City of Heroes: Homecoming adds numerical power cooldowns, nerfs Death from Below, adds User Agreement

    
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It’s patch day for City of Heroes’ Homecoming servers, and it’s a fun one as it effectively launches the numerical power cooldown indicators teased earlier this week. This feature is technically in beta, and you’ll have to turn it on in options, but at least it is an option now for the game’s 95,000 registered players. And while there are plenty of bug and crash fixes on deck, players can also look forward to tweaks for the base editor, graphics additions, face texture repairs (tl;dr: a whole bunch of weird faces just became usable), a rebalance for merit acquisition and conversion, and a ton of improvements to specific powers. For example, I main an Earth/Storm Controller, so I’m thrilled to see logical quality-of-life changes like this one:

“Immobilize Powers in Controller and Dominator primary power sets should no longer make their targets immune to KnockUp. KnockBack will be converted to KnockDown. This helps sets like Ice and Earth, as their AOE Immobilize power will no longer make their AOE Knockback power useless.”

On the downside? They’ve nerfed Death From Below, sigh. That was the instanced group content that a lot of folks would hop into over and over for a… well not fast but faster ride to 50. It’ll now grant less experience once you’ve hit level 10, up to level 20, at which point it grants exactly half as much experience as it did at level 10, all the way up to level 50. “Because this was far more accessible to anyone that wanted to participate, and it did have one key benefit (allowing you to ‘skip’ the first 10~ levels that you’ve played a hundred times), we wanted to be careful with how we approached it,” the team writes. “As described above the XP rate starts dropping down after level 10, and drops down to be more in line with other content as you approach level 20. This means you can still do 1-2 runs to get yourself to level 10-15, but after that DFB is no longer the most efficient thing to do.”

The whole patch notes thread is worth a look, as devs have also posted images of some of the graphics upgrades to faces and powers that have been made.

Also worth your notice? The new user agreement the player group has implemented as of the update this morning, as well as the game’s latest code of conduct revisions. The announcement of a formal user agreement by a rogue server caused consternation across City of Heroes forums and Discords last night, but Homecoming says that its chief goal here is to comply with US COPPA laws and GDPR-related data protection regulations, as well as to protect itself from user-generated litigation. Of course, it won’t protect any such shadow server from litigation from the copyright holder itself, but as we’ve noted, NCsoft has yet to pursue any of these servers, including the ones who’ve announced that their companies are hosting in not-at-all-shadowy locations, so it remains to be seen how that will shake out. As always, we strongly urge potential players of this and any other rogue server, City of Heroes or otherwise, to read everything you’re asked to agree to for your own security.

Here’s what else is going on around the CoH rogue server community:

We heard from a player named Tortoise this week who put the game into a fresh perspective for me this week: People are coming to these City of Heroes servers to get actual world firsts. This is happening. “Our group, Team Veracity, completed the badge achievement The Really Hard Way on the Homecoming City of Heroes server,” he told us. “This badge was considered by the devs to be practically impossible when it was released, requiring players to defeat the (current) final boss of the game without lowering his level to a manageable state.” Congrats, folks!

We checked in with the Ouroboros dev team for a status update! “OuroDev is getting close to a Volume 2 Issue 1 release,” a rep told us. “Recently, OuroDev has been working closely with the Rebirth and Pleiades servers to identify and clear several crashes and zoning issues for this release. The team has a few tasks left to complete, which are listed on the bug tracker. After this, we will publish a release with binaries, data, and setup/config guides. After the Issue 1 release, Ouroboros will lift the feature freeze and start considering requests and accepting code for new features for Issue 2.”

Finally, earlier this week we posted about a rash of hack attempts on multiple City of Heroes servers, and unfortunately, we’ve seen evidence that hacks (and threats to pursue future hacks) are continuing. But we’ve got good news out of the Discord-backed Rebirth server, which was taken out of commission because of that hack this past weekend: It’s back online now thanks to some timely hosting assistance from Ouroboros.

05/30/2019 11:53 AM EDT
Servers are back up, so we snapped a quick pic of the cooldown timers in action and how to toggle them on. Do note you can decide whether you want them on the top, bottom, or center, and you can disable them entirely if you like.

