Walking the Line. City Of Heroes: Going Rogue Review
By Jonathan (Ardua) Doyle OnRPG Journalist
There is a place in the MMO world, a place of good people. They are heroes in this place and each day they fight for all that is good and honest and right.
Balancing this shining beacon is a place of darkness and ego. Power makes right there, and strength and brutality rule.
Where are these places? Why Paragon City, the City of Heroes and the Rogue Isles, the City of Villains. For six years, Paragon stood as a shining beacon. For many of those, the Rogue Isles stood as the darkness in opposition.
Now though, now there is a third path. A place balanced on a knife-edge. It is Praetoria. It is the latest area added to the CoX universe through Paragon Studios latest expansion, City of Heroes: Going Rogue.
Between Dark and Light Lay Shades of Grey
City of Heroes: Going Rogue is the second game expansion to the award winning City of Heroes. Coinciding with this release City of Heroes has also released its eighteenth “issue” Shades of Grey. What does this new issue mean in game play terms for existing and new players? It means that now you have a choice between the darkness of pure villainy and the light of heroism. Players can redeem characters or have them fall. Thanks to the new morality missions and “Tips” system, there are even more missions in the CoX universe that come after a certain milestone in your characters career allowing them to reaffirm standing in their alignment or make the move from one side to the other. Masterminds and their Robotic hordes can be seen walking the streets doing good in Paragon while previously virtuous Tankers are now fighting only for themselves in the Rogue Isles.
Allowing the shake up in the classes brings in many new opportunities to City Of players. The stories that you may have had behind your own characters are no longer limited by the borders of good and evil. Paragon Studios have freed you to wander back and forth across the line between dark and light or even find a place in the middle. Perhaps you want to be a dark Vigilante taking the law into your own hands or a dangerous Rogue who has occasional redeeming moments. As usual that isn’t all Paragon have packed into this issue. High-level epic powersets have been proliferated. Markets have been merged creating a global economy. The toughest task in the game has made a triumphant return for the first time in many years, the Cathedral of Pain. All of these however live in the shadow of Going Rogue.
The Sun Never Sets On Praetoria
Praetoria… once a dark destination for high-end portal missions to other universes, Going Rogue has given Praetoria life. A shining beautiful city that has grown out of the ashes of war, Praetoria is home to many familiar faces from the City Of universe. Not every reunion is pleasant however. Praetoria hides many secrets. Holds many opportunities and is the basis for an entirely new 1-20 game experience. Praetoria has been designed from the ground up to take advantage of Paragon Studios new Ultra Mode for displaying graphics (released early with Issue 17). The result is stunning. From the soaring heights of Emperor Coles tower to the dark and disturbed waters around the Keyes Reactors, every last inch of Praetoria looks stunning. Of course beauty is only skin deep.
Resistance vs PPD
Going Rogue however does have real depth. While the denizens of Paragon and the Rogue Isles work out where their loyalties and moralities lie, Praetoria hits you with new content and new choices right from the tutorial. All ten standard archetypes as options, new branching text trees (that Avid Readers should enjoy) and new moral choices right from the get go make for an exhilarating new game experience. Not everyone in Praetoria is happy after all. They are under the rule of a man who, granted he saved the Earth, appears to hold power forever. Enter the Going Rogue moral choices. Loyalist and Resistance.
From the very start of the tutorial you are going to be presented with choices. Do you support the world Emperor Cole has built or are you going to free the people? Of course, if it were that clear cut it could be considered boring. Each side has depth to it. Each side has its troublemakers and its peacemakers. However you decide to lean, there will be plenty of opportunity as you pass through Praetoria to revisit your decisions and change sides as your own story and that of the world unfolds.
Cherry on Top
City of Heroes: Going Rogue does have some more goodies. If all the new sights, new missions and new ways of doing things weren’t enough. Of course we’re talking about new ways to dish out rightful amounts of damage. Going Rogue has brought in four new power sets with two of them having been available for some time for pre-order customers in the game. All of them are only available with purchase of Going Rogue.
– Dual Pistols (Blaster, Defender, Corruptor)
– Demon Summoning (Masterminds)
– Kinetic Melee (Tanker, Scrapper, Stalker, Brute)
– Electric Control (Controller, Dominator)
Between them, they cover the ten basic archetypes. Epic (and Villainous Epic) Archetypes continue as before but are available from level 20. What can I say about the new power sets? Simply, find me the animator for Kinetic Melee and I will marry them. Paragon Studios continues to bring new and beautiful things to the table with the powersets. From brand new and interesting control methods in Electric Control (see the dev diary here) with jumping knockdowns and mischievous Gremlins to the fluid and fantastic Dual Pistols, allowing you to rain down pain upon anyone in your way. Demon summoning binds the legions of the underworld to your will and Kinetic Melee binds the raw force to your fists. Each of them you have to try yourself to really see the best of them.
Shadow of Doubt
Six years on. Sure there are other Hero games out there and more coming soon, but if Going Rogue proves anything it is that Paragon Studios is a force to be reckoned with. Innovation, expansion and improvement. Beyond a shadow of doubt, they will continue working on City of Heroes to bring you more and more. If the brand new lower level zones (six in total) and systems weren’t enough… keep your eyes peeled. Issue 19: Incarnates is coming and promises even more for you in the future.
Jonathan plays on the NA Virtue server and can be contacted in game at @Ardua or on the OnRPG Boards.