The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

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mharr
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby mharr » Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:19 pm

Seems like the best case scenario is a network of private servers with maybe a system in place allowing movement of characters between them. There are too many practical risks with centralisation, and the game admins being a nest of KiA proud boys is one of them. LMK when the BreadCoH network spins up.

McDohl
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby McDohl » Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:20 pm

jfc the experience I had this weekend was so fun, and pure, and viscerally joyful that seeing it all collapse under the weight of chan culture and transphobia is making me sick to my stomach.

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Thad
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:41 am

McDohl wrote:jfc the experience I had this weekend was so fun, and pure, and viscerally joyful that seeing it all collapse under the weight of chan culture and transphobia is making me sick to my stomach.

The phrase "this is why we can't have nice things" comes to mind.

It sucks. People suck. And there's a significant overlap between fandoms for my favorite things and people who suck. I never was much of an online gamer anyway, so I don't personally experience much of the toxicity that online gaming can bring. But I sure feel bad hearing about how it affects other people. Especially in a context like this; CoH was really the only MMORPG I ever got into (or at least the only graphical one; I played a fair amount of Gemstone 3 back in the '90s), I loved our little community (at least until Dogstar brought a bunch of dummies into it), it was a pleasant surprise to hear someone had revived it, and...well, now here we are. Here's hoping another server gets up and running, with a better class of people.

Anyway, here's every City of Heroes image on my website. Or...I don't know; they're not showing up in preview but when I right click and View Image they work, so I don't know WTF's going on. Can anyone else see these?

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Mazian
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Mazian » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:45 am

Thad wrote: Can anyone else see these?

Sure can.

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Thad
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:48 am

Cool, thanks.

Wonder if I have any more tucked away. Something to put on the list of things to look for the next time I excavate an old hard drive.

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Mongrel
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Mongrel » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:02 am

I can definitely see 'em.

A chronicle of good times.
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beatbandito
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby beatbandito » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:02 am

If this kind of chan-on-RPer drama isn't what ya'll expected in a return to CoX, I don't know what you remember the fun times being.

Anyway, since the last post in the discord was from a different admin saying there would be a major update in 24 hours, after Innoc got demoted, I'm still not totally over this yet. Besides I don't get why people are acting like other servers will be a thing, when the entire point is Leo's I25 code is the only thing that turns the I24 source files into an actual game.
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mharr
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby mharr » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:24 am

beatbandito wrote:Besides I don't get why people are acting like other servers will be a thing, when the entire point is Leo's I25 code is the only thing that turns the I24 source files into an actual game.

I was assuming the existence proof alone would deliver a huge shot in the arm to other reverse engineering projects like SEGS, though it could easily take a year to catch up.

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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Niku » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:18 am

Whenever I think of CoH it's stuff like the Hollywood Squares games in the park and the TaxiBots. I just never dipped into any other MMO that had the same level of player expressiveness combined with the tools to support it while still having a solid framework to "color inside the lines" with that kept it from being a total free for all of something like Second Life or creative Minecraft.

Honestly a lot of my favorite things end up being "you can be creative, but there are severe limitations" because trying to break guidelines is usually way more fun than having none.
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Bal
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Bal » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:50 am

I never got in to CoH/V, but watching you guys and Sharkey's blogs about it was a great time. The only MMO that let you LIVE your puns. Stand out characters in my mind, other than Sharkey's, are The Frivolous Suit, a Thad creation as I recall, and a telekinetic character called The Invisible Hand made by Norondor, among others.

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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Mongrel » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:43 am

Yeah, it always seemed like you guys were having an absolute riot of a time.

So, really dumb question here, but what was the actual gameplay like? I mean clearly there were minor mobs as well as raid bosses supervillains to take down, and I assume there was some PVP (but I have no idea how important it was), but I don't know much about the nuts and bolts.
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beatbandito
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby beatbandito » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:01 pm

The gameplay was an awkward sandwich between standard AA/targeted powers and current-day action that I think works better than either.

There's no auto-attack, only GCD skills. Most are targeted, there are also AoEs, cones, and other standard area effects, but I don't think any pure 'skillshots'. The two standout factors are probably 1) the travel powers like super speed, jumping, flight and teleport for traversal, and 2) the class systems. There's a ton of customization to the point where you could have 10 characters with, say ice/fire (or mind/energy, super strength/dark miasma) that cover 5 different roles and all have completely different builds. You could also have a demon that has natural dark energies that power their attacks and future technology they deploy for defense. And while that last sentence was mostly RP as you can only have one origin, the character and power effects customization lets you visually develop things pretty precisely.

