Saturday, April 17, 2010

Allow me to introduce...

HELLFIRE LOVER!

Wait a minute. This is the succubus that's been terrorizing the Rogue Isles, robbing banks, kidnapping influential people, and murdering her opposition? I mean, the fanged skulls look somewhat impressive, but the whole package isn't all that, right?

Wait a minute. I think I got it.

Allow me to introduce...

HELLFIRE LOVER!

Oh, yes. MUCH better. I mean...

Look at those...those...Well, how can you miss them? Are you BLIND?

Anyway, HFL is my latest character on City of Villains. The folks at Paragon Studios are gearing up for the summer release of Going Rogue, and have been teasing us by handing out two new power sets. The first was Dual Pistols, with lots of flashy animations while you fire off an impossible amount of bullets from your flintlock.

Yes, when choosing the look of your weapon, you can choose a flintlock. Instead of firing ONE bullet, as it was back in yesteryear, you can fire off around 30 with Hail of Bullets. Go figure.

Now that closed beta is over, I can reveal the fact that I was in it. This time, they introduced a new power set for Masterminds: Demon Summoning.

"What's a Mastermind?" In terms of hit points, they are the weakest characters in the game. If someone sneezes in your general direction, you'll be knocked off your feet, perhaps even propelled backward for either 50 yards or until you collide with something solid, like a wall. Even the attacks of the MMs are weak, doing what seems to be less and less damage (comparatively) than when you first start out.

That said, MMs are FAR from being useless. You see, they get to summon various minions, and have the ability to command said minions to do their dirty work for them. Until recently, you could have ninjas, robots, soldiers, street thugs, or zombies. Now they've added demons, and they've done something a little different this time.

As a MM, you get to summon six minions. You get three lowbies, two mediums, and one large. And these guys are about as powerful as indicated. The lowbies, for example, are pesky and relentless attackers, but tend not to last long. The large minion, however, can make all kinds of trouble for your opponents. And with the lowbies, only a couple of sets would allow for one to do something different from their fellows. Take the thugs...one of them is a pyromaniac, and will pull off all kinds of destructive tricks. With the soldiers, one of them is a medic that will heal you and your other minions.

The demon summoning group offers a different power for each one! Let's summon them and take a look.

Hellfire Lover, if you would be so kind as to cast your spell...?

My, that certainly looks nifty...

And there we have it; all three lowbies popping from the ground.

The one on the far left tosses around fire. The middle guy uses hellfire. (What the difference is between that and regular fire is beyond me.) The critter to the right slings ice around.

So I've been having fun for the last couple of weeks, trying to level up this character to see what she can do. Not all that high at the moment, but I also have...

Hellfire Lover, if you could bring that other guy up from the bowels of the Abyss, please?

Again, nifty graphics. What's more, she has a different symbol for bring up the next level of minions.

There we go. This is the "medium minion," and he has a few extra abilities that make him a valuable member of the MM's team. Not only does he regularly give out a fiery protective aura, but he can also heal badly wounded minions. Actually, he's been healing them when they're NOT badly wounded. Still, when things get messy, it's good to have him on the job.

One of the fun things they did occurs in the animation for dismissing this medium-sized demon. While his dismissal dialogue isn't anything to write home about, he visibly doesn't seem to want to leave. He howls and starts clawing at the ground, attempting to prevent his dismissal. Just take a look when Hellfire Lover send him home...



He can fight it all he wants; he's going home.

As mentioned, Paragon Studios has now turned this over to open beta. If you have a City of Heroes/Villains account, just check their forums on how to get on the test server, as well as how to copy existing characters from the live servers to test.

One thing I'm annoyed with during the change from closed to open is the return of something I sent in as a bug report. You can summon your "demonlings" without a problem, but the moment you cast Summon Demons, everyone you control, including your original character, pauses every few seconds to go through a power-up animation, despite not being powered-up. The repetitive growl of the demonlings announcing their newfound abilities starts to grate.

I also reported the general dialogue of the minions. Each has a live to acknowledge that it's received your commands. While I'm a G.I.R.L., (Guy In Real Life), there are quite a few ladies playing CoX, and the demon minions are constantly saying things like, "Following the master," or "Must protect the master." What if they should be protecting the MISTRESS?

This post, for all of its pictures and general silliness, is dedicated to the friend who's user name helped me to create this new character. This is my way of paying a small tribute to her, and letting her know I'm thinking about her and her current woes, and hoping things are resolved in the near future.

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