphics, or the complex gameplay, or maybe it was just because everyone else in the world was playing it. Guild Wars was also a game I played for a few months, but I hated the ingredients-based system where you had to make everything cool instead of finding it in a treasure horde. I’m an semi-old-school Dungeons and Dragons gamer (the real old-school guys started with this), having bought the Red Box Edition (wow does that site bring back some memories!) with my allowance when I was about 12 years old, and I come from the school of thought that heroes should be out slaying orcs and trolls, not collecting ingredients like Mother Hubbard to make a potion. That’s so lame, and it’s just a mechanism put in place by the game creators to stretch out the time you have to spend online in their game. The only ingredients-based system that was ever really cool was found in the Ultima games (where did I put that mandrake root anyway?).
Back to the point of this post however: DC Universe Online…this looks amazing! As much as I enjoy City of Heroes, the graphics are looking pretty aged, and I haven’t heard a peep about a new version of the game with a new graphics engine. Although I usually avoid anything with Sony’s name on it, the preview video looks amazingly cool. This might be the game that I switch to when it comes out – though it depends on a bunch of things, such as the game play and the mechanics of the game. I can’t believe that Marvel cancelled their Marvel Universe Online game – done properly, that could have been amazing. I guess they’re too focused on making movies to make a game as well. At any rate, I guess I’d better start my work day now… 😉