Monday, March 28, 2011

You've earned a mouthful!

Games and their badges. It seems that every game out there now has a list of things to achieve. I'd say that about 98% of the time, those badges give nothing other than bragging rights. When living in KS, the guys bought Just Cause 2, and I swiftly earned a badge that none of us would have guessed existed. You earn it by killing 20 bad guys using nothing but the weapons on you, all the while taking no damage yourself. Now that I'm in PA, and Becky has the same game, I can't earn it to save my life.

But I'm not here to talk about Just Cause 2 and its list of achievements. No, my focus is City of Heroes/Villains/Going Rogue. (Bah! I should stick with "CoX.") They have so many badges to earn that there is a site dedicated to them called Badge Hunters/Vidiot Maps. The site gives as many details as they can for the average "badge whore" who feels the need to earn ALL of them. The most common amongst the players of the game is to have one, and only one character dedicated to earning badges, as to try to earn them on every character you create is pretty difficult.

Allow me to run down the list and explain the badges.

1: Exploration - These badges are earned by passing over certain coordinates within the game. Some are pretty cool, like "Egg Hunter," which is awarded for finding a hidden room in a certain zone. Then there are those that make me think the developers were running out of names for the badges, like "Camel Snot" near the top of a pyramid.
2: History - These badges are given out for doing a certain amount of reading. Yeah, the game expects you to occasionally use your brain. How crazy is that? Plaques and signs are scattered all over the various zones, which makes for an adventurous hunt in some zones.
3: Accomplishments - Almost all of these are awarded for taking on the larger missions in CoX, often called "Task Forces" or "Strike Forces."
4: Achievements - In my book, this is the same word as "accomplishment," but awards a different kind of badge. This is what you earn if you take so much damage, heal other players for so many hit points, or find yourself held by enemies. There are even a few that could be earned by spending so much time in a specific zone.
5: Accolade - These badges let others know you took on some of the tougher things in the game. They usually apply to several badges that will add up to an accolade. As a bonus, some of these give an additional power, like the virtually useless "Crey Pistol." (It does very little damage, has only an average chance to hit, doesn't confine opponents as well as some powers you can get through the normal progression of the game, and can only be used once every 25 minutes. So it sucks, but you can then brag that you earned it. Go figure.)
6: Gladiator - These are the critters that come with a few of the other badges. Gladiators are even more useless than the Crey Pistol, but can be used in the game's various arenas for certain kinds of contests.
7: Veteran - You get on of these every three months for paying into the game. Each comes with some kind of reward, like bonus powers. It's surprising how many people I see with a lot of these badges, yet they don't seem to know how to play the game at all.
8: Super Group - These are earned guessed it...your super group! Each badge usually represents something new that can be put into a group's base when it's built.
9: PvP - *sigh* The badges I hate the most. You get these badges for beating up other players. I have very few of these, and they were earned by arranging for someone else to lose purposely. Only recently did the Player vs. Player aspects of CoX become balanced, and no one really cares about that now.
10: Inventions - You can enhance your powers by building inventions with salvage you find during the course of the game. Each of these badges is earned by making specific types of badges. My favorite so far has to be "Lord of War."
11: Defeats - By beating up so many of a designated baddies, you get these badges. There's one called "Zoo Keeper" that was reduced from requiring you defeat 10,000 Rikti Monkeys to 2,000. Guess who earned it back in the day, when 10,000 was needed? >=(
12: Events - During Christmas and Valentine's Day, the game gives the option of running themed missions and the like. Meet the requirements, and you get event badges.
13: Ouroboros - In one of the free updates for CoX, they added the ability to travel through time. In easier terms, you can go back and play story lines you may have leveled past. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can place restrictions on yourself. By doing so, there are many awards to be won.
14: Wentworths/Black Market - When you sell your loot on the game, you get badges for selling so much.
15: Day Jobs - These are earned by logging off in certain areas. In this way, the player is rewarded for going out and getting a life beyond the game. These badges also offer temporary powers and bonuses during game play.
16: Architect - There is the ability to craft your very own missions within CoX. By playing such missions, and having others play any missions you create, you get these badges.

At this time, a player can earn up to 1,267 badges on any one character. Some badges, like the one given out during the one year anniversary of the game, are simply no longer available. There's also one, "Bug Hunter," that's almost impossible to get, as it's given for being the first to report a game-breaking bug.

Until recently, badges weren't that difficult to earn. The hardest of the badges were the accolades, which might require you to earn two exploration, two achievements, three defeats, and an accomplishment. But I think the developers became bored with telling players to "defeat X amount of baddies" and we'll give you the badge so you can brag about it. No, in recent updates it has become a job and a half to earn certain badges.

Last week, I earned one of the crazier achievements. To earn this badge, a team of eight has to make their way through an entire mission to the very end, engage in a specific task, and then defeat one of the tougher baddies in the game, known as an Arch-villain. Here's the catch: you have to defeat him in 30 seconds, and if you didn't, invisible bombs start to appear around him. If ONE person takes so much as ONE point of damage from ONE of these bombs, the badge is lost and you have to try again.

And the absurd badge that's earned? "The Midnight Dodger What Doges At Midnight." Yeah, it's a mouthful.

Becky and I both have one character that we use for badge hunting. Because she came to the game much later than I did, she has less. (I'm not exactly sure how many, but I know it's under 1,000.) I, in turn, have earned 1,138 if the 1,267 badges available. I think I was an unconfirmed contender in the top 50 badge earners ONCE, and then those who take this game more seriously surpassed me. And, yes...there are those who take this far more seriously than I ever would.

Anyway, I just thought I'd report on something far less serious than usual. And one doesn't get much less serious than being "the midnight dodger what dodges at midnight!"

Be well, all, and DFTBA.

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