Some idiot actually dared to call the plot and story of my favourite MMORPG City of Heroes “shallow” in hos blog. Naturally, I’m going to write my own blog entry explaining in a few paragraphs why he go to heck, and why I’m writing this entry while waiting for my lvl 33 Scrapper to regenerate between battles rather than doing so while waiting for some pathetic orc. So, a few rounds of mortal combat between te two:
One. The Plot.
Judging by the number of people who play crap like Maple Story, some people just don’t want to be bothered by stuff like “plot” when playing MMO’s. I’m not one of those people. WoW has… Well, I’m told some plot eventually comes along around level 70, but before that you spend all of your time as, say, a necromancer, doing sidequests so stupid and inane I’d not want my name in the credits had I been the one to come up with them. It’s all about fetching ingredients to some inbred farmer’s pie, or getting love letters between the children. Fucking hell. No sense of actual plot going on, but then again – Fantasy as a genre hardly lends itself to deep plot, especially not the kind of comicbook smurfish fantasy WoW is. City of Heroes on the other hand, has plenty of plots. There are a lot of factions, both heroic and villainous, and many “Story Arcs” deal either with the backgrounds of these factions or handling situations where alliances are formed between factions etc. The story arcs are generally well-written and work well – the game world is pretty deep, with all the conspiracies etc going on. The plots have a nice comicbook feel to them, which is perfect – it’s a fucking comicbook-based MMO, right? CoH also has a lot of plot going on at higher levels, but you don’t have to wait untilthen before you can take the game seriously.
WoW has a lot of numbercrunching, statistics, and generally visible and accessible numbers. Some people like this. I’m not much of a powergamer, so CoH’s more modest approach suits me better. WoW handles leveling-up like any d20-inspired engine, raising stats and selecting new abilities etc. In CoH, your stats are invisible, but the Enhancements system allows for a lot of customization, given the number of combinations and types of enhancements.
Winner: A tie.
WoW looks like crap. It’s all smurf houses and comic relief. A comicbook feel in a bad way. I suppose it’s easier on the low-end computers out there, but the level of detail in textures and models is crap. Did I mention it looks like the Smurfs? CoH on the other hand, has beautifully rendered, highly detailed textures and a very likable aesthetic – more realistic, which suits the more realistic feel of the better superhero comics. In summary – WoW looks like the Smurfs, City of Heroes looks like X-men.
Winner: City of Heroes.
Four. Character creation and customization.
This is where CoH really excells. You get to create your character exactly as you want him to be – the possibilities are virtually endless, and new costume pieces and sets are added all the time. You can spend hours just playing around in the editor. WoW, on the other hand, is crap here. You get a few faces, haircuts and facial hair, and get to choose between a few colours and races. And that’s more or less it. Further customization is possible through the equipment system of course, but that leads to your character changing custume all the time, and you constantly need to choose between what looks good and what gets you the biggest bonuses. I hate this. I want to choose my character’s appearence and aesthetics without having to make the choice between sucking hard in the game or looking like crap. In City of Heroes, my character looks just like I envision him. In WoW, he changes clothes and armour more often than I breathe, and usually looks like crap. There’s no way to make him look consistent and good without sacrificing efficiency. Oh, and almost all races can only be played as females, since most male models suck.
Winner: City of Heroes.
Five. Game modding
I’m destined to forever be one of the tinkerers of the gaming world. I love setting stuff up just right, tweaking and modding and replacing… Here, WoW is a feast – lots and lots and LOTS of modding possibilities. I think I’ve spent more time tweaking the interface and modding stuff than I’ve spent playing it. This is the only area where WoW truly shines. CoH seems poor by comparison – you can shift a few things around, replace the maps or sounds, but nothing serious, Nowhere near WoW’s capablicities.
I was going to write a bunch of stuff about the ability to build your own base in CoH (which is excellent BTW) or the frustrarion of harvesting stuff in WoW, and some other little peculiarities of the two, but I just ran out of speed. Suffice to say I played WoW on a private server, but even without having to pay for it didn’t make me want to continue playing. I pay happily for CoH every month I can afford it.
So the next time some shitbucket tries to claim CoH is “flat” or “thin” etc, just shove something down their throat. Preferably a pickaxe. WoW is strictly for eejits, as Cassity would say.