05/31/2019 12:10 PM EDT
The Reborn/Pleiades server is planning Pride celebrations all throughout the month of June, starting tomorrow, June 1st, complete with costume contests, tourneys, and raids.

That particular server’s gotten a big infrastructure upgrade too.

Got City of Heroes community news you think we should cover? Drop us a note!
Confused about the City of Heroes rogue servers? Our extensive coverage can be found right here, and we’ve posted a list of all the servers we know about too. The short version is that this spring a leaker exposed a secret City of Heroes server running for the last six years using the sunsetted game’s original code, which was ultimately turned over to the community. There are now multiple player teams working on multiple public and private servers for the beloved superhero MMORPG, with over 95000 people on Homecoming alone. So far, NCsoft has not commented publicly or taken legal action on any of them, and the company is in talks with players regarding the game’s future.
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Roger Melly

Nice to see it back from the dead . :)

I just hope some sort of deal can be done to ensure Homecoming’s continued existence .

I wonder if other defunct mmos that don’t have private servers already like Tabula Rasa could make a comeback .

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[MSG15 Elite] Elegy

Thanks for mentioning team Veracity >:3

Celestia
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Celestia

How is all this real? The reality of CoH’s return still feels like a dream. A wonderful wonderful wonderful dream.

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Hikari Kenzaki

I think a lot of the farming problems are specific to certain servers within Homecoming.

I’m on Everlasting and yes, there are DFBs running. Yes, there are Mothership Raids running.

But, If I want to get a team together in any zone at any level, I can typically do so in 5 minutes or less.

If I want to form or join a Task Force, I can typically do so in 5-10 minutes.

There’s simply no shortage of people playing the game the way you want to play, at least on my server. If you’re on a server where everyone is racing to endgame or racing to PvP… maybe you’re on the wrong server?

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Dug From The Earth

DFB getting nerfed is fine, especially how they did it. I always saw it as nothing more than a “head start”. Something to jump past levels 2 through 10.

The problem with a game that starts you with basically one skill, that gradually gives more to you as you level, is that starting out is always a slow, drull and boring event. It can even feel a lot more challenging than the high levels simply because you have such a limited arsenal.

10 is a great point to head out there and start experiencing the rest of the game. For most classes, you can have 4 primary, 2 secondary, and a travel power by 10. (or however you want to mix and match them.) For most, that means 4 base attacks, 2 support abilities, and a “weeeeee” ability to move around. You shouldnt find yourself attacking and then sitting there waiting with nothing to do while cooldowns refrresh.

10 is around when most of the actual real storyline missions start to take place too. No more tutorial crap, no more disjointed random task stuff. You get actual story arcs, often with unique mission maps, cut scenes/dialog, etc. Of course, you can opt to skip all that and go right to doing radio/newspaper missions instead, if you just want to farm random missions with no story.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Yeah, DFB is a good start, but I’d never farm it to 50. The most I ever ran DFB on live was to get all 4 buffs, which promptly expired in a level or 2 anyway.

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Castagere Shaikura

I think reducing the cooldown on your first two skills would fix all of this.

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Dug From The Earth

that would help the feeling of slow game play for sure… however, i cant help but think of the balance issues it would have later in the game. Once slotted with enhancements, your first 2 abilities can be pretty powerful. Having them on a faster cool down might make them a bit unbalanced.

I think what they ultimately needed to do was add at least 2 origin attacks as well. Sorta like how you can get Taser, Mutagen, Throwing Knives, etc… all pretty strong at low level, and completely worthless once you get to about level 15. Maybe your origin attack with a heavily buffed brawl skill? Brawl is 150% garbage.

Maybe what they should do is buff brawl to be about 3x stronger, with a ranged option for ranged classes, and an added knockdown effect for melee.

I personally both love and hate the P2W attacks (the nemesis staff and blackwand). They break the theme of all my character designs, and have super clunky animations. They do however fill those long boring gaps of cooldowns between my actual abilities though. Id much rather have an improved “brawl” over those.

