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A Beta Review for New Players***** Warning -- Long!***

maskedweaselmaskedweasel Member EpicPosts: 11,886

 I'm going to go ahead and jump the gun here a tad, I wanted to wait until I had the entire OB experience but it sounds like a few things need to be set straight for new players or players that are on the fence about this game.


I'm not going to BS around, I'll just jump right into it.


1) The Character Creation Screen.  8/10

For those that have played CoX, this will be somewhat familiar to you.  The UI for the character creator is interesting to say the least, they give you many options --- seemingly ----- albeit the original faces are changed via sliders.  The sliders don't bother me much, except for the fact that you have minimal slider option (well you have the options, they just don't work) for the monster and beast heads.    

The costume selection is somewhat easy to navigate after you've spent a little time doing it.  The tabs are easy to glance over, and some costume pieces aren't available when choosing other pieces for example, you don't have many eye choices if you decided on making a character with a hood.  But overall this aspect of the game is enjoyable.  Keep in mind as well, that other costume pieces can be purchased or found later - in game.    Next, choosing your starting stats seems to be very straightforward, but it isn't, for a new player it would be a good idea to start with the recommended stats and not get too crazy into the custom framework until you see exactly how much certain stats effect your character.


Power choice is actually, very straight forward.  The first power you are able to choose is an END builder, the second could be from any framework.  ***Tip,  ranged END builders have an immense advantage over melee end builders... ****  


2) Combat  : 6/10

Fast paced action.  Thats what you will hear a lot about the combat, its fast paced... and to an extent it is fast paced.  This is partly due to the END builder.  This is also where I found a great deal of issues with the game...  for one, CO touted "No Auto Attack"  but from the moment you start the game, you auto attack your little heart out.  In the later levels you can sufficiently rid yourself of this END builder, but between levels 1 - 20 in most frameworks, it will be your best friend, or your worst, boring, enemy.


The sad thing about that is that it is solely reliant on your framework and your stances.  Some frameworks can easily rid themselves of the END builder around 14.  Some others not until the mid 20s.  Some custom frameworks will not rid themselves of the END builder at all.  And right now you're asking me... "So What? Why do I care?"  Well, to this I answer simply, the END builder is pointless, annoying, and flawed -- especially in PvP.   You ask why?  Have you ever seen a single blade user.. that has super jump chase down a Power Armor user with rocket boots?       I've seen one try before....    and he would HAVE to chase him down so that he could gain endurance to use his attacks.   If he had a ranged END booster, it may not be so bad.


So to this I say, whats the point?  You trade the illusion of "fast paces combat" for gimping a number of melee characters from the beginning.  Many other players will tell you, simply, do not take a melee end builder... and to this I ask, why do they even have them?


My next gripe on combat is the targetting system.  This game needs offensive and defensive targets --SEVERELY  and we've been asking for them in CB for months.  Targetting is exceptionally tough in this game.  Tab targetting (as used by the 360 controller) is inefficient.  You can tab to the closest guy, or you could accidentally tab to the guy from the mob behind him.  If you have a ranged END builder, congratulations, you've just accidentally aggroed a second group.  Most recently they've made some modifications to where you no longer need to target using tab... that is, unless you have a specific enemy in mind, like a boss per se.  Good luck trying to target only the boss when you have several henchment on you.


Then targetting friendlies is tough as when you target a friendly, you take your focus off of an enemy.  That means anytime you buff or heal, you have to stop attacking -- switch to a friendly --- buff/heal them -- then return to an enemy, and begin to build your END again.  Some will tell you thats what a support build is for.  To this I call shananigans.  You can't be in a support build with all frameworks, or else you can no longer use certain other powers --such as your passive powers.


While I'm on that subject, lets talk about passive powers.  There are many different kinds... but they really break down into 2 of them.  Defensive, and Offensive.  Defensive powers like invulnerability are considered a must have for the majority of the player base.  Personally, I found the offensive passives to be more to my taste.  The offensive passives give you a damage boost, sometimes a minor defensive boost, or faster END recovery..... in fact, in the case of martial arts they give you the ability to gain END from using your other Martial Arts attacks.  This is what gives you the power to take away your END builder.  In order for this to work on all frameworks, you must pay very close attention to what powers you choose and what advantages you choose as well.


