Free as in beer and all that.
I started playing City of Heroes since the day it launched, and it was the only MMO that I played for the longest time. There were a few others that I tried out, but none stuck the same way. I guess it’s the idea of playing a Super Hero that made it for me 🙂
The years went on, I paid monthly, and stated to play less and less. It was after not playing for a couple of months did I finally decide to hang it up and call it quits. Cancelled the account and went on with life.
Then, one day, I got an email from a Super Group I used to belong to. It was the only time I played with the same group of people every week. It was nice as we all progressed at the same time and these people knew how to play. Something that you don’t run into often enough in games like these. Back to the email. It told me that COH was going free, and it peeked my interest.
Logging onto the website told me I would return as a prestige player, meaning that it would be free but I would retain all my old achievements. This was good to know as I had built up powers and the like that I didn’t want to loose 🙂
Weeks went by and finally, yesterday, City of Heroes Freedom launched. I fired up the client and gave it a whirl. The following is my account of about two hours of play:
(as a note: If I mention that there’s something new, it could just be new to me)
Logging in is the same, and I was expecting to see that I had two character slots. Seems that, as a returning player, I actually get 9. This is nice. Granted, there are more than 9 servers, but whatever. That, and I didn’t loose any characters, but I can’t unlock them all. Still not bad.
Went onto Freedom, unlocked a slot and created a character. There is a new option that mentions Play Type. This is new to me, and really all it does is filter the Archetypes. Nice for new people.
After that character creation is still pretty much the same. Choose your archetype, power sets, starting powers. It was nice to see that, as a free player, my choices for everything seemed to be the same as before I left. I suspect that there will be new power sets in the future that I would have to pay to unlock, but right now there’s plenty to choose from. Also, the two archetypes that would have to pay for I’ve never been able to play anyway. To get them you would have to have one character at 50, and I never got that far 🙁
The costume screen is the same, and a lot of the unlockables seem to be costume related. Doesn’t bother me none 🙂
Jumped into the tutorial, and it was all new. It also had this cool comic book intro. And it’s interesting in that, at one point you get to choose to either help a hero or kill them. Your choice then sends you to either Villans or Heroes. Which is a little odd, as the archetype are already split up into hero/villan, so I suppose it’s possible to be a hero in the villan setting. Could be interesting to try.
After that, to be honest, it was the same old same old. The updated graphics are great to look at and adds a lot to the game.
Before I logged in I was rather worried at how limited it might be, and how that limitation would be thrown into my face. I’ve played other free-to-play MMOs, and they seem to give you things that you would have to pay for to use. COH doesn’t seem to be doing this. I’m not getting rewards that I can’t use. But if I wanted to, I could buy power sets, costume parts, etc. But that’s my choice. I just hope that the purchased stuff isn’t over powered that it causes imbalance. Not that COH was ever unbalanced 😉
Also, according to the devs, there will still be plenty of free updates, so use cheapies won’t be left in the dark or forgotten.
I guess the question is; is the fact that it’s free enough for me to come back on a regular basis? Or for that matter, to convince people I used to play with to come back?
If nothing else, it relieves the guilt of paying for something that I’m not using. And at this point, playing for a couple hours a week, hell, a few hours a month, is still worth it.
So, if you used to play COH, would you come back? And if you never played, is the fact that it’s free enough for you to try?