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Chris Meadows

A little surprised there was no mention of the Vanguard Merit conversion nerf, which did on the high end the same thing that the DFB nerf did on the low end–pruned back a reward that had been so good it enticed people to do it to the exclusion of all else.

But boy were there a lot of annoyed players…

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terminallynerdy

I cannot begin to describe how happy cooldown timers make me. I will be placing them center on every power happily.

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Castagere Shaikura

The nerf to DFB needed to happen as it was all anyone was doing to get to max lvl. I will never ever understand the need to get to max lvl so fast. You miss out on a lot of the missions some are really fun. 95k on Homecoming is amazing and the dev team is really doing a great job too. Last night I got trapped in an invasion in a higher lvl zone and had a blast with all the players taking it down. I never smiled so much from dying.

xpsync
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xpsync

“I will never ever understand the need to get to max lvl so fast.”

Yep, right there with you, you’re short changing yourself when you do that.

I mean i can’t say i’ve not power leveled anything, and got caught up in the thrill of it , so i know what it feels like, but that was after i knew the game inside out, and already had well over half dozen characters all properly leveled. The power leveling was done on 2 toons then had enough, was like a new way to level and was cool and interesting at first, then it got boring.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

“I will never ever understand the need to get to max lvl so fast.”

Yep, right there with you, you’re short changing yourself when you do that.

Should be very easy to understand where it comes from.

Games that are designed such that the only time you can pick and choose who you play with is at end game instead of the thin level band you’re in pretty much makes this mandatory. Yes I’m aware that CoX’s level sync up/down tools are considered really good.

Another design practice that encourages that behavior is the dearth of repeatable content with relevant rewards at any place other than end-game. “For the fun of it” only goes so far. Unless there’s a better reason to run something it will be abandoned quickly.

Finally, even if those points don’t matter in CoX getting to end-game opens up all of the content, skill, and gearing options.

xpsync
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xpsync

Fast kills and easy xp is what started the “end game only” crap.

EQ2, you spent months leveling a tier, a tier! lmao ffs each tier had it’s own armor sets to strive for, it’s own raids, all end game stuff for each tier…

so yea why do that 6 to 10 times, when you can cheap out on development and make it once.

xpsync
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xpsync

Revisiting the fast as possible to cap, when bfa was coming my youngest boy, teen, wanted to play bfa but none of his friends wanted too, so i jumped in with him, and yea, i just recently reactivated my account in anticipation of classic coming, i want to revisit some of the lower areas again and such and omg…

it really dawned on me the totally different play styles, he hammers the content and complains the whole way how there are too many quests, and i rightfully agreed as i’m trying to keep up with a kid on summer break so i’m plowing through as fast as i can which was fruitless endeavor but yea felt like quest overload and because you are not reading the why you are doing what you are doing click, click, click, click, click CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH , click, click, click, click, uggggggg! so monotonousness.

Lucky 4 me :) his friends changed their minds and i got out at 118 lmao!

Anyway, I log in a couple nights ago, haven’t played again since that night, but i did this quest and yea i really enjoyed the story and felt right, in that ok this is why you are doing this, so satisfying, refreshing to just slow the f down and enjoy some really good content, and it’s scary to think of the amount of people playing wow who miss all that? Some really great content, Teddies and Tea what a quest, so awesome.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Sure there’s some good story content in WoW if you’re willing to dig around. While I’m all for a good story looking for that in an MMO is like ordering chicken at a seafood restaurant.

MMO’s live and die on population numbers. They need to keep players engaged so that they continue to spend money. The way stories are presented in MMO’s is not a sustainable way of doing it. No studio has yet managed to produce enough consistently interesting story content to warrant a monthly sub. While there are some gems it’s mostly filler content or you’re going to be waiting months between installments.

Bioware naively tried to deliver just story for an annual update (4.0) to SW:TOR. That didn’t work out so hot.

The bottom line is: If a player wants story why aren’t they looking at single player games where story is (or should be) the studio’s core competency?

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Dug From The Earth

One of my biggest disappointments with CoH since ive been back is how EASILY so many zones and story lines are simply bypassed because you happened to join up with a group doing radio/newspaper missions. It just feels like you are wasting a HUGE portion of the game.