Either way you look at it though passive powers in general are a must have.  You cannot compete in this game without them, nomatter what anyone tells you, its just not worth it to torture yourself like that.  And -- to talk about torture, lets talk about equilibrium.  Equilibrium is the point of your endurance bar that your endurance will charge back up to while you are out of combat.  This bar can change depending on your different stances.  I often oppose the Equilibrium bar.... because its stupid.  It doesn't even sound right.... how can my character be MORE tired outside of battle, then when he's been firing electric bolts out of his hands for the past 20 minutes?  Not having a full bar of END at the beginning of each battle can make or break certain fights.  Being able to start with a large attack.. or a fully charged hold could be the difference between an easy fight, or an incredibly tough fight (or fights depending on if -- in mid - battle, you aggro another group because you couldn't lock the mob down in time)


Now you can always increase your equilibrium by using the recovery stat... but thats really a waste in my eyes.. because normally someone would increase their damage, or increase their defense.. but under the circumstances they feel they need to spec for recovery so they can use their frickin' powers at the start of a battle.     My suggestion??? Slot Intelligence instead... it decreases the cost of powers, and overall is just a better idea.  Later on you can pick up items to assist in your recovery, or you can slot intel. and reco. if you want... its your character.... but between the two Intelligence > Recovery in my book.


Anyways, bad points aside, the combat is still somewhat enjoyable. The 360 controller makes it so.  If I had to play with the M&K I would've given up after my first week.  The travel powers feel sluggish and the whole overall movement of the game felt clunky to me until I used the 360 controller.  Then suddenly I "got it" .... it just all came together and I understood-- this is how it should be played.  Granted navigating menus with the 360 controller is a pain, and in some cases impossible.  But for random fights and missions.. I wouldn't have it any other way.  The controller is what pushed this combat to a 6....  every thing else is just a sad gimmick to me that becomes tired and boring, and can easily be trumped by a combat system such as WoW or WAR or even LOTRO.


Level Designs/Missions:  8/10

So you've started the game, Did you like the tutorial?  I hope so, because once you leave that tutorial you've got... ANOTHER TUTORIAL!  No they don't call it a tutorial, its a crisis zone.  I have to say my first time in game, the crisis zone was confusing and off putting.  I just got my travel power and boy, I wanted to use it.  Unfortunately I was in a CoX force field land where I couldn't get out of my little glass box.  I had to complete the *2nd tutorial* before I could go on.  The choice between the desert and canada is nice at least... but once you've done both crisis zones, it just gets repetetive and boring, and pointless.  Making alts then becomes a chore, 2 tutorials just to get to the regular content.  Also, I call it a tutorial simply because they have to walk you through everything.  Crafting, leveling, and using items are all portions of the process known as the crisis zone.  The levels turn out to simply become linear.... you jump mission after mission, then once you are done, they tell you to go somewhere else to get more missions.


I was originally under the assumption that the levels and content were so vast i could level from 1 - 40 just in a single area.  I did not experience that when I leveled to near -max level with one of my characters.  I often times had problems finding missions and had to jump around to many different places to make the next level or find something to do.  No missions that I really did stood out much.....  strongholds were just like any other high profile mission...   and only a small handful of  missions really stood out as being original.  On one particular missions -- my missions was to get defeated so that I could be captured to infiltrate a base... or Dr Destroyers robot factory where you have to navigate the magnet... other then a few missions somewhat similar to those, maybe the MI crisis, and a few other interesting but not out of the ordinary missions in Lemuria its pretty on par with regular MMO missions.   


This brings me to an interesting point about crisis missions.  Queuing for Crisis missions!  It may be different with the new flux of players.. but the later tier crisis missions like Lemuria and MI require you to queue like you do for PvP.  Previously I've waiting half an hour or more on a crisis mission only to find that I was the only one que'd for it, and the only one doing it.  With thousands more players playing now, we may not see a queue problem or force people to do these missions alone, but just a heads up for new players.. it might be more fun to get a group before going to the crisis.


