Friday, January 14, 2011

So, you want to be a superhero?

Well, who doesn't? The problem I have found, though, is physics. Sure, you can arrange to be struck by lightning and exposed to a chemical bath, you can subject yourself to unheard-of levels of gamma radiation, and even orchestrate the horrific murder of your parents in front of your eight year-old eyes. But all of this usually just results in death, disfigurement and/or severe psychological trauma.

But thanks to a recent invention called The Computer Game, you now have the ability to clean up the streets of any number of Crime-Plagued Americas wearing the tights, cape and/or adamantium claws of your choice, and all it will cost you is $12.99 a month.

There are currently three Superhero MMOs on the market.

City of Heroes was the first MMO I ever played, way back in the long-forgotten heady summer of 2006. I dumped it once I discovered WoW, but I have to admit it still holds a special place in my heart.

Champions Online came out in September 2009. I was in the beta, and played all through launch month. But some content gaps at higher levels, a lack of community and no real "group" mechanics meant it lost its appeal very quickly.

The newest kid on the block is DC Universe Online. It promises to be action-packed, fun to play, and have an ongoing and engaging storyline to keep you hooked.

Actually, now that I read that aloud, I think they all promised that.

So I have devised a test!

Over the next month, I shall take a character from my own unpublished (and to be perfectly frank, unwritten) super-hero story, and then create and play this character in all three games. It's a way to compare this new MMO pretender to the seasoned pros already available.

I'll describe the character here first. This will force me to try and fit the in-game character to the concept, rather than change the concept to fit the tools the (reportedly fantastic) character creation process gives me.

His name is SciFi and he's a techno-mage.

For those of you who don't read science-fiction (or watch Babylon 5) a techno-mage is a person with access to advanced technology who read too much Arthur C. Clarke as a child. They use their technology to give the appearance of magical powers.

Our SciFi is a mysterious chap. He's not a member of any leagues or groups, and fills a role similar to Doctor Fate in DC Comics or Doctor Strange in Marvel: The wise and enigmatic outsider who always seems to know more than the main characters.

He does everything with force-fields, nanotechnology and holograms. For example, his cloak isn't actually real; it's just a curtain of light that hangs down his back, aurora borealis-style. It's programmed to drape and billow, even when there's no wind (which wouldn't affect it anyway)

His helm is smooth glass and encloses his head completely. Most of the time it is plain and opaque, or a mass of swirling dark clouds. But he can make it display anything he wants it to. Sometimes when he talks, it shows a face, but no-one knows if it's really the face of the man inside.

Now to throw myself into the depths of digital crime-fighting (an ironic turn of phrase, given how I tend to source my movies and music nowadays) and to report back with a full review.

If I'm not back in two weeks, build a statue of me in Metropolis.

Holding an eagle.

continue to part 2

1 comment:

  1. I'm really looking forward to the results from this one.

    And wouldn't someone who could orchestrate parenticide at eight already be well on the way to super-VILLAINy?