Of City of Heroes, Livestreams, and Singing

This past Wednesday night, nearly the entire Massively Overpowered staff gathered together to play City of Heroes on the Homecoming rogue servers whilst being livestreamed by our own MJ Guthrie. I’ve been meaning to give CoH a try — having never played back in the day — for a while, and it seemed like a good team-building exercise, so I opted to swallow my stage fright and join in.

The Massively Overpowered staff in City of HeroesI rolled a blaster, mainly because Bree told me it wasn’t a good choice for a newbie. I focused on pistols as my main power set and went with a Victorian-inspired outfit — I was thinking Helen Magnus.

It was a fun evening. I only died once. It wasn’t a good way to learn about the game, though, as we mostly just zerged through things.

To that end, I’ve now made a villain alt to play solo. She’s an Elf, because of course she is. I went brute as my archetype, initially with savage melee and regeneration as my power sets. However, I didn’t like the aesthetics of savage, so I used the ability to import and export costumes to quickly reroll with psionic powers instead, which seem to fit a bit better.

I’m still very early in the game, so my impressions are very basic, but so far I’m enjoying it. I’m not sure if it’s something I’ll sink a lot of time into in the long term, but I see the appeal.

I tell you, that character creator could consume my life. I never thought I’d say this, but it might have too many options. It’s overwhelming. Each character took me at least an hour to create because I just got lost in all the options.

My Elfy brute in City of HeroesWith the wealth of costume and build options, I can see why so many CoH refugees ended up in The Secret World. In a cosmic irony, we may now find ourselves in a world where TSW refugees flee to CoH.

I am impressed with how incredibly well the graphics have held up. They’re clearly not state of the art, but this is still a very nice-looking game, in a cartoony sort of way. I especially like how moody the villain starting area is. I think I heard something about the Homecoming team tweaking the graphics, so that might have something to do with it.

The combat is also better than I expected. I’d heard a lot of people say it was very slow and old school, but it’s actually not that bad. It’s very much “whack-a-mole with cooldowns,” as I tend to call these things, but there’s very little downtime in my rotations, and the lack of auto-attack is welcome. It’s a long way from great, but it’s tolerable.

On the downside, so far there doesn’t seem to be much of a story, and you all know how important that is to me. If anything kills my interest in CoH, it will likely be that.

So it’s early days, but at least for now, I see more City of Heroes in my future. If nothing else we’ll probably be doing more streams over at MOP. Surprisingly I had almost no nerves at all. I guess being surrounded by familiar people (and not reading Twitch chat) helps.

My steampunk blaster in City of HeroesTechnically, this wasn’t my first time being on a livestream. I was on a number of Moiren’s TSW streams back in the day. I just wasn’t on voice chat then.

Speaking of Moiren, she’s been trying to hit world first level 200 in Twitch Sings. Now, I’ll admit I don’t really follow Twitch Sings, so I don’t really know what that means, but I’ve never known her to be unrealistic in her goals, so I don’t think she’d be trying if there wasn’t a decent chance she’d succeed. Maybe head on over to her channel to cheer her on as she pushes on to 200.

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Lucifer Season Four Is a Major Improvement

I was saddened when Lucifer was cancelled, and heartened when Netflix picked it up for a fourth season. Not just because I’m a fan of the show, but because it deserved a better send-off than season three.

The official logo for the TV series LuciferThe last season may have ended on a high note, but boy did it drag in the middle. Petty interpersonal drama and repetitive storylines sucked almost all of the fun out of a show that was always dumb but rarely dull.

So when season four came to Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hoped it would improve things, but I was concerned to see the tired writing of season three continue.

I am pleased to report, however, that season four is not just a massive improvement over its predecessor but easily the strongest season of Lucifer to date.

I’m not entirely without complaints. There are some stumbles. Maze going full evil last season is basically just ignored (though maybe that’s for the best), and the ending is a bit of an anticlimax in some ways. The season’s antagonist definitely deserved more of a comeuppance.

But there’s so much to love here. You can tell that lacking the oversight of a mainstream network freed the writers up to be much more creative. Like iZombie, they’re now unafraid to de-emphasize the case of the week, or shake up its formula. It’s still a bit repetitive, but things are not quite so painfully predictable this time around, and the meta-plot is given much more attention.

Season four deals with the aftermath of Chloe discovering that Lucifer has been telling the truth all this time, that he truly is the Devil. As he deals with that, he is reunited with a figure from his past: Eve, the first sinner.

The title character unleashes his demonic strength in season four of LuciferThis could have been another tedious love triangle, and there is some element of that, but mostly this serves as a fascinating of exploration of who Lucifer truly is: an angel, or a demon?

The growth and character development that was so lacking last season is in full force here. Both Lucifer and Chloe evolve a lot over the course of the season, and it makes for a very satisfying arc.

Speaking of Chloe, amazingly she has suddenly metamorphisized into an interesting character. Even Lauren German’s acting seems far better. I don’t know what happened, but I kind of feel bad for all the smack I’ve talked about her in the past. Chloe still isn’t my favourite character on Lucifer, but she does now feel like a real, three-dimensional person who is an asset to the cast.

I was also impressed by how much Amenadiel has evolved. He’s finally worked that stick out of his ass, and he’s become a very likable character.

Linda’s about the same as ever, but she was always perfect just the way she is. Dan and Ella’s stories this season both have potential, but neither of them really gets enough attention or delivers a satisfying pay-off. Ella’s still adorable, though.

All in all, it’s a kickass season.

The good news keeps rolling as Lucifer has already been renewed for a fifth season. This will be the final season, but I think this is about the right time to end it. As I was watching the finale of season four, I was thinking to myself, “This feels like there’s room for about one more season before the story starts getting stale.”

I look forward to it.