A lot of people will complain about the lack of instanced missions -- which there is a lack of.  Please, don't worry about the lack of instances... because personally the missions that ARE instanced have relatively the same level design.  Many of the instanced missions you get will be from crazed civilians off the street.. and many times that takes place in MC.  You'll always get a mission in a museum or sewer, or something that has a generic instance -- much like CoH... but to me its the scarcity of these missions that makes them bearable.  


The silver lining is the nemesis system, which is really the sole reason I gave the missions and level design as high of a rating as I did.  Making your own nemesis and giving him a sort of focus and base storyline is .. dare i say it.. fun!  I liked being able to meet my nemesis, and battle him, send him to jail so that he could break out, or get jumped by his minions anytime, anywhere.

It made for a kind of dynamic gameplay that really made me want to continue playing.   Never knowing when I'd fight the next group that would drop that next clue to my nemesis' next dastardly plan.  At the very tail end of my testing it appeared as though I was able to create 2 more nemesi but at the time, it was bugged and I couldn't actually create them.  I could only imagine what it would be like to have 3 different nemeses minions attacking together.. increasing the difficulty on mobs that are often times too close together as it is.


The mob density in general is just very out of control.  Now with "dynamic" spawns that they added some patches back, you get aggro more then ever... and some powersets such as might and force always gain more aggro due to knock back.


PowerSets:  7/10

I'll be honest, I was expecting more.  Sure there are a lot of sets, and a few sets like gadgeteering and sorcery have their fair share of powers... but with the way the progression is in this game... after level 25 I have a very hard time deciding what new powers I should choose!  From start to finish this game has a very hard time balancing powers.  With the way the END builder is used and the way the frameworks are built most sets will end up with the simple combination of 1 End builder, 1 Charge Attack, 1 Charge AoE... and some may choose to have a hold in there.  The only other powers left that are really necessary are the travel powers (which are fun, but some just make no sense..... super speed and super jump are both gimped in their own way) and your passive power.   Other will contest that adding a block power helps...     but really you end up with 1 of each in your set.   


Normally I advocate sticking within your framework to get the best results with END regeneration and bonuses on damage/healing/ status effects etc.  The fact of the matter is though, some frameworks are impossible without multi classing.. and some frameworks just don't have enough powers without multiclassing (MA I'm looking at you!)  Some powers like Power Armor really doesn't need help.. wheras sorcery needs a passive badly .. amongst other things as sorcery is possibly the closest thing to a support framework as you can get.  Telepathy and Telekinesis were pretty close to both being necessary to make their builds complete.    The elemental builds all seem fairly fleshed out, but some major drawbacks are with the different forms and effects.  Fire obviously will not work well with the electric form...


Supernatural and darkness both have their advantages.... but singularly they both feel fairly gimped.  Going pure darkness is a possibility, but I always felt I killed way too slowly and my END regen was never were I wanted it to be.  Maybe this will be fixed in OB, as this is more a balance issue then anything else.


PvP:  5/10

PvP .. what can I say.. some say they love it.... those people are the ones with Power Armor or a ranged build.  You can gimp yourself in PvP very easily.... its called taking a power other then flight or teleport.  Don't even take teleport unless you use a ranged build, you'll never get a hit off to build END.  Holds, roots and stuns are the winners here, as are those with Defensive powers...  close range melee builds need not apply.    Sure my Single Bladed swordsman could down a Power Armor character in the blink of an eye..... but he could never catch one to do so....  Using superjump, swinging, or ice slide is pointless. Acrobatics will work alright, and superspeed only really has an advantage in the lower level arenas.   Eventually you'll notice a flux of players just targeting you and pounding on you.. and many times you will be outnumbered and over powered.


