OK, so, I haven't been playing City of Heroes regularly for a while, but lately I've been in the mood, so with the new update release (Issue 14) I figured I'd check out the new Architect feature (user-generated mission creation and play system), and managed to fall in love with the game all over again, for a few reasons...
Before I even logged in I saw an ad for an in-game booster pack for magic-themed items, and there was a power called Mystic Fortune which intrigued me (you "read someone's fortune," which grants them a temporary effect which can be either good or bad, depending on what random card is generated). When I saw the magical costume changes, though, that sealed the deal, and let me tell you, they are AWESOME. Basically they've added a choice of four animations that appear when you change costumes (you have up to 5 different ones per hero/villain you can choose from, and usually when you change between them you just instantly change, but now you can have an effect, such as the Wonder Woman spin!). I've been looking forward to this for years! (The new emotes, which I didn't even know about until someone pointed them out to me, were a bonus - you can make your character juggle various objects or perform a card trick.) I checked out the other in-game packs you can buy and remembered I was interested in the items offered with the Mac version of the software, mostly for a new power that instantly transports you to whatever mission you've chosen, rathern than having to run/fly/take the train to cross zones and get where you need to be, which can take forever sometimes, so I bought that as well when I saw it could be bought separately from the actual Mac software itself. (I still can't say either of the other two packs - one with cyborg costume pieces and the other with wedding-themed costume pieces and emotes - interest me very much, but I'll see how completist I feel later.)
Once I got in I checked out the architect features, and it looks pretty neat - you can create an entire mission arc from scratch, including creating custom villains, and then you can play the ones other people have created. I did a one-mission quickie and rather enjoyed it (the theme was "fashion police," so it was suitably silly to entertain).
I was especially taken with one section of the building where you go to create and play player missions called Studio B, because it's a "no powers" zone, meaning no other player can activate their powers (and some of them are really annoying with sound and visual effects). Ah, the peace and quiet was bliss. I wish they had that for other areas of the city - say, in one of the biggest gathering places in CoH, under the giant statue of Atlas in Atlas Park? Especially during a costume contest, when there are dozens of people there all at once? :)
Speaking of Atlas, weirdest thing happened that I hadn't heard about - with large groups, suddenly we were being attacked by zombies, and random electrical bolts were killing people left and right. It was like an undead version of the Rikti attacks, which are planned events that happen a couple of times a year when strong enemies just suddenly spawn around large groups of people. What was up with that? The costume contest I wanted to enter ended up moving en masse over to another zone entirely just to get away from it all. Everyone seemed very confused, although it turns out it's a leftover from the Halloween special event they had that's still active and happens randomly, though not very often at all.
Ended up logging on with a few of my heroes, especially those in super groups to see if I got promoted to the new highest rank, Super Leader (I did on the ones I founded, so that was good), and to catch up on some of the veterans rewards I get for all of my characters, depending on how long I've had a paid account. I'm due for my 45 month reward in about two weeks (you get a new level every 3 months of paid membership), but I peeked ahead and have to admit that I'm really looking forward to 48 to summon a pet that assists me in battle, 54 to pick up another power, and 60 to get high-speed travel powers at level 6 instead of having to wait to level 14 when they're usually available for characters. I used to be kind of annoyed that the rewards they offered up for various milestones were, IMHO, pretty lame (I've got about 23 respecs, which I can use to re-build my character from the ground up, and 16 free tailor sessions to get a new costume for almost every one of my characters, and these are things I NEVER use), but with the booster packs and these veterans rewards, it feels like they're finally giving me things I actually *want*. It definitely makes me want to keep my subscription up and keep playing!
Anywho, I'm just geeking out. Thanks for listening. :) (I posted this in city_of_heroes, too.)