The actual nightly events are the usual MMO quests open world quests, instances, dungeons, but with a pretty good flair to sell the superhero/villain dynamic. The scripted lines for civilians and mooks just out on the street that have triggers for your character's achievements, badges for exploration and unique enemies with drops, a very basic AI system for the civilians that wander the streets and into and out of buildings, all while the glitter and particles of the other players shine in the distance.

So basically, it's mechanics that are a little better than standard MMOs, but not gimmicky, with tons of customization and a well built and maintained world.

edit: customization, it's the customization that people like. While they were already altered to such a degree by issue 10 of now 25 that there's no point trying to recreate it now, my original main was a squishy CC/Buff build that I turned into a peerless tank in PVP.
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Mongrel » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:06 pm

An MMO that doesn't rely on shoddy, artificially gated content? What is this nonsense!
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Niku » Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:34 pm

The badge system ruled. It was pretty much just achievements before those were a huge thing, but it meant there was even more progression not just being tied to beating up mooks and doing missions. There were badges just for going and finding out of the way places, reading the lore around the world, finishing story arcs, killing specific enemy types, etc etc. It was jut really comprehensive in a way that once again encouraged customization and playing how you felt like. Most of them just let you put a title on your name, but that was enough. I'm pretty sure I never did end up reaching the level cap with any character, but I pretty much always felt like there was SOMETHING fun or interesting to do when I logged on.

Plus as Beat broke down, the combat system was just really solid for what it was. I loved playing WildStar with its massive number of skillshots for a month or two, but the rest of the game just didn't hold me. WoW is about as polished as it gets, but the actual "action" was never especially fun (which is why I never really got hooked in until I finally just stuck with healing, which was way more engaging than DPS management to me). CoX split the difference in a way that anyone could pick up but which still had just enough nuance to keep you paying attention if you wanted to.

Honestly I'm waiting for the dust to settle before dealing with any of this private server business, but I'd love to just run around in the world again for a while even if it doesn't stick like it used to.
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:02 pm

I think Beat and Niku have done a great job of explaining the game's appeal, but here's my 2 cents:

First of all, my love of superheroes is well-documented. There are a lot of MMOs, and there are a lot of superhero games, but this was the only superhero MMO. There's never been any other game quite like it, with a superhero setting that big, with so much variety in its locations and enemy groups, and firmly rooted in the bright colors and over-the-top melodrama of the genre's past -- giant monsters and mad scientists over grimdark and angst.

And then there's the character creation. The character creation was *great*. Those of you who read Memoirs of an Urban Vigilante will remember how much fun Sharkey had playing with it; for those who didn't, see my link upthread. There were so many looks, so many origins, and so many power sets to choose from. And that's before you even start.

The gameplay was solid, but the real fun came from fucking around. Doing group photos like that timelapse one I posted, running around the city square in a giant line that looked like a katamari. One time we all dressed up in outfits that looked like swimsuits and towels and went and hung out in the fountain (that's the screenshot where I'm shirtless and lying facedown in the water). And then a superhero named Mr. Bubble showed up. Not one of our guys, just a glorious coincidence. It was that kind of game.

Niku mentioned the taxibots. They were a fast-travel system. And they weren't part of the game; they were players. They chose teleportation as their travel skill, dressed themselves in yellow and black checkerboard costumes, and stood around offering to take people to other locations. That was the kind of thing people did in that game.

Beat mentioned the traversal skills. Flight was kind of pants (way too slow; I got the impression it was pretty nerfed because if you could just fly like Superman then nobody would choose the other options), but super-speed and jumping were fun as hell.

All in all, it was a setting that was bursting with creativity and tools that encouraged it.

I should add that I didn't stick around as long as some of the other guys; I remember playing the beta of City of Villains but I think I was gone by the time the final version was released. Never saw any of the PvP stuff, or the base-building and other perks that were introduced later. I didn't check it out again once it went F2P; my recollection of my last time playing was that most of the old crew wasn't around, and playing with the Circle of Jerks felt like playing with a bunch of randos instead of with my friends. (I remember I kicked one of the new guys off the squad because he was being obnoxious, and then Dogstar turned around and immediately re-invited him. "Bunch of randos, and also Dogstar" was not the superhero team I signed up for.)