So basically its only fun for ranged and flying characters.  Melee characters will stand a chance if they can use the kunai chain.. which still has a problem on flying characters (pulls that forward, not down)  or if they have holds or a ranged END builder..... but thats the only way to really compete.  Many people will disagree with me... but please, try it for yourself.... I'm not making this up.  Ranged/Flight is king, all the rest are fillers.


Last but not least and I will not grade on this, but sounds, voiceovers, and miscellaneous.  

The music is a decent score,, at first... the main theme of the melodic vocal harmony gets old fast.... especially now that they've added that score to the PowerHouse.  The sound effects aren't anything to write home about... but the interaction between CO and outside media players such as winamp are nice additions.. and much needed.  Its good the developers understood their music choices for the game weren't entirely A+.    Defenders voice was okay to me, but Iron Clads choice of words were overly corny but oddly fitting for a game that loves to throw on the cheese.


So altogether I give this game a 7/10 (not an average): The game has a good draw to it, it is fun for a short while, but the combat and levels become incredibly repetetive very fast.  If you've played CoH you maye get a kick out of the new sets and the new levels.... a few months down the line, without content updates, this game could easily be uninstalled and forgotten.  This could also go the other way and with strong leadership and enhanced content it may hold on to a slightly higher then expected fan base.  Is this the GOTY?  No, but it is still a somewhat solid game.  





  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel Member EpicPosts: 11,886
    Originally posted by CruelHand

    <Mod Edit>


    Yup thats why I wrote it, so people wouldn't have to read it...  if you had you'd know I didn't say it was a bad game... but then again.. you'd have to learn to read first....

  • AganazerAganazer Member Posts: 1,319

    Don't believe a word of it. I'm pretty sure this guy never played the game before. I mean, how can you trust someone called weasel? And he's masked too, so that means he's shady.

    Seriously though, this is prolly the best review any of us will read about CO for quite a while.

  • ValladrielValladriel Member Posts: 3
    Originally posted by CruelHand

    <Mod Edit>

    seriously the man just wrote a serious review about the game, after he spent time in it, and it's his opinion. Also quite frankly i find it very useful, because unlike you he actually explains why he likes or dislikes certain aspects of the game.

    You walk a mystical path, and are a creature of the spiritual and the supernatural. You are introspective and self-reliant, but nobody will ever question your bravery or commitment to justice.
    Take the quiz!

  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel Member EpicPosts: 11,886

     I really appreciate those that take the time to read it,  I really hope the information at least helps some players make good decisions when they first start out.    I've said this many times that I am still on the fence about buying this game this month myself... and although I probably will wait just a bit longer, I  will definitely sub soon.   


    One thing I didn't mention was the community.  Aganazer is a good indication of the overall community,  we haven't always agreed on the CO forums but he's always helpful, as are most of the older testers I've dealt with.  overall the community (including the Dev team)  are A+

  • antiherozeroantiherozero Member UncommonPosts: 76

    Very articulate and useful.  Thank you for taking the time to write this up, much appreciated.

    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come."

    -Matt Groening

  • YamotaYamota Member UncommonPosts: 6,593

    Good review. I think I will give this game a try, even though it does not seem all that great.

    However it could elaborate a bit more on PvP. Saying that fliers/teleporters is are king isnt excactly descriptive on how the PvP is (beside fliers and teleporters having an advantage).

    For example can you get exp in PvP or do you have to grind mobs (what I call forced PvE)?

  • ZyllosZyllos Member UncommonPosts: 537

    Now I just want my beta key from my pre-order so I can actually play!

    MMOs Played: I can no longer list them all in the 500 character limit.

  • ArchtypeArchtype Member Posts: 16

    A+ on your review

  • JeowanJeowan Member Posts: 79


    How can you not love that word.. say it with me.. shenanigans!

    say it again, shenanigans!

    man that is so fun!


  • templargatemplarga Member RarePosts: 2,192

    I agree with your review on many points but mainly your conclusion. The main reason I will not be playing is that I too found the combat rather blah and very, very repetitive. Its a fun game, a well designed game and overall its not bad; but, for me, the combat needs to be more fun and exciting.

