Meta’s Verse: Issue 23 and the Retro Scifi Pack
By Meticulous Meta, OnRPG Paragon Reporter
I started playing just after Issue 8 went live. Since then I’ve witnessed 15 issues. They’ve had their share of ups and downs. More ups than downs. Issue 14 nearly broke the game with the Architect Entertainment system. Issue 16 brought about a change to the character creation which gave players even more customization of characters. But in all my time, I have never had so many mixed feelings as I did with Issue 23.
Now, I’m never one to say no to new things, especially new costumes. But it was what the issue was taking away from the game that cast a shadow over it. During the hours leading up to the ultimate removal of Statesman, I stood by his side with torch in hand. At the end I wasn’t alone, a member of the Circle of Jerks joined me and we watched Statesman stand his ground despite the warnings that his doom was only 30 minutes away. Statesman and Psyche’s removal from the game weren’t the only things that made me sad to see this issue. The end of language support for French and German also came about.
Once I got past the depressing changes Issue 23 brought about I still saw a shadow over the game. Why is that? Well because I was standing in Night Ward, the new level 30-35 zone which is a spirit realm copy of First Ward. There are new spooky enemies scattered throughout Night Ward, and if you try to walk close to any of the citizens walking the streets they simply vanish. This is not a realm for the faint of heart.
For those incarnates amongst us there is new lore, a new story arc, an incarnate trial and the hybrid incarnate slot. Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away. But if lore is your thing and you’re incarnate be sure to stop by Ouroboros and talk to Prometheus, the big blue guy. He has quite the story to tell. Belladonna Vetrano, who we were first introduced to in the early days of Praetoria, asks for your help in a big task which ultimately brings in some very big and important NPCs.
And then, there is The Magesterium. To take part in it you must have the Destiny and Lore slots unlocked. This is reported to be the final incarnate story to take place in Praetoria. More importantly it is currently the only way to get Advanced Psychic Incarnate Experience which is required for unlocking the Hybrid incarnate slot. Hybrid is all about focusing on what the core archetypes are lacking, or boosting the abilities you already have. The choice is yours to either become better rounded or even more specialized.
One of my favorite features in Issue 23 is something I’ve felt the game has been lacking for years. NPCs taunting player characters. There isn’t really a whole lot to say about it but it is a fantastic little quality of life change that I welcome wholeheartedly.
Anyone who has been reading Meta’s Verse for any amount of time knows two things. Statesman is/was the man, and I love costumes. Now I can finally happily report that I have reached Tier 9 VIP status! Just in time to get all the Celestial Armor before it was replaced by Mecha Armor. So far I only have the wings and weapons from the Mecha Armor set but I think they are by far the best parts. In addition, free for VIPs, the Chainmail and Leather costume sets were released. The chainmail comes in two varieties: shiny or dull. The shiny looks amazing, but I’ve noticed if I look at it a bit too long it starts to hurt my head. That can be put down to the constant movement of characters though as the dull acts fairly the same way, just takes a bit longer. I haven’t used chainmail yet in anything but I really can’t wait to. Especially since I bought two more costume slots while they were on sale.
In terms of the leather set, I quite like the pants. But, well, I’m all for equal treatment and against the sexual objectification of women still…I want something sexy. Both of these sets alone are a bit too plain to be used. But thankfully they make a wonderful base to start building costumes on and with so many options for layering clothes and symbols it goes a long ways towards helping characters get a unique look.
Beyond all of that a few other quality of life features have been introduced. The TUNNEL system for instance is an alternate way to travel in Paragon City, The Rogue Isles and to Praetoria even. This is the first system of its kind to have such a variety of options. It is open for everyone to use, except Praetorians who haven’t left Praetoria yet. Oh and TUNNEL actually stands for something and it’s a mouthful! Trans-Universal Networking Nexus and Extradimensional Link. I’ve found myself using this tool several times over the last week. But I think remembering to add it to my mental list of ways to get places easily is going to be hard. I barely remember the O-portal most of the time. Another great feature is the long awaited looking for group channel. On Virtue this has been an instant hit amongst most. There were some people who shut it off right away because it can be a bit spammy at times with so many people using it. But that isn’t really a bad thing is it? Oh noes! People are looking for teams and finding them!
Earlier I mentioned buying extra costume slots. And now they’re coming in very handy. That’s because the Retro Scifi Pack has been released! *Kermit flail* Wooo! This pack has a lot of exciting history as being the first time we, the players, got to design something that would be in the game, other than NPCs. The basics were first designed in November of 2011 at the first ever player summit. Then we waited, patiently until February to hear more. This came in the form of an online poll. The players got to vote on a selection of costume pieces which went on to become the set. By the end of the month Dink, everyone’s new favorite character artist, posted screenshots of the progress on the pack. It was a huge success. In April the second player summit was held and they expanded on the hugely successful player creation process. But still there was no sign of the Retro Scifi pack. All of that changed last week when a new addition of Intrepid Informer was released. It, much like this last paragraph, covered the history of the Retro Scifi pack but most importantly announced it would be released June 12th! And now here we are and the pack is out! I’ve been playing with it for several hours testing out the various points that are important to any costume whore.
The theme was of course selected by the players at the player summit. And every part of this pack fits the theme perfectly. With various rings, a short skirt, and of course the classic bubble helmet this pack to me screams both Jetsons and cheesy old school science fiction movies. My only regret about the theme is that there isn’t a black and white mode of the game.
On the theme of the set @KidA said, “Fun! This game needed something like that. Pulp/Golden Age type characters are really down played in the costume generator. I think at times the costumes focus too much on the grim/modern types or anime than fun superheroics or science fiction. Now if only we could have a moon base or space station set to go with it.”
Ok, so I made that word up. But Paragon Studios has had a thing for glowing costume pieces since they first started putting them in. And I’m not complaining one bit. All the rings on this pack glow, or not depending on what you want. As do a variety of accent parts of the costumes which make you a great target in caves. And handy to have on teams where people forget to bring flashlights.
They say variety is the spice of life. This set continues the fine tradition of giving us a set that is wildly different from anything else that’s ever been released. This I imagine isn’t an easy task when it comes to things like boots. You would think there are only so many ways to do boots. But every pack released comes with new boots. Usually, like in this pack, several varieties of boots.
Finally we get to what is arguably the most important thing in a costume set, versatility. While costumes do come as a set most people prefer to mix and match pieces to make a unique costume. Some sets break apart easier than others. Some have huge problems with clipping or can’t be used with jackets or robes. On this point @Little Green Frog said, “Particular costume elements seem to be working rather well with other costume parts, which is nice.” I absolutely agree with this. The first costume I made was a pinup style swimsuit complete with a swimcap. I don’t have any characters who could use the set as a whole. But I’ve already found uses for most of the parts of the packs by incorporating them into costumes.
I would say this is one of my favorite costume packs so far. They go a long way to put the gender issues of the Gunslinger pack behind them while still offering feminine costume parts. I’m going to be using this pack as part of my costumes for a long time to come. Only three things could make it better, black and white City of Heroes, a moonbase/space station and dual beam pistols. This pack is a must buy for anyone who enjoys making costumes. Issue 23 is full of fun and fantastic new things for us to explore. As I get more time to play through it I learn more about the story of Praetoria and see it to its end. The first part of Signature Story Arc 2: Pandora’s Box has gone live and is a fantastic beginning to a story. Though I highly recommend you do it solo so you can see the full variety of conversational options available. This is an exciting time for City of Heroes and I’m glad that I’m here to see it.