Sure, you can head to Ouroboros and use the time travel feature to go back and do them, but 99% of the time you will be doing this solo, as Ive never seen anyone caring to group for this. Compared to actually being level 10 and asking chat “hey, anyone wanna join me to take down Frostfire?” where there is usually several who will want to tag along.

Even trying to go story arc to story arc, avoiding all the random radio missions, there are so many equal level zones in the game that you will most likely never even set foot into. For example, these zones all share a rather large level range together, and each has plenty of content to level you up past them without having to go to more than one of these zones:

— Kings Row
— The Hollows
— Perez Park

or

— Boomtown
— Skyway City
— Steel Canyon

And for each of those groups, there are other zones that partially overlap.

Its just way to easy to skip and accidentally bypass story content in this game the first time through.

xpsync
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xpsync

“EASILY so many zones and story lines are simply bypassed because you happened to join up with a group”

Thank you!

Meeting my swl friends i thought was a sign, turns out kind of a pita here tbh. SWL required focus and synergy, here it’s just a xp party time, everyone just doing their thing, which yea i love it, but knowing who are with really doesn’t matter. I love grouping and they know it, and yea i think might need to fire up an alt account to get some peace to enjoy the stories.

It’s why i’ve mentioned before my swg guild is tops, i go lone wolf is not a problem, i turn off chat all together, well another tab but still can flat out ignore the fact im in a guild.

Sometimes i dunno, groups can be distracting when you are trying to learn or just do your own thing, prolly just a me thing.

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Crowe

So… you’re complaining that the game has too many options… too much content. And some appeals more to other people?

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Dug From The Earth

Not even in the slightest
I will complain about people with selective reading however, as well as make a raspberry sound at you.

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Castagere Shaikura

This is what I mean too. You learn how to play your class better when you do this content.

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Roger Christie

Typically, if you’re doing arcs, you’re mostly going to hit only one of each of those. If you do Trickshot’s and Eagle Eye’s arc, they’ll take you right through King’s Row and Steel Canyon with little left over for other zones.

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Doubleplusgood

I am glad they nerfed DFB. The changes are perfect. You can use DFB to get to level 10 and then go find teams to do regular content like radio missions. Last night I tried to do that with a new stone controller and it was not possible. The lfg channel was spammed with non stop DFB team requests. So I tried to advertise and start my own level 10 group. I did not get a single reply. It didn’t help that my advertisement was gone in seconds by DFB spam. I ended up soloing some missions. Hopefully with the nerf it will be different tonight and I can get a level 10 team! and no more DFB spam.

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IronSalamander8 .

Agreed. I pointed that out in my post too. It was insane xp when we ran it with 4 of us, but I wouldn’t want to make it my be-all, end-all activity in game.

xpsync
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xpsync

That’s how i feel about my cap toon, it was just a blurr. Sure the grouping action is fantastic fun, but is that it? all peeps going to do?

I know there is lots of exploring to do, the story arcs are off the charts good content… (it’s all i really want to do, not in an overly group mindset atm, been kinda enjoying solo’in lately)

but the only thing I’ve done in coh is CRUSH STUFF INTO OBLIVION!!! for much if not all my toon’s existence.

I mean sure i could say naw, but it’s that whatever, missing out??? i dunno, it’s a great group you’re more than welcome and it was fun, but all i could think about was i’m missing out on all that story, and all the chit not actively progressing in galaxies. So coh is on cooldown atm :)

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Crowe

While I’m ok with the changes, I sorta liked DFB as it was. It kept all of the people who wanted to PL in one spot… usually away from me! Now the mission teams/TFs will be flooded with people wanting the same speed of levelling.

Semi-related, I ran a TF with a brute yesterday who ghosted on through every mission straight to the end goal without consulting anyone else on the team. Just wanted to get in, get the merits for the least amount of time spent, and move on. Definitely not my cup of tea. I considered dropping but it was a really short TF and I didn’t want to tool over the other people in the group. Suffice it to say, I’ve added a person to my “do not group with” list. Some people just find a way to rush things.