  • CruelHandCruelHand Member Posts: 8
    Originally posted by templarga

    I agree with your review on many points but mainly your conclusion. The main reason I will not be playing is that I too found the combat rather blah and very, very repetitive. Its a fun game, a well designed game and overall its not bad; but, for me, the combat needs to be more fun and exciting.


    go play a FPS then if you want exciting combat

    this is exciting as it's going to be

  • xaldraxiusxaldraxius Member Posts: 1,249

    Meh, game sucks. My score is 5/10

  • kristovkristov Member Posts: 19

    What about "performance" of the game?


    I found the performance of the game extremely lacking. You know that "smooth" quality in control and feel of the game. I have been wondering how other people seem to gauge this quality as I think it is the hidden game killer.


    On lowest possible settings it was almost reasonable and on "recommended" or higher it was just utter trash. My system isnt too bad either, 3.3 ghz , 4 megs ram and a geforce gtx 260.


    I wasnt looking to play it on max settings but I can play other games like World of Warcraft and Aion on max settings and it is completely smooth compared to this game.


    I did think the game was cool enough and different enough to keep my attention but with the performance of the game it is a total pass for me sadly.


  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel Member EpicPosts: 11,886
    Originally posted by kristov

    What about "performance" of the game?
    I found the performance of the game extremely lacking. You know that "smooth" quality in control and feel of the game.
    On lowest possible settings it was almost reasonable and on "recommended" or higher it was just utter trash. My system isnt too bad either, 3.3 ghz , 4 megs ram and a geforce gtx 260.
    I wasnt looking to play it on max settings but I can play other games like World of Warcraft and Aion on max settings and it is completely smooth compared to this game.
    I did think the game was cool enough and different enough to keep my attention but with the performance of the game it is a total pass for me sadly.


    Well one reason in particular I didn't talk about performance is because thats one thing that still changes in Open Beta.  With the way they patched in Close Beta you'd have amazing playtests, and then the next one you'd wonder what went wrong.


    I expect a great deal of optimization to be done across Open Beta as Cryptic tries to get into the swing of the stress test.  On the weekend playtests I would find that when the server was under low load I would get incredible FPS.  Other times I watched a slide show of my character trying to fly through the desert.  


    For those with optimization problems there were some tricks to increasing performance... but really I would wait to see how cryptic handles it this week.

  • miagisanmiagisan Member Posts: 5,156


    oh wait..wrong game


  • BlurrBlurr Member UncommonPosts: 2,155

    I only skimmed the review, but I'd say overall it's a pretty decent job.

    Personally I'd say it's a bit better than you seem to make it out to be, but that may come down to personal opinion on various things. I think a number of the points you raised may actually either be fixed already or could be fixed by launch, as they're simple useability situations and not major mechanics failures.

    It will, of course, be interesting to see how they solve the melee vs. ranged problem, as I think that's still an issue at this point.

    So with an asterisk that this is still review of a beta product, and realizing that different people may like the game more (or less), then I'd say a pretty decent review.

    "Because it's easier to nitpick something than to be constructive." -roach5000

  • z80paranoiaz80paranoia Member Posts: 410

    I've beta tested this game as well. I basically agree with the OP.

    Some of the frameworks are missing some abilities which forces multiclassing if you want to be well rounded. It would be nice if there were enough powers in each framework that covered all the bases so that every framework could be used to create a pure single-themed character using nothing but powers from that framework.

    I personally hate the equilibrium and ENDurance system. It just seems like the devs passive-aggressive way to force players to self-gimp their toons. I say this because you are essentially forced to take some stats that don't directly make your character stronger just to be functional. It's your choice. Be strong and broken or be weak but functional. Not very exciting. Keep in mind the game is in an early phase and a lot can improve.

    On the plus side, the character creator is well done and lots of fun. You get to test your new powers for free before committing to them. If you don't like your newest power undo it and try a different one before you leave the training facility. You can do this as many times as you like before deciding to leave and commit. You can also have more than one costume, actually you can have more than one appearance if you want, so your alternate costume can include a completely different looking body but that can get expensive. I don't think you can change genders though.