The best period was definitely when Sharkey was still writing Urban Vigilante and we were all just kind of goofing around. Though the missions could be a lot of fun, too; we managed to work ourselves into a pretty well-oiled machine (though I remember at least one occasion when we were waiting for everyone to show up and get into position to fight some kind of giant monster, and Saturn went full Leeroy Jenkins before we were ready; good times).

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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby beatbandito » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:25 pm

Thad wrote:"Bunch of randos, and also Dogstar" was not the superhero team I signed up for.

Uuuuuhhhhh... Haven't popped into the discord yet, have you?

edit:
Thad wrote:I got the impression it was pretty nerfed because if you could just fly like Superman then nobody would choose the other options
There's a new tree now that has flight and teleport in one. The regular trees still have advantages down their own lines, but overall it feels like things have been tweeked a lot. I'm not sure how much is updates and how much is memory and changes in playstyle.
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:07 pm

beatbandito wrote:
Thad wrote:"Bunch of randos, and also Dogstar" was not the superhero team I signed up for.

Uuuuuhhhhh... Haven't popped into the discord yet, have you?


I have not.

If Dogstar's back, I'm not going to hold a grudge over how he managed the group, like, fourteen years ago or whenever this was; that wasn't really the point I was making.

My point was just that by that point it didn't seem like the old crew anymore, it felt like playing with a pickup team. Which mostly wasn't how I enjoyed playing the game.

Could be I just showed up on an off day, too; I know some of you guys stuck around for the long haul. IIRC TA was there right up till the end?

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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby TA » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:40 pm

I was, yes. And yeah, there were a bunch of Big Problems in the Jerks, throughout, which being older and wiser people now than we were in the mid-late 2000s I think are a lot more apparent. People we shouldn't have listened to, people we shouldn't have let stay as long as we did. Toxicity that was tolerated for an unfathomably long time, because the ol' Nerd Social Fallacy kept rearing its ugly head.
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby TA » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:30 am

beatbandito wrote:If this kind of chan-on-RPer drama isn't what ya'll expected in a return to CoX, I don't know what you remember the fun times being.

Anyway, since the last post in the discord was from a different admin saying there would be a major update in 24 hours, after Innoc got demoted, I'm still not totally over this yet. Besides I don't get why people are acting like other servers will be a thing, when the entire point is Leo's I25 code is the only thing that turns the I24 source files into an actual game.


Also, Innoc wasn't demoted in the least. He's still got that grey "mod" role that no other admin or moderator has. He remains the admin and owner of that server and that project.

The "Major Update" is that a third party is talking to NCSoft about sanctioning third-party servers, and went up on twitter hours before. And that instead of bringing on the trans woman who offered community relations, they hired some fucking brony to do it instead.
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Re: The Circle of Jerks Ride Again!

Postby Thad » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:02 am

TA wrote:I was, yes. And yeah, there were a bunch of Big Problems in the Jerks, throughout, which being older and wiser people now than we were in the mid-late 2000s I think are a lot more apparent. People we shouldn't have listened to, people we shouldn't have let stay as long as we did. Toxicity that was tolerated for an unfathomably long time, because the ol' Nerd Social Fallacy kept rearing its ugly head.


Yeah, there was a lot of that going 'round here, too.

I like to joke that I wish I'd banned more people, but...I'm not entirely joking.

Really what I wish is that I'd been able to tell who was worth trying to correct and who should be written off. I gave some people too many chances, and defended people who didn't deserve it, and you probably know who I'm talking about and they're not here anymore. On the other hand, there were guys who used to say some pretty unfortunate stuff but who grew up and don't do that anymore (and I like to think I'm in that group myself). Could have saved a lot of time and drama if I'd been able to tell which was which.

At the risk of getting mushy or maudlin: I love you guys. The reason I'm still here after...hell, seventeen years of the boards, and a year or so on #finalfight before that? It's not just inertia and stubbornness; it's that this community really is special. I'll admit there are some folks I'm glad aren't here anymore, but everybody who's still here, I'm glad you are. Even if we don't always get along, even if we drive each other nuts sometimes, this group we've got is a good fucking group.

You all take care, now.

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