Tuesday, 6 November 2007

He's badly built and he walks on stilts

Via a bunch o' blogs, Nick Yee's Daedalus Project has a nice piece on the MMO player life-cycle. It looks like a pretty good description of the path I've followed through City of Heroes (all the way through to "Recovery") and World of Warcraft (once round the block, then back again for the expansion, currently sitting in "Burnout" for the second time; it wouldn't take too much to shift to "Recovery" there, but one game sub's enough really, especially with so many other games around at the moment). Assorted others (Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Auto Assault off the top of my head) never quite made it past "Practice".

Though City of Heroes is pretty firmly in "Recovery", I had a slight twinge of a "Mastery" flashback last night. I'd dusted off my original hero, a level 50 Blaster, for trick-or-treat badge gathering, and after filling the supergroup storage bins with large inspirations that dropped as treats, ran a few Rikti Warzone missions to make some use of them. After filling up with salvage and picking up a few recipes, well, you've got to hit the auction house, haven't you? With the Halloween event over, I was just checking to see how my sales were going, and all of a sudden felt the need to re-slot my powers and create a bunch of invention enhancements...

I've barely touched my Blaster's build in I don't how long... the last time I respecced was probably a couple of years ago when Enhancement Diversification came in (or "When the sky was rent asunder, and the boards were filled with insane over-reactions not seen since... well, whatever the last change in any MMO was"). In fact I've hardly planned a character at all since then (other than my level 50 villain). When craftable inventions were introduced six months ago I made a few, but didn't seriously investigate the options; firstly, there's a frankly brane-bending array of choice. There are one hundred and eighty two thousand different types of invention enhancement sets, containing no less than six billion and twelve different individual enhancements, with eight frarglillion possible bonuses for your character (note: figures may have been seasonally adjusted). Also, the overnight introduction of an economy meant prices were fluctuating like crazy for a while, especially as heroes with three years worth of influence earnings went on spending sprees (I had a fair amount kicking around myself, but I'd also converted millions into supergroup prestige, back when there wasn't anything to spend influence on after you'd kitted yourself out at level 50).

Now the market has (more or less) settled down, and it's been niggling away at me that I ought to slot up some invention sets for nifty bonuses. What finally pushed me to doing something was picking up a Sting of the Manticore recipe, plus the bits of salvage needed to create it. The Sting of the Manticore set has some pretty spiffy bonuses, like a 7.5% recharge boost, but for that you need five enhancements from the set slotted in a single power, which meant I needed another four enhancements (to the auction house!), and another slot in my sniper power (to the respec-o-meter!). A respec would've been a bit of a waste just to shift one slot, so I did a bit more digging to find out other benefits that can be obtained from invention sets; powers like Health, that used to be a grudgingly taken pre-requisite for Stamina, now offer interesting slotting options for a character without other healing powers, and before I knew it I'd downloaded a post-Issue 9 hero planner and was trying to decide between six-slotting Combat Jumping for the full set of Red Fortune bonuses, or going for Scirocco's Dervish in a PBAoE...

Then I snapped out of it, and switched back to my low level Corruptor, built around the principle of taking whatever power looked most fun at the time. Back to "Recovery" for me!

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