    The quests are your standard "kill 10 rats" type you are used to from other mmorpgs. Sometimes people will seek you out on the streets and ask you to go on a quest for them. That's a nice little feature.

    This is not a bad game by the current-day standards. But, this game is just not for me. For my tastes, I am better off playing single player rpgs until something that really suits me comes out. Luckily, there are many good single player rpgs out and many more coming soon.

    Guild Wars 2 is my religion

  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel Member EpicPosts: 11,886

     Thanks, I try to stay unbiased but when you've been in beta and you see what something was and now what it is somtimes all you can do is shake your head and wonder why.  I wish I could go to sleep tonight, wake up, and experience it fresh for the first time tomorrow, then maybe my review wouldn't have such a pessimistic undertone on an otherwise positive review.  I implore everyone to try it for themselves.  Many people end up loving it, others can't stand it... at this point I'm balancing in the middle.

  • bstrippbstripp Member Posts: 241

    Nice review.  Thanks.

  • vmopedvmoped Member Posts: 1,708

    Good review there Maskedweasel! I came into CB at the end (since 8/5) and agree with you overall. I still have that new car feeling with the game, and honestly like the combat, but I try alot of different tactics with the mobs: Knocking them off cliffs and whatnot to spice it up. I am also an altaholic and created 8 radically different toons and kept switching them around, and add in the limited playtimes, so the game never got boring to me.

    Cheers mate!

    MMO Vet since AOL Neverwinter Nights circa 1992. My MMO beat up your MMO. =S

  • krityckrityc Member UncommonPosts: 175

     Well put together.

    I think you nailed it when you said the future of the game will rely on quick meaningful content updates. The game has enough to draw a fan base and entertain them for 2-ish months, but beyond that there will need to be major content added and a ton of balancing between classes.

    I find what makes it such an exciting title is the numerous class combinations, but that ends up being one of the larger let downs. There seems to be a hand full of "must have" powers/builds that tear away from the allure of making your own unique class. It's so sad that no MMO is able to tackle the all mighty "balance" issue to allow people to play their class of choice. I get that certain classes will trump other classes, but in CO and many other games "XxxxX Class" always trumps every other class and no class trumps XxxxX.

    T=Time G=Gear W=Win Gr=Grind Nf=NoFun S=Skill FoF=FullofFail

    "Hey, I'll tell you what. You can get a good look at a butcher's azz by sticking your head up there. But, wouldn't you rather to take his word for it?" - Tommy Boy

  • templargatemplarga Member RarePosts: 2,192
    Originally posted by CruelHand

    Originally posted by templarga

    I agree with your review on many points but mainly your conclusion. The main reason I will not be playing is that I too found the combat rather blah and very, very repetitive. Its a fun game, a well designed game and overall its not bad; but, for me, the combat needs to be more fun and exciting.


    go play a FPS then if you want exciting combat

    this is exciting as it's going to be

    Did you understand that part when I said my opinion...did you catch that? And why I won't be playing.

    The boring aspect of the combat is that it is repetitive or is that too difficult for a fanboi to understand?


    Edit: Let me add this - this game is built around combat. That is its sole purpose; therefore the combat better be good. Day after day of finding the combat repetitive was too much for me. I could not bring myself to login and trust me, with a new game, that is the worst feeling ever.

    I have been around the market long enough to know when I do and do not find a game fun. I also have been around long enough to know when I won't be playing a game past its free period (30 days or so). Champion's Online and Aion both fit that description for me. I hope the people who love both games enjoy them for a long time. They are simply not for me.

  • NC360NC360 Member Posts: 67

    Very good review.

    It's nice and long, detailed, pointing out the pro's and con's, etc.

  • select20select20 Member Posts: 130

    Awesome review, Exactly what I've been waiting for. Great JOb.

    "Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it."

  • LoboMauLoboMau Member UncommonPosts: 395

    Very good review. The best I read so far. One question: How are the missions? Are they repetitive